Friday, May 18, 2018

Week 73 - A Reason for Hope

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, it's been a wonderful week here in South Carolina. We did have a couple things happen with some of our folks you might have read about in the past. Here's an update on a few.
N: She told us this week she has decided to remain Baptist for awhile. Which is sad, but also fine. We pretty much had figured. So we're going to slow down a little bit. We've started her on the addiction recovery program and that went WAY better than we expected. Also, she is NOT excited that I am leaving, although she expressed a great deal of love for Sister Ekberg this week. It was really great!
R: We went over to teach R, but didn't end up teaching her because we talked (signed) about ordering her a Book of Mormon and that she'd have to pay and then we were going to teach her but she said she had to eat because she has diabetes and her blood sugar was off. So... :|
K:  Right at the beginning of my time here, we went over and taught her the Restoration and she had really awesome questions like, "How do you know President Nelson is a prophet?" She called us yesterday morning in a panic because of a lot of personal stuff going on in her life, so we rushed to a different city to talk to her. One of our members called her on the phone and told her to come to church so she could get help. It was such a testimony builder to see the ward just reach out to this poor, sick, scared young lady and offer her dinner, a place to stay the night, babysitting for her kids, and a ride to and from church. It was beautiful. She had an awesome experience.
P: She was our Bible referral from awhile back. We went and delivered her a large print copy of the Bible so she could see the words, and she was so grateful. We just started talking about the things Jesus Christ taught in the Bible, and that led us to bring up what the "gospel" actually means: faith, repentance, baptism by water and fire, and enduring to the end. She was quiet for a second and then asked us a question. "So, say I got baptized five or six years ago, but a lot has happened between then and now. Do I need to be baptized again?" And that, my friends, is what we call a golden opportunity to explain the need for priesthood authority. Once she heard that, we asked her how she was feeling. She began to explain that she had been searching for the true church, and asking all her friends about their churches, and going to different services, and trying to find the one that was best for her. She said she felt like she had done all she could, and now the Lord was showing her the way by bringing the true church to her. SO THAT WAS AWESOME.

Something that's been on my mind as the airplane engines get louder is the necessity to stay true to the faith. I think it can be dangerously easy without the structure of a missionary routine to get out of the habit of doing the small things. I heard an interesting concept from my good friend Hank Smith (inspirational speaker) based on Alma 32 that since a testimony is like a tree, you can't lose it. Did I say that loud enough? YOU CAN'T JUST LOSE A TREE. You can't just go outside and be like, "Wait, where'd I put my tree? I swear I just had it here a minute ago..." That IS NOT A THING, OKAY??? You can't lose a testimony. 
But if your testimony tree is not rooted in personal experiences with Christ -- in a personal witness gained by life experience, earnest study of the scriptures, fervent prayer and a confirmation from the Holy Ghost -- it is easy to let your tree die. If you stop watering a young tree, or stop nourishing it with sunlight and food and what it needs to survive, if you lock it in a dark room so it never sees the light of day and most of all if you don't care about the tree, it will die. 
Just to conclude: You can't lose your testimony. Testimonies don't just pick up and leave. But you can let them die. Testimonies take work, and they take experience. But they're worth it. Because one day that tree will bring forth fruit. I can't even talk about how great being a missionary is without getting emotional. It's because as a missionary, my tree brought forth fruit. I can testify, from experience, that the taste of this fruit is so delicious that for the rest of my life I will be seeking more of that fruit. I'll be nourishing and caring for my tree so that it grows into a strong tree that is fruitful enough that I can share my experiences with Christ with other people.
And with experience comes a power that is undeniable. Always remember: a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an opinion. You might know a person or two with an opinion about your faith, but you have experiences, and so you do not have to be afraid of what they might think.
I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is absolutely true. I have prayed and asked and received a witness from the Holy Spirit that it is true, and that Jesus is the Christ. He really lives. I have learned for myself, independent of anyone else, that God is aware of the situations we need, uncomfortable though they may be for us. He is aware of the trials we face and the aid we require, and He has promised that He will not leave us comfortless. I know that He always comes through for us. We will experience hardship and darkness. But He sent His Son to be our example and our light. Please turn to Him and find eternal life.
I love y'all!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
-Sister Pew

