Best Week Ever!

December 7, 2015

Week of November 30- DECEMBER 6! I would be lying if I said this wasn't the best week of my whole mission. It was pretty high up there on the chart of "great weeks as a missionary." I think this might be a long email so I will keep the "not-so-important" things short. ;)

Monday: P-day and an amazing lesson with our investigator M! It was filled with the Spirit and we were able to feel just a fraction of the love Heavenly Father has for each of his children. When people make choices that seem insurmountable and difficult to the world to put their loving Heavenly Father first is an indescribable feeling and brings the greatest and most spiritual joy. One that is hard to describe but easy to recognize.

Tuesday: Today was literally one of the best days I have had in the mission field. It was busy but yet it was full of reflection on the improvement and the progress I have made in the last year. It is hard as a missionary (or as human) to see the long term changes that take part in our lives. We started the day by doing service for a cute less active family in the ward. Then we had a lesson with a less active member. We had the relief society president come with us and it was a great lesson. We were able to testify of the Atonement and how Christ has us "written upon the palms of his hands." Then we had time. I love the new Christmas Initiative "A Savior is Born" I think I watched it 50 times in that hour. Afterwards we went to Activity Days and taught the cute girls about how service as a missionary has blessed us and those we have served. We were supposed to help them sew some things but really they just taught me and I pretended I knew what I was doing. We had dinner with a less active member and then we went to mutual. We had a question/answer session with the priests and they could ask whatever the heck they wanted. It was really fun and I learned so much about how missions change you, affect you, and strengthen you. One of the most profound things I learned or was taught (by one of the Young Men Advisors) is that missionaries spend so much time thinking and wishing and praying for their families. They spend so much time focused on the things back home, then they finish their full-time mission, see their family for 5 minutes, and then they stop missing them. At that moment they realize that they don't have that mission ever again and they can't go back. It is okay to miss your family because that means you love them, but you should strive to "forget yourself and go to work" because you will have eternity to spend with them. Don't worry family, I still miss you. We also had a meeting with the Bishop and our Ward Mission Leader that night to discuss... stuff.

Wednesday: We had district meeting and it was great! I love all the missionaries in our district, I think it's the biggest district in the mission too. Afterwards we had a lesson with a less active who is dealing with a tragedy that took place the day before Thanksgiving. It was great to bear testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge and comfort it brings.

Thursday: We did  most of our weekly planning this day and spent the day contacting potentials and formers. We had a lesson with Maria, Adolfo, Reymundo, and Jacob (our investigator  family- expect Rey  is a recent convert). We brought two young men with  us to the lesson and they were great fellowship. Maria decided she wanted a blessing so we called two other men (ward mission leader and a member of the bishopric) and they came and gave her the sweetest blessing. It was a very powerful testimony. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost.

Friday: We had a multi-zone conference with Elder Johnson of the 70 majority of the day. I had to say the opening prayer, I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to pray in front of a member of the 70, half the mission, and our mission presidency. He shared lots of amazing insights about the nature of the Godhead. The most significant reason the first vision was needed was to prove that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone that is tangible. He isn't just some big mass of goodness (which was being taught by all the religions during this time period), he has a perfected, glorified body. He told us that majority of us testify of this from a borrowed testimony and invited us to ask Heavenly Father five questions so we know for ourselves:
1. Do you exist? (Are you really there? Are you listening?)
2. Do you have a body of flesh and bones?
3. Do you know me? (Do you know I am serving a mission? Did you know I am struggling with this difficult situation?)
4. Am I really your daughter? (Are you really my father?)
5. Heavenly Father, do you love me? (even with all my imperfections? and weaknesses?)
As I prayed I was overwhelmed with the spirit and received my answers in the most simple but profound way. I can testify that Heavenly Father truly does have body, parts, and passions. HE LOVES EACH OF HIS CHILDREN IMMENSELY.

Saturday: We spend the day contacting. We love the people here in Everett and Mukilteo. We truly are so blessed. We also did service and helped put up and decorate a Christmas tree with HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of ornaments. It really felt like Christmas to me. Oh and when we left dinner (in a nearby apartment complex) we realized our car had been hit. The person left nothing but blue paint and scratches on our car. I still love that son or daughter of God wherever they may be and I would love to tell them that the Atonement allows us to repent and be forgiven our mistakes.  It's not like it was the first accident that was caused from parking, hehehe...hehe...he.

Sunday: SO MANY MIRACLES. We had meetings in the morning and then church. I love fast Sunday and even though it is still really hard for me to fast (because my blood gets really low) I am grateful for the ability to fast and have a greater spiritual sensitivity. We had a less active come to church with an arranged ride. As well as the less active family who recently lost their daughter. We had a man come to church- long story but we tracted into this family and they were a new move in of members. The wife was nice but doesn't want anything to do with the church but the husband came!  We also had a nonmember (not quite an investigator) come to church! After church we had more meetings, studies, and then we watched the Christmas Devotional. That was such a miracle because we could only watch it with an investigator, less active, or recent covert. We had planned to watch it with an investigator but she cancelled at 3:30 and it was broadcast at 5 here in WA. So we texted a whole bunch of people and an investigator that we had never met said we could come so we were able to watch it with her!

One of the greatest realizations I had this week is that Jesus Christ is our friend. Our ponderizing scripture "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me" had a footnote that takes us to Zechariah 13:6. "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." We all know that Jesus Christ is our brother. We know this because each of us are children of God. However, Jesus Christ our Savior, our Redeemer, our Exemplar CHOOSES to be our friend. Me and Hayden are siblings inevitably, but me and Hayden are friends intentionally. The same goes for each of us and our relationship with Christ. I love the comfort it brings to know that Christ is my brother. I love even more that he is my friend, and your friend. But it brings the most comfort to know that he CHOSE to be our friend with all of our imperfections and weaknesses.

I am grateful for the Christmas season and the joy it brings into the lives of God's children. To me it is wonderful that so many people, worldwide, desire to celebrate the birth of our Savior. He is our greatest example, our brother, and our friend. I know that as we turn to our Lord we can become happy, we can be forgiven, and we can have our burdens made light.

I love you all!

Sister Rodda

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