Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dear Family! (7/20)

  Where to even begin? I am just filled with so much joy and happiness today that I don't even know if I can adequately put into words how I am feeling and what has been happening. This week has just been amazing and I don't even really know why. My attitude changed and my out look changed and things are just so wonderful now. I find it so interesting how the learning and growing process works. For the past I don't know how long I have been struggling with an understanding of the atonement and I didn't even know it. Isn't that weird? Like always I have been happy because serving a mission makes me happy but I have been hard on myself for things that are out of my control. I think subconsciously I have been doubting my worth as a missionary. I was struggling but it wasn't completely obvious to me that this was happening because I was still really happy with how things were going and the improvements I have made. During a personal study this week I read an article in the July 2014 ensign that I changed everything. Here is the link to the article because it really is remarkable: As I read this article I felt as if it was written just for Sister Simkins. I can't tell you how much it changed my perspective on things and helped me understand the reality of the atonement in every aspect of my life. After reading this I set some goals and I, throughout this week, have been able to let go of the unrealistic and unattainable expectations I had for myself and it has been one of the best things I have done on my mission. I can't begin to describe how much happier I am now, and here I thought I was happy before. The atonement is remarkable. I encourage all of you to read this article and see if there is anything in there that can help you as well. 

  As for the rest of the week it was full of more miracles! I think I have mentioned before the Thai family that we are teaching. This week miracle happened with them. There is something special about them and we know that as hard as it is to teach them we can't give up on them. So the Mom is speaks Thai but her native language is Burmese. She can understand and speak basic Thai but she can only read Burmese. The Dad can't speak Burmese, only Thai. The fourteen year old daughter speaks and reads Thai and Burmese and the whole family is learning English and so that is how we can communicate with them. Now we have been struggling to know how to help them progress because we couldn't figure out what they understood and what they didn't (The were taught by the elders before and were supposed to be baptized but they pulled out the night before). Sister Clarke and I went on splits and I visited the family with a lady from our ward and as I was talking to them and asking questions I opened up the Book of Mormon and showed them a picture of Jesus Christ and I asked "Who is Jesus Christ to you?" and the mom said "He is the Son of God. Our Savior" Then I asked "So who is God to you?" and she said "God is our Heavenly Father." I was really happy with this response due to their Buddhist background. I felt like we were finally getting somewhere and I prayed that I would be able to ask the right questions to figure out what was missing. I turned to the next picture which is on of Joseph Smith and I asked them if they knew who it was. They all shook their heads. I then said "Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he translated the Book of Mormon." When I said that the mom got really excited and she said "That's it! That I don't understand. What is prophet? What does prophet mean to Jesus?" I was so happy that she had figured out and that I had figured out what was holding them back. They don't understand prophets and the restoration. This whole time we thought they didn't understand Jesus Christ. There isn't a Book of Mormon in Burmese and so we tried to have the 14 year old daughter read to her mother in Thai but the mom doesn't understand enough Thai to understand the Book of Mormon. We didn't know what to do to fix this and we prayed for a solution. We also prayed for a solution on how to have her be able to understand the restoration. This is where the miracle comes in. Last week we spent a great deal of time at the VC on the computer looking for Burmese material to use but they barely had anything. There was a Burmese testimony of Joseph Smith and some relief society messages and that was about it. We were pretty disappointed and we kept praying for some guidance. One night the assistants were teaching a lesson at the VC and before they left I explained the situation and asked them for advice. One of the assistants said that he taught a Burmese woman using a Burmese bible and the testimony of Joseph Smith. Someone else started talking to him before I had a chance to ask more questions. The next day we got a call from the VC saying that this assistant had found the missionary pamphlets in BURMESE! He had dropped them off for us at the VC. I was so excited! These pamphlets are the exact same ones that we use to teach people in English and they are so simple and straight forward and now to have them in Burmese so that this woman can understand! I almost cried I was so happy. This is a miracle. Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers. I haven't had a chance to talk to the assistants again to ask them where they found the pamphlets but I am anxious to know because we could have never dreamed that they would exist. I just can't wait to see how this whole thing turns out because the hand of the Lord is prevalent throughout the whole thing. 

   Overall it has just been a remarkable week. We have met some really great people this week that have a lot of potential and I know that we are constantly being led by the Lord. I love being a missionary and I have such a strong testimony of this sacred work. I am just so happy! I am having the time of my life. Thank you for your love and support. I love and miss you so much! Have a great week!

Sister Simkins

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