Friday, February 7, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - February 2, 2014

Happy P-day everyone!! :)

So I'm pretty low on time again (sorry!!), but there are a couple of things I really want to share from my week this week.

Firstly, I am learning more and more each day about the Savior and the power of His Atonement in our lives. I was studying the atonement and crucifixion specifically last week, and more than ever it has hit me what an incredible sacrifice it was. I think growing up, when I learned about the Atonement, I knew it intellectually and understood it on a base level. I even studied at BYU about the infinite-ness of the Atonement and was awestruck by the weight of all the Christ had to bear--even more than we can comprehend. Having never really experienced any major trials though, or endured any severe pain, I couldn't actually relate at all to what His suffering might have been like. Only here on the mission have I experienced true heartache, frustration, loneliness, and despair. Yet it has been the most beautiful and eye-opening experience for me as I came to realize my own nothingness in relation to that of the Savior. My own personal trials are just a fraction of what He went through, and yet He persevered. He continued and pressed forward, when He could have just given up. He stayed true to the Mission He was called to, and did not falter. He had perfect faith and complete confidence in Himself and His Purpose. He understood our Heavenly Father's plan, and His role in it. He was human, he felt things just as we feel them (hunger, thirst, fatigue), and he was tempted. But He did not let the desires of His flesh overpower His commitment to follow the will of the Father in all things.
I've always known and taught and testified that Christ is our perfect example, but now that statement has come to mean so much more to me. Because He is our perfect example, we must follow His demonstration. When hard times come, we must simply press forward, remembering our purpose and exercising our faith in the Lord. That is what Enduring to the End is all about. :)

Our investigators are doing well here. I especially love seeing how the Book of Mormon works miracles in the lives of those who truly embrace it. One of our investigators last week, J.B., almost as soon as I greeted him, eagerly went to grab the Book of Mormon we had given him in our last appointment and brought it to me saying "This book is like magic. Every time I touch it, something good happens to me." He then continued to tell me about multiple blessings he had received, and how even though he doesn't like to read, he read the testimonies of the witnesses and committed to keep reading. :)

Finally, I am coming more and more to understand and appreciate my purpose here as a missionary. We recite each morning that "our purpose is to help others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end." Last week, we were visiting with a less-active who has diabetes and is so thin and frail. Her faith is strong, but looking at her, I can see that she is tired and struggling. My heart broke for her as we sat there talking, and I just wished that Christ could come to her and make right all the things that are painful for her in her life. In a sort of slap-in-the-face way, the Spirit reminded me that that is exactly what I have been called to do as a missionary. I am a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ, and I am here to help people find their way to Him. To open their eyes and reach out their hands and accept the love and help that He is just waiting to give them, if they'll only accept it.

This work is real. I feel so humbled to be a part of it. More and more each day I realize how important we are as missionaries and members, but only in the sense that we are the instruments the Lord is using. We must be in tune with His Will if anything real is going to be accomplished.

I hope you all have/had a wonderful week!! I love and miss you and pray for you often (sometimes I forget...I'm sorry!). Thank you for all your love and emails and prayers and thoughts!

Happy February!!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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