This week has hands down been the hardest week of my mission. I won't explain why. At least, not yet. But I have been brought to my knees in prayer, fasting, and tears pouring my heart out to God begging for strength. And I testify that my prayers have been answered.
I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and powerful. I know that He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected three days later all for our sins and for our pains. I know that He stands beside us with open arms to heal us and to strengthen us. To change us.
Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ understand us intimately and individually. We, each and every one of us, truly are God's children. He knows our needs. Our wants. Desires. Fears. And because He knows these things, He is here to guide us. To help us find our way when we are lost and confused. To give us the words to say, the acts to do, all so we can find "peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come." (D&C 59:23)
The words of Isaiah are always a source of strength to me as he speaks of the Savior in Isaiah 53:3-5:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Our Savior loves us. He loves us so much and so does our Heavenly Father. As it says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This week "my God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh." (2 Nephi 4:20-21)
I know that the power of Christ's Atonement is available to each and every one of you. It is not an exclusive gift, but one that is extended freely to all who will accept it. This is my prayer, that each of you will chose to accept this gift. It is the key to true peace and happiness. It is a promise of comfort and companionship given to each of us by God. We all can have this blessing in our lives. May we each day seek the humility we need to be able to bend on our knees and find Christ's grace.
I say these things, in the name of my Lord, Savior, and most intimate friend, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sister Makena Bauss
Hey y'all! Hope you missed me last week! I wrote a post but waited on sending it out until I could calm myself down enough to explain it. Basically, last week was the hardest week of my mission yet and I needed time to deal. But! Things are on the up and (while stressed) I'm doing good. :) My companion had to deal with some really hard stuff and it was really really hard watching someone I care about so much go through trials like that. And then at the beginning of this week she headed home so she could deal with all of it without the extra stresses of missionary life attached as well. She'll be back, but I'm missing her a lot in the mean time.
And so now I'm in a tri-panionship again! I'm staying with the Don Valley West sisters for the rest of the transfer. I packed up my stuff and moved to the other side of Toronto! But no worries, I'm still serving in Bayview. We're just covering two areas between the three of us. My new companions are Sisters Hennessey and Reitz. Both are from Utah. Sister Hennessey is currently training Sister Reitz (she's only just finished her fourth week in the field), so I'm a "foster mommy"! It's fun to be training again.
My companions have been such a support to me over the past week, and it has just been wonderful serving with them. It's hard since neither of them speak Mandarin, so most of the teaching, setting up appointments, working with members, etc. responsibilities fall on me. In terms of the work aspect of missionary life, I'm pretty much running an area on my own and that's...hard. But in terms of life, I couldn't have more support right now. My companions do everything they can for me, the best of which is make me laugh. We have so much fun together. And then the Elders I work with are just so willing to do whatever they can to help lighten the load. My zone and district leaders (aka the Chinese elders) are even considering going into my area one day and spending some time trying to find new investigators for me. They are the best and I have no idea how I would handle all of this if it wasn't for their help. The gospel is true and these missionaries around me live it!
But the greatest support has by far been the Savior. I have felt so much strength as I've knelt down and prayed. I asked the elders this past week for a blessing and as they laid their hands on my head they addressed every prayer I think I've said on my entire mission. While they don't know this, it's true. Our Heavenly Father knows each of us individually and that blessing showed that to me on such a deep level. He truly has sent His Son Jesus Christ to succor us, or in other words run to us, in times of need. The power of the priesthood is real. The truth of the gospel has been restored. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
And with that, 再见！
Sister Makena Bauss