Monday, December 9, 2013

The BEST and WORST week of my mission - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - LANGENHORN [ HAMBURG ]


                                                                                                     9 December, 2013
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"Do it because you want to, not because you have to."
"Pray always that you may come off conquerer; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." D&C 10:5
"Abide with Me 'Tis Eventide"

D&C 78:18.  "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."  

I would title this week, "The BEST and WORST week of my mission."
It's kind of ironic that the week with the most pitfalls, the most tears, the most fatigue, and the most heartache, turned into a week of self discovery, world awareness, an increase in love, appreciation, and gratitude, and an overall greater strength than I had before . . . 
**(Included are excerpts from Heidi's journal entries from this past week)
Sunday 1 Dec.  "Today has been a really rough day . . . At church, I feel like I barely made it through.  And all day I have just felt very fragile.  We went to a Termin tonight and the man posed so many questions that really just scared me.  He was trying to answer every religious question with a scientific answer.  I felt like my mind was elsewhere. I felt vulnerable and sick to my stomach.  I felt so schwach (weak).  I don't think I said more than five words during that visit.
But I just said a prayer right here at my desk.  Please let me feel of thy Spirit.  Please take away my fear, please let me feel of thy love for me.  I felt a warmth and illumination come flow through my body.  I've never had such an immediate response before. . .
Every day is a battle.  Right now as I turn to God in my discomfort and confusion I already feel more strength."
The week started out so hard. And it didn't help that the days were all gray, since Hamburg is a dark place during the winter.  Missionary work is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life.  Even harder than Chem 105! ;) 
As I struggled day by day to go on, I felt so alone.  My companionship  has not been an easy one, and even though the work for us has been going so strong, we seemed to have so many road blocks.
I read all week in 3 Nephi. I read about Christ coming and visiting the people there among the Nephites.  It was all so personal to me.  Feeling a little bit broken myself, the thought of healing was sounding pretty appealing.  As the outside world seemed to be coming at me from all angles, I found peace and comfort as I read in the scriptures.  Normally I don't write a lot of feelings as I study, but I started this week and it really helped me out.  
As a mission we are reading the Book of Mormon all together, planning to finish on Christmas.  We are encouraged to focus on the Atonement so that we can come to increase our faith and understanding of this miraculous reality.  I wish I could just share with you every entry of my journal from this entire week, because it really captures so many of my emotions.
Really though, as I read in these chapters in 3 Nephi I felt like I was one of the people there.  As I read about the people who went forth and touched the hands of Christ, let their fingers linger in the scarred holes there . . . who fell at his feet and let their tears wash his feet . . . That was me.  
Tuesday 3 Dec.  I read about when Christ went to leave the people, and they wept at this thought.  He decided to tarry a while longer with them.  My heart too, it was pained too at the thought of saying good bye.  I wasn't even there, but in a way I felt such an overpowering love and peace that the thought of my Savior leaving me just made me want to cry.
Then Christ instituted the sacrament . . . It was a way for them to remember Him . . .  How many times had I taken the sacrament and thought about other things?  The sacrament is such a special time.  A way to remember our Savior Jesus Christ.
I chose the song "Herr, bleib bei mir", "Abide with me Tis Eventide" to sing for companionship study.  Let's just say I made it through the first sentence without bawling . . . "Herr, bleib bei mir, der Abendnacht . .." 

