This transfer seems like a mountain. Being in a new area is always difficult because you don't know the area or the ward or the zone, but combine that with so many other factors and multiply it by 2. That's how I feel like these past 3 weeks have been. I injured my groin pretty badly last monday...just a small tear in the muscle, but I can no longer excercise by running or any of that. Past mistakes in my life have flooded my memories. Inadequacies have been more fully recognized. The work has gone pretty slow. Church was cancelled last sunday because of weather. All our plans fall through and we end up knocking doors til 9pm at night in the freezing cold. Our thanksgiving plans fell through last minute and we were not allowed to proselyte the whole day (only set appointments with members and such) so we stayed in our apartment studying the whole day. They have been the hardest physically, emotionally and spiritually of my mission. I don't say this to complain or to be dramatic, I say it only to illustrate the point I am about to make.
A couple of weeks ago I wondered to myself what Heavenly Father wanted me to learn through the trials we faced my first week here. I asked him and He answered by being silent and letting me continue to face more. I felt frustrated and stressed. I hoped that something would come from it. Well it did after much fasting and prayer and the answers actually came one after the other as fast as the problems came....they were just really delayed.
Yesterday was fast sunday. I realized that we had not partook of the Sacrament in almost two weeks. I fasted very much so for specific things. The first was a question...how can the sacrament affect us on a weekly basis?
We had studies and showed up to church really early. Well 5 minutes before it started, the Bishoipric told us no one had shopwed up to do the sacrament and asked if we would prepare and bless it. We did so. As I prepared it, I was brought back to 16 years old. The Spirit touched my heart in a way that had never before been felt as I prepared the bread and the water. Then a priest showed up after it was prepared and I was the only missionary asked to bless it (i found that very interesting how it worked that way). As I blessed the bread, I was overcome with emotion and appreciation for Jesus Christ. It was powerful and very recognizable. As i partook of it, I literally felt cleansed and lighter. I felt the Spirit so strongly. The Lord taught me the importance of the Sacrament. As I pondered and reflected on my week I realized that the reason I felt so stressed, and down was because the week previous, church was cancelled, we did not have an opportunity to take the sacrament. The Lord had answered my prayer before I had even asked for it. He taught me very personally and in a very real way what it feels like to not have it in our lives. It not only makes a difference in our week, it is the difference in our week. Don't let it go unnoticed.
Second. Satan has an uncanny ability to just tempt, decieve and lie to you so as to make you feel like dirt. We have all made mistakes and the hardest thing on mission life is dealing with past transgressions. Life back home and life on a mission are stark contrasts and so it is easy to dwell on the past darkness even when you have fully repented and been forgiven...that is one of Satans tools...the past. Well after church we went to our first appointment with a lady named Gwen. We talked to her on her porch for awhile but finally she started talking about a book that changed her life. She described it and then said something that God wanted me to hear. "I have done alot of things in my past. I have had alot of unfair things said and done about me. But that's in my past. This book reminded me that dwelling in the past, stops us from moving forward and progressing." Right then i recognized my answer. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about moving forward. Repentance is about progression and the future. Repentance is turning from the sin and our past and turning toward Christ and the future. Never look back. Learn from mistakes but don't dwell, it will stop you from moving forward. The Spirit spoke to me in the most peaceful and calming way. Who cares what we have done...what will we now become?
Third and lastly, the Lord taught me about faith. Faith is to never stop moving forward. Faith is to keep walking even in the dark. Faith is not having a perfect knowledge of timing, but is a willingness to put one foot in front of the next until you reach some kind of light. Faith is never giving up. Faith is not questioning, faith is submitting. Faith is doing everything we possibly can to follow in the Masters footsteps and trusting that He will give us strength, even when we may not feel like it. Faith means to keep working without complaining recognizing that the Lord never complained and went throught it all for us. Faith is not some fancy complicated solution to all our problems, faith is raw, testing and uncomftortable many times then not. It is powerful but not pretty, nevertheless, if we have faith in Jesus Christ all of our ugly problems can turn into beautifull blessings. We just need to keep walking, trusting and believing.
I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that God answers all of His Childrens heartfelt prayers. I know He lives and speaks. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of His gospel because it is the only thing that will work in the end. We are fallen, we are imperfect, we are weak, but through Christ and His Atonement we will be lifted, perfected and strengthened...if we will but have faith. Keep on going. I love you all.
Elder Dallin Cutler
my hot companion.
This morning after studies. Preparing for our Specialized Training tonight. #missionLife