Let me just say, this week has felt amazing! We have been trying to dedicate all of our extra time to visiting these people. We have had to work harder and faster than ever before to fit it all in. If we wasted any time it wasn't because we didn't have something specific to do. Granted these people were spread all around Tamworth so it was A LOT of biking. But nevertheless I think that made it even sweeter. I came to recognize that working that hard made me more confident and comfortable with myself and my purpose. Pushing to achieve a goal feels good. Fighting to achieve a goal feels even better. We were trying to do all the names in a week. However We couldn't physically do that and still teach lessons. So we didn't do all the names in a week. But we fought for it. We tried our best. And it feels so much more fulfilling than achieving a goal because it was too easy. I can't wait until I have that balance down just right. Until my goals are just to where I can reach if I work my hardest, and won't reach them if I don't. That will take more of getting to know myself and time. But I'll get there eventually. I've come to more fully appreciate the joy that comes when you work hard for what you know you want.
Also from this same experience I got to see the power of the small things. All these people who are more prepared to hear the gospel invited us in because they have already had the seed of missionary work planted in them. That is so cool. These peoples lives were influenced long after the missionaries went away. In one case we accidentally got a form mixed up and went to a mans house who had only ever been talked to once on his doorstep. He still was open and friendly. The amount of open doors I saw this week has been astounding. This is the power of being a good example! Most people will have to have tens if not hundreds of doors open before the gospel clicks, but if they have just that first door unlocked... That's enough to let the missionaries do the rest! I can totally see how some missionaries might get overwhelmed out here, sometimes it seems like nobody has those doors open!
Members are the KEY to opening that first door. It is exceedingly hard as a missionary to have someone immediately open up enough to let you plant that seed. Definitely not impossible, but hard. But when it comes to members, and their friends/acquaintances, they have power like you wouldn't believe!
However I too know for myself, the strange and often troubling waters of thinking how to share the gospel with those around you. It can be so difficult and frightening to think of what could happen if something were to go wrong. However in the reverse, think about if it went right! As missionaries we are counseled to look at those around us and imagine them in baptismal clothing. It gives great perspective as to why we're here. To help them receive eternal Joy. To allow them to experience the great treasure of knowledge that exists, and that we have so readily available. I think often times as members we get caught up in the notion of missionary work being this strange distant thing. Most the time, the best way to do missionary work is breadcrumbs. Doing little, non-bold things repeatedly (like service).
Things don't change when you leave for a mission, it's still just as difficult to talk to somebody about the gospel. In fact, we talk to strangers about it, so that's perhaps less comfortable.(or should be) That being the case I've come to learn that everybody has a line in regards to religious discussion. If you're not comfortable boldly crossing the line in order to find it... you have to come to it subtly. We occasionally talk to people who will absolutely shut off at the mere thought of a gospel discussion. My favorite thing is to slip in a testimony or a gospel principle into our casual discussion in a way that goes nearly unnoticed. It's amazing how such a small act changes that line. People become more and more responsive to the gospel when they have repeated non-confrontational contact with it.
I would challenge everybody who reads this, whomever it may be.. Do something more, to share the blessings you have in your life with those around you. Even if it's something small, it will bring joy to you and those around you. That's what the gospel is about, sharing joy and strengthening and uplifting.
I hope everyone is doing great :)
Forgive my ranting, I tend to do it a lot!
Forgive my ranting, I tend to do it a lot!