Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down

Mission life can be easily described in two words: 



Every week, every day, and every hour is a whole lot of up, down, up, down, up, down. This week was no exception. We've soared and we've sunk, sailed and slumped.

For example, we got a new investigator!! On the way home, I commented to my companion how crazy it is that after knowing someone for only two hours or so, you love them. 

L.O.V.E. T.H.E.M.  

All of your thoughts are spent thinking about them, worrying over their needs, exciting over the new and joyous life that awaits them in the gospel, etc. I'm so excited for him to learn more, he is so ready! 

On the flip side, I'm sick. Sick. as. a. dog. First it was a chest cold, now it's one of those, "well, we're already running a muck up in her lungs, why not take over her head?" cold. Ugh. Trying to work through the discomfort and lousiness...(Mom, your first aid kit is my salvation:)

Up side: General Conference was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Soooooo good! 

Seriously, missionaries get as excited about General Conference as we do about our birthdays! 

These sessions did not disappoint! And what a push towards missionary work! All us missionaries are sitting there grinning ear to ear, bubbling in our seats whenever the word "missionary" is used. We got to watch all four sessions at the Willmette chapel.  Funny story, right before Elder Holland was supposed to speak, the church's satellite lost connection because of the bad storm outside.

Of course, all us missionaries went BIZERK. Mass hysteria set in almost immediately. 

We frantically made our way to the mission home, barely said our "how'd ya do's"  before running head-over-heals to the nearest TV. Well, we got to hear half of it. Satan, you'll pay for this one day. 

In all seriousness, this General Conference session has never uplifted me more. Everything I've been struggling with, all the questions and doubts I had, all the lessons our investigators (yes, three of them came!!!) needed to hear, it was all said so powerfully and beautifully. The church is so true, I can't even believe it! 

On a humorous note (let's admit it, you all knew this was coming:), I went on exchanges this past week with one of the STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders) and we decided to stop by some  homes and give a small gift and quote about the importance of prophets to encourage them to listen to General Conference. Good idea, right? Mmmmm...maybe not. The first place we show up to is a big old place, but friendly looking. Yea, looks can be deceiving. As soon as we opened the front door, I shrunk (yea literally and subconsciously) behind my companion. We showed up to a nut house

Yup. Freakiest place I've ever been. I wanted nothing more than to high-tail it out of there! There's like 20 psych patients wandering around us, staring at us like they're trying to burn holes through our souls with their eyes. 


Aghleblaghleblah! I was so ready to be out of there! Needless to say, when we were done, I boooooooooked it! 


On a serious note, the work here is progressing. Slowly but surely. One day this week, we got 3 potential new investigators! On the way back to the apartment, after two hours of tracting, my companion noticed I was a bit melancholy and asked, "What, is 3 PNI's not good enough?" 

Thinking about it, no, it's not. 

Not till all the state of Illinois and Indiana is converted, will I feel like my work here is done:) 

That drive keeps me going! The longer I'm a missionary, the more I'm starting to see the world differently. EVERYONE you meet.....everyone....needs the gospel. 

I've noticed a trend in some missionaries to avoid areas, situations, and people, because "they'd never accept the gospel." In my opinion, even if they don't accept it now, one day they will. One day "every knee will bow and every tongue confess" that Jesus Christ is their Savior, and in turn, that this is His church on the earth. Why not do everything in our power to prepare everyone, despite race, social status, wealth, poverty, past, looks, or beliefs for that time? 

There are times as a missionary (very often actually), where you know that people you are talking to or people who recognize you as missionaries, are mocking you, if not verbally, you can see it in their eyes. Those times are hard. 

But, they are also very telling of how strong your testimony is. If you know what you're testifying of is true, despite the buffetings of man, you continue to testify. You continue to teach. You continue to find. To invite. To serve. To save. 

Today in my morning studies, I was reading Alma 26. Our mission theme scripture is Alma 26:22 and I was anxious to learn more about my potential as a missionary through reading this chapter. Here, Ammon reminds his brothers, "Don't you remember how our people laughed at us for our desire to share the gospel with the Lamanites, a people so blood-thirsty and wicked that there seemed no hope they'd ever turn from their ways? Do you remember how we almost gave up and went home? (This verse is particularly comforting to missionaries who feel down:) And how the Lord told us to be patient in our trials and we would find success?" Ammon then goes on to recount the numerous forms of trials that they endured--imprisonment, stoning, bound in chains, cast out, spit upon, smitten, and persecuted. 


There's a big slice of humble pie. I often become impatient with my trials as a missionary, and they're no where near the types of difficulties faced by these young men. Despite all these hardships