I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is true, it is all true. I have been so blessed on my mission to meet so many incredible people who are changing my life, and to have experiences that I will never forget. I know the Lord is mindful of me and my weaknesses, strengths, and desires. He is helping me so much! I've got to keep learning to put my trust in Him, ALWAYS.
This week has been another week just full of miracles. The Lord is blessing us so so much! Hermana Miller is so amazing! Wow, I am so lucky to be her companion. She rocks. She really is teaching me so much and we are working so so hard together. With us, there are no excuses...we know that the work of the Lord needs to be done and we are doing all that we can to do it!! That is actually something that hit me even harder this week. There really are NO excuses. I am faaaaar from perfect, and I was humbled this week big time when I was letting those dumb negative thoughts and complaints enter my mind. Here's the story.
We met a man on the side of the street in some apartment complexes that was selling fruit. We started talking to him and shared our purpose as missionaries and began talking about the Book of Mormon. He had some customers come up to buy fruit, so we gave him the Restoration folleto and told him we would come talk to him again the next time he was there. So, two days later he was there again! He told us he had been reading in the folleto, but doesn't read super well--he is a self-taught reader--but he understood a lot of it. We began to teach him the message of the Restoration, our unique message to the world. He kept going off subject on random tangents, there were flies and mosquitos all over, it was super hot and there was sweat dripping off of my face, we were standing and my feet hurt, I was tired, blah blah blah. Pretty much all the complaints in the world, right? I would try to say something and couldn't and I was beginning to get frustrated. I knew I was getting frustrated and I knew that I shouldn't be, so that frustrated me even more! I knew that with the way I was thinking at that moment, the Spirit couldn't work through me, so I tried to shake it off and said a prayer in my heart to help me focus on the message rather than all of the annoyances that were surrounding me. Then something came into my mind. Last week I was talking to Jake and asked if he had any advice for me of how to take advantage of the time I have left, or if there was anything he wishes that he had done better. All the words that he wrote came running through my mind and I thought..."Wow, what am I doing? Listen. Listen with love. This man is a child of God." This is what he said to me last week,
"If I had to give you any advice about how to take advantage of the time you have left, I would suggest strive every day to make your mission about "them"--the people you serve. Be totally and utterly absorbed in listening to what they have to say. That being said, I totally know how frustrating it can be at times when people just go on and on, and there's definitely a balance between just listening to people and being proactive in leading a discussion and teaching--there are definitely times when you need to take the reins and direct the lesson how you and your companion had planned. I think what I'm trying to say though is that I look back at my mission at times and wish I would have paid less attention to making sure every lesson went exactly as planned and paid more attention to people's concerns, struggles, difficulties, etc.
One other thing (which I may have told you before): I think the thing that has made the biggest difference in my life was learning how to see Christ in other people. Read the words of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". It's awesome. The person narrating the words talks about how he was able to see Christ in a poor beggar ("I saw something in his eye, that won my love I knew not why"). When I started trying to see Christ in the people I met, it became so much easier to listen to them and show my interest in their potential as members of the Church. If Christ is a perfect example and a perfect person, isn't this all just a way of seeing the potential in other people? It's not always easy, and often times you have to really search for the Christ-like attributes in some people (especially when it's 110* F and the humidity is off the charts haha), but I haven't found a better way to change my outlook and perspective on the people I meet."
You can see how perfect that advice was for me at that moment, huh? So thank you Jake! As that came to my mind, all those frustrations disappeared, and I listened with love. And you know what? Something amazing happened. Something clicked for him. He realized that we weren't doing this for money, that it is all voluntary and because we know that this message is true and will help others. I think he realized how important this message really is. The first day we met him he had told us that he and his wife are always working and that they would never be home for us to stop by his house. And then the next day he told us he wants us to come by and share these things with his family and to have us eat dinner with them. Everything changed. How grateful I am that I chose to put away all my frustrations and listen with love. It was such a humbling experience for me, and one that I will never forget! I realized that I still have a long way to go to sacrifice everything I have to the Lord. The natural man is just awful! haha It holds me back so much!! I've really, really got to try to just let go of all of my selfish desires and focus on the Lord's will. I need to be willing to let Him work through me. So that is a big thing I am focusing on right now, and I know it is something that I will be working on for the rest of my life. So it's not easy at all! Which reminds me of a talk that I read this week "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Jeffrey R. Holland. Every time I read this talk it's just like, BAM!! That's Elder Holland for ya. He says that we will all ask, "Why is this so hard?"
Then he continues,
"You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?"
Salvation is not a cheap experience. We must work for it, there are NO excuses.
Se que aunque esta vida es dificil, hay esperanza. Siempre hay esperanza. Y hay esperanza debido a nuestro Salvador Jesucristo. Tenemos que tener fe en El y trabajar y despues podremos disfrutar Su gracia y todos los bendiciones que el nos dara. Tenemos que ser fieles, Tenemos que ser firmes. Tenemos que ser dedicados a El. No hay excusas, no podemos ser flojo. Trabajaremos en la obra del Senor y experimentaremos Su amor y GRAN gozo.
I love you all and always remember the love that the Lord has for you! Remember that when you put Jesus first, then Others, then Yourself, that is when you will have true J.O.Y.
Con MUCHISIMO amor,