"Abide with me this Eventide.  Please stay with me longer, don't forsake me.  This was the morning I realized just how much I love and appreciate my Savior Jesus Christ."
"I said the prayer for our companionship and I couldn't do so without bawling.  I was speaking to God in the name of Jesus Christ.  How could I not cry about this?"
I reflected back upon the blondie running around Hamburg, smiling everywhere she went, "changing Langenhorn one smile at a time."  What happened?  As I thought a lot about my emotions and thoughts, I realized that I had kept a lot of things bottled up. My companionship  has had so many challenges, and together we have fallen, become offended, cried, and just felt alone.  But we have really learned to depend on one another.  We have learned what it means to compromise, how to humble ourselves enough that we can receive correction, even when it hurts.  Because of her dominance and strength of character I realized that I had felt a little bit unneeded for a while.  I had become a little bit bitter...  She is an incredible missionary, but with how things have been there were times when we were going to work because we had to, not necessary because we wanted to.  Almost like we were being robot missionaries!  I am a girl.  I have blonde hair.  I am most of the time bubbly and "Happy go lucky" (according to Sister D**).  She is a tom boy at heart, a martyr always taking off her coat in the cold to give it to me, a beloved daughter of God.  We are different, that's it.  
So Friday resulted in an 8 hour companionship inventory, NO JOKE.  We were honest with each other as we talked openly about how we had been offended by one another, how we were feeling with the stress of the work, how we could become better, more obedient, etc.  We both cried, but it was amazing how much love there was as we talked.  It hurt to hear different perspectives.  But we listened, we made goals together, and we determined to change things for the better.  
Much happened between us.  I realized my own faults. 
I realized a greater dependency that I have on the Savior for the atoning power. 
I realized how lucky I am to have such a wonderful Sister as a companion.  Serving with her is such a blessing. I have learned so much this week.  So much that I will never forget as long as I live.  
Attitude makes up everything.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to open my mouth.  I choose to not be offended.  I am changing Langenhorn one smile at a time.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
7 December.  "I am a servant of Jesus Christ, called by His prophet Thomas S. Monson.  I am here to do His will, having been called because it was and is His will.  He has all power.  The power of the Priesthood is real-it is through the priesthood that God works and maintains order on earth.  I was set apart with this priesthood power by my Stake president in Bountiful, Utah- President Brian Taylor. 
I am here to proclaim.  When I think about proclaiming I think of boldness, even excitement.  I know something that perhaps others do not know.  I need to make myself heard.  What are these glad tidings that I must proclaim?  The tidings that I get to proclaim and want to proclaim?  
God lives! 
Christ is the Son of God, born on earth, and saved us all from sin.  It is through him that we are saved and redeemed.  These are tidings of such great JOY.
In a world so often bathing in darkness, this is a light of hope, a warmth coming to the clothe the children of men.  This message is true and everlasting.  What greater message could there be?  God loves us; he created a plan for us.
He has given us His word on the earth and knowledge so that we do not always need to be in darkness. . . I strive for faithfulness because I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that it is faithfulness that qualifies me for this blessing and all others. 
Christ wants my heart to be GLAD. It makes sense because I am bearing GLAD tidings.  Fear not Heidi Elaine Shelley.  God is with you.  He will not abandon me, nor leave me alone."
It also wasn't a coincidence that I opened up Doctrine and Covenants on this day and read along in the place where I am currently reading.  I came across the same scripture that Bruder Alston shared with me in the MTC. Doctrine and & Covenants 78:18.  "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."  
Yesterday, the day was once again a hard one for me.  But Sister D** lovingly reminded me to "Pray Always".  Another tender mercy.  That is the scripture on my missionary plaque.  That is my scripture.  A scripture that has actually helped me root myself in this gospel.  I will pray today, tomorrow, and the next day, I can never stop. 
What a week!  I have so much more that I can say.  So much that I have learned about what it truly means to love. 
What charity is.
How I can change myself to accomplish bigger and greater purposes?  How to personally increase my faith.  The scriptures have gotten me through the week.  Writing my thoughts down has helped me to see just how much God loves me.
One step in front of the other.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  It is all about selflessness and love.  Service.  Losing yourself in the work.  I know that God lives.  I know that this is his work.  Teaching the gospel is what brings a fullness of joy.  More so than anything else.
We may fall down, even scrape up our knees a little bit.  But it is the decision that we make to get back up that makes a difference.  It is our decision to reach up and accept help, and just walk the walk together :)
I will serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  I will change Langenhorn one smile at a time.  

Love you all!!

Heidi :)

                   Heidi and her companion at the ward Relief Society Christmas Dinner


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