First off, the happiest times on my mission are honestly when I see someone who humbly desires to change and come unto God. We honestly don't see a whole lot of that out here in the world, as most people are happy (accustomed, really) with where they are in life. But that is one of the happiest times of my mission and my life in general, really. And that is when I see someone taking the steps and putting forth the effort needed to come unto God and Christ and to have a change of heart in order to change their life around. The reason this is one of the happiest times of my mission is because I know that when someone does so, an innumerable amount of blessings will begin to enter their life and help them in their journey towards eternal life.
Secondly, the hardest times of my mission. and that would have to be the opposite of what I just said. And that is when someone I care about and have grown to love decides that they don't want to change, they don't want to put forth the effort to change, grow, and come unto Christ. It's so sad seeing certain people just falling away into unbelief, darkness, and apathy due to their unwillingness or pride or any other reason. For example, one thing that happened this week which was very saddening to me was with regards to our investigator Hery, who has been "trying" to quit cigarettes for the past while. Turns out, he hasn't been trying at all. He told us that he smoked only seven cigarettes a day, but his wife Tiana told us that he smokes about three packs (20 cigarettes each) a day. He also told us in our last lesson that he has decided that he doesn't want to learn anymore. His reasoning was that he didn't want to waste our time because he feels he'll never get off cigarettes, but the real reason, we felt, was that he was unwilling to give cigarettes up and was unwilling to make necessary changes in his life. But it turns out that things were/are worse than we thought. After our last time with him, his wife sent us a text telling us all about what had happened as of late. Hery currently has no job, and so they are struggling for money. But they occasionally get money sent in from his younger sibling who lives in France. His wife told us that the day before our last time with him, he had received money from his sibling, but he did not give a single Ariary to his wife and one-year-old child. Instead he used ALL of the money to buy alcohol and some new shoes... And yes, he has learned about the Word of Wisdom. It is so hard for me, seeing people with so much potential just throwing it all away from some menial, worldly comforts. That would be the hardest time on my mission, is whenever I see someone making the decision to retrogress rather than progress.
Thirdly, about some things that happened this week. Well, one thing that is a milestone worth mentioning is the fact that I've started running in the mornings now. Yeah, yeah, I know, you all that know me can pick your jaws up off of the floor. I know you know that I hate running, but I want to be in good shape before I get home. The four of us who live in the same house have been really diligent and getting up and working out every morning. We get up at 5:45 and go to a gym across the street from 6 to 7, and then get home and clean up and get ready for the day and such. It's been way nice, and I've really enjoyed it.
Other noteworthy things from the week include my split with Elder Bassett in the area of Ampefiloha. Elder Bassett is a missionary at about his year-mark in the mission who is from Katy, Texas. It was way good and it was fun to work with him. Also, we have a baptism coming up this Saturday! Our investigator Francine, the daughter of a recent convert, is getting baptized. We are so excited for her and know that she will be an awesome member. It's been incredible to see the change of heart that has come over her over the past few months. Because from what members and past missionaries have said, she wouldn't even learn from the missionaries, let alone join the church. And yet, she is now incredibly converted. When we were conducting a practice baptismal interview and I asked her if she had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and everything. She nodded. I asked her if she could bear her testimony of it. At that point her eyes began to water, and she said that she knew it was all true, and that she wanted to get baptized so she could start on the path to being with her family for eternity. Her mom actually died just last year or so, so that especially had extra meaning for her. It was really great for me to see the testimony and conversion that her humble pleadings to God produced.
And on that note, that would be my message/challenge that I would like to end with. I would like to invite everyone who has doubts and fears to humbly swallow your doubts and fears and just try that. Just try asking God if these things are true. Please just humbly and truthfully ask Him to know what is true, and to know whether or not these things (or whatsoever thing you have doubts about) are true. He will answer. And that answer will change your life. It has changed our investigator Francine's life forever. It has changed my life forever. And so I know that it will do the same for you. So, swallow your pride. Put aside all fears, doubts, and concerns, and humbly ask God for the knowledge you desire. And then be willing to follow whatsoever answer you receive, no matter what. Because it will change your life.
Thanks for all you do. I hope it's been a great week for everyone, and I hope you have a wonderful time in the upcoming week.
|These are two pictures of a blanket I got made by some members here. WAY comfortable. I really like it.|
|No, my hair isn't really that tall. It's a shadow on the ceiling!|
|This is a picture of my weekly workout schedule, along with a ten to fifteen minute run beforehand.|
|Pictures of Ampefiloha on my split with Elder Bassett.|