Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011 - Email from Elder Bezas

Ok... So my bad on not having a thrilling email last week :P Sorry I just ran out of things to say. :) I'll do better this time.

So one thing this week that was super cool was we had Zone Conference. We had a couple that cover the northeastern United States missions. They go around and meet with the different missionaries in those missions. So they spoke for a while at ours. It was awesome. One thing Sister Christensen mentioned was her fear she originally had of public speaking, but that the Lord has helped her overcome that as she's put forward the effort. 

The thing that stuck out the most from what she said is this: "The Lord doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called." 

It totally fits with how I feel. I feel inadequate for this work. But He is helping me to do this each day. I'm getting better at this. There's always room for growth. But Christ provides us hope that we can overcome our challenges. So with zone conferences I always come away feeling like, Man, I thought I was doing alright, but there's a lot more I need to be doing. But that's good. It keeps me humble. And growing.

So I remember waiting for little bro to get done with Scouts in the church building a few weeks before I left on my mission. And at that point, there was a mission zone conference going on in the chapel. And I remember hearing missionaries who were departing and going home giving their testimonies. And thinking about the time that that would be me. And now that I'm in the field and witnessing other individuals who are going home and thinking again about the time that that will be me giving my last testimony as a missionary in the field. Whooo.... 

Scary. I don't like that thought. I really want to make the most of this time. That way when that moment comes, I can feel confident that I've done enough. That I've served hard enough and spent my time well. That way I can come home and go on with the next stage of life. 

A mission should be a stepping stone on a person's spiritual development, not the pinnacle of a person's life. I feel my mission is helping me grow into a state of being where I feel comfortable and better capable of sharing the gospel with people I know once I get back home. Because I want to come home and just continue doing missionary work while picking up the other responsibilities that come with regular life again. I don't want to lose this fire. I want to help reactivate those that have lost that zeal and are less active. I want to be a ward missionary. Or teach primary. That would be awesome. Or scout master. Those would be pretty chill callings.

So I'm learning a better appreciation for our talents. I've been able to sing for three meetings while I've been out. At the three day "golden/greenie" training in May (Savior, May I Learn to Love Thee), at some beloved converts' baptisms (How Great Thou Art), and then at Zone Training (Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd). 

It feels truly great being able to help add to the Spirit of a meeting that way. I don't claim the ability to sing as mine. It's from the Lord. He's given it to me with the intent for me to try to lift others through that. I'm just a tool. I can't flaunt it. It's God's. I just like being able to be used as a tool in the Lord's hands that way.

It's interesting with transfers coming up. My whole life there was the suspense of where I was going to go on a mission... And then I finally got my call and knew where I was going... And then I REALLY found out where I was going when I was reassigned. Ha. Anywho. The one thing that drives me crazy (in an ok way) is not knowing how long I'll stay in an area. Ok in a way I do... I know every six weeks that I'll be in that area for six weeks... 

But still. There's a part of me that wishes I could know how long I will be in an area so I could gauge how attached I get to the people there and know when it is the last time that I'll talk with those individuals while on my mission. I think it'll be cool to come back in a year or two after my mission with you guys and show you around. 

Also with companions. I wish I knew how long I'd be with each comp, so I could gauge how attached I get. But I guess it's all for the best. I'm just a very loyal person.... unless someone just continually gets to me and gets on my bad side then I'm not loyal. But for a large majority of the people out there, I am extremely loyal once I'm around them for a while. So it's hard when I don't know how long I'm going to be with someone with that in mind. But it's all good. It all happens for a reason.

So in church this Sunday, when we walked into the chapel, there was totally a woman, that looking at her from behind... the back of her head looked almost identical to yours, Mom. It was crazy. I was like, wait, no... It couldn't be. It wasn't, but yeah. Crazy.

Oh yeah, so like a month ago we had bed bugs. Not cool. So we slept in the living room for a couple nights while we let the mattresses which we sprayed with permithren (sp?) settle and kill the nasty bug joo joo bad guys. Oh that was itchy. I don't know how I forgot to say that at the time. I just get to the computer and my mind goes blank. My bad. ...But the main thing is I lived. We laughed. We cried. It became a part of me.


So we had this super cool contact this week. We were knockin' doors and - wait, to preface - Our zone leaders recently asked us to view each person we talk with as the next person we'll help enter the waters of baptism and come closer to Christ in that way... Trying to view them with charity.  - Anywho, so with this one contact I truly tried to do that. When the guy opened the door (teenager), I said a little prayer in my heart that we'd be able to connect with him and find out what aspect of the gospel would bring him fulfillment in life. So we asked him some questions... 

First he said he wasn't really religious, and so I asked what it is that gets him going or gives him motivation. What matters to him. And he said his mom. So I talked about the immense connection I have with you guys and how much you matter to me. And asked if he would be interested in knowing how his mother and he could be united after this life. He was genuinely interested. Too bad he lives for the most part outside of our mission boundaries. Bummer. But we passed his name on. 

It was just a cool experience in how the Spirit has each person's best interests at heart and will help us help them as we truly try to care for them. Plus he had a sweet name - Quadir!
 
So we had a sweet experience teaching one of our investigators who drinks coffee. It seems like everyone and their dog and mother drinks coffee out here on the east coast. Ha. Anyways. So this individual is super eager to be baptized...and wants to move their baptismal date up. But they've said repeatedly that we'll "never take their coffee away from them." And this last week we brought a member who was a convert... We had no idea he was a tea drinker before. 

So during the lesson, which was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we brought up how the Word of Wisdom is a commandment that the Lord has asked us to live along with baptism--For our benefit. And this member was able to bear sincere testimony about his experience. The investigator is now willing to consider and pray about that. 

Such a sweet experience. The Spirit changes hearts. He is the one who converts. Not us as missionaries. We are only teachers of the gospel. We have power given to us from God to represent Him in ministering unto His children and providing them with knowledge of the Gospel - the tools they need to make it through this life... It's ultimately their choice to accept and live it. The Spirit is the converting factor.

Alright, well I love you all and I will talk to you next week! :)

Elder Paul
--
"Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism." -Alma 7:15