Monday, July 7, 2014

"We Then That are Strong"

Dear family, 

This week I'd like to share with you something that I've realized recently. I've realized that I am resilient in the face of change and stress (well, at least more than the average person). And this isn't to say that I've been stressed lately, to the contrary, it's more of the fact that everyone around me seems to be while I'm doing just fine. 

Hermana Hildman can sometimes get homesick and discouraged, and the other people in the house are either frustrated, depressed, confused, or also homesick and discouraged... and all probably a bit overwhelmed with mission life. We had a house meeting the other day to try and open up some channels of communication, which to my observation, was a significant portion of the problem so it was a good thing... but I still felt out of place siting around the table with them and being the only that didn't really have to be there for personal reasons. 

This also isn't to say that I don't find the mission to be difficult at times. Of course it is. I'd be lying if I said I had never been frustrated or discouraged, but that's to be expected. It's part of the mission - it's also part of life - and I try not to let it weight me down or hold me back. And I've certainly never considered going home.

I suppose I adapt easily to change and, when needed, I've learned to adjust my thought patterns and find constructive solutions through a bit of introspection and cognitive reorganization (it's still a work in progress, though).I've never been the companion who needed comfort or encouragement always the one required to give it. Sometimes I feel as if I'm not very skilled at that though, so it’s probably something the Lord felt I needed to learn anyway.

In my last interview with President Nuckols I was talking to him about the situation with the other hermanas and he shared a scripture with me. Romans 15:1 reads: "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves." I'm trying to take it to heart: thinking of others' stresses as my own and putting them before myself.

It's great advice for mission companionships, but also for relationships in life in general. I could easily just observe the fact that those around me seem to be struggling, thank Heavenly Father that I'm not, and then keep moving forward - but that's not the Lord's way. How often have we heard that we must "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light... mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort?" 

My patriarchal blessing tells me that I have a "sacred duty to raise up those who are down in spirits and lift up those who need to be lifted up." Sometimes I wondered about that part because I've never considered myself very adept at giving comfort, but Romans 15:1 has helped bring that into focus for me. It is my duty as one of the strong to help those that are weak. As one who has, I must give to those who have not. That is the Lord's way: where much is given, much is required. And I have been given so much. So even if I'm not great at comforting people or openly expressing my love, I 

can still be that strong pillar needed to hold up the house, but more importantly, I know that I never have to rely completely on my own strength: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things." Alma 26:12

All my love, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen
Giant Mango

Kaitlin and Hermana Hildon

Zone conference July 4th


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