Picture from exchanges

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Week 72-Two Baptisms

Man, life is so hard! But so good! I think I have literally felt every feeling on the whole spectrum of human emotions this week. 
The best news, and the most important, is the double baptism and confirmation this weekend of K and A.
K went first, and oh man oh man folks, if that wasn't the sweetest thing ever, I don't know what is. She was terrified. But she looked at me before entering the (freezing cold) font, and she had tears in her eyes, and I asked her, "you ready?" And she said, "I don't know." And then she turned and put her hand on the railing and walked down into the font. With her husband. In that moment I saw that she was willing to sacrifice her personal comfort in the hope that she could be an eternal family one day. It was beautiful to watch her face her fears and decide that the love of God and her husband were more important than it. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. I witnessed freakin' poetry okay. It was awesome. She stayed for A's baptism and when one of the elders' investigators showed up she just immediately went over and talked to her and welcomed her in. She is the best human.
And then A's baptism was the most happy time. Imagine you get to watch two of your best friends meet Jesus in one day. That's what it was like, people. A just glowed. We asked him how he felt after and he was like, "I feel awesome." Also, we gave him a tie we made and he was so impressed that we knew how to make ties. Yesterday in his confirmation blessing the Bishop blessed him with the desire to serve a mission. And he bore his testimony about his conversion in Sunday school. It was beautiful. I freaking love it. Ah, happy happy happy!
Something that's cool about both of these baptisms is that they are MEMBER REFERRALS. I feel so blessed that I can be here at this time to see this happen. Eternal families were created. A future missionary was made. And it's all thanks to the sweet members here in Summerville. Bless them. 
We had a great lesson with N this week. We made a lot of strides in our personal relationship with each other which was a blessing. It's awesome.
I just wanted to share something that I've been thinking about and then let you get back to ya lives.
The times when I have been happiest on my mission have been times when I wasn't focused on myself. I was focused on other people and serving and helping them. President Monson said, "Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish -- and in effect save their lives." Jesus said something really similar: "Whosoever shall save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25) I know that as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we will be much, much much much much much much happier. I have felt lots of burdens lifted as I have tried to do this. I'm not perfect at it, but that's why we have a Savior who can help us to become the ways we know we should be.
I love you all! I am so happy to be a missionary. This week it has been made very clear to me just how lucky I am to be a full-time servant of God. It has been really hard, but it has been really, really, really wonderful. Like, so wonderful it's worth every hard time. I promise it always is.
Don't let the muggles get you down!

Sister Pew

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Week 71 - Like a Phoenix Rising From the Ashes

I had a very interesting week this week. Updates on people really fast, and then I'll tell you a cool epiphany.
N! We didn't see her at all this week. She is still struggling to feel peace about not being baptized. She is having a really hard time, so please pray for her.
