Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Turning Point

"Well, we had a pretty interesting week. Once again it was slightly depressing with zero investigators at church this Sunday... Yeah, it's been tough, it's now been three weeks without an investigator at church, and it's been slightly frustrating, nevertheless we continue working and moving forward trying to get better at teaching and trying to tell our investigator the importance of church.

"We had a really good lesson with an investigator ... this past week. On Saturday we had a powerful lesson about the importance of church, and she commited to come. Unfortunately when Sunday came around we ran by her house before church to try and get her there, no one answered, she didn't come to church, and we ran by afterwards to see what happened, and she wasn't there. We haven't been able to contact her since then either, so we're not entirely sure what's going on. We'll have to keep trying with her though, hopefully we can help her receive an answer to her prayers and find what it is that she's looking for in life.

"This last Monday was also a particularly significant day for me. ... Needless to say three weeks without any really solid investigators was starting to take its toll on my confidence, and I definitely got a little discouraged. Thankfully the Lord does indeed answers prayers. I'd been looking for answers, trying to see how I stood before the Lord, what it was I needed to change, if I was failing to meet his expectations. Well, our assistants to the President are indeed inspired. They gave a workshop that I really needed to hear. It was actually from a talk given by George Durrant when he was a mission president. He talked about a missionary that was in a situation very similar to the one I was in. He said, the hard reality is that if we aren't baptizing our missions truly cannot be called successful, since that is in a large part what a mission is about. However, if the mission wasn't successful in the sense of baptism that does not mean that you are not a successful man, a successful person. This missionary struggled, and fought, and worked to try and help people come to baptism, to try and find a family that would accept the gospel. He gave it everything he had, full of faith, and yet he never did find that family. George Durrant said, yes, he will probably always regret that he did not baptize more on his mission, we all probably will, but what we should be able to do is have that regret while still knowing that we gave everything we had to try and reach that goal.

"It reminded me a lot of Cross Country, I wanted to be so much faster, so much better, but it didn't happen. However, I know with a surety that I honestly worked as hard as I possibly could to achieve that goal. So now I look back on that experience saying, man I wish I had been faster, but man I sure did try! So that has become the goal for my mission. It does not matter how many people I help bring to baptism, what matters is that I be completely dedicated to my purpose as a missionary and that I become a good man. A man that is dedicated to the Lord in heart and mind. A man that will work, no matter the discouragement or disappointment. I trust that the Lord will guide me, and that if I am doing his will, it'll all turn out alright. So I have a new resolve, I will be disappointed over and over again when people fail to keep their commitments, and I will be so happy when people keep their commitments, but no matter the outcome I will never be discouraged, and I will never let up my resolve to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. So. that was honestly probably at least one turning point in the mission.

"This week while we still have no new investigators, and all our old ones have dropped us, or we've been unable to contact them, we continue to work, and we'll continue to work until our time here is done. I don't know, it's been a refining week, and I hope I come out of it a little stronger, and a little more able to do the Lord's work. It's amazing how much your testimony grows when it's tried, when you're forced to ask yourself over and over again if what you're saying to these people is the truth, and each time you ask you find that confirmation that this is God's work, and that the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly the word of God. The trials make me realize in a small way what our Savior must have gone through, and what our Father in Heaven goes through. He works hard, and he's perfect, and yet people still reject him, they turn Him away, and keep on their same path. Why should we be any more priveleged to have each person accept the gospel when we speak to them?

"One of the Sisters said it really well, she said that she's serving her mission in a large part because she wants to come to know Christ, and it's in serving a person that we come to know them. That is most definitely the truth, we have such a rare opportunity to place ourselves for a brief moment in part of the path that our Savior walked. We get to share his message with the world, and because of that we get to experience some of the joy and sadness that He himself experiences. It's crazy, I really have come to know my Savior more, and it's a beautiful experience.

"Well, that was pretty much the week I guess, kind of intense in terms of learning spiritually, kind of less so in terms of numbers and such, but it was still a good week!"

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