Monday, September 6, 2010

Letter #51 - September 6, 2010

Well hi everybody,

How are ya'll? It sounds like it was an exciting a spiritual week. Congrats to Will on his patriarchal blessing. That will be such a guide for you in your life if you read it often and work to fulfill the requirements for each blessing promised. And three cheers for Ali, all the way up there at BYU-I! I'm so happy and excited for you, and I can't believe that by the time I see you again, you'll be a seasoned veteran at the whole college thing. Wow, time is flying. Thanks for the uplifting emails mom and dad.
I love reading them. They are a great source of strength to me each week, a recharge of energy.

I have had one of the nastiest colds of my life for the last four days and it is still going strong. But I have been amazed at all I can do, even while feeling very sick, with the Lord's help, and it hasn't slowed down the work. I hope that it doesn't hold on much longer though. I don't think my nose will make it. We had stake conference this weekend and it was very nice. It almost felt like the church at home. We had 7 investigators there, including Luis and Suyen, Erika, and Oscar. I don't know if I have
told you about Erika. She is the wife of a less-active member and she has a baptismal date for this saturday along with Luis and Suyen. As of now, I think they are on track. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with L and S yesterday at the stake presidents house and it was really awesome. Oscar is a 20 year old kid that we are teaching who always has a new rumor about the church for us to clear up. He's progressing and I think in a few weeks he will get baptized as well. Mijaly and Yolanda have been really hard to find still. But we made an appointment with them for tonight and we'll see how it goes. I hope we can rescue them. It will break my heart to lose them.

Hna. Tunche and I will be companions at least until Sept. 29. We work pretty well together, despite our differences. Actually it's our different strengths that really make up for what the other lacks. Almost daily I am grateful for something she did that I didn't think to do that turned out to make a big difference. But I should be better at telling her that. The changes actually come out to be nearly exact for my 18 months because of the three week extension, March 17. And I think I'll be able to choose if I want to come home then or at the next change which would be at the end of April. But I have been thinking that I want to jump right into the spring term of school so I'm thinking march.

It seems this week that I have been thinking about a lot of things. For one reason or another, I've been really contemplative. Before my mission I used to think that it wouldn't matter to me if I got rejected every day and hardly anyone would listen to us. I was so sure that just "being a missionary and preaching the gospel" could be enough and that if I had any success in terms of baptisms, it would be icing on the cake. But that was before I started to love the people here and desire their salvation. Having "success" to be able to report numbers still doesn't matter to me, but knowing that the gospel can truly save someoe and to have them not be able to open their eyes and see it really hurts. It's not a hurting for myself, I ache for them. I want so badly to help but so many don't let us. But we have to push forward and do the best that we can. Baptism the the key.

I was also reading a talk that Paige gave in church some months ago and sent me this morning. She spoke about love. And I started really contemplating the subject. It seems on my mission that I've discovered just what an amature I am at love. I used to think that I had it all down, that I was so capable of loving everyone. How naive I was. To my surprise and discontent, Christ-like love has been something I've struggled with here. That purest of all love should be the true motive of all we do. But how many times have I looked for and found other motives to keep me going, worldly motives, shallow motives. Why am I so easily annoyed and discouraged? Is the charity in my heart truly so thin and unsubstantial?

I think that we can study the pinciples of the gospel and tributes of Christ all our lives, and we should, but we really don't learn them with our hearts until we are put to the test. All my life I have studied the gospel and I have a lot of knowledge about it. I have read about thousands of examples of love and charity. And now I am here with the opportunity to put that knowledge into action, to somehow get it from my head to my heart and I feel like I fail 9 times out of 10. We don't learn until we are tested. It's easy to love your best friend and serve her. It's easy to love your family especially when you are very far away from them. But loving complete strangers, and people you haven't even met yet, enough to sacrifice so much, to go out and work when you are sick and tired and have nothing left to give, except the shred of charity you pull up from deep within your heart, that is something of a challenge.

I hope I am learning to love, despite my failures. And perhaps it is through my failures that progress is being made. No, not through failing, through the courage to pick myself up and keep trying. Let us cultivate charity and not be discouraged when our capacity to love is tested and we don't quite measure up yet. We are little children and cannot bear all things now, but must grow in grace and truth... and I would add charity.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world - try, try again.

I love you all with all my heart.

Love, Hna. Crosland

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