K! She has her baptismal interview tonight. She graduated from pharmacy school and they announced that in Relief Society and everyone clapped and I think she was embarrassed but also touched. She is excited to be involved in the ministering efforts for Relief Society. She is the best.
A! He's doing so good, it's unreal. We had 2 lessons with him and in one of them we asked him what he thought the purpose of the temple is, and he was like, "well, it connects us to our Father in Heaven." Exact words. Where did we find this kid?! He also has his interview tonight.
So we're double DUNKING next Saturday. *firework noises*
Our companionship! We are on literal fire. We set the goal to hand out 70 Books of Mormon in the next 5 weeks! Hoorah. Also we've been biking around because it's actually really good for talking to people. Hard to do that in a car without looking like FBI agents.... 😊
This week I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with a sister who was struggling with mental health issues, specifically anxiety. It was an interesting day - our usual missionary activities were somewhat disrupted by the demons in her mind. She was pretty drained and depleted, just due to trying to fight those internal battles and not really knowing how to manage her feelings and also be a missionary and worry about others and help them to come closer to Christ. She confided in me for over 3 hours about how hopeless she felt her life had become.
I had an experience before my mission where I was having some really hard days as far as anxiety goes. I remember writing in my journal to myself, "Keep going! You are experiencing this so that one day you can look someone in the eye and say, 'it gets better'."
It was a tender moment when I was able to bear her my sure witness to this sweet sister that it was He who lifted me from where I was to where I am now. I was able to see in hindsight one of the reasons I had to feel the pain I felt. It was sort of cool, like looking across time to a little sister version of myself and smiling. I had no idea then how happy I would one day be.
This sister has decided to go home and I was privileged to be able to be there when she received her answer that that is what she needed to do. It was a revelatory experience for her, and due to the personal nature of it, I'll spare you the details of what she was dealing with and how her answer came. I saw a familiar peace enter her countenance though. I have great hope that she will one day feel the way I feel, and this really hard step is the first in getting the help she needs.
I know I talk about this stuff a lot, but the Lord has just uniquely placed me at this time to be able to see the blessings in my trials. And im just also sort of blown away by the sheer power of the Savior. For a brief moment I wasn't sure if I'd ever be the person I wanted to be. My hope levels were low. But I no longer feel that I am walking in the dark. Of course there are moments of shadow, but the Light of the World so permeates my daily experiences that I sometimes forget how dark it was back then! He restores us to hope, and that is the most awesome thing ever. I'm not gonna lie and tell you that my life is roses all the time, because it certainly is not. But I have so much hope! Because there are certain things that cannot change. One of those is the Savior's grace. Another one of those is my own divine nature. And finally, the love of God. No matter what happens to me, those are all facts of life.
So just know you are a child of God. He loves you. The Savior suffered for you and He can help you become better. These things are the reason I experience true happiness and joy.
I love you!
Don't let the muggles get you down! 
All my love,

