Monday, June 30, 2014

The Field is White (Despite the Drought)

Dear family, 

This week there wasn't a lot of significant events I feel like - but it was a good week, don't get me wrong. We have been working hard and are beginning to see some of the fruits of our labors. We had 5 investigators and 9 less actives in church yesterday, which is definitely an improvement from when I arrived here in Ocoa (although Esterlin wasn't there, so his fecha fell and we haven't been able to find him). 

I feel like I always get sent to areas where the work is going through a dry spell. I opened my first 2 areas in Azua, so we were basically starting from the ground up there and understandably it took a while to get things going. When I arrived in La Venta they didn't have many investigators because they'd all been baptized, which is great, but it still meant that we had a lot of work to do. Now I'm going through practically the same thing here in Ocoa, but we're definitely making progress. 

Sometimes when I was still a newer missionary I used to think that perhaps all these dry spells meant that I was doing something wrong, but the more I've matured as a missionary and the more I've prayed and pondered about it, I know that's not true. I've learned that sometimes all your hard work isn't reflected in your numbers, but that doesn't mean you're not working hard - you know it and God knows it.

I think that I've been sent to all these dry spells for a reason. I've always been focused on tangible results and numerical outcomes (if my academic history says anything about me), but I think that I needed to learn to see past the quantifiable results of our efforts and remain positive and motivated regardless of what the outcome appears to be on paper. Sometimes it's easier said than internalized, but I suppose that's true of many of the lessons the Lord sees fit to teach us: they can't be learned in a single day, but with continuous effort over time we gain greater understanding. 

Hermana Hildman is still working on learning this and can sometimes become easily discouraged, and as a result, homesick. But she'll be all right. I would diagnose it as an average case of "beginning of the mission blues":  when you're called to sow the seeds rather than reap the harvest and the months (or years) of work that lies ahead of you seem to stretch out beyond the viewable horizon. I'd be lying if I said that I couldn't relate, and maybe that's also why I'm here: to help her learn the lesson I feel as if I'm still learning, or perhaps to learn it with her. 

Whatever the case is though, I know that we're both here at this time for a reason. I know that if seeds are never sown the field will never be white for the harvest, and just as importantly, I've learned that sometimes the field is white just over the horizon, but we'll never see it unless we keep pressing forward with faith. 

Interesting things that happened this week: 

- The avocadoes outside our window are finally ripe so we were able to pick some! We used a coat hanger to hook the branches and pull them toward us. It worked marvelously and we ended up with an armful of aguacates!

- I realized that I actually prefer bucket showers now ever since I decided to start warming the water up on the stove. 

- Did you know I've been keeping a dream journal? I'm using that little notebook you bought me in London and I've written down EVERY dream I've had since the beginning of this year.

All my love, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen
Picking avocados from bedroom window

Picking more avocados

Sister Hildman

The Field is White

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