I do not think that anything worth anything in life could be really considered easy, but if there happened to be a scale on which we could grade the experiences through which we persevere in life, I think that missions would be near the top. Here we are expected to stop people on the street and invite them to hear the message that we have to share...but we have difficulty understanding the words they speak to us. We are expected to visit members and knock on doors and find our way around the city....but we have never been to this city before. We are expected to go forth boldly and call all people to repentance and to come unto Christ....but we are only kids in the eyes of the world.
I often wonder if the great missionaries of old (Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, Alma and Amulek, Nephi and Lehi to name a few of my favorites) ever felt this way. I wonder if they ever felt insufficient to do the things the Lord commanded them, or whether they were born with the unwavering faith which wrought a mighty change in the hearts of the Lamanites and caused them to be baptized by fire. Were they born the perfect missionary examples and as mighty men of God, or did their weakness somehow grow into something strong? Is it possible to learn greatness? I think it must be, because the Lord has called me, who can barely be called a man, to go out among the Norwegians and proclaim the Gospel to everyone I see. I am often amazed by the trust my Redeemer has for me, because people's very salvation is on the line and depends on my success in this country.
To let you know what I am feeling--That is a lot of pressure.
But at the same time it isn't. Is it really me doing the work? No. Is it left in my hands to know who to talk to and what to do? No. The Lord has not left us alone, and I can feel His presence every single day I am here. I am led by the Spirit to know where to go, and I never have to worry to talk to someone, because I know that I will be given the things to say. We are not learning how to become great speakers or to have the power to convince people of the truth, we are learning to trust more fully in the Lord, because He will give us everything that we need to succeed.
Let me tell you a little bit about contacting. When we are walking along the streets, we have made it a goal to talk to everyone that we see and invite them to hear our message. It seemed like a crazy goal at first, but to be honest, sometimes it is really easy. We are just walking by people on the street and it isn't too big of a deal to stop them and begin to speak. But there are other times when it isn't so easy. The people who are standing in groups on street corners. Those who are definitely out of our way to talk to. The people we see who we think there is no way that they would ever in any way accept the gospel. But I am always prompted to talk to them, and when I follow these promptings and put my faith in the Lord to stretch myself and to grow, to follow His will, that is when we find people. We met Joseph on the street this week, and I had no hope that he would want to talk to us. But, in keeping to our goal, we struck up a conversation with him and watched the Lord work. He believes in God and that He is our Father, but Joseph believes that God is a little too busy right now for us and that we cannot waste our time waiting for someone who won't come to our rescue. He thinks that he just has to accept his very poor lot in life and just keep living. This absolutely broke my heart. The Spirit was so strong as I had the opportunity to bear my testimony to him that God loves every single one of us and has a hand in our lives every day. As the Spirit worked through me, I felt my own testimony being reconfirmed that God has a plan in our lives and that He has not forsaken us. It is my hope that we will each be able to keep an eternal perspective in our lives as we interact with others and go through our trials. It is such a blessing to be able to share the glorious truths which we possess with people who need them so badly. Never suppress a generous thought, and always try to follow the Lord no matter how hard it may seem to be. He loves all of us, and will always provide a way.
Thank all of you so much for all of your love and support! It means the world to me. I love you!