We had an adventure Thursday getting to the temple by 6 am. We had to go wake some hermanas up when they didn't get to the meeting spot at 4 30, so we gave them the GPS and went along by faith and not by sight. We got a little lost, and the hermanas ended up beating us there anyway! It was a very good experience. In a private meeting after the session we were able to ask President Drake and the temple President any question we had. We feel we gained a better vision of God's plan for us, and the goal we have for those we teach. We saw an immediate difference that afternoon when we returned to work.
God really does love us and care about our personal and practical obstacles. And zone meeting we filled a board with the questions and concerns the zone has about missionary work and meeting expectations, and then we asked, "who has asked God these same questions?" We as Latter-day Saints are often guilty of searching, pondering, and praying to get a testimony of the Book of Mormon and then shutting off the revelation right there. In reality, that is the pattern we should apply each and every day of our lives, trusting in the Lord with all our heart; and leaning not unto our own understanding. Right in the middle of the meeting we kneeled and prayed that God would help us find what we needed, then spent the rest of the time searching Preach My Gospel, and counseling together to find solutions.
We're missionaries! It's just an awesome thing. I got to do an exchange with a brand new missionary that really got me fired up. We did everything we could to be obedient, turned to the Lord in prayer and to Preach My Gospel with every problem we had, and kept our conversation always on our work, how much we loved it, and what we could do better and for that the Lord really blessed and led us. I love when missionary work becomes more than just doors: we contacted a referral who is actually a less-active member. We invited him and his girlfriend (who was actually a former investigator) to the Ward Christmas party, and there they were, an hour later, when the Ward mission leader brought them! It was a good little miracle, slowly but surely bring others unto Christ.
When the YM leader asked us to talk about missionary work to the young men, he warned us they wouldn't be interested in the Spiritual part of it, probably just in the food, experiences, cultures, people, stories and friendships. I grew in testimony that those things are good, but they just aren't good enough, to go or to stay on a mission. Nephi didn't entice his brothers to the promised land by telling them it would be just like Jerusalem. They were leaving for a reason. The blessings of a mission are different, should be different than what we leave behind. There's no point in trying to disguise it. You can't outdo the world in worldliness. I know that it is true, real doctrine really understood that changes behavior- that changes hearts. It is the truth of which the Spirit can bear testimony. Just like baiting and bribing some of these young men into church hasn't resulted in conversion and ultimately happiness, doing the same for a mission will bring the same results. Don't get me wrong, almost all of us came here with imperfect, probably selfish reasons to serve. Almost all of us change completely and I'm glad that's true. But it can happen so much sooner. The same Gospel can be lived and experienced long beforehand. We should come here to share what has already changed us and what we already know to be true. I sure wish I had. And it's not about us, there are so many more of our Father's children to be blessed if we are missionaries from the first day, not six months or a year later. That was the reason the prophet asked us to have a lesson on "Being a missionary now" in the first place.
I know that God lives. I know he has blessed me beyond what I can say. I love Him and want to serve Him.
I love you too