Monday, March 16, 2015

For Thy Good


So it was a Tuesday.  Just a normal day.  We left the house on time and worked our little hearts out and once again didn't see anything too spectacular or special.  The people were polite and heard us out but didn't really seem too interested.  That night as we reported our day and talked about our numbers and all that, I hit me that everything we had been doing, all the hard work, the miles and miles of walking up steep hills in the HOT sun were not showing in the numbers.  The work was intense but results were few. 

Then my district leader launched into a story about all the success he has had on his mission and how many baptisms he has had and how he was going to have another this Saturday and blah blah blah. The disanimo hit me hard (again), but this time it was sadness and it was anger.  I felt mad. Frustrated.  Irritated.  I felt mad at God. 

How could He do this to me?  How come a million other missionaries who don't even work that hard and who aren't obedient get golden investigators and baptisms and I don't?  What am I doing wrong? What's the issue here?  What's wrong with this picture?  I prayed that night, and I told God that I was mad at Him, but that I would keep working my very best because I didn't come this far just to give up or not work. 

It was a short prayer.  I went to bed angry.  It's not fair, thought I.  Why?  Why can't I just have a baptism?  Or something??  The answer came the next day.  When I read a talk by Elder Eyring called Mountains to Climb.  It says .

"Many of you are now passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out as did one great and faithful servant of God I knew well.  His nurse heard him exclaim from his bed of pain, “When I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”

You know how the Lord answered that question for the Prophet Joseph Smith in his prison cell:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”

God has a plan.  It's not about numbers.  Even though seeing the results would be nice.  He knows the why.  He's got a plan.  The day after my God-I'm-really-mad-at-you-but-I'm-going-to-keep-working- hard-anyway prayer, we had the best day ever. 

We went to go teach our 79 year old investigator and he had read almost a third of The Book of Mormon and told us exactly what it said.  We found a family with 7 children who LOVED us so much that their 4 year old spent the majority of the lesson kissing our cheeks and holding our hands.

It was just the best day.  It was like God sending a friendly reminder that He does love me.  That He is aware.  And that He is going to keep loving me even when I'm stubborn and silly and mad at Him. And I am so very thankful for that.  That He loves me, even when I'm mad. 

And He's going to help me.  Because I'm not giving up.  Ever.  Come what may, I will keep teaching my heart out, because in the end I know it's true and I know its not about ME or what I want it's about HIM and what HE wants.  He knows what He's doing.  I've just got to trust that.  And I do.  I love God BECAUSE he sends me hard things.  He knows I can handle it.  He sends the hard stuff because He loves me.

When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you.  Ignore that!  Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is.  A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end.  Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right” (Glenn L. Pace,)

I looked to the sky a few times this week and said just that.  This is a time to prove myself.  Ready.


So everyone knows the story of the Samaritan woman who gives Christ a drink of water at the well right?  Well theres a tradition here that once a year during the spring time they make that story a holiday and everyone makes really delicious juices and stuff and they give them away for free!  We drank A LOT of horchata and all sorts of other interesting Mexican beverages that day.  It was a fun cultural experience.


So getting people to church is always rough here, but GET THIS: On Sunday PEOPLE ACTUALLY SHOWED UP! what.  Roberto the 79 year old genius came and loved it - participating in all the classes and looking up all the scriptures they shared and just being awesome.  We also passed by for the 7 kids, but only the three youngest ones ended up being able to go. 

But we sure had fun.  The youngest one is probably the most darling child ever born.  Very loving and cuddly.  He had his little backpack all ready to go with his Book of Mormon inside and his hair slicked down with gel.  Roberto wore a fluorescent shirt and his fabulous sombrero.

We had quite the adventure trying to keep the kids entertained during sacrament meeting....snacks, drawing, having to leave to go to the bathroom, having to remind them to whisper, looking through all my folletos a million times over.  It was hilarious and exhausting.  Shout out to all you Mormon moms out there who have to keep your kids calm and entertained during sacrament meeting each week.  You guys are awesome.

This week was full of ups and downs, but as I sit here and write this I realize that it all taught me something.  It all helped me be better than I was before.  All things happen for a reason.  There are good things to come.  I can just feel it.

*my district. We've got missionaries from Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, and the US of A.

*selfies in the back of a mototaxi. We've been taking the young women out to work with us A TON lately. Trying to get them pumped up to serve missions. this girl was hilarious!  Every question we asked her no matter how we worded it she would respond, "Pray, read the scriptures, and have family home evening." Every question. It was hilarious. And pretty cute.

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