(Amber Garvin from Provo, Utah served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as 'Mormons') in the Richmond, Virginia area (Now called the "Virginia Chesapeake Mission"). 'Sister' Missionaries are able to serve at age 19 for a period of 18 months. They leave their homes, families and educational pursuits to love and serve their fellowman, and to teach about how families can be together forever. All are invited to follow her missionary experiences.)

*I have now returned home to Utah and will continue to share the experiences of being a returned missionary. :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014, Rocky Mount, North Carolina - LDS Sister Missionaries

Life has peaks and valleys….
"Peaks and Valleys"

Sometimes I think that I should look back over the things that I wrote last week so that I don't repeat the same things over and over again, but then I think "hmmmm..... that takes time....." And I don't do it.

So I might repeat the same things over and over again.

Someone once compared life to peaks and valleys.  I'm really glad that they did that because it is a good description. And it helps me to express myself better.
This week was mostly a valley.

Besides the normal things that are thought of as discouraging to missionaries-- like all your investigators dropping you in one week, and having nobody answer their doors after you spend 3 hours trying to contact people, and hitting a half-way milestone in your mission life and feeling like I'd not made much of a difference to anyone or anything anyplace--I was having a little bit of an emotional melt down too.

Don't take this the wrong way.  I'm not complaining. Merely explaining, and expounding.  And also-- when I write emails home I always learn something from having to form the jumble of thoughts I have into words.

SO, anyways, I was seriously low, and depressed.  That's not really fun if you know what I mean.

Ugh..... sometimes being a person is hard because there is all this emotional stuff.  I think that it's sometimes easier to just smash something and be done with it.  (that's an aside, and definitely just a fleeting opinion.... I don't really want to be a gorilla or anything.)

I read Elder Christofferson's talk on the 'Moral Force of Women' from Oct 2013 General Conference (this may be repeated from last week) and he said basically that the most important thing to remember is our relationship with Heavenly Father and the Savior.

It has been impressed upon me that that is something that I haven't been as focused on for a little while.  I need to improve on that.  I realized that if my relationship with Them is suffering then all the relationships I have with other people are suffering as well.

So okay, I got it.

I've really been praying more fervently than this email explains - and that I can do better at that.
I've also been going to all my church meetings and missionary meetings with a question.  Elder Perkins of the seventy who spoke to us last month encouraged us to change the attitue of "going to a meeting" to "going to have a revelatory experience". So, that has been helping as I've been working through the things mentioned above.

Without many details, because I'm running low on time, there is a principle that I learned this week while walking in the valley -- that I wanted to share.

The Lord always sends rescuers.

I'm part of a team of rescuers, but this week I needed rescuing.

The Lord sent me rescuers in many forms this week.  Leaders in the mission and in the ward.

Can I express the depth of my gratitude to those who listened to the Spirit to ask after me? Can I express my gratitute that the Spirit prompted me to answer with courage, and honesty-  something other than the rote reply of "good" or "well"? Well, no actually, because gratitute is a really overwhelming feeling and I don't do well to express it in words.  Just know that I'm realy grateful to the Lord for sending me rescuers, and for reminding me to look for the answers to my prayers that came through other people, and for the encouragement to act on the answers to those prayers.

We are NEVER forgotten. My favorite scripture was brought to my mind again "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. " (3 Ne. 22:7)

Don't give up the opportunity to take the help of the rescuers, or to search them out. 

I also read the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7.  We each deal with times that we feel lost, or are lost, but our Shepherd will never give up the rescue efforts.  He is always searching, always calling, and always true to his role as our Savior.

I hope that if anyone who reads this is struggling with any challenges similar, feeling lost, forsaken, or forgotten that something here will strike them with a remembrance of the deep-rooted truths that are in our hearts.  We are never so lost that we can be found by our loving Father in Heaven, His Son--our Savior-- and the Heavenly Rescue squad that covers the whole earth.  We are never as alone as we think we are, and we are NEVER EVER beyond being rescued.

You are greatly loved!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
(I felt that was a better close than anything)

-Sister Garvin


P.S. (the following was written to my Mom as we emailed this morning -  but I told her she could share it on the blog if she wanted to.)
My Mom writes:  I'm grateful for these words of wisdom that helped me this morning as we are making some major decisions in our family and seeking the Lord's guidance.  It's been such a great blessing to have a missionary daughter who is serving the Lord, and who offers us strength, encouragement and guidance we we travel life's pathway together.)

Even when he was 90 years old Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith prayed that he'd stay faithful, and be able to keep his covenants.  We can't afford to lose the faith to pray for those things all the time.
There really isn't a rest from the tests that we are asked to go through in this life.  The "world" and the things of the world are incredibly wicked and people who turn a blind eye will not learn from it.  They will lose the opportunity to become discerning. 
I pray that now more than ever our home will compare to the temple as a refuge, sanctuary; holy House of the Lord; where there can be strength received as we strengthen each other.
I'm often discouraged and depressed, but it never diminishes the faith that I have the the Lord is watching.  Nor does it diminish the faith that I have that the gospel is true, nor that I can be happy. 
Sometimes I want to hide under a rock.  So I'm grateful that my spiritual self has the courage to ask on the promptings to keep going, even when my natural self wants to do nothing except hide and be by myself.  :)
I'm still learning, and there are just peaks an valleys all the time every day.
And if I'm in a valley and things aren't okay, the Lord doesn't let me stay there without offering some way to get to a peak. Then every thing is okay.