September 22, 2014
Man! Sorry it's been a while for a few of you. My life has become the equivalent of a squirrel who hasv to many nuts for winter trying to count them all while a bunch of little squirrel children keep switching around the piles. It's just I'm a missionary working with real love people rather than acorns. But it has been getting quite crazy out here! Haha things have been quite fantastic the past few weeks. Genesis and SuHeily are getting baptized this Sunday! Please keep them in your prayers! They are super excited! And so are we. They have been preparing very faithfully. It's interesting to me—I always manage to learn something from every one of my investigators. Whether that is how to be more diligent and faithful, how to be more susceptible to the spirit, or even sometimes good warning signs for patterns not to fall into, there is always someone I learn, that I hope in the end makes me a better person than I was.
Update: it's not as hot here now!!! Haha it really feels kind of nice out most of the time :) granted that may turn into a giant never ending ice bucket challenge once this humid winter sets in, but I guess we'll find out soon enough ;)
Life is just kind of awesome right now. Haha I'm seriously just really really happy and excited!
Hmmm. It's weird, once I start writing this I forget what I was going to say in the first place. Let's see...oh! Camelia might be getting baptized soon! And Danilo and Loyda are on their way as well. Danilo is ready to get baptized, but his wife, Loyda, still needs to know a little bit more before she is willing to commit. But we're getting there!
Interesting story. So we're on the bus a few days ago, right? Well, this lady comes up and starts talking to us, she's about 45 or 50. She says her names Dina. She then begins to tell us about her life. As she's speaking, she starts to cry. Not the kind of sobbing, shoulder shaking cry, in fact you almost couldn't even hear it in her voice. But these great big tears are just rolling down her face as she tells us about how her mom has cancer, phew husband has been on life support 72 times throughout e past year, she found her brother who had just committed suicide dead in her own bed, and she found out she has cancer, all within the past month. She said, "I have no idea where to go, I've tried every option I can think of, and I've got nothing. I always see you guys walking around and I thought you might have a suggestion for me." Well, being on a bus, we didn't have a ton of time. So we gave her a Book of Mormon and she half offered her phone number and address to us. So we took it, gave her our number, and got off. Gave her info to the sisters who were over her area. She's getting baptized soon!!! Haha it was so amazing. After listening to her stories firsthand, I guess she had heard a bunch of stories about how we were part of a cult and stuffs like that, so it was a miracle that she talked to us in the first place, something she has said herself. It is a very powerful reminder that the things you do everyday have effects that you may not even know about. Basically being a missionary rocks. ;D
So, these past few weeks we've gotten some good slogans, and not so good ones as well. Haha the subject line of his email, "Let go and let God" came straight from the ghetto streets of Camden, and although the next one is not quite so inspiring, it came straight from the streets as well: "Be good!" From the guy who just borrowed our phone to call his 3 hr late ride. "And if you can't be good **lowers brow, gets that mischievous look on his face**—be good at it!!!"
Ok, so I'm probably not going to adopt the second motto as my own, haha but I think there is a very powerful lesson we can learn from the first one!
"...Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith."
(3 Nephi 13:28-30)
God loves us all so much! And really, I've come to gain a testimony of the fact that if we let Him, he really will provide everything we need. He'll lift us up when we're feeling low, and help us just walk on over life's trials like they're not even there. An example that I love of this is Peter, when he saw Christ the Lord walking on the water towards their little boat being tossed about on the waves. The scripture says, "And he (Christ) said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:29-31) in essence, Peter had the option to view two things. 1, the storm he was called to go through to reach the Savior, or 2, the Savior who had called him to go through the storm. As He kept his sight upon the Savior, his trials became insignificant, almost as if they weren't even there. It was only when he beheld his trials, began to focus on them and become more captivated by the storm of trials then the Savior Jesus Christ, hat he began to sink into the water.
Another prime example of this is the found in the Book of Mormon. Lehi, after receiving a vision of the tree of life, states simply to his family that he "beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit." (1 Nephi 8:13)
There are not many details given us about this river of water. Lehi simply states that it was near to the tree of life. Nephi, however, gives us a little more clarification. Said he, "...the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water." (1 Nephi 15:27)
I really do believe that our trials and shortcomings can be completely forgotten in the atonement of Jesus Christ. It just depends on who we focus on. We can choose to behold the storm, the filthy water, and sink into despair, or we can choose to allow our minds to be enlightened continuously by the spirit, focusing on Jesus Christ our Savior, and be lifted up to eternal life.
I'll admit, it seems crazy from a world like view to say we should just ignore our trials and problems...kind of impossible really. But I believe and I testify that it is possible. You've just got to let go, and let God. In some ways it takes more effort to just let go then it does to stay holding on. But it's kind of like letting go to step into the possibility of happiness rather than holding on to the certainty of misery. One day I truly hope to learn to trust God, really trust Him and have the faith that He wants me to have.
Keep on stayin' strong!!!