Sister Pew

This elder was in the first Face2Face with youth asking the questions--Sister Pew was in the 2nd Face2Face which was with the Piano Guys

Matching dresses!

Beautiful South Carolina

She got to stop by the temple

Sister Pew and Sister Ekberg



Rainy and the temple behind them

More biking

Last MLC--Silly picture

Another silly one

MLC Mission Leadership Conference-Sister Pew middle back
She said it was a great conference! Even though she is sad it was her last

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Week 70-Golden as a South Carolina Sunset

Hey all y'all, it is one rainy day in Summerville!
Today I do my last drive to Columbia before the final drive to Columbia. *Nervous laugh*
Kay, so a lot of really cool stuff happened this week.
We went on exchanges with the Hermanas!! I stayed in Summerville with Hermana Davis which was really great, got to hear about R and J the fabled recent converts who have returned from ...Mexico??? I think??? Aaand I was pretty sad that I wasn't going to the hermanas' area this time because I LOVE BEING A HERMANA. But we still ended up speaking Spanish cause this random other guy named J called us the day before and told us to come see him. We found out he's a member of the church so Hermana Davis was able to give him the address and time for the Spanish group here in Charleston and also for English class! So that was a really awesome tender mercy. God's timing is REAL folks. I think that's the message I've been receiving this week in general.
We taught R (the deaf lady) and it was really good. She was not extremely happy that we wanted to switch her over to a closer ward. The zone leaders are attempting to learn ASL so they can start teaching her. So far they're not very good, but it's only been like 3 days. So it'll probably be fine in a little bit. ;) We taught R a little bit of the Plan of Salvation and she seemed to really like it. I decided to just go for it and asked R if she wanted to be baptized. And she said yes! But after learning more. *shrugs* Not a bad response.
We put K on date to be baptized this May 4th. We also made some very clever Star Wars puns about it. It was great. She's so great. We had a little moment this week. I was talking about my stress (because she's K and we're best friends) and she just stopped me and said, "Nothing you can say or do will stop what's supposed to happen. God's will is God's will and He will always be in control." And it was really comforting to me. She's the best.
A is doing really well. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of Wisdom (which is hilarious because he works at a coffee shop. He hasn't been drinking it since like two weeks ago! Go A!) and the Law of Chastity. And he moved his baptism up like 3 weeks so now he's getting baptized the fifth of May. So we have 2 baptisms in 2 days🙌🙌🙌 Also, his girlfriend E went through the temple this week, and HE WENT TO THE TEMPLE AND SAT IN THE WAITING ROOM THE WHOLE TIME. And also he purchased a book called "Your Endowment" from Deseret Book and read it while she was in there. And then proceeded to teach us, from said book, how revelation has to be received line upon line and why. In conclusion, Anthony needs to serve a mission and E needs to go on her mission so she can come home and wait for him so they can get married and have a cute little family and come live at BYU with me and we can all be best friends forever.
N is also good, although she isn't back on date. She's just scared she's going to "mess it up" again. However, we did set some small goals with her, like reading from the scriptures every day. 
I received a very interesting package on Thursday. Inside was enclosed a stuffed animal creature called a "Squishmallow". It is very soft, very squishy, very purple, and has a unicorn horn. I'm pretty sure my mom sent it to me by accident, and that is hilarious. Heck, even if she did it on purpose, that's still hilarious. I'm keeping it forever. Suggestions for names for this creature would be appreciated. I took it to N's lesson on Friday night to show her and she thought I had lost my mind. It was wonderful.
This week something I have been thinking about really stuck with me, and I'm going to take this time to share it. 
There is this theory that a man named Hyrum Smith talked about in a talk called Self-Worth. The idea is that each human being has 4 basic needs: to survive, to feel important, to love and be loved, and variety. We will behave in a way that we believe will meet our needs. The idea is that incorrect behavior is not a stand-alone event; it is, in fact, largely the bi-product of an incorrect principle that one believes. A lot of times we look at repentance like a change of behavior -- however, to change your behavior isn't the point of repentance, it's to change your heart. It's to change your belief so that your behavior will at all times meet your needs over time. So if you want to change something about yourself, maybe a bad habit or a weakness, take a look at the beliefs that fuel your behavior and determine which of those beliefs is incorrect. Then work at changing the belief and watch your behavior follow naturally. It's especially powerful in examining your self-image. If you believe your self-worth is linked to anything but your divine nature and your relationship with the Savior, you have a bad principle, and your behavior will never meet your needs, no matter how good it is.
And that is all.
Don't let the muggles get you down!

