So I’m going to try not to be a total downer in this email, but this has sort of been a dark week for me. I think the charm of missionary life has finally worn off and the reality of living this way for the next 18 months has settled in. It just seems like this week has been full of struggles. My shoes almost all rub wrong in certain places and today we get to wear casual clothes because we are doing a zone p-day activity and my jeans have a hole in the inner crotch area. What the heck! How am I going to survive for a year and a half? It just seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in sight. On Friday night I just wanted to call you and cry because I feel so frustrated, but of course I couldn’t.
The times where we have to find people are almost like torture. Nobody wants to hear what we have to say and even our investigators don’t really want to hear our message. We have a Chinese investigator named Oscar who we have taught all the lessons to and is deciding about baptism. He told us that he didn’t want to meet with us for a little while so he can make sure he is making the decision apart from our influence. We meet with him on Tuesday and we will find out whether or not he will be baptized.
I suppose maybe I am blowing things out of proportion and I just need to focus on taking one step at a time, but it seems hard right now. The next transfer date is September 1st and it’s possible that I might be transferred then, so I’m trying to set my sights on that right now. The main point is that I miss my old life a lot this week and it makes me sad to not be able to make memories with any of you for the next 18 months. I know I need to stay positive and I’m trying. One of the attributes I am working on developing is patience right now; to not get so discouraged and down when things aren’t necessarily going exactly right, but to have hope and faith that what I’m doing here matters.
I do have an inspiring street contacting story from Saturday night. We had just knocked on a door and been rejected, but then a lady was walking past on the sidewalk right outside that house and we started talking to her instead. We talked to her about God and she expressed that she has turned away from God because her son died years ago and she still feels so angry about it. I felt impressed to share the experience of Mary dying and how that affected our family and left a hole that still exists today. I briefly taught her about the plan of salvation and expressed to her that I knew she would see her son again. I told her that I know that when people die, it’s not the end, and that I know our loved ones are still involved in our lives and know what is going on, and that I had felt Mary close at certain points in my life. I didn’t tell her this, but in fact I felt Mary close at that very moment. I got emotional and she told me not to cry because it was going to make her cry. It was a tender moment, and I could almost see her heart soften in the brief 5 minutes we were talking to her. She asked me why she hasn’t been able to feel her son close. I told her that because she has turned away from God, it must make it hard for her to be sensitive to spiritual things, and she agreed and said that she has so much anger and hurt in her heart. She told us that she doesn’t know why she blames God because her son died because of his heroine addiction. I told her that I knew that because of the atonement, Christ suffered not only for all our sins, but also all our pain and heartache. I told her that He truly knows how she is feeling It was a brief encounter, but it really strengthened my testimony of some of the things I know to be true and helped me realize that there really are certain people that only I can reach because of my personality and personal experience. That is powerful. This was the most spiritual lesson I have taught. We are going to try to make contact with her again sometime this week.
I didn’t talk to President Pilkington about how I play the harp, but everybody already knows. That was the first thing most of the sisters and the couple missionaries talked to me about at our orientation in Leeds. I think Sister Pilkington expressed interest in trying to get a harp for me to one of the other sisters, but she didn’t say anything to me. She wrote all of the new missionaries this week, so I got a card from her in the mail telling me that she was praying for me and hoping my first couple weeks have gone well. I thought that was really sweet of her.
Happy Anniversary to two of the greatest people I know. Thank you for everything you have taught me. You have given me such a solid foundation for life and I look to your teachings for guidance in every aspect of my life, especially here on the mission. Thank you for teaching me the teachings of Christ and His gospel and for giving me the inspiration to want to share it. I know that regardless of whatever I do in life, I will have your endless support and love. I can’t wait until the day I can give both of you big hugs!
P.S. We have a mission-wide conference on Wednesday and Elder Ballard is coming to speak to us. I can’t wait! It will be fun to be able to see my MTC friends again so soon and receive an inspiration message! Yea!
P.P.S. Jacob sent me a talk by Eldar Bednar called “The Strength of the Lord” and basically it talks about not praying for the Lord to change your circumstances, but praying to be given strength to change your circumstances. I think that really applies to me now, and know it will apply throughout my mission. Thanks Jake!
P.P.P.S. The picture of the hydrangeas was for you. They are EVERYWHERE here! Every time I see them, I think of you and miss you!