Monday, December 15, 2014

"The Three Trees"

Dear Family,

Well, I am so glad this week is finally over to be honest. This was a rough week to say the least but it's always for our benefit, right?

If I am being completely honest, my companion is driving me up a wall. I have lost not only patience but even the desire to have patience with her. I don't understand why she is on a mission. Everything is always drawn in, always ends up focusing on herself. It is extremely, emotionally draining to be with her everyday 24/7. But I haven't stopped praying for a desire to love her and I actually just finished her Christmas present this morning. It's nothing fancy but it gave me something to do when I didn't want to talk to her. I had President interviews and I don't know if the last 4 weeks just finally caught up to me but I burst into tears as soon as I walked in because I finally had the opportunity to talk to him about my companion. I gained a lot of respect for him in my interview this week, I don't think I will always agree with the things he does but I know that he is trying his very best and yes, unfortunately, he is human. But aren't we all? I read President Uchtdorf's talk from priesthood session "Is It I" and it hit home for me. It is so easy for us to look at others and know how to fix all their problems and to say "I could do it so much better than they are." But then when it comes to ourselves, we can be so quick to pass over all of our faults. So I guess I had a change of heart and I am trying to give my leaders the credit they deserve. I know that they will make mistakes and are wrong and human but I don't have to worry about it if I just do my thing. God's got it all under control.
The Christmas gift I made for Sister Willmore.

I feel like that is what I have been saying to myself over and over this whole week: God's got it all under control. And I've been reminding myself what Kelly said, "Now does not mean forever." We went tracting on Sunday. There was a stake Christmas devotional but we weren't allowed to go unless we had an investigator. Well, none of our investigators have a car and we are extremely far way from the stake center and no one in our branch was going so we weren't able to go. I know I shouldn't have been upset but I was. All our plans fell through so we spent 2 hours in the freezing rain tracting. Do you want to know what aggravates me? All the time we have people open the door and say "Oh, not interested" and slam the door but it really gets me when they open the door, see you and say "Oh, not interested. Have a Merry Christmas" and slam the door. What is sad is all we are asking them to do is watch a video about Christ being the center of Christmas. I got super depressed this week. It's sad to feel so stranded during the holiday season and the frustration of people rejecting our message.

We have been sharing this story "The Three Trees" with people these past two weeks. This is what I learned. Sometimes God puts us through hard times. Sometimes we have to go through weeks where we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders; when we feel like we are just being kicked when we are already down. We watch our plans fall apart and we are frustrated as we deal with the aftermath of others' stupid actions. This life is full of heartache, pain, and lost hope. But there is beauty in the challenging times because they shape us into who we are. We are standing where we are today because of God's hands shaping us into masterpieces. We never know what we can become with the help of God.

The Three Trees:
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world! The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.
Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.
The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It's perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. " I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. " All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."
Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. " This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

I love you with all my heart. I am so glad I have such a big family of people who have my back.

Love-Sister Lundskog
This is my investigator, Kelly's, cat. Every time we go over she sits on my lap
and I walk out with swollen eyes and I can't breathe.

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