Sister Pew
Flowers that a Senior Couple missionaries gave to Sister Pew on the day of her Grandpa's funeral

Week 69-#Because of Him

Dear friends and family,
This has been an eventful week for shizzle.
Firstly, N did not get baptized on Saturday due to word of wisdom issues she is now experiencing due to the stress of her new job. The good news is, she should be quitting that job so she won't be so stressed. She is doing alright, just disappointed in herself. So extra prayers for her would be much appreciated.
Secondly, MADISON LEE HAMILTON is now your newest RM and arrived home safe and sound, bless her heart. I am forever grateful for her good thoughts, her humor, and her commitment to the Lord. 
Thirdly, I got my new companion! Her name is Sister Ekberg, and she is 5'10"! We were all a little nervous because N said she didn't know how she felt about having a new sister missionary, but she LOVES Sister Ekberg. It cracks her up that I'm so short and she's so tall:) She's like, "She can be your bodyguard!" It was funny.
Fourthly, literally everyone we've been working with in recent times is like, "Hey I want to be baptized." Remember K last week? Well, this week, Sister Ekberg had been here for literally 4 hours and we got a call from Sister B informing us that A had called and told her that he wanted to get baptized. I don't know what's in the water here. Just kidding, I do know what's in the water. THEY are in the water. But I don't know why this is happening. But I am super glad it is. This week we had 2 separate talks, one with A, one with K, that were basically like, " want to get baptized?" K was like, "Yeah, God told me to and I'm really not that sure why but I'll do it because I love God." She talked about how her faith in Church-specific things is not particularly strong, but she is willing to do what she is asked to do. It's going to be cool when she starts to see the changes that come when you do what the Lord wants you to do!
Anthony's lesson went really well. E (his member girlfriend) invited her best friend and her boyfriend to the lesson/birthday dinner for A and that was good. She was not super interested, but HE really was feeling the Spirit and didn't want to leave even though they had to leave early. Because he recognized the truth, people. We basically asked A why he wants to be baptized and he said that he has begun to see all the pieces coming together in his life not as mere coincidences, but as the hand of God. He loves praying and receiving answers to prayers. We told him he needs to attend church the rest of his life and he was like, "yeah, I know. Pretty excited to go to church back home in Chicago." And he's totally going to BYU for graduate school!!! So we can be homies 4 lyfe!! So we put him on date for May 25th and he is pumped. And so are we.
Lastly, I got a phone call from my dear mission president this Thursday that my Grandpa Pew passed away sort of unexpectedly. I say sort of because he was pretty old so it wasn't like a HUGE surprise. It was kind of a nutso day so I didn't have time to super process it. I did get to call my parents and talk to them about it, and also I got a blessing from one of the elders.
He was and is a very good man. He was smart. He raised 8 good kids. He didn't like it when you left the door open, but he always liked to hear you sing, to tickle you, or to tease you. He served -- in the Air Force, as a father, in the church. He was at every play, every priesthood ordination, and every family party. He was quick to ask for blessings.
When my mission president called me and told me the news, I was surprised and sad. But this whole time I have been really kind of surprised with how good I feel. How much peace I have. And how much hope as well. At least from me, there was no bargaining, no depression, and no anger. I have learned that I am not to instruct God on His obligations to me or to any of His children. I simply feel that he has gone beyond the fluttering curtain of death. It's a very thin curtain, and I'm standing far away so that I cannot touch it, to pull it back, to see him. But the outline of him, even from this distance, is pretty clear. At this distance it is hard to focus on him, but the longer I look, the clearer he is. I know he is there, and he hasn't gone far. And I'm sure, because I've felt it, that he is closer than I think he is.
My mission teaches me a new thing every day, but one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned is this: "Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me." (D&C 19:27) My knowledge of the Savior, and my ability to recognize His words, has increased dramatically. And I have found peace. Life will be hard; there are going to be joys and sadnesses, pain and relief. But no matter your circumstance, no matter your lot, the more you understand the Savior, the more you follow Him, you will be gifted with peace. 
I feel as though my relationship with God and with Christ is so limited and it's frustrating. My spirit feels the separation keenly - I often talk about "heavenly homesickness", which is just my mortal understanding of the desire my eternal being has to draw nearer to the Savior.
But even though I know my relationship with Heavenly Father needs deepening and strengthening, I feel incredibly blessed to be the recipient of peace. That peace is because I know my Redeemer lives. I know that the sting of death can be relieved by Him. I know that death is not the end; I know that somewhere my grandpa lives on, serves on, and blesses on. I know that he will be with me as I try to do the Lord's work. I am not worried about him.
Everyone, please: come to know your Savior. It is the only thing that can help us through the storms of life.
I love you all! It may be hard, but it's also super duper worth it. I don't just say that to say it. It's true.
Don't let the muggles get you down!
-Sister Pew

with Sister Hamilton and someone they are teaching and their friends

Sister Hamilton & Sister Innes

Preparation Day

3 missionaries who are going home- their "funeral" 

New companion and exchanges

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 68 - Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles!

