Friday, March 21, 2014

From March 10:

Being companions has not been easy lately. There's a lot of ways a companion can pull you the wrong way. I've had to really struggle to work and be around my companion. We had a companionship inventory yesterday, and he said that comp unity was shot, which made no sense to me since we were making improvements. It just takes so much devotion and love towards him, and when that love fails I become very frustrated and have to repent. There's just so many little things that are different that annoy him, his expectations for not having too many rags in the apartment from the Fry's, lights being on, cupboards open. When there's been something off in the recent past, there's no pleasing, even with German pancakes. It just takes repeated love and devotion (to the work not to him) that includes just willing to start over and make it work, every day if needed.

Jesus commanded us to love one another,
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35 italics added)

If I could just see him for who he really is, his history, what he values and holds dear I would think better of him. For instance one day he laid down for three hours without saying a word. I ended up doing the same thing a week later when I had run empty. "Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill." (Elder Holland, "Like a Broken Vessel" General Conference Nov 2013). 

The great frustration I felt from my "lazy" companion was translated to sympathy and compassion for the great trials he must have been going through.

I had what I think was my last hiccup from that prescription change last Wednesday, I was out for about 20 hours, there was no chance in the world I was going to wake up anytime before 9:00. My compassion for companions who have slept in went much higher.

We want to inspire, lift and encourage our brothers and sisters in this great race against sin. However in our efforts to help them on their way, we can for selfish motivations use methods that aren't in harmony with the Lord's way of influencing others.

"The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to (1) cover our sins, or to (2) gratify our  pride, our (3) vain ambition, or to (4) exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man." (D&C 121)

I have to frequently repent, acknowledging to my companion when I wrong him. I can't ignore it and argue that I'm right. Do we always have to be right? Should we assume we're always right?

We as missionaries invite, helping people make changes in their lives.

"We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death." (D&C 121)

We just have to love others, to understand them as best we can, to appropriately express brotherly kindness whenever possible. It's so difficult following this path, bearing all offenses and answering them with love. From the last verse of Faith of our Fathers,

"Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly words and virtuous life."

I testify that God loves us, that He will help us overcome our weaknesses, and that the Gospel is restored in our day.

Much love!
Elder Szendre

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