Friday, May 23, 2014

From May 5, 2014: "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"

This has probably been one of the toughest 2 weeks of my life. I'm trying my best to push through it all without letting discouragement or self-pity abide. I'm aware of those dangers. Please pray for me at this time though. For much of my mission I've been able to wake up at 6:30, work out, shower, eat breakfast while studying, hit studies hard, go to work, end lunch early to do more work, and work hard until 9, plan for 30-40 minutes, and then go to bed and do it over again. I took no thought for myself. I've learned in the last 3 months that you just can't do that, you'll get burned out.

About three months ago I'd do that and about every three weeks, I'd turn into a sack of potatoes and just nap for about three hours in the middle of the day. It became more frequent, and I'm just feeling pretty burned out right now. This week will hopefully be better than last. We had a miracle in that Elder Swann sprained his ankle and stayed in all week long except for splits. Splits and Church went very well though despite the struggles I've been having. It doesn't help to just push through them, they only get worse. So hopefully I'm able to proselyte this week, and build myself back up to full productivity.

I remember Aunt Jan telling me to take care of myself, if only I had done that more haha. I can almost perfectly see now why I wasn't sent to Russia. The last 10 missionaries that had gotten their minors in Russian before they left had been sent out there. I was just completely go go go and oh how I would have worked to establish the Church out there. To no end I would have sacrificed for them and the work. Not only that, but it's harder when a Russian isn't interested or when a Russian investigator won't keep commitments than for Americans. I would have burned out, only with much greater consequences, due to the different culture and lack of ways to cope and resources to help.

I've learned that some trials aren't meant to be overcome, at least in the way that I'd prefer, teaching 20 lessons a week. I need to keep my physical well being, faith and commitment to serve God alive and well, not preach the gospel for 10 hours a day at this time. My mission leaders think we're slacking, and visited us last night to help set our sights higher. Time and time again I've seen the need for understanding when it comes to others' actions, that we don't know the contents of their heart or the reasons or why they're doing what they do.

The Prophet Joseph was always trying to teach his people that he was not perfect, but he was still called of God to be a Prophet. "You don’t know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself."

The Prophet was burned out at one point and wanted to die, to pass the reins of the Savior's Restored Church to the Apostles. But by the end of his life, he expressed the desires of his heart were to remain and to spend the rest of his life continuing to build up the Kingdom of God. What a glorious concept, that after 14 years of experiencing earth and hell's combined influences, he would desire to finish what he started. I have struggled greatly this last week in wanting to continue to serve a mission, and it's only been through the Atonement that I've put off that part of me that just wants to give up, complain to President and LDS Family Services and go home honorably. I don't want to serve in this condition, but I do want to serve.

From General Conference, "Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges." (President Utchdorf, April 2014)

I hate to think this way, but it has been a very good 10 months on my mission. 5 people have been solidly converted to the Restored Gospel. Many many people have been taught the Restored Gospel and invited to live according to it. Less actives have returned to Church with their families. The other night as I reflected on why 6 months in Eagle, I felt such incredible gratitude that I'd been able to help 2 people come to Christ, and felt the reality of this scripture,
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (D&C 18:15-16)
Much more than that actually, I felt the Spirit so strongly that much more good would come out of my mission than just that. President Monson in a new mission president seminar said,
"President Monson told the mission leaders, “You may sometimes be tempted to say, ‘Will my influence make any difference? I am just one. Will my service affect the work that dramatically?’ I testify to you that it will. You will never be able to measure your influence for good." (

Please know however, that no matter how deep the trials have been lately, I've had some of the greatest joys I've yet had on my mission through the Spirit. I have learned how to be happy amid all of these things, "Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;" (Alma 36:25) The talk on gratitude was truly a life changing talk, "Why does God command us to be grateful? All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us. Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings. Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness." (

Please pray that I'll bounce back this week and get some really good advice as to how I can get out of this hole I've dug myself into from the Psychologist

Much much love,
Elder Szendre

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