Somewhere in the next two weeks, I'm allegedly finishing my "sister" mission. 18 months already??
And you all want to know something -- it took me this long to finally understand
I HAVE NO CLUE HOW MISSIONARY WORK EVEN WORKS.
Of course, there's those basic principles where you work hard, and good things happen. But the thing is, on my mission so far, I've figured out a few things that make me realize that I know very little about how the Lord gets his work done. Allow me to explain my week, and maybe you can join in with me as we stare "in awesome wonder"....
We had a baptism scheduled for . This man is a very good man. His name is Volodymyr. He's been investigating for the past 3 years -- had 2 other baptismal dates that fell through because of different issues... and he was SO EXCITED ABOUT HIS BAPTISM! It was invigorating to see someone with a real desire to follow Christ, and enough drive to get something done. He would show up to the Church almost every day to have a discussion with us, and we worked hard with him to get prepared.
And then.... Poof. He's gone.
He stopped showing up to our meetings a few days before his baptism... didn't set a time with us to get his interview... and when the other Elder's saw him on the street last night, he ran off in an attempt to avoid them.
So that was hard. Mostly because he was so excited... and now we're not sure what's wrong. Stop bys have been unsuccesful, and he didn't show up to sacrament meeting like he has been for the past 4 or 5 weeks.
Lo, and behold, the night that we skyped home to our families, a guy from india walked right into the church and asked if he could start lessons again. He is a really cool kid, with a pretty hard situation. Due to certain circumstances in his life, he felt like he needed to come to our church and see if someone here could help him to feel peace, and understand what Christ might be able to do to help him.
And evening... after a lesson about Christ's atonement and the power of forgiveness, he accepted an invitation to be baptized on .
This was the evening of the that we were supposed to have a baptism. God's work seems to work like this -- at least in my brain-- :
Whatever God wants to happen, will happen, despite you.
You just get to choose if you're going to stick along for the ride, or bail out.
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
I'm pretty sure that I'm supposed to be learning what it means to "fit" into the kingdom of God.
It's not a very comfortable or easily understood experience going into it. I'm hoping that along the way, I understand it a bit more....
This whole week has been just a bit overwhelming, honestly.
We've had several conference calls, skype calls, and follow up calls for the mission leadership. Just this week. We have a temporary president until our new mission president gets into country on . It means that we have an inspired man trying to teach us everything he possibly can... in the space of 1 transfer. It's like trying to learn how to juggle, while simultaneously trying to tame a lion and jumping through every flaming hoop that's ever been successful in missionary work from the BEGINNING OF TIME. It's mentally challenging, and emotionally - it's taken a toll. I've recognized my need to turn to God through prayer more now than ever. Inadequacy is probably the most common feeling amongst all people who have ever been called to this great work. Fate would have it though, that Joy is the most common feeling amongst those who accept and perform the work they're given.
This mission has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. It's required every ounce of hope and positivity that I have... even in the face of ALMOST total defeat. It's not been easy at all. Do I love it? Of course! I wouldn't trade this time that I have left for anything. In fact, I would be willing to trade a lot of things to get a bit more time out in the field!!
So, all of this is going through my mind... right? And then, during companionship study, my little NOT TRAINEE anymore companion, whips this bad boy out as part of his personal study (I haven't even told him what I've been feeling):
"It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
Missionary work, in reality, is really simple.
We have our part to do: Obedience, learning, repenting, searching, and teaching with the Holy Ghost.
And then God DOES EVERYTHING ELSE. In His way, or course.
And now, my mind is already a bit more peaceful.
It's comforting to know that there is our Father in Heaven who as planned all of this out. It is comforting to know that there is a Savior, even Jesus Christ, who has paid the price for us -- and that we can go through this mortal experience in order to grow and accomplish something. I'm grateful for the simple truths of the Gospel.
Thus saith the , In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee....
I know that this is God's work. I know that He will provide for his Children every needful thing. I know he loves each and every one of us.
Let us all press on!
For an unseen pow'r will aid me and you...