Courtney meets a Hobo, Hindu, Pagan and a Wicken. Learns patience and joy.
Courtney's District's awkward family photo
Things are going well here in Kirksville. The weather has cooled down this week and I am so glad it is not so hot anymore! It's pleasant and a little chilly at times. Actually it feels like a nice San Diego winters day. Summer is fleeting and in a matter of weeks I'll be bundled up. I'm glad the heat is leaving but I'm a bit scared of the winter that is approaching!
This past week I met a real life hobo! He had a handkerchief around his neck and everything. He travels on the rails looking for work and is legit! He had absolutely no interest in God or anything church related, but he was respectful enough to apologize for his harsh language. Sister Ramsey asked him where he considers home and he said "America!" We also met a family from Nepal. They live at our same apartment complex and invited us over. We talked to them about religion and it was interesting to hear about Hinduism. They had no desire to become Christian because they didn't want to lose their identity. They were super respectful and nice and accepted a Book of Mormon. We also met a Pagan man this week. Wow this week was full of new kinds of people. He wasn't interested but it was a unique experience to talk to him. His fiancé is a wicken. I walked away from that conversation more confused and baffled than I had been going into it. Oh the people you meet in Kirksville, Missouri!
I have to say that this past week was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. Investigators were dropped and it seemed like a lesson was being cancelled every few hours. We spent a lot of time trying to find people to teach because so many lessons were cancelled or people would not show up. In weeks previous this had made me frustrated. But I had been studying and praying about patience and I think I have developed that Christlike attribute, not perfectly but I know the Lord has helped me tremendously. I know it because even though this past week was the hardest of my mission so far, it was also the best week of my mission. Through the trials and disappointments of the week the Lord blessed me with patience and so much more! I learned so much through the spirit during personal and companionship study Yesterday and investigator, Kourtney, came to church. It was great because members of the congregation bore some of the most powerful testimonies I have heard in some time. We had two great lessons this week as well. The spirit was present as Kourtney and Toni's desire to follow Christ grew so much! It was from the experiences I had with the spirit and those two lessons that I received so much joy. So much that it made all the struggles of the week seem miniscule. I am so grateful to be able to share this gospel.
I want to share something that the spirit taught me yesterday as Bishop Wilson was sharing his testimony. He was talking about how the world views our standards. People say "You have so many rules. How do you have fun?" He gave some examples of "fun." He was comparing God's standards and the world's standards and a great thought came into my mind. This life is not about fun, it is about joy. Fun is something temporary, something that fleets as soon as someone gets hurt. Fun is fun while it lasts and you can laugh about it later. But joy is much more than that. Joy is something much deeper and longer lasting. Joy is serving others and seeing the blessings of God in our lives. Joy is learning about our purpose in life. Joy is searching the scriptures and finding something enlightening. Joy is being with your family forever. Joy is repentance and a change of heart through the Atonement. God gives us commandments so that we can have joy, not fun. With the right perspective joy is all that is important. So no, this life is not about fun, it is about joy. The joy I have felt sharing the gospel and serving others has been the greatest I have ever felt. This work is amazing as is the work our Father performs on our own hearts. Find joy and come unto Him.