What a weekend, we had the baptism of Crystal, to which many members and Kevin K. (our other progressing investigator) came. It was quite the experience as she fought to get into the waters, be baptized and climb back up to the stairs with the help of Bro. Jamison - - she has a broken foot. The service went well and many members came. I was able to perform the confirmation on Sunday and we'll see her again tonight.
We have a very small district, just 3 companionships, 2 sets of Elders and one of Sisters. An Elder and one Sister went home this week due to emotional/mental/medical problems. The stresses of a mission was just too much for them. I remember Uncle Scott's counsel about handling a mission, that if you could handle it you could overcome anything.
Missions are hard, I have had times when I struggled greatly due to a number of factors. I've learned to memorize hymns and scriptures to help me through the tough times of the day. You just can't cope with the stress the ways you did before. You're continually out of your comfort zone, moving sometimes often, you are with a companion you most likely annoys you to some degree, and you really learn to love the people you work with, and desire their happiness. The three most stressful things in life are according to some study -- I wish I had the source -- was marriage, children and moving.
We may not even like each other, depending on the companion, and unlike most marriages we're arranged without any choice on our part. We still have to work together effectively, make compromises and really listen to each other's concerns and opinions to stay unified in this endeavor. 24/7
We pray for these people constantly, we teach, listen and help them find their way in this very very difficult world. We serve them, and sacrifice time and energy
When we're transferred we completely change every person in our daily lives and our living quarters.
Why do we do this? When else can we dedicate all of our time, talents and interests to assist God in his "work and [his] glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39)
He promised His ancient apostles the Comforter, which would teach them all things (John 14:26) and bless us with comfort in our deepest trials. In a moment this last week when I was suffering almost beyond what I could bear the symptom of stress went away as I felt the voice of the Holy Ghost whisper to me, "Peace, be still." As I've wisely striven to feed His sheep (see John 21:15-18), amidst my own difficulties I've ultimately had my own needs met, through the Holy Ghost or others, and the joy of selfless service truly is great.
The joy of the work greatly greatly compensates the pain and sorrows. At Crystal's baptism, the Spirit was poured out so strongly, and the joy of bringing just one soul unto Christ was overwhelming. (Jacob 5:71, D&C 18:15)
The joy of temple worship has been one of the greatest privileges of my mission. Go to the temple, strive to keep those covenants and enjoy the blessings of them. They truly are incredible. We can only go every three months, and I can't wait to go in 3-5 weeks.
God promises us so many spiritual blessings, which can only be realized on the principle of obedience to the Gospel. A mission can provide the rich soil to plant the seeds of sacrifice and effort in the Lord's vineyard which will reap incredible happiness. Ammon's joy was full when he met Alma after a successfully completed mission
17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth. 18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness. (Alma 26:17-18)
We have to strive to stay on the path of obedient and diligent service, repenting when we fall short in obedience or diligence, and increase in devoted discipleship. If we aren't actively improving through repentance and obedience chances are we're distancing ourselves from God, since humbling oneself before God must continue throughout one's life.
I can't imagine more happiness, more joy than laboring in the Lord's Vineyard to bring souls to him. I really love my mission, I will have a very hard time taking it off. Even so, I know that the blessings of the Gospel will continue and that I will have joy in my family.
9 Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house. 10 And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. Even so. Amen. (D&C 110:9-10)
It's my testimony that the Gospel has been restored, and that the Priesthood functions on the earth has been sent to bless every one of Heavenly Father's children here on the earth. I bear testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's Prophet directing and gathering God's covenant children in the last days. Let us all press on!
Much much love,