29 January 2017
PROMPT: Things That My Mission Has Taught Me and How That Has Helped Strengthen My Faith in Jesus Christ.
(I actually did this talk off of a few bullet points... So this is me kind of recreating what I said yesterday. You will hopefully get the message though.)
I left home for my mission almost exactly a year ago. Which feels like forever ago. For those who have never served a mission, being on a mission somehow simultaneously feels like it goes by in a blink of an eye and yet a separate lifetime as well. It has gone by incredibly fast. And things are constantly changing as a missionary! If I look back to who I was a year ago, I have certainly changed in many good ways. I have gained so much and I have learned so much in the process of trying to help my brothers and sisters come closer to the Lord. I was asked to speak on this topic of what have I learned, and I had a hard time figuring out what it was that I wanted to speak on, because I could be here for hours talking about different experiences and things, and I don't think any of you want that. So I have limited myself. A lot.
There are a lot of things that I had to learn since coming on my mission, like having to figure out public transport, never did that at home!
I've had to learn how to get along with different people from all over the world, that's been a fun one!
And because of that, I've learned the importance of telling someone how I feel when something happens instead of letting it just simmer to a boil. It is so much better when you just resolve the conflict early on!
Because as companions, we have to rely on each other, I've learned that for sure. I would no way be able to do this work on my own, I need my companions!
Not only have I had to learn to talk better with people I know, I've had to learn how to in general, speak to people I had met two seconds earlier, let alone then bringing up the gospel to this complete stranger. Still haven't perfected that one. But I've come to find that people are nicer than you think.
I've learned how to take on more responsibility in my life, there have been plenty of things I've had to do that I may not have wanted to do on my mission. There is a lot of trust that goes on in a mission nowadays I feel like. We really have to be accountable for our own actions.
I've learned just how much the Temple means to me, it's been almost a year since I've been able to go since it isn't in our area, I miss it so much!
I've come to realise just how truly my life has been blessed by the gospel and I would not be anywhere close to where I am today without it.
There are two main things that I wanted to speak on today. The first one of these things was that since coming on my mission, I have learned just how to and how important it is to rely on my Saviour. This took me some time to learn, I have been a member of this church all of my life and I didn't really get it till recently. I certainly didn't get it when I was 13. I have always believed that God is there, I just haven't always understood just what that actually means for me. When I was 13, my father passed. I didn't get it, I didn't understand why, and I didn't really see how God was helping us out at that time. Now, looking back, I can see how events and people fell into place that helped my family get through the difficult times and that was one of God's ways to show he cares. I sort of thought I was just toughing it and pulling through, but truly, it was only through His help I was able to manage. Since coming on my mission, I have been able to see that heavenly help much quicker in my life, and I have really learned how to call it down better. So after I had finished my time with my trainer, I was entrusted with someone new to train. I prayed so hard. I didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing. We would make plans and sometimes those plans failed, but somehow, we would be guided to where we needed to be. I remember one surprisingly warm summer day, my companion had worn a sweater and was dying of heat. So instead of making her just suffer through for making an odd wardrobe choice, we went back home so she could change. I then had the idea to, instead of going back to where we were in the morning to go to where we were on her first day. We went there and started knocking on one end. It wasn't sitting right with me, so we went to the other end. It didn't feel quite right knocking on that side either. At this point my companion started to look at me like I was crazy when I made us start over again on the other end. We knocked a few doors when all of a sudden a woman opens the door and exclaims that she hasn't seen missionaries in forever and that she was happy to see us! It was great. We then went on to have a lovely conversation with her and found out that she was an excommunicated member. We were able to talk with her and show to her that she wasn't forgotten by God. It was crazy. Another experience comes to my mind when I think of relying on the Saviour. We were teaching a woman and she was ready for baptism. Her baptism was scheduled for the same day as another baptism and Nancy's wedding, which I'm sure you all remember. So we had announced it on the before, and during sacrament meeting, I was sitting there wondering how on earth it was actually going to work out. We didn't have any set plans, we weren't sure how we were going to make it what she wanted... There were just a lot of moving pieces. I sat there during teh sacrament and I sat their in prayer telling Heavenly Father that I knew that He would help us work things out and that I was going to trust Him, that He has our best interest in mind. Throughout that week, as we took those steps forward in faith, things started to fall into place and her baptism happened and it was an amazing day! This experience reminds me of the experience Nephi had when he had the desire to get the plates but didn't know how. In 1 Nephi 4:6, he said, And I was led by the Spirit; not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. I get what he was talking about now! Well, a little bit more at least!
The second thing that I wanted to talk about is love. Love for others, especially random strangers on the streets. My favorite verse that talks about this love and charity you need to have while on a mission is from Moroni 7, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--But charity is the pure love Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day it shall be well with him. I mentioned earlier, I don't really like people all the time. I love them, but, you could probably at times count me as the anti-social type back home. I have had to work at this from time to time. Because it was hard for me to talk to people all the time in the first place, and then to love them and care about them after meeting them 30 seconds earlier... I had to develop some charity. There is a quote that I love that has helped me to see people better. It is by C. S. Lewis, It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses. To remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature, which, if you saw now you would be strongly tempted to worship... You have never talked to a mere mortal. There is a thing we sort of say as missionaries, that as we go about, we need to see people dressed in white. Not only the white of baptism clothes, but the white of temple clothes, because that is where we all want to end up one day! Remembering that we all have that same potential as children of God has helped me to have that greater love for my brothers and sisters on the streets of Pontefract. I have certainly learned that this work that we have all been called to is a labour of love. A very rewarding one at that as well! But it really is all about love .We need to have a love for God and his will. We need to have love for those we are serving as well. And as we do so, our love grows and grows. I don't think I have felt so much love in my life for the most random people until I came on my mission. My friend who was baptised who I spoke of earlier, she became less active after awhile. I of course left and I wrote her a couple of times with hopes that she would come back. It wasn't till last week, so a few months later, did I receive a letter in the mail. I was so excited when I realized who it was from! As I read the letter and she expressed her gratitude and that she was attending church and seeing the sisters... Words can't fully express the joy and gratitude and just love that I felt for her. It was amazing. My heart just burst a bit! It is interesting to see the difference from when I first met her to now. I am just so grateful that I do know her and have been blessed to be able to see her grow and help her progress back to heaven.
God is there. This is his gospel. He loves each of us inside and outside of this building. He has called us each to this wonderful work of His, helping our brothers and sisters to come home to Him. None of us can do it alone, I know I for sure I can't! I know how this gospel has blessed my life and also the life of others around me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen