Saturday, September 3, 2011

Don't Give An Inch

It's the end of August and this past week has been tough; but I love every minute of it. Some days I wake up feeling pretty good, then half way through the day I am exhausted. Starting to feel like this is the way that I am going to feel  for the next 2 years,  but I know it means I am working hard. He is with me. Without Him, there is no way I could be doing these long 16 hour scheduled work days on  7 hours of sleep for 2 years. But that's why I am here - to learn to Depend and Trust in the Lord and because Le Amo Jesucristo (I Love Jesus Christ). There was a day this last week I really struggled with Spanish. But I soon realized it was because I thought I was getting a grip on the Spanish and because I thought I was "getting good" and didn't need as much of His help. My confidence was high, but I was soon humbled very quickly. Life brings us down to only have the Lord take us higher. We ALWAYS need Him in our lives and to let Him know what we need. He is our literal Father and like our earthly fathers he worries about us and likes to hear how we are doing. We can communicate with Him through prayer. I know that if we all humble ourselves and turn to the Lord He will help us with ANYTHING in our lives. He is our Heavenly Father, and He knows us better than anyone. One of my teachers, Hermano Herman said something that hit me hard yesterday. He said, "If you are not preparing to teach your investigators, The Lord will not prepare the people for you to bring them salvation." Missionaries are the only people that can bring salvation and true happiness into people's lives. On Saturday I kind of had a spark that adjusted my whole vision of my mission. I was in class and my teacher Hermano Herman was going over how to do our Language Study Plans efficiently. I was confused and getting frustrated because we went over it again and again and I still did not understand how to do it right. It seemed like all my emotion of frustration, of learning the language, all my emotions in general began to build up.  Up until this point I hadn’t been really frustrated at all, but that day it all began to hit me. It was coming to the end of class and my teacher could tell that we were all frustrated and that I was especially. He stopped us and said, "Why are you all getting so frustrated? You all are trying to BECOME that perfect missionary for yourself, but you have not looked at who you were 2 weeks ago. You all have come so far!" He said that it didn't make sense when people got frustrated about their missions and the language because all he can remember was that the mission was the best experience of his life. He said, "Sure it was hard, but I was happy. Don't be a worrier. The language will come I promise, BE HAPPY". He then had us read some scriptures that just destroyed us in a good way. He had me read Jacob 1:19 out loud. I could barely get through it, because the spirit was so strong and I realized what it was talking about. Jacob 1:19-"And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our own garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day." As missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ, we ARE responsible for the sins of the people we serve. If I don't do EVERYTHING I can to bring them to Christ and help them repent, it will be upon my own head at the last day. So powerful. He then talked about the Sons of Mosiah and how they pleaded with their father to go and serve. And they did for 14 years, through starvation, prison, and fatigue. Even after being released from prison they continued to go and preach the word. It made me feel ungrateful and selfish for getting frustrated about a language study plan after he shared that with us. It realigned me to be as focused and obedient as I can be, so that I will be prepared for the people in Santa Rosa, California. I am on the Lord's time not mine. We had an amazing fireside last night by President Mciff from the MTC presidency. He talked about how we as missionaries are on "The Road Less Traveled".  We are the only people with the true authority to bring people unto Christ. He said, “Missionaries are builders, they should make people feel better about themselves when they are around you." "CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY" He also talked about Colonel Chamberlain at Gettysburg when Chamberlain told his Union soldiers, "Don't Give An Inch." We all must strive to ALWAYS practice exact obedience and to Never Give an Inch. At the end of the fireside we all sang "Called To Serve" together...first verse-soft, as if we the army of Helaman were just out of sight, second verse-medium loud as if we were just coming over the hill, and last time- loud. "God our strength will be, press forward ever called to serve our KING!". I loved that experience and I love this gospel. If I didn't have a firm testimony of Jesus Christ I wouldn't be here right now. He is with us always. Half my zone left today and I just want to say that they are my brothers for life and I will truly miss them. God be with them and all of you till we meet again. :)

Elder Vance

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