November 17, 2010
Hey! Welcome to Wednesday of Week 3 in the second transfer of my mission.
Just a little over 8 weeks in California.
Eleven full weeks as a missionary.
Today I was lookin over my journ– tryin to decide/perceive what I should write to my family about and I realized: I have received a miraculous heap of guidance and knowledge this transfer. No wonder I’ve been feelin heavier! I can see how my first transfer was a buffer for this. (The MTC too.)
I predict the things I have realized about myself so far would have taken at least a year of regular life for God to teach me. Although honestly, I’m not sure He could have brought them to my attention and taught me so thoroughly in any other setting other than a mission. And, had I not been taught so thoroughly, certain habits/assumptions I’ve always had about life would have blocked my progression, and ultimately limited my happiness for the rest of my life.
This is not an exaggeration.
That’s not even counting the things I’m coming to understand about the gospel. It’s like all the pieces I knew before my mission now connect to one another in a beautifully simple way. A complete, eternal way. Foundational truths I’ve learned in the past are now being built and built upon.
The roots are fortified.
The branches are new.
I am climbing.
I am so thankful for the family I was born into. I cannot imagine an experience that would have been more perfect for the things I needed to question and learn and feel. I am thankful for my inspired priesthood leaders and the callings I’ve had. My Heavenly Father knows what I need. I’ll just keep following Him.
One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is hearing my investigators pray. Often, I get to be there for the first time they’ve ever prayed. A few weeks ago we were with a 14 year old we’ve been teaching. He rocks sweet Nikes, baggy baggy pants and a chain on his neck.
We’ll call him Post-It.
Post-It prays quietly and slowly– he is a little unsure of himself but trying to find his words as we kneel on the stone floor. He is so humble at 14 years old. “I want to be better,” he tells us each time we come. “I want to change my life.” Lately some kids are tryin to beat Marco up at school. He hasn’t been in 3 days in hopes of avoiding them.
“Thank you for sending these sisters so that I can change my life,” he tells God. “Please help me know the truth. Please help all the bad things to go away…” Then he pauses for a few minutes. I love this little guy so much and I know he is worried about more than one bad thing he’s praying to overcome. During this long pause I get a little choked up for him and his sincerity. I think he is getting choked up over there too. I hope his Mom comes in and sees her son kneeling in prayer. It’s so powerful. “And please help me to be safe at school, amen.”
Love this kid.
We started teaching his Mom too. Now they pray as a family every night. The spirit is changing their home. I can feel this change but they told me so before I even could tell them.
I love this work.
It’s difficult to give my heart away to everyone and yet not lose my courage, energy, or motivation when these people don’t choose the things that will make them happy. When all that love and all those prayers and all the HOPE comes down to:
No Post-it at church again.
Cool Dude Bros ignoring us for weeks.
Families cancelling appointments before we even start teachin…you get the idea.
The truth is: Even my heart is scared of this work.
I know my Savior is alive. I know that if I keep dumping out the contents of my heart for any and all of His people to take, He will recover me. He will guide and direct and protect me. He will fill my love and hope back up without limit. I know the power of the atonement will make my heart eternal. I hope I can be more brave in trusting him.
I don’t want to be selfish or lazy. I don’t want to teach robotic lessons or pray empty prayers. I don’t want to keep my heart in the bounds of safety–keeping a part of it locked up in reserve for myself. Because I think I’ve been doing that. I think I’ve been keeping a piece safe– so that it might remain untired, undissapointed, un(changed). It’s like I think I need to save some for later, for the sake of survival. I don’t want to do that anymore. I know that whatever piece I give to the Lord will be returned to me with a piece of himself woven in. I know that if I give all of me to the Lord, He will return me: infinitely whole.
This is the missionary I want to be.
“She that seeketh to save her life shall lost it: and she that loseth her life for my sake shall find it.”
“Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.”
I want to be more peaceful. I am so hurried and worried all the time. Like part of me is a scurrying little bird, darting in and out and spazzing about not wasting one single minute and not thinking about home and always being inadequate and ahhhhh so fast. The other part feels slow, heavy, weighed down with the burdens and struggles of those I teach and those who don’t want to be taught. It feels heavy and slow, like an ancient elephant trudging. All of me craves peace. My spirit needs it. I would love to trust Heavenly Father enough– not trust in my thoughts but in my actions too– trust him enough to have an abiding peace in me. To possess a quietness in my heart. To let go of the hurry. The worry.
Trust in my Heavenly Father.
It’s His work.
Trust in my Savior.
He makes it possible.
I don’t have to make it work or make it possible. I just have to give him my whole heart and let go let go letgoletgoletgo.