Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Imperfection, Action, and the Great and Spacious Building

SAN DIEGO – Heavenly Father has really decided to push and pull me around a little bit —and it is definitely working. I want to share with you some things today, some lessons I have learned: some experiences that have humbled me, and some moments that have strengthened my faith. It's a lot, so please bear with me.

Before I start, I want to tell you what I used to think of when I heard the word "missionary". I thought of a guy dressed in black pants, a white shirt, name tag on shirt, scriptures in hand ready to conquer the world. I thought they could do no wrong, they knew every answer, they never had a hard time, they never messed up. You can see that my understanding of what it means to be a missionary was very skewed.

I want to open up my life as a missionary and let you see that though I do have a black name tag on my shirt, I am imperfect: I mess up, and life is HARD for me many times. I cried myself to sleep last night; this week has been so hard. I am not telling you this to get your pity or sympathy. I am sharing this because I want you to know that I am just like you. And just like you, there are lessons that I need to learn to be a better daughter of God.

I hope that as I write by the Spirit and you read by the Spirit, that my experiences this week can help you learn something that God needs you to learn to reach your full potential as well.

First, let me share with you some lessons I learned:

Elder Zwick, if you remember, toured our mission a few months ago. This past month, he was touring Samoa, Tahiti, and other islands in the South Pacific. On his way back, he stopped once again in San Diego and wanted to take his family through the tour with some other close friends. He asked if he could have a fireside with the sisters at the Battalion. I want to share with you a story. I only have time for one, but maybe next week.

This story actually comes from Sister Zwick. She told us a story about her son Scotty, who is in his thirties and has some mental disabilities and thus lives in a group home in Orem while they travel around the world.

The temple President in Portland are the Zwick's good family friends. The president shared an email with Sister Zwick that his son had emailed to him. His son had been having a really hard time with his family and other things. He was really feeling low. But he was really excited for General Conference that was coming up, and he was praying and praying and praying that something one of the General Authorities would say would answer the questions of his soul.

Session after session ended and by the time the closing prayer was ended, he felt dejected and that God had not heard his pleas. Just at that moment his cell phone rang and the caller ID said, "Scott Zwick". Brandon wasn’t going to answer it, because phone calls with Scotty are often full of questions and last a really long time, and quite frankly, Brandon felt that he wasn’t in the mood, but something made him answer the phone. He heard Scotty's voice on the phone and he said, "Brandon, I just wanted to call you and tell you that Jesus loves you and I love you too." Brandon explained, that at that moment, he knew that God had heard him and did know who he was.

And all that he needed to know was that he was loved, by a Father in Heaven and by His Son, Jesus Christ.

Do you see what I mean when I tell you that what you do makes a difference! Listen to the Spirit when he urges you to do something. If you don’t act, God will use someone else to do his will, and what a shame it would be to not be trusted by God enough to follow out His will.

Second, Let me share with you an experience that humbled me. I think I will write this out of my journal because I really don’t want to retell it- I hate messing up!

May 3, 2012

"Today was really hard. We had our weekly training meeting where we train the sisters at the Battalion. Sister Kennington and I did the training and then separated to practice with the sisters. When we came back, my group was a little late, so they were already talking. I asked if my group could hear what was said. We went on with training, but I could tell something was hurting my companion. I looked at her and my heart sank. 

I knew that I had acted out of harmony with Jesus Christ, for I had caused her hurt. We talked and I came to the realization that I had made her feel that I didn’t trust her to wait for all of us to get back into the room and I didn’t work with her in unity. I have been trying so hard to be better at allowing others to lead, but I think the harder and harder I try, the more and more I seem to mess up. 

It is really hard for me to allow others to lead. It's a weakness I know I need to get over to become a true disciple of Christ. It may seem like a little thing that happened today, but I realize that if my companion felt badly about it, then it matters a lot. She is so gracious and so patient with me, something I admire in her a lot. I think this experience opened my eyes to how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ care. This little things that we do matter. The little ways we mess up, and then become better are a big deal. We don’t live life by the year; we live it by the hour, by the minute, by the second. It is day by day that we become who we are meant to become....."

Finally, I have one more experience I want to share, a moment that has strengthened my faith. Cinco de Mayo in Old Town is CRAZY. I mean ridiculous. Sister Kennington and I were at the temple in the morning and then on shift at the Battalion at night. A drive from the temple that usually takes about 10-15 minutes took us just over an hour.

We were driving bumper to bumper trying to get to our apartment, which gave us plenty of time to watch what was going on around us. It hurt my heart to watch how past feeling all of these people were. Alcohol, tobacco, loud, offensive music, inappropriate dancing and actions, immodesty (bad, I mean real bad). It was like a movie, driving through a sea of people who weren’t real, they were literally like zombies.

Later, Elder Seegmiller shared with us his experience with being down in the middle of it at the booth. He told the sisters there to watch him. He walked into the middle of the swarm of people making their way to who knows where and he would wave right in front of their face. None of them acknowledged him. None of them knew he was there. He related it to the great and spacious building. My heart started pounding as I heard that. The Spirit was teaching me that this experience was exactly that. My faith was strengthened by seeing how real Satan is, and how real the Savior and His Atonement are.

I am out of time, but I hope these lessons I learned have strengthened and helped you. In summary, help others, be humble, and go forward with faith.

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