We had zone conference in Ljubljana this weekend.. my favorite part was at the end of the conference, President Grant got up and said that he felt prompted that we should read John 14 together. The very first verse really hit me.. "Let your heart be not troubled, but believe in God." Sometimes it is easy to loose our focus, feel discouraged and forget our potential.. it is easy to have troubled hearts. But as it continues on in the chapter, "I will not leave you comfortless.. I will come to you." How grateful I am for that knowledge. God is always waiting for open arms, for us to turn to him.
After the conference, we still didn't have a train for a few hours, and I found out one of the investigators from Ljubljana who Sister Redding and I first started teaching, was coming to the church for a lesson. The Ljubljana sisters asked for us to join in and help. It was so great to talk with her again and to see how she is progressing.. slowly, but surely. She opened up with us and shared how she is really struggling with something right now. As we listened, and continued trying to teach her, I felt the strongest prompting to share with her a personal struggle I have had on my mission. I told her, I did not know why I needed to share this, but that the spirit was telling me to. As I started, tears filled my eyes as I literally felt my Savior by my side saying, "Katie.. this is why. You overcame this struggle, so that you can testify to her right now. This is why." She was very touched and we were able to relate in a way and she received new insight on what she needs to do. Sister Higgins also shared a strong testimony - she is so great at testifying - about how when we first come to feel how great our Heavenly Father's love is for us, we will be able to find greater love for people around us.
As we were sitting on our train late that night, I kept pondering what had just happened. I know that God gives us trials and struggles because he has a greater plan. He knows us.. and he knows exactly what we need. And that specific struggle that I shared with her, was something that not only I have seen growth and change in myself because of it, but I also saw exactly how I could be an instrument in God's hand, to help one of his daughters.. because of what I went through. It reiterated the fact to me, that God's plan is perfect. And it is because he LOVES us. If only we could all be better at recognizing the growth and refinement in the middle of the hard-times, instead of after - it is something we must all strive to do.
It is funny because I remember giving my farewell talk about charity and thinking I knew a lot about it before I came on my mission.. but I am learning now that I don't know if we will ever be able to completely comprehend how great our Savior's love us, while on this earth. But I am grateful that I can continue to grow and discover more about one of the greatest needs on this earth, Christ-like love. As Elder Uchtdorf once said, "though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, he loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. God's love is simply always there." I know that is true, and add my simple testimony that he loves us, more than we can comprehend. I love telling people that everyday, because it helps me come to understand and feel the love that God has a little bit better.
I am happy, growing, and changing.. And very grateful. I love this gospel with all my heart, and I will forever be grateful for this time that I get to serve and teach the people here in Slovenia, who I love with all my heart... about something that I know gives us the MOST joys, happiness, and comfort in this life.
Have a good week - ALL IS WELL.
LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU - Sestra Nydegger