Wow, folks, this has been a great/crazy/emotional week for this companionship of sister missionaries.
Let it first be said that my adorable companion goes home this Thursday. I LOVE HER. She has been exactly what I needed to transition into this area and responsibility. She has kept me laughing and gets me through the tough days. She is the greatest and I am really grateful she decided to serve a mission so we can watch Harry Potter movies together until the end of time :) <3
Let it next be said that I am now entering the last transfer of my mission. These next seven weeks are going to be excellent. I've already decided that I'm going to leave my mission feeling like I really finished. 
In other news, we had zone p-day this last Monday. The majority of the day was spent either playing soccer or Ultimate. My brothers will be proud to know that I was a part of the reigning champ team for Ultimate. It was great and I looked like a tomato afterward, 1/2 sunburnt and 1/2 it was HOT and HUMID and I have the skin of a redhead. I will send pictures.
The majority of the excitement this week came from prepping dear sweet N for her baptism. She is hilarious. The bummer is, she's getting baptized the day after Sister Hamilton goes home. So that is really hard. But it's all going to be good. Our lessons with her this week have had many tears involved, both on the part of N and Sister Hamilton. It's seriously the worst, they can barely look at each other without crying. But it's all planned, and the interview is scheduled, and it's great.
I went on exchanges with Hermana Bechtold and it was wonderful!!! I got to go teach R and E and attempt to speak Spanish to them. Also I prayed in Spanish like 45,000 times and I AM BAD AT IT. HAHAHAHAHAHA. But the Lord appreciates my meager efforts. I'm really sad I never got to serve in a "zebra" companionship. (Zebra means one hermana with one English sister.) That would have been the dream.
We had interviews with President Innes, and he told me all the transfer news :):):) So I know a lot of things about who's coming to Charleston! And I know who my companion will be! Ahahahahahahahahaha. But I'm not telling, because he told me not to. And President is the greatest.
We also had a great opportunity this weekend to be involved in a stake-wide Mini MTC for the priests and laurels. And let me just say, if the future of missionary service is dependent upon the Charleston priests and laurels, I'm not even worried. They were all rockstars. We got to give a training on the schedule, the zone leaders and the assistants taught about the safeguards for using technology and the doctrine of Christ, Sister Innes used my words to talk about preparing to go to the temple, and we were able to teach the youth how to teach the Restoration using a pamphlet and then they got to teach us! They killed it. I'm serious, I was so impressed with their faith and testimony and how many of them are just so excited to go on missions. It was such a positive experience.
And finally, the reason for my subject line.
We've been teaching K ever since I got here. She is super great. She is really really smart. And she has a lot - and I mean a lot - of doubts. We felt like we had just been hitting a wall trying to make her see what we mean and trying to harass her into feeling the Spirit. Which, as you are probably aware, doesn't do a flippin' thing. We just really felt like she wasn't open to the progress she could have been experiencing. It was difficult for everyone involved. 
Our most recent lesson we just took a step back and taught her about receiving revelation, using the video from Elder Bednar called "Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation". We talked afterward and decided we probably ought to just drop her.
The next day she was at church, just like every Sunday. And it was also Sister Hamilton's last Sunday. Also testimony meeting! So naturally, Sister Hamilton bore her testimony. It was great because she is great. We were both kind of emotional (duh) the whole rest of the day. 
Fast forward to Relief Society. Sister Hamilton and I were sitting by each other, K on my side, N on hers. Immediately after the meeting Sister Hamilton and N began a conversation, and I turned to K to maybe talk to her before she headed out. She had an odd look in her eyes, but before I could ask her if she was okay, she took a deep breath and said, "I wanna talk about baptism."
Me on the outside: "Okay. What about baptism?"
Her: "I want to talk about getting baptized."
Me: "Okay. Why?"
Her: "Sister Hamilton's testimony really impacted me. I really felt the Spirit and it's stayed with me ever since. And I had to tell you right now or else I just would have put it off."
Me: "...Well, follow the Spirit, K."
Her: "I'm trying." *smiles*
So, probably that was the coolest thing ever. I'm still not sure it wasn't a dream. Ah, man, it was awesome. MANY PRAYERS FOR K PLEASE. I STILL DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON IN HER HEAD BUT I DO KNOW SHE NEEDS PRAYERS BECAUSE SHE IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK AND SATAN LOVES TO RUIN THAT. Thank you.
Anyways, God answers prayers, God softens hearts. God knows your name.
I love y'all!
Don't let the muggles get you down!
Sister Pew

