This has been quite the week. We’ve been the joint teach for the Elders for one of their investigators J. She’s from Kenya and she’s BEAUTIFUL. One of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. But she’s also progressing really well in the gospel and she’s so sweet. She has a baptismal date for the 16th of August and she loves the missionaries and the ward members. She is so great and when she gets baptized she’ll be doing really well on the whole staying active front.
On Tuesday we met with L. We were worried that she wasn’t really grasping what the restoration means and we were worried that it wasn’t going to go anywhere, but when we met with her later in the week we realized that she understands more than we realize because of the cultural/language barrier. (I never learned any gospel words in Chinese). But she’s doing really well. I’m not sure if she’ll be ready to take that step of baptism before she goes back to China, but we’ve been in contact with the Church in China to get her set up to still go to church and be a part of a ward. She just won’t be able to be baptized until she comes back out of China. But I have hope that she was led to us for a reason and that the time will come when she is ready. SHe told us that she believes the gospel is true, she just doesn’t understand it. Which is okay. We want her to feel ready before she gets baptized. But I was seriously impressed on how much of the gospel that I don’t fully understand per se, but I feel like I believe it enough to feel that it’s true.
We were also in Zürich on Tuesday with Präsident Blaser, the Stake Präsident for a coordination meeting with the Zone leadership from both Zones. Präsident Blaser is a prime example of an inspired leader. He cares so much about missionary work and is truly one of many people that I admire and respect on my mission. He has done so many good things for this Stake and he is just so in touch with the Lord’s inspiration.
On Thursday we were back in Switzerland for Zone Konferenz where we met Präsident Kohler and his family. It was just so strange to see the difference between him and Präsident Miles. While we were sitting there listening to Präsident Kohler speak I just had this overwhelming rush of sadness/jealousy come over me for all the missionaries that get to have more time to be with Präsident Kohler. His vision for this mission is incredible and I am just so jealous that I don’t get to experience where this mission is going to go. But I know that the Lord called me on my mission at this time for a reason.
The Fourth of July was a fun day. We met with Schwester Kautz, one of the members here in Singen who loves America and Americans. So we brought an American flag, no bake cookies, and sang the star spangled banner with her. She loved it. We also had a night with the Zimmermans, well two of the Zimmermans, Antje and her daughter Joyce, and we hung up the flag, ate hamburgers and watched part of the Germany v. France game. Of course, Germany won. It’ll be interesting to see who wins against Brazil. I’m honestly wondering if Germany does get to the final game if we’ll be allowed to watch it. That would be awesome!!!!!
We’ll be going to München this week for MLC and I’ll get to see Sister Smith!!! But it’ll also be really interesting to see what President Kohler is like in these Leadership meetings. I’m really interested to see the changes that he makes to the mission, if he makes any this early on.
Well, this week has been quite the emotional rollercoaster for me. I’m torn between so many thoughts and things and I just don’t know what to think. Most of the time I just don’t think about it because it just confuses me. It doesn’t feel real and I still feel like I have four or five months left. But this week as I was reading in the New Testament, in my desperate attempt to finish the entire standard works before the end of my mission. (For any future missonaries, begin this quest at the begining of your mission and not when you have about eight months left. It’s a bit knapp.) And while I was reading I found a scriputre in Colossians 3 that says:
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
This really hit me because I had been so worried about what other people were going to think about the legacy I left behind as a missionary, and if I talked about home it would be a bad thing, but I do believe I have done my mission heartily. And I sincerely hope that when I am on that plane home I’ll be able to look out over Europe and feel Heavenly Father’s acceptance of my mission.
But I know that this scripture doesn’t just apply to me as a missionary, but it applies to all of us in whatever our daily ventures are. We can always find reasons to be happy in our lives, even if everything seems to tossed hap-hazardly into a handbasket and sent on down the road in a unicycle to the pit of fire waiting for you. That’s something I’ve learned in these last seventeen months, that even when things are hard, there is always a chorus of angels standing off to the side cheering you on, lifting you up when you can’t go on any further.
I have such a strong testimony that the Atonement of Jesus Christ extends further than we realize. If we let it, His Atonement can permeate itself into our lives and can give us the little extra umph to our try and that makes all the difference.
There will always be difficult times that enter into our lives. Always. If there is one that we can count on in this world it is that we will have hard times. But I’ve come to learn that whenever a hard time comes my way, it’s the Lord’s way of showing me that He’s trying to make me into something or someone better.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still struggle though these horrible times of trial, it’s just really easy to write pretty words while you’re sitting at a computer, but when you put life into practice it works you hard.
I feel a lot like the man that God put in front of a large boulder and told him to move the rock. The man, being obedient to the commandments of God, pushed the rock as hard as he could and for eighteen months he pushed that rock and had absolutely no success in moving it. Not even an inch. And after eighteen months God visited the man again and the man said, “Lord, I have tried my hardest to move this rock and nothing has worked. I have pushed and pushed with all my might all these months and I have seen no results.” The Lord in turn looked at the man and said, “My son, if I wanted to move the rock, I could. Instead I asked you to move the rock so you could grow and become strong. Look at yourself now, after eighteen months of pushing this rock, you have grown strong and steady.”
Sometimes I feel like God put me in front of a rock and told me to push, and that’s what I’ve been doing for seventeen months with little to no success. But I can see the spiritual growth in myself and in the way that I am and the person that I have become. And for that I am so grateful fro all the difficult times when I was on my knees pleading and asking the Lord, “Why!” I understand maybe just a little more than I did before about why the Lord wanted me to come here to be a missionary.