Yesterday, I had a very cool experience reading in my journals from high school. Lately, I have really been struggling with perfectionism and am realizing it is impossible to be happy when you are only focused on what you are doing wrong. While God wants us to acknowledge our weaknesses, he also wants us to recognize our strengths. As I was reading my journals, I realized something. I have changed A LOT! Things that used to seem like insurmountable hurdles have been overcome and things have turned out so much better than I have ever thought. I realized that while I am still imperfect as a man and a missionary, I have made a lot of progress which means I am doing something right. To anyone who struggles with similar feelings, if you are better now than you were a year ago, then you are on the perfecting path. Keep walking and you will get there :) It won't be in this life, so just enjoy what you are doing well!
So let me tell you about my week. On Tuesday I performed a baptismal interview for one of the greatest people I have ever met. I have only taught him once on trade offs, but he is one of the finest men I have ever known. His story is incredible. He is evidence of the changing power the atonement can have if we utilize it. Within a month of meeting with missionaries, everything about this man had changed. However, he still carried the most overwhelming guilt for all that he had done. Even though his had nature had changed, he ached that he could never make restitution for what he had done. "I can never make up for what has been done, I can never pay back for what was lost." Immediately the spirit cried out, "Some one already has!! We can never fully make right for what has been done in our lives. That is why we need a savior!" I could not believe what I had heard. Talk about the spirit teaching the teacher and student... In the course of this interview, I could almost see the burden of guilt lifted, and him almost choke on his joy. It was so special, partially because I know the feeling. "There are know words," he said in his prayer, "to express the gratitude I feel." Oh how grateful I am to be a missionary. "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." How grateful I am for the atonement of the Savior which heals the wounded soul!!! The way is prepared for all men if the are willing to offer up their whole souls as an offering unto him!
On Thursday, we had an appointment who wasn't home, but later, we felt prompted to go back, and man were we glad we did. Pam, an investigator, was having a total melt down, and felt that God had forsaken her and left her all alone. As we listened to her express her feelings to us, it sounded familiar. We taught her about the Savior, and all he went through on his own, and especially why that was necessary. We explained how all of this is apart of a grander plan, and even though she felt like he is not listening, he will bless you with small assurances, whether they be a scripture, or the words of another, that will let you know he is listening. She said, "Like you are doing right now?" "Yes. God sent us back so you can know he is there and that he loves you." Her tears of sorrow were literally made tears of joy as we left. It is a special thing to be an answer to a prayer. It seems to bless you as much as it blessed the recipient.
I testify that God loves us. He wants us to be happy, and everything we go through in this life can lead to greater happiness if we endure it well. He is our Father, and he deserves our trust. He is the only one we can fully put our trust in anyways. If it feels like he isn't there, or if it feels like you are praying to your bed spread, hold on. Help and happiness is on its way.
|Congrats to Michael who was baptized Saturday! I will always look up to this man!|