Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008 -- 69,500,000 seconds

Things are going very well for me here in good ole Kearns. Although to be honest, they weren't so good a few days ago. Last week was without a doubt the hardest month [week?] of my mission so far. I won't go into much detail, but let's just say I tracked A LOT, worked very hard, but didn't get any results. The only rewards I recieved were dropped appointments, slammed doors and companionship issues. It was hard.

By Sunday afternoon, I was feeling very discouraged. It was especially hard because it was Mom's birthday and I couldn't even call her. So while my companions slept durring our lunch hour, I was in the room praying and reading my scriptures, trying to overcome the negative feelings I was having. It worked for a while, but by that evening I was once again feeling down. We didn't teach a single lesson that night, and we got home late which really bothered me. I just didn't feel good, and nothing I did seemed to be helping.

Monday, however, I received several tender mercies from the Lord. The first came in Zone Meeting. The Zone Leaders, my companions, gave a training about self-motivation and enduring trials, drawing from D&C 121 and 128. I think they were aiming it right at me and I think they were inspired to do so--it made me feel a lot better.

Tender mercy number two came when I was able to work with Elder Robledo for the afternoon while my companions were in meetings. He was in my last zone also. He is from Chile and is the type of missionary I want to be--full of zeal for the work and never discouraged. As we walked and worked, we sang the hymns of Zion, something which never fails to cheer me up.

That afternoon I recieved six tender mercies in forms of letters, most importantly from mom and dad, as well as from my three best friends who are all on missions. By then, I was feeling better than I've felt in a long time.

My final tender mercy was also an important lesson for me. I found out that afternoon that Jorge Lopez from my last area had been married and baptized last weekend. I knew he was going to get married, but I had no idea that he would be baptized that soon. (I didn't get permission to go to the wedding, unfortunately.) I would have liked to have gone to his baptism, but instead of feeling sad or jealous, I was very happy to know that he had made that important step, something he had been wanting for a long time. Not only did it lift my spirits, but it also taught me that sometimes it takes a while for things to pay off. It has been three weeks since I left that area and he is now getting baptized. Maybe all my work this last week didn't have any immediate effect, but that doesn't mean I didn't start anything. It will takes weeks to years to really know that. Its a lot like all those plants I planted before I left--the full growth won't be visible for a long time to come.

Today, I couldn't be better. There is sunshine in my soul, for Jesus is my light. That light will shine independent of whatever else is going on in my life, no matter how stressed I feel or busy I am, as long as I trust in and rely on Him. What an amazing blessing!

To switch gears, you are probably wondering why the subject of my email is 69,500,000 seconds. According to another elder in my zone, that is approxiamtely how many seconds are in a mission. I don't want to waste a singe one of them more than I already have. To God, my mission is only 175 seconds long (if 1 day to God is 1,000 years to us.) Like I said before, I plan to sprint the whole way.

Speaking of sprinting, my companions and I have been doing well at exercising. Unfortunately, some of my old eating habits that I thought I had under control are creeping back up on me, but I'm working on it. I try not to worry about that stuff too much though, only so much as I stay healthy and fit so that I can better serve the Lord.

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