FELIZ ANIVERSÁRIO GRANDMA KOETITZ!!!
This week I think I finally realized what the “hard part” of a mission is. Before my mission, I always thought it would be walking through the steep roads in the blazing sun or the pouring rain, having doors slammed in my face, being rejected and mocked by people day by day, living the strict rules and schedule that I live as a missionary, leaving the world behind, and things like that. But in reality, all of that is pretty easy. The work of sharing the gospel and helping improve peoples´ lives is so worth it.
The hard part is the people I´ve taught with my companion that have almost grasped the fruits of the gospel — The people that were excited de mais for the gospel and were changing and growing and improving — but then they fell, they tripped, they gave in to the temptations of the devil and they gave up because it isn´t easy. Sheri Dew has a book (I think) entitled, If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn´t Be Hard. I love this concept. I think two of the most succesful tools the devil has are hopelesness and complacency.
And I´ve already seen so many people “reject this glad message” because they either lose hope or they are just too comfortable where they are.
I am reading the new testament right now; I just finished Luke. I thought a lot about the life of Christ and the temptations he endured from the devil. In Jesus The Christ,Talmage talks about how many people in the world believe Christ couldn´t sin. But if this were true the whole plan of God would be frustrated. Christ was just as susceptible to temptation as each of us. Alma 7 talks about how Christ would suffer pains and suffering and temptations of every kind in order that he might know how to succor us. I studied today chapter one of Preach My Gospel, “Our Purpose”. I´ve read this chapter probably dozens of times, but today I remembered that our purpose is to call the world to repentance with love and with boldness. Because the plan of salvation will be fulfilled when we act. The gospel is founded on our agency, our ability to choose to live the gospel.
And the hardest thing in my mission is when people begin in the path to the tree of life but give it up before they make it there. We have a rule in our mission from President Dalton that we read 1 Nephi Chapter 8 (The Vision of the Tree of Life) with all of our investigators before baptism. Because if our investigators our aware that Satan is going to tempt them when they commence in the path, they will be on the lookout and recognize his attempts when they come.
So, this week many of the people I have developed love for in our area dropped us. Karen said she doesn´t want to meet with us anymore (the lady who owns her house won´t let us in and we are pretty sure she is the one that started the doubts in her mind), Everton, who I think I talked about last week, told us that his girlfriend want´s to go to his uncle´s church since they are family and they won´t come with us, and Viviane, an incredible investigator who was determined to come to church and wouldn´t let anything stop her…. wasn´t at home, didn´t answer her phone, didn´t show up and we found out that she had gone on a date with her boyfriend instead (at 9 AM).
But, despite all this, the week was good. Because we know that we did everything in our power to invite others to come unto Christ. Yes, we can improve, no, we weren´t perfect, but we gave all of our effort and expected the best.
However, we are teaching to people (seperately) that should definitely be baptized this week. Marly has a son on a mission who will return this week and baptize her. Her story is really cool as her entire family has joined the church as a result of her son´s mission. And now he will come home and baptize his Mom. The other, Antonio, was a reference from other missionaries. His girlfriend was baptized a few months ago in another ward and now he will be baptized this week. I truly understand how Alma felt when he said that he wished he could be an angel and shout to the ends of the earth the everlasting gospel so everyone would accept it. Because our joy is so great when people do accept it. But, like Alma said, we have to learn to humbly accept the calling that God has for us right now.
This week I learned a lot. It was good because of this. And I have a feeling that the next week will be really good. I promise I will send pictures sometime.
Feel better, Mom and Dad and Grandma Koetitz!
P.S. Mom, I will go to the mission office today and find out if my package is there. Also, it is fine that you put the check in your account. Thank you so much.