Justin: Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith!
A little friend visited this week.
Here is something that only a missionary can understand: General Conference is the BEST. I I feely spiritually renewed and ready to get to work in the Lord´s vineyard. I have realized many spiritual weaknesses that I need to work on.
Since we didn´t really have a very eventful week with my companion, I guess I´ll do this email a little differently. I want to share several spiritual lessons that I have learned as a missionary of Jesus Christ.
- The importance of personal conversion. If we haven´t come unto Christ ourselves and completely given our hearts to him, we cannot bring others unto Him. I realize that people talk about conversion all the time in the church, and every time somebody talked about it before my mission I just idly listened and would vaguely think, “Yah, I think I´m converted.” I didn´t realize I wasn´t converted until it actually happened to me. When we still have the desire to do evil and to live in the world, but we grudgingly follow the rules or go to church or fulfill our callings just because we have to, we are not truly converted to Christ. Just going through the motions isn´t enough! God wants a broken heart, and once we give it to him, he will give us a new one (the mighty change of heart). He wants our entire soul dedicated to him. And when our love for God becomes our biggest motivation, we can know that we are on the path to higher conversion. Conversion is not a single moment — it´s a process, and I have only just begun it.
- God gives us weaknesses so that we can be humble. I know that before the mission I thought I was pretty cool. Everything in my life had come easily — I was talented and had success with ease. I had never really had any serious challenges or trials in my life. I was blessed with an amazing family and friends. Now that I´m on my mission, it has easily been the hardest time of my life. It is the first thing that I haven´t succeeded easily in. I have struggled to see the results of my labors, and I know that it is for a reason. God needs humble servants, and he has a million ways to teach us how to get there. Before my mission, I thought that I was developing my talents and that I was great — now I know that GOD gave me talents and that GOD has guided me and given me gifts. And every time that I try I start to think that I´m a good missionary and that I´m working hard, he always gives gentle reminders of who is really in charge.
- The importance of personal prayer. Before prayer was a routine for me — I just prayed every night simply because it was what I always did! I often remembered when I was laying down and was too lazy to even sit up to say the prayer. It was without feeling and always quick, using many of the same words. Now I know what prayer really is — it is a conversation with our father in heaven that gives us the spiritual strength that we need to overcome temptation and opposition and gives me great personal joy. We can often tell how spiritual a person is based on how powerful their prayers are. Before I talked at God in my prayer — now I know that I am talking with him, and I feel him close around me. I LOVE praying.
- What being patient really means! I had always thought that patience simply meant waiting for things. I know I was infamous for being impatient — always shouting at my siblings to hurry up because we were late for school or for some meeting. Now I realize that patience is just bearing trials WITHOUT COMPLAINING. Sure I can be late for something, but complaining or worrying about it isn´t going to change anything! It´s much better to just count our blessings, put our trust in God, and let Him do the work. We can have patience with companions, investigators, leaders, and especially with ourselves. Everything comes on the Lord´s time.
- The value of the scriptures. Every time I read the scriptures I can learn something new. I have changed from reading the scriptures to truly searching them. They become part of my everyday thoughts, I cite scripture in my everyday language, and most importantly, I apply it into my life. They have come to have true meaning for me. When I have nothing to do, my first preference is to sit down and read the word of God. I still have a LOT to learn.
These are just a few lessons that the Holy Spirit has guided me to as a missionary. I know that He can guide each one of us to become better people. I want the rest of my life to be dedicated to the Lord. Just thinking that I only have 9 months left to serve God with all my soul almost breaks my heart. Have I done enough? Or will other people fall short of salvation because I didn´t work hard enough to help them? That is the nightmare that haunts me every day as I lay down to go to sleep. I want to appear spotless before God at the last day and enter into his kingdom, and I want to bring as many people with me as I possibly can.
A couple of funny things that happen this week: my companion got stung by a scorpion that had gone to sleep in his sock. But poked a hole in his toe to get the venom out, and nothing happened. Fun stuff!
The relationship with my companion is getting better every day. I have truly had to humble myself and change my prayers from “please change him” to “please help me change”. We can change only ourselves!
We met a new less active man this week named Hugo. He hasn´t gone to church in over 30 years ,but he waved to us one day in the street and we started to talk with him, quickly finding out that he was an inactive member. A couple of days later we found him in the street and I took him to a nearby member´s home, bought him an ice cream, and he quickly became friends with the members and with us. We visited him in his home and he started to tell all of the experience that he had had as a member, and that because of his work and schooling he had once asked God for permission to stop going to church for a while. Now he know that God is calling him back, and he came to priesthood session with us on Saturday. He is an amazing man!
Love you all. The church is true. Shout out to the best family EVAH with three missionaries currently in the field! Thank you mom and dad for being the best parents I could ever ask for.
Elder See II
Those are just a few lessons.