March 13th, 2017
There comes a time, towards the end of a missionaries' service, that the adversary attacks and makes missionaries believe that they weren't successful and that they could've done better.
I got to that point this last week, and I just broke down. I asked my district leader, Elder Schoenfeld, for a blessing, and as usual Heavenly Father was able to tell me exactly what I needed to hear.
The next day, we went to visit our spiritual powerhouse of a less-active member, Fxxx Oxxx. I felt the Spirit so strongly as we taught him about the Plan of Salvation. When we got to the Atonement, I had him read that scripture that I cherish so much found in Alma 36:19-21, where Alma experiences the joy that can only be brought about by Christ and the Atonement. Then Hno Oxxx told us about how, when he came to church about two weeks ago after a long time, he was silently debating to himself whether he was worthy to take the sacrament or not. He took it, and he felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over him. Then he told us that he didn't think it was a coincidence that we had found him and started teaching him to remind him of his beliefs. He said that both my companion and I would make lasting impressions to him for the rest of his life. I just started crying. He expressed so perfectly why I needed to be sent here on a mission; why I needed to meet these specific people that the Lord has placed on my path. I couldn't stop crying and even now as I'm typing this I can remember how strong the Spirit was as we visited him and it just makes me so happy and want to start crying again.
This week we had a zone training; the last one I will ever have! :( It was about the parables found in the scriptures.
The things that stuck out most to me were the following: Elder Schoenfeld talked about lots of times we see repentance as a glass half empty, meaning we only focus on the things that we are lacking. But repentance means looking at ourselves as a glass half full, meaning that you can acknowledge what you are doing right, and add to it. It's the same with our investigators; rather than just focusing on their faults (i.e. smoking) focus on what they are doing right, (prayer and scripture study can help overcome addiction to smoke.) Elder Manly mentioned that when we came on our missions, we agreed to go find the lost sheep and leave our "99 sheep" back home (our families, our personal lives).
At the end of the zone training, it was asked that those missionaries who were leaving at the end of the transfer would offer their testimonies. I once again felt the Spirit incredibly strongly as I testified of the Atonement and of the principle of turning outward in order to feel joy.
So one time I was just pondering during personal study or something. I wondered why it is that mothers have to go through so much pain in order to give birth to a child. But I thought about it and I wonder if it's because mother's wouldn't appreciate their child as much if it were so easy to give birth. The fact that it's so hard just makes the child so much more special.
Likewise I definitely would not have appreciated my mission as much if it were easy. This is like the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's also the best decision I've ever made in my life, by far.
I am so sad that my time as a missionary is coming to an end, but I know that the Lord has more things in store for me back home. Love you!