News on our investigators:
Vishal--Well frustrated because he has been doing the right thing his whole life and it apparently has gotten him nowhere. I think it's a combination of middle child syndrome, timidity, as well as a stern moral compass, although he thinks that moral compass came from brainwashing religion in his childhood. He's really opened up to us, and we've been studying about the fruits of the Spirit and how vital joining the Church is NOW, rather than in spirit prison. Please pray that he will feel the spirit in his mind and in his heart--he's determined that this Gospel make sense logically (which it does) before he acts on his positive feelings.
Cindy--Agreed to be baptised on January 28th! She's really excited about it, and every time she says one of her beautiful prayers she thanks Him for this chance to change her life and she tells Him she believes. She even came to church on Sunday--two hours of sleep because she was SO EXCITED. Testimony meeting was amazing, and she thought everything was fantastic!
In other news:
-Warren Jeffs' prophecy that the world will end at the end of December 2011, to no one's surprise, was a sham. I feel relieved, I don't know about you...
-David Archuleta has manned up to go serve a mission. I wonder if he'll make the District 3?
-We've ridden our bikes once in the last two weeks (Boxing Day). I felt so alive! And then Hurricane Jemma hit. Fine.
-They've forwarded our post from the office and we should be getting it this week or next. Christmas all over again!
-Moves predictions: I think Christensen is off to whitewash
Brighton with a greenie mid January. I'm still learning
my way around the island, since we haven't been on bikes lately.
I've been studying a lot about joy recently, what with the grey and grouchy people we speak to all the time. Sometimes people stop and (usually they're drunk) ask us why we're so happy. Cindy says our spirits oozes out our skin so that you can see it. (I think that's because teaching her is amazing). Joy is something we share as missionaries, although it is the purpose of everyone else existing. Joy is an emotion of the soul, and it is best friends with sorrow. Sometimes sorrow tugs your heart in opposite directions so much so that you think it will break--but then it doesn't. And something beautiful happens. Your heart is now big enough to fit the massive emotion of joy. Heavenly Father has a fullness of joy, and I've no doubt His sorrow over His idiot children pulls His heart in every direction--but that is the only way He can feel joy when some of us are successful and His grand purposes come to pass.
Sometimes you expect things on your mission, whether it's good food, a crazy companion, cold showers, driving around in a car...you expect things, and then, without realizing it, you're disappointed. I suppose the better thing to do is to expect that the Lord will help you fulfill His work, so long as you are true and faithful. His work can come to pass in any situation, so long as it is His timing. There was a time when stakes existed on
Jersey. I think it will happen again, when the
saints are ready for it and when His timing determines the right orchestration
of events. That can be frustrating as a missionary to want all these things for
your area and to work as hard as you can to make it happen--but there really
are very few things we can control. We can't force people to read or pray or
come to church or be baptized. We can't force members to fellowship or the Ward
Council to see things our way.
With that depressing thought, there are some things we can control. We can practice our teaching skills and become so familiar with the Spirit's presence that we can create environments where he can testify, even on a busy street. We can love these people with all our hearts the way the Savior did, despite their shortcomings or philosophies or attitudes. We can pray with all the energy of heart to discover what the Lord would have us do. Even though we missionaries have very little power over people's agency, it is ennobling to know that when we live worthy to "walk with God" as Enoch did, He will exercise His power over the hearts of the people we teach. That's when the joy comes--when your feet hurt and you're starving and people have been rude, it doesn't bother you because there's this sustaining glow that comes from somewhere else.
I'm grateful to have been able to experience joy on my mission. It's been a great last two days, and I'm not naive enough to think that it will last much longer before something bad happens, but I'm grateful to know that the Lord sustains His missionaries when the work is hard. Let's face it. No Ensign article ever says, "we were knocking the last door of the fourth floor of flats and this guy came out and verbally abused us until we ran out of the building," but it's more common than the miraculous baptism. That's okay. It makes us appreciate the success more. Sorrow=joy, right? Miracles are more like a potential calling us, finding a less-active on the street who doesn't exist in the records, a member calling us to say they invited their friend to church, running into formers on the street, your district calling to say that the person you've been praying for came to church for the first time--those are incredible miracles, and they happen all the time. It's an amazing thing to serve.
Keep up all you do to serve the Lord, and He will sustain you and you will feel His joy.