Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dear Family! (8/31)

  Well again this week I find myself struggling for words as I try to explain this week. So much has happened and I have been so full of a range of different emotions that I don’t even know where to begin.
   Monday night we were doing our daily planning and our phone rang and it was Elder Hawkins. Sister Clarke answered it and put it on speaker but it kept messing up so she took it off speaker to try and hear better. I could hear Elder Hawkins talking on the other end but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Sister Clarke listened for a moment and then her face lit up and she seemed really excited. I thought at first that she was just messing with me because I was watching her so closely. She seemed to get more and more excited as she talked but I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. She then said “do we just wear missionary cloths? It’s not like we’ll be out digging holes.” And by then I was really confused. After she hung up she looked at me and said “You are going to be so excited! Guess what we get to do tomorrow! We get to go into the temple and clean the crystals from the chandeliers!” When she said this I was filled with so much excitement and joy that I almost cried. Those that know me well would know that this is sort of a dream come true. Basically what had happened is Elder Hawkins was talking to a member of the Temple Presidency and they were saying how they were short on staff to clean the chandelier and he wondered if Elder Hawkins could send some of the sisters up to help. Elder Hawkins called President Rudd who approved so Tuesday after district meeting we were able to go into the temple and help clean the chandelier. It was an experience that I will never forget. Even in the hurry to get the temple cleaned and ready to re-open, things were still so peaceful and relaxing. We dressed in old white temple dresses and were taken to a part in the temple where there was a big table and laid out all across this table was hundreds and hundreds of amazing crystals from one of the chandeliers. We then spent the next hour and a half picking up each crystal one by one and polishing every side and then laying them neatly on another table. This was a special time for Sister Clarke and me because as we polished the crystals we talked about our experiences the first time we went to the temple and it really helped us grow together as companions. As I was polishing a crystal I looked across the room and hanging on the back wall was the painting of Christ’s second coming where He is surrounded by angels and there is a desert landscape underneath (the one that used to be in the boys room) and as I was looking at this paining got this overwhelming feeling and the thought occurred to me that “Normally I go to the temple to feel the love from my Father in Heaven and my Savior but today I came to the temple to show my love for Them.” I then looked at all of the crystals that we were working on and I felt so happy that I could be offering such a small contribution to show my love for Them. It was a tender experience that caused me to ponder more on not only the love that I constantly feel from my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ but also the love that I have for Them. I realized that it is my love for Them that really brings me happiness in this life. Yes my family brings me more happiness compared to anything else, but because of the love I have for Heavenly Father, I am willing to do what I need to do to one day live with my family forever, and then because of the love that He has for me He is willing to help me get there. Everything wonderful in this life comes from God whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. However, it’s when we choose to acknowledge it that life becomes so much sweeter.  I don’t know if I am even making sense or not but I guess I realized this week the happiness I enjoy is not only because of the love that Heavenly Father has for me, but it also comes from the love that I have for my Heavenly Father and I only realized that because I was given the opportunity to clean His house. It was such a marvelous experience. After we had been polishing for a while the workers informed us that they needed to sand the walls in preparation for new wallpaper and they didn’t want the dust to settle on the crystals so we had to stop working and cover the crystals. Instead of leaving they told us that we could wash the chairs in the endowment room so we did and that was a rewarding experience as well. After we were done washing the seats we were allowed to go and sit in the Celestial Room for a bit. This was a special experience because I had a lot on my mind and I needed a bit of encouragement. The Spirit is funny sometimes because I feel like I get impressions sometimes that prepare me for the future. I had one such impression and it made me a little nervous and so sitting in the Celestial Room really helped me calm my nerves and feel the spirit. We weren't sure if we were going to have a temple trip anytime soon and so I felt so blessed to be able to just sit in the Celestial Room just in case I didn't get to go until I was finishing my mission.

  After we were finished in the Celestial Room we walked back down to the VC to have our weekly interview with Elder Hawkins and him and everyone else in the VC were acting really strange. The other sisters had gotten their transfer news and we had a missed call from our zone leaders. We called them back and I was really nervous. Sister Clarke talked to them and they asked if we had talked to president and we said that we hadn't and so they said that president would be calling and they didn't tell us anything else. As soon as I heard this I knew that my impression had been right all along. I always know it before it happens. So president called later that night to ask me to TRAIN ANOTHER MISSIONARY! I wasn't surprised because I have felt like I was training again and sure enough I was right. Sister Clarke was transferred to Tauganga and she was really sad to go but it was time. Can you believe this though? I will have only had one companion my whole mission (besides my trainer) that I didn't train. Everyone has assured me that I have the record for training the most missionaries because I am up to 7 now. Oh my goodness. You would think I would be used to it by now but I still feel as inadequate as ever and that is why I am so nervous. But I have faith that all will be well. My new companion's name is Sister Perry and she is from Canberra Australia. She is really nice and really sweet and she turned 20 a few days ago so my first companion ever that is younger than me. We are enjoying our time together so far and I am happy because training her will help me stay completely focused for the rest of my mission. I realized this week that I will barely finish her 12 training program right before I leave. This really put in perspective that I have barely anytime left. I felt it more this week than I ever have. I really will be home in no time and that makes me really sad. But being with Sister Perry helps me stay focused because I want to train her right and not make her homesick by me always talking about home. The funny thing is that she has no idea that I will be going home in two months. She asked me how long I have been out and I said "About a year now." and she said "Wow so you only have six months left?" and I said "Ya something like that." I want to keep it that way as long as I can so that we can just dedicate ourselves completely to the work. It should be a really great transfer and I am excited! And we found out that we have a temple trip next week too so I am really really excited for that!!!!!!

  Well that is all I have for this week! I hope all is well at home. Thank you all for your love and support!

Sister Simkins

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