Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flashback #26: Ch-Ch-Changes

Let me tell you friends, I love my mission, and my mission is not easy. You've probably heard me say that before, and you've probably heard a lot of other missionaries and returned missionaries say that before. It is the greatest thing ever. 
I've gotta admit, my mind has been on overload lately. I am going home next week. Monday night I felt a lot like this: 

Post from last fall 2011

I confess, I had a hard moment yesterday. As a missionary, you have a lot to remember, and I also had a lot on my mind, and then I was told something I didn't really want to hear.

I was frustrated. One of my favorite talks came to my mind about a currant bush. I was very much feeling like the currant bush, and I was sympathizing probably a little too much. Sometimes when we face a trial, we feel beaten down, neglected, like we're being punished, like we are worthless, but that's not true in the eyes of the Lord. 

I really felt miserable! With my mind going everywhere I also ran into the problem of not having a filter when I would say stuff. I really made myself look really silly, especially at dinner time. I went home that night asking myself, "What is wrong with me? Why can't I pull it together? Why can't I clear my mind?"

I still don't have the answers to everything. I sure as heck pretend like I do sometimes! Confidence can go a long way! That may be a slight character flaw of Sister Franson. I think that God doesn't give me all the answers to keep my humble. Strike that. I know that's why God doesn't give me all the answers. I still woke up this morning and I took some extra time to pray to ask Heavenly Father to help me clear my mind and to apologize and ask for forgiveness for my pride and personal flaws. I just really want to be a good missionary! It is a constant battle.

I then began pondering and quickly became so grateful for repentance and forgiveness, just the simple ability to move on. To me, that is the great message of the gospel- that we can CHANGE and one day we will changed ultimately to be perfected through Christ forever. (See Enos 1:27)

That's the great hope of the gospel to me. I am constantly messing up, constantly making myself look crazy, and constantly needing to repent. So, for my last week, I am still focusing on trying to change. I know that because of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I can change and that it is never too late. 

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." Moroni 10:32

These are the last words from the great prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon. I know that these are wise words to live by. So, my dear friends, I extend to you that same invitation: Change your life today. Come closer to Christ. Rid yourself of your burdens and your sins and your sorrows. He can help you to change. He will help each of us to one day be perfected and live with Him again. 

I sincerely hope that you all have an action-packed day!
Love, Sister Franson

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Flashback#25: "In the Details"

Today I want to talk about happy things! Just a quick update on Sister McKee- Thursday at 12 noon Tennessee Time (11am MST) we had a prayer for Sister McKee. My companion and I each prayed for a very long time. From what it looks like, we had many other wonderful Saints join us. We received an update that she did make some great improvement yesterday surrounded by her family! Please to feel free to visit President's updates with us here.

"The Lord is in the details of our lives," President Monson so lovingly said last October in General Conference. From the miracles and improvements we have seen in Sister McKee, I know that is true. I also know that from many other experiences on my mission, and this story is a portion of one of those.

Coming from the beginning of January 2012.

Let me tell you a little bit about my week!!

 Last Saturday night: I was surprised, very surprised, to find out that I would be moving from Clarksville, Tennessee, to serve in the Hopkinsville ward and Fort Campbell branch. I was expecting to be serving in Clarskville for a long time, but I suppose the Lord has other plans for me.
 Sunday and Monday: Regular missionary life in Clarskville /slash packing and getting ready to leave.
 Tuesday: One of the weirdest days ever. I decide to leave everything in Clarksville as opposed to taking it all to Franklin and back just to move 20 minutes away. A recent convert named Courtney was awesome enough to drive us down to Franklin for this whole proccess. We held transfer meeting, and old missionaries went home and new missionaries came in with bright eyes and fresh ties! (and skirts). I met up with Sister Warwood and a sister from the Fort Campbell branch and she took us out to lunch then we headed back home. We stopped in Clarksville to pick up all my stuff... and I still managed to leave some things there...
  That night we visited some people on post. I haven't met a single unkind person yet! Everyone is so welcoming and awesome to the missionaries! It is wonderful!
 Wednesday was great! We worked on the Hopkinsville ward. It was Wednesday night that I started realizing that I "knew" more people than I thought here! I had a missionary companion who had served in Hopkinsville/Fort Campbell area and she told me about how amazing the saints are here. She truly loves the people, and I am quickly seeing why!
 Thursday and Friday was back working on post, and it SNOWED!!! Holy cow it was cold! We weren't anticipating that. Thank goodness on Friday we bundled up a lot more! Saturday was more work in the Hopkinsville ward. We even attended a Catholic Mass- first time in my life! My goodness... it was different!

This is very much a middle portion of the story. One event that I know was divinely inspired started on my Sunday in Clarksville. I met a family that sat on a bench near the back row. They soon told me that they lived on Fort Campbell, and the very night before was the call that I received telling me that I would be transferred there. I set up an appointment with this family by faith, hoping and praying that it would work out in the new area I was assigned with a new companion.

My companion and I were very blessed to teach this family about the gospel. The mother was already baptized but had not attended church for a long time. As we continued to teach them, the Father and two sons old enough accepted the invitation to be baptized. Their twin girls just under a year old were blessed the Sunday following the baptism after the confirmations. This is a family that I have really grown to love so much. I continue to pray for this family and I think of them often. This family taught me so much and I believe that they were a gift to my life from God.

There were so many other miracles and blessings that took place in the area, and I learned powerful lessons from so many others that I met. Last Friday, just over a week ago, I discovered that lessons from that time are not over yet! It just so happens that Sister Tauoa has a cousin that lives in Clarksville. It so happens that her cousin's best friend lives on Fort Campbell. It so happens that I know both of these sisters and look up to them a lot! We received permission to go to lunch with them while they were in Franklin. We all had a wonderful time and I am grateful beyond words that I got to see both sisters and I know that Sister T. was as excited and happy as I was!

Dear friends, I don't think that coincidences are without consequence. I believe that they are more often blessings in disguise. Sometimes we call them tender mercies. We may not see them at the time, but God has a purpose for everything.

What are some tender mercies that you have seen in your life today?

Have an action-packed day!
Love, Sister Franson