Monday, July 7, 2014
Week 6 - Kevin is being transferred to the JUNGLE!!
Okay so if last week was the week of challenges, this week was definitely the week of wrapping things up. I´ll start off by saying that I am leaving this area (which is super fast to leave an area btw), but more on that later.This week was really interesting because my companion and I started off kind of bickering, and I really started to realize something new and interesting; we always have the choice over how we react to things. I started off responding to my companion yelling and getting angry by responding in turn, which is typically how I respond to anger. But after a while I realized that I was loosing the spirit, and was not able to concentrate on what I needed to, so I started meditating and focusing on not getting angry. After a while, I realized that no matter how frustrated and angry my companion got, if I just said I am going to be happy and not to let him get to me on that. After a while, we both calmed down, and had peace again, which was really nice. He and I both work as hard as we can, we just have grown up in such different worlds, that culturally it is hard to bridge the gap sometimes (like on washing clothes for example). Anyways, we ended on a good note. Well remember how we baptized Barney 2 weeks ago, this week we got to baptize his friend, who we´ve been working with since I got here. His friend has been abandoned constantly throughout his life, so he feels like nothing is important to him. I don´t want to go into too much detail about him, but there is a funny story about him. So we´d been trying to commit him to baptism for a while, and every time he just skipped out and didn´t want to do it. So he finally said that he would do it Saturday at 9. So we got to the chapel that day and he never arrived. Well come to find out, he had worked 16 hours the day before (for about 12 dollars btw) and he had lost the keys to the building and so had to stay. We found him at Barney´s house later that night, and w asked him when he´d like to be baptized. He said well right now sounds good (words every missionary wants to hear). So we rushed him over to the chapel, and luckily the Bishop was there. He ended up getting baptized at 9....at night. He still has a long way to go, and a lot to work on, but at the very least he has started down the path.
Anyways, beyond him, I had a really humbling experience with an investigator this week. He had an extremely bad infection and so could not speak to us, and could only write. He asked me to explain a philosophical question in terms of our religion (if God is the equation, how is man the result). After a long question and answer explanation, he finally was satisfied, but looked me in the eye and said that I did not have a testimony of what I was saying. He said (I am extrapolating and changing what he said a little bit) that you have a testimony of certain truths, such as that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the like, but you do not truly have a testimony of all of the things that your prophets teach. Sure they make sense to you intellectually, but do you really feel that you can truly become like your Father in Heaven. Which made me wonder how much do I feel what I am preaching, especially on issues such as tithing and Chastity. Do I really feel that the Lord has given me everything that I have, and that I am only giving him tithing to show him that I have faith in this point; do I really feel the importance of only having children within marriage because this power is sacred. It is a difficult question to think about because if we do not have a testimony of these points, it is very hard for us to preach about them.
Anyways, I have had one thing on my ind this week, and that is what is a successful missionary. My companion and I disagree on a single point, and that is what is a successful missionary. He says that a successful missionary is one who baptizes, and I must admit that there is definitely some truth to that, because there is a correlation between how good the missionary and the number of baptisms. However for me, I felt that there was something more than that. After a lot of prayer and study I think I finally understand. A successful missionary is one who has learned to put others in front of himself because of his love for them and for God, and has put this into practice in the mission field. If we have done this, then we can be satisfied with our work, no matter the baptism number (although the baptisms will come if you do this). When I say this, you do have to be smart as a missionary, you do have to work hard, and you do have to baptize, but I think for me, that is how I will judge my success.
With all of that in mind, I want to say how I feel about coming on a mission for people in general. I remember up in Provo, there was absolute panic about whether or not girls should go on a mission and things like that, and I heard a lot of interesting things said by a lot of different people on the topic. After being here, I think that I realized that all too often, people would pray if they should go on a mission and then complain that they did not get a strong prompting in one direction, and that God did not tell them what they should do. I do not believe that this is really how revelation works. We pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and if we feel strongly prompted to go on a mission, or not to, (or whatever topic) we listen. If not, we study it out in our minds some more, ask again, and if there is still nothing, we make our best decision and try trust God to take care of and guide us. In D&C 4 it says we are called here based on whether or not we desire to go on a mission. So why would anyone want to go on a mission when they could en up living in the middle of some jungle, getting fatter by the day (I am fighting this as hard as I can, and the struggle is real), and making school harder for when they get back. Sure, you will help people an change lives, but for most of us, this is really a hard topic to grasp without us actually seeing them and how they live. For me, if you really want to know why I think missions are so awesome, its because of what they do for you. You learn so much, you are exposed to challenges like you cannot believe and you overcome them. Also, and I really can testify to this, the Lord is more receptive to your prayers and answers every single one. You also receive blessings from your Father in Heaven. Really it can all be summed up in this, in being out here does anyone really believe that Heavenly Father would let your life be worse because you chose to serve, of course not. This is not to say a mission is right for everyone, some people really do receive promptings not to come, but if it were up to me, and I did not feel prompted either way, despite the rocky start, I would come out here; it is worth every second of it.
Finally, (wow I have written a lot today) I got a call last night, and they are sending me to the jungle. I am going to be exposed to a whole new set of challenges I am going to be with Elder Killpack (whose name sounds like a killstreak in Halo btw), and he only has two more transfers on his mission, so I should be with him for 3 months. Anyways, I am a little sad to leave my area, but given a tropical storm is coming this week, and my area is prone to waste deep water throughout all of the streets, I cannot say I am overly disappointed with the timing. I would like to note however I will miss the members terribly and I love them, they are simply great. Oh, Presidente Trevino is dead (what happens when you end your term, so yes I get to kill killpack), and Presidente Cordova was just born. I don´t know him, so I am really excited. I love you all lots, and I cannot write but a hundredth part of everything out here. Nos vemos!
Elder Kevin Standridge