On exchanges

Friday, April 6, 2018

Week 67 - Let Us All Press On

Dear folks,
What a journey this week has been.
I want you to imagine for a minute that you are a young, 20-year-old, short, blond sister missionary who probably cares a little too much (if that is even possible) about the people that she visits and associates with. That is a strong point of mine, I feel. And I'm a little tiny bit proud of it.
And now, with that knowledge, please imagine that you go to a lesson prepared to listen and what you hear from your dear investigator is that she doesn't feel like you care. She feels disrespected and disregarded. By you, specifically. Not your companion, just you. And imagine, also, that the whole day you have been struggling to stay sane because you are under an incredible amount of stress caused primarily by the fact that you haven't slept a reasonable amount in a whole week. So then this criticism (which, though it was definitely deserved and valid, was not delivered with any tact or grace whatsoever) cuts you to the very center. You cry. Hard. Like, makeup running down your face, excuse-me-I-need-to-use-the-restroom, sobbing so you can't breathe hard. Resources you normally use to correct the problem have depleted because you are so exhausted and worn down. So you sit on the bathroom floor in a house that isn't yours and you cry your heart out and it feels like the end of the world. A million thoughts run through your mind. "Why am I even here?" is probably the loudest one. 
(I know, I know. It sounds silly that something so small could have so great an effect, and I know that, but Satan uses any weakness that he knows we have, and one of mine is anxiety, which gives me a fair bit of tunnel vision when it comes to hard experiences. I have never been great at taking criticism, let alone pretty insulting criticism, no matter how much I deserve it. It feels like the end of the world to me. It might be a pride issue, and I'm working on that. And, it really is affected by the way I take care of my body. If I'm not sleeping, my emotional responses get really irrational.)
Eventually the tears slow enough to clean off the mascara lines, and you stand up to face the future with a pretty much dead heart. Words are exchanged, things are said that help mend the relationship, but you are still broken and hurt. What is the purpose of me, you think, if I can't help the people around me to feel loved?
That night in your prayers you might be tempted to be angry. Given the incredibly transcendent and beautiful spiritual experiences of the week before, you might be wondering why, when you have thrown your heart and soul into this and your other relationships and the experiences of your mission, you are now experiencing so much pain and heartache. 
Not this sister missionary.
Maybe for a split second, I did wonder why, but I quickly remembered the reason. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a concept I taught to that very investigator touched down. Satan tries in direct connection to the effort you put forth. If you are on the right track, there will always be opposition. It WILL be hard. And the closer you get, the more powerful the opposition will become. Satan does not want you to reach the heights God has prepared for you. So just hold on.
I still had pain in my heart. I don't want you to think that when I thought of that, all the sadness I felt just went away. There was still exhaustion; there was still a lot of self-doubt and maybe even just a little bit of anguish. I did not immediately find a solution to the pain. It's not reasonable to assume you always will.
But I did know something else. The next day was General Conference. "Ask, and ye shall receive," I thought, somewhat sarcastically, somewhat hopefully. And so I asked God that night to simply help me feel of His love as I watched.
The solemn assembly was the first instance in which I could feel the Lord touching my life. Standing as a woman of the Relief Society and offering my sustaining hand reminded me of my purpose - to serve. Even if that service is rejected, and even if I don't do it the way I should every time, and even when I mess up and make a muddle of things, if I focus on others and on the Lord, my focus is on the right thing. And then when I stood with the worldwide member of the Church to witness before God and my companion that I knew President Nelson to be a prophet, the Lord noticed me. I can't describe the feeling in any other way but that. I saw the Conference Center full of saints and felt a part of them. And it was almost like God was saying to me, "I see you. I see that you're trying. And I'm so proud."
And then the next talk was by Elder Taylor, who beautifully spoke about our divine identities. The clear message from the Lord was, "you belong to me. You may be imperfect, and others may judge you, but I know you, I created you, and I love you, even when you fall and especially when you get up and keep trying." The Lord reminded me who I was in a dark chapel and that feeling is a feeling I can never deny or forget.
And then Sunday? Forget about it. It was just the greatest. To have a prophet of the Lord speak to us on Easter Sunday, the day directly analogous to the day the Resurrected Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene and conquered all the consequences of the fall of Adam, was a huge blessing. I felt all day that the green of the earth was rejoicing with my heart, singing "He is risen! He is risen!" These sacred experiences are worth every trial, every heartache, every anxious moment, every sacrifice I have to make.
This life-changing Easter week has been so wonderful. The heavens were opened for me. I felt God's constant care and His strength supporting me. And the insane spurts of personal revelation were smattered with appearances from my DAD (singing in the Tabernacle Choir)!!! So that was really cool. I still flip out every time they show him. It's really fun. 
So basically, even though I am a crazy person, and even though I experience irrational thoughts, and even though I am never as kind or as Christlike as I need to be, the Lord knows my heart. He sees how hard I try. He knows the things that I am weakest in, and He sent His Son to overcome those things for me so that I can access that strength and act. 
I know that to be true. This is my absolute testimony to you: that God loves us all. That He so loved us that He sent His Son. And that by Him, we can be saved through the grace of Christ. 
So if you are struggling for breath as you tread these troubled waters of life, please reach out to the Savior. Remember He can walk these oceans you're toiling over. Remember that He will never leave you comfortless, but as often as you call He will send strength to help you overcome. You may not immediately feel better, but you will make it. And you will be better because of it. This I know for certain.
I love you all.
Don't let those muggles get you down.
-Sister Pew