First off... sorry everyone if I can´t respond to everything this week... we arranged a day in Manzano... but for some reason our traffic was scheduled for super early.. so our email time is especially short today!This week has been another ¨running like crazy¨... We were in Mendoza for 2 full days for consejo, then zone conference, we had a ton of meetings, coordinating, and activities and planning for the rama... it was a really long week... one of those where we just kept saying to each other ¨Sunday´s coming!¨ Numbers don´t even begin to show everything we´ve done this week, and it was a little hectic not being in the area to follow up on our investigators! But just like we said, Sunday came around, and everything all came together. At the beginning of the transfer, we set a goal with the elders that we wanted to work to double the assistance in sacrament meeting, and have, by the end of the transfer, 80 assistances. Yesterday, not even at the end of the transfer, there were 81!!!!! It was incredibly full!! just in time for the ramas to combine next week!
I´ve had the goal this week to focus a lot on what we chose as our zone theme. Moroni 8:16. ¨I speak with boldness, having authority from God. And I fear not what men can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.¨This week we had a multi-zone conference in Mendoza. After helping serve lunch, I went and sat down at the ¨Hermanas table¨ next to Hermana Goates who was chatting with 3 of the brand new norteamericanas.
I was laughing as I was sort of flashed back to being brand new and just wanting the older missionaries to share their wisdom with me. and then realizing just how quickly the tables have turned...
I immediately thought of the talk by Elder Holland.
¨Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.¨
The hermanas started to share with me some of the things they´ve had to go through already in the mission, the trials. ¨Does it get easier??¨ They kept asking me... I explained to them that in some aspects, yes, things will change... not always, trials don´t stop coming. I assured them that it´s okay to sometimes miss your family, to struggle with the language, to feel like you´re ¨in over your head¨. That´s normal. But I told them to use it as a motivation to come unto Christ and to pull from His strength.
Elder Holland gives us a promise at the end of his talk: ¨I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world.¨
I know that is true. I´ve seen it in action throughout my mission. The Lord is SO GOOD to those who respond to the call to serve His children, and the blessings that come to missionaries and their families are wonderful and undeniable.