Monday, February 13, 2012

Life Lessons

Hi All,

Well, it's been an interesting week. I was thinking a week or so ago as I read Trent's letters that there are some interesting similarities and differences between the areas and people we work with. The biggest similarity is that like Trent, it is very easy to get in for a first lesson, or to have people agree to have us come back and teach us. What is tricky is getting things to stick. We've seen a lot of this over the past few weeks. Actually, I've seen it a lot in this area. I've found more new investigators here than any other place on my mission, but we've had a far harder time getting investigators to progress much. It's been an interesting new set of challenges, but that's okay. I'm learning new things, which is good.

I think I have officially reached the "super old" missionary stage. Over the last week, every single dinner appointment has asked me (and only me) how much time I have left. I asked Sister Harding if I have a sign taped to my back that says, "She's going home soon and doesn't want to talk about it, so be sure to ask!" Yeah. I remember before my mission how people would tell me that this would pass by so quickly, and I think I finally understand. It really does. There are really long and hard moments, but now as I look back, it's incredible to see how much I have done in this time. I've taken to reading my journal from the start of my mission, and it is so interesting to see how I've changed and grown in this work. I know I still have a lot more I want to try and learn in the next 2 months, but I also feel really good about my service and this time.

I think I've learned a lot about diligence and just sticking things out. Missions are not easy, but it's been cool to see how I can just hold to this and get up at 6:30 every morning and go exercise and do studies and then go out and ride a bike all over Phoenix (and sometimes all of it in 120 degrees). I've learned that sometimes you get placed in situations that maybe aren't the first choice, or with people who maybe wouldn't ordinarily be your friends, but that it doesn't matter, I can choose how I want to deal and what I want to do. I've learned that prayer really works. Sometimes it takes a really, really, really long time to get an answer, and sometimes it seems like the answer may never come, but especially as I was looking back at some events over the last year, I realized that the answers did come, but maybe I just needed a little more time to be able to see them from a different perspective.

In Preach My Gospel (the book missionaries study from like crazy) it has a chapter on Christlike Attributes. I certainly have a long way to go on all of them, but it has been interesting to look back and see how different events and circumstances of my mission have really been hand tailored by the Lord to give me the opportunity to develop and become more like the Savior. It's also been interesting to reflect back and see how different lessons I've learned from different companions and investigators have applied as I work with my current companion and investigators. I've learned a lot about patience. I think I came on a mission to learn to be patient. I don't know that I'd call it a stunning success, but I think I'm a good deal more patient with myself and with others than I was when I started.

I remember last October for General Conference, someone made the comment that not only should your mission be the best 2 years of your life, but it should be the best 2 years for your life. I really liked that. I think I can say that I have learned many lessons that I will treasure and take with me for the rest of my life. I've been blessed to work with so many great people and families, and to learn from them. I think in many cases these people have taught me a lot more than I was able to teach them. You learn a lot from people as you spend time serving them and getting to know them. I've been really blessed over my mission to work with some really incredible women. I was looking back, and I've taught mostly single moms, and let me tell you, they are amazing. I've learned a lot from them, and really look up to them.

Sorry this week wasn't much of one for a lot of exciting news, it's just that way sometimes. Thanks for the prayers and support. I love you all lots!


Hermana Okeson

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