March 31, 2013

Day 12 & 13... Learning the Character of Christ

March 24 & 25, 2013
Dear Mom and Dad,
Happy Sunday :) I hope you all had a good day at church and at home. It’s weird not being at home, but when I thought about you all having Sunday dinner today, I distinctly felt that I was still a part of that because you would be praying for me.  I feel your prayers constantly. If the MTC is full of ups and down, I don’t even know what being in the field is like. I don’t think I have thanked you both enough. While I am here teaching, you are the ones supporting me. Although you don’t have a name tag, you are just as much a part of this great missionary work as I am.  I hope you guys know that. Myself, Heavenly Father, and the people of Riverside are grateful for you letting me (and supporting me) serve a mission. I pray for the people I will help teach, a lot. That helps keep me going because there are people Heavenly Father specifically needs me to help teach.  The past couple of days have been hard—so many highs and lows. My headache has gotten so bad the last couple of days. I had to go back to our room and close my eyes and lay down it was so bad. I’m sure it’s just the stress of leaving to California and having to teach REAL people. Sister Haycock is so nice about it though. I’m grateful to have her around. I think we’ll be friends for a long time. So today we listened to a taped MTC devotional by Elder Bednar—talking about the character of Christ. [This same talk, or one just like it was also given at a Regional Conference (I have a copy Amanda gave to me a while back). Find the PDF for that HERE.] He talked about the Savior and how He always turned outward, when the natural man turns inward.  It was a super powerful talk. He quoted Neal A Maxwell: “There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ.” Losing yourself in the service of others is the epitome of the character of Christ. He never, ever thought about Himself and that is why He could atone for us. Elder Bednar pointed out that we can’t come to be like Christ all at once, it happens “line upon line” and Christ’s grace enables us to do that. I guess it just all boils down to charity—the pure love of Christ. This is what I am trying to learn. It’s super hard. But it is something that I really need to work on. And with Christ, I can become more charitable. You know that one sister I have talked about that’s kinda super different? Well, when we were getting ready last night, she told me that she has no idea how I can handle a headache all the time and how she thinks I’m awesome. I kind of felt super guilty for feeling the way I did towards her when she told me that. God loves her just as much as He loves any of His other children, and I need to do the same, regardless if we’re so different. I just hope I can learn to see my brothers and sisters through God’s eyes. That is my goal right now. After the devotional, we heard from our district that one of our elders went home He was the last person I would  have thought would go home. He wanted to be here and always worked hard. I guess the night before, the elders were up till 3am telling scary stories. That Elder (probably unbeknownst to them) has some psychological issue and I guess those stories just flipped a switch for him and he couldn’t handle it. The elders like to stay up late talking, and every morning we tell them not to: rules are there for a reason, and what a shame that they didn’t follow this rule, as this elder went home. I just feel sick about it. I feel disappointed in our other elders that they didn’t stop the stories. I wish I could have. Sister Haycock and I just cried and prayed for Him. I wish I could do more. It is interesting when you are close to the spirit. I felt the teensiest bit of sorrow that God feels for Elder S. and I wept as He would weep. I felt that—something I don’t think I have felt before.  I can only imagine how sad God is. I can’t even imagine the sorrow and tears God weeps for ALL His children. I felt God’s great love for this Elder last night. The mood is just really somber. All of the elders haven’t spoken and haven’t even showed up for study time. I guess this sorrowful feeling is preparing me for the devastation and sorrow I will feel as my future investigators don’t keep commitments, or slip up in their addictions, or decide not to be baptized into Christ’s church. As much as serving a mission is super hard—mostly mentally and spiritually, I don’t want to be anywhere else. There are things I am learning that I don’t think I could have learned if I was at school. I am so grateful to be here and I am more than looking forward to teaching the people of the California Riverside Mission, starting tomorrow. I love you all very much. I pray for you daily. I can’t wait to talk to you tomorrow :) [Amanda was able to call us from the airport before leaving for Riverside.]
Love your daughter,
:)Sister Amanda Abby Chase
P.S. I also have learned and felt that there are so many angels among us. It has been neat to feel their presence. D&C 84: 88 [And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.]


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