This week, with everyhting that was happening, interviews with Pres, conferences, preparing classes and presentations, and intercambios with the hermanas... oh yes, we´re trying to get back in the swing of things...
I was thinking of how perfectly ordered, timed, and planned everything is in the Lord´s ¨schemes¨... I was thinkng of how often... going along with my theme of last week, there comes a necesity on my part to be patient.. and not in the ¨passively sitting around¨ way we often associate with the word... but in the ¨trusting that the Lord has every intention of fulfilling His promises, His work, and His Glory, all in HIS own time and His own way.
I went to Preach my Gospel... and studied the (as Presidente Monson calls it) ¨Celestial attribute of Pacienia¨. There are so many relatos of missionaries, peoples, and even some of my greatest Book of Mormon heroes who had to, and often to the extremes sometimes... suffer hardships in the service of the Lord.
One of my favorites is that of Alma and his mission to preach to the Zoramites. (Alma 31:31-38) Those misisonaries knew ahead of time that theirs was a ¨great mission¨that they had much work ahead of them... and in the beginning, the honestly had no idea what was to be expected. Saying things like ¨Maybe¨or ¨Somehow¨we´ll be able to touch the hearts of the people and have some success..
Later in the story, Alma, cries to the Lord, asking for strength and help that he is lacking.
O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me...
I love the open, raw, honestness of Alma. THey were struggling, and he honestly felt at times like he, alone, just could not bear the sorrow..I have felt those feelings at times... as have we all. Tired, utterly exhausted, and beyond knowledge of knowing how to comfort ourselves...But the more I think and really stop to look around me... I realize. I don´t have to be alone. There are so many others here around me. Alma continues on in his prayer:
Sometimes, if we allow them to, our personal hardships become the focal point of our lives. They control us, define us, and ultimately become our downfall if we allow ourselves to sink into a black whole of self-pity and despair. BUT if we look around, we will easily see there are many others who, like us, are suffering... We can then choose to ¨curl up in a ball¨or we can choose to rise up and rise above.
There´s a quote from Presidente Hinckley that I love:
¨The best antidote I know for worry is WORK. The best medicine for despair is SERVICE. The best cure for weariness is the CHALLENGE of helping someone who is even more tired.¨
One of the greatest blessings the Lord has given me this week, was allowing me to meet people who need His love, support, and grace even more than I do.... and helping them understand who Christ is, and what He has done for them has helped me to realize all over again what He means to ME.
Maxi (17). His life is rough, and he has had to ¨grow up fast¨and learn to fend for himself. He really had never thought about a relationship with God or Christ... but to explain to him who he is, WHOSE he is, and the love that Christ feels for him personally, had an immediately visible effect on him.
Belén (20) ... She met the missionaries 11 years ago, and off and on has been to church, met with them, heard ëverything¨...but when we showed up she told us she felt something new... still, the first time she didn´t want a ¨date¨to be baptized... but as we read with her, studied with her, and helped her apply things to herself... like we should... she received her answer... opened up to us, and CHOSE HER OWN BAPTISMAL DATE of 23 august. She needed to know her potential, know she had friends, and more, a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of her and wants the very best for her.
Juani (11). Also has had to grow up fast. on his own, and really just needs to feel loved, appreciated and understood. He LOVES Jesus, he LOVES reading the Book of Mormon, and has the opportunity to be a shining light in a house that is very much lacking the influence of the spirit. He teaches me more than I teach him.
Lidia. She´s an older lady, we knocked her door. Both of us just kind of got pulled there, and she let us right in! (not normal). She´s a 7th day adventist and very active in her church... but recently separated from her husband of 30 years and needed to feel loved. We shared the restoration with her and she told us ¨You know, that just makes sense.¨ She invited us to come to her congregation and share a message with the whole bunch! Ha... keep you posted.
Belén. Walking home late one night, I still had one Jesus card to give away... it was bitter cold, and there weren´t any people in the streets. about 3 blocks from our house, we crossed the street, and I saw a cute young girl walking toward us. As I called out to her, she bee-lined over to me. I held out the card, and noticed her eyes were a little teary. I found myself just telling her Jesus Christ loves her, and that although things happen sometimes that we don´t understand, he is always there. I asked her if she´d ever questioned that. She started to cry, and told me that she´d been having a really hard night. I just wanted to hug her. We talked for several minutes, and I was just blown away at how much she needed just what we had to offer in that moment.
She doesn´t live in our area, but works here, so we´re hoping we´ll see her again. The Lord puts his children in the right place at the right time.
Each of them comes from varying backgrounds, needs, and beliefs. But they all had something in common. They lacked that understanding of who Christ really is. What he has done for each of them, and what He continues to do and the way he blesses those who follow him, put their faith in him, and allow his love and his light to work more fully in their lives.
I was studying the atonement this week, Christ´s experience in Gethsemane. He was completely alone in his suffering, even his own apostles fell asleep. But he knew his mission, knew the cost, and because of the great love he feels for each of us, he saw it through until the end.
Because of Him, because of what He did, I have hope. And I know my life has purpose. He was completely alone in the Garden, but thanks to Him, I don´t have to be. None of us ever has to feel alone. There is one who knows us, understands us, and is there to help us through. Come what may.
I love you all so much!
xoxox Your Hermana C