Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31st, 2014

I decided to finish of the best year of my life by spending my day with the Sister Missionaries in my home ward. 

I was able to go to my first district meeting, which was definitely a blast. One of the sisters discussed the baptismal invitation and then we did a role-play in which we practiced teaching the Restoration. I pretended to be someone who was not a member of the church. It was an incredible feeling. I was finally able to understand why people are drawn to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I channeled my "inner-investigator," I was amazed at the spirit I was able to feel, despite the situation being only a role-play. 

One of the best parts of the role-play was the list of blessings one of the Elders brought to my attention. He began to explain to me all of the wonderful blessings I could receive by following Jesus Christ, especially having a relationship with God. I wish I could adequitely describe the overwhelming feelings of joy I had as I listened to his words. 

I was also very moved by the invitation that the missionaries "extended" to me. Extending an invitation to baptism is a very scary and a very intimidating thing. Yet when the missionaries were speaking to me, I was sure that the decision to be baptized was my choice. No one was pressuring me into making this decision. I wholeheartedly felt in control of the choice when I was extended the invitation. 

After the district meeting, we went "spirit tracting." Spirit tracting basically means we drive/walk around the area and we follow the spirit as He guides us to homes where people may be ready and wanting to hear about Jesus Christ. We did this for about two hours before we finally began visiting church members' homes instead. Unfortunately, none of the members were home, and everyone whose door we knocked on politely declined our offer. 

This was incredibly disheartening for me to experience. Each time before we knocked on a door, we would pray that the person behind that door would be home, and that they would be excited to hear about God's Plan for them. At some point, I began to really ask myself whether or not God was even listening. To be quite blunt, it felt like He did not care. Each time I prayed, I felt as though I was speaking to a brick wall with no response. Our prayers were honest and sincere, yet we had no luck. 

I kept silently praying that I would be comforted and that I would see some type of progress. 

I heard a phrase once that explained that some missionaries are "sowers", while others are "reapers." While I'm sure it is disheartening to never feel like you have made any progress, it was even more disheartening to not even be able to hold a conversation with anyone. More than anything, I just wanted to show these individuals my love for them, and God's love for them. I wouldn't even mind being a sower. Yet I felt completely useless in the hands of God because we were not able to get past a "hello we are missionaries" and a "no thanks, we aren't interested, goodbye." 

How am I supposed to fulfill my purpose as a missionary if I can't even say more than a simple sentence to them? 

I've also come to realize that this is such a "wo is me" attitude. 

And I'm not actually even a missionary yet!

During the district meeting today, though, we watched a video (click here to watch) about the life of Christ, with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's message to missionaries (click here to read) as a narration. Elder Holland explained that "missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience." He continued to explain the immense sacrifice Christ made, and he pointed out that despite all our challenging experiences, Christ has already suffered for it. 

We then read Doctrine & Covenants 122: 5-9, all of which list the most awful things that could happen to an individual. The passage explains that "even if the very jaws of Hell shall gape open after thee, know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." But the verse that really struck me stated: "The Son of Man hath descended below all things. Art thou greater than He?" 

Despite the challenges now and the challenges ahead I know I will face in missionary work, I am comforted in knowing that this is not my work. My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ. My responsibility is to put my trust in God, and open my mouth. 

And though I struggle to understand why our genuine prayers were not answered, I am comforted knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan. He loves us. He loves you. And He loves these people in Colorado. He loves the people in Georgia. And He is eager for the day when He can wrap His arms around each child of his and say: "Welcome home."

Happy new year to you all!

(This picture has no relevance, I just thought it would be a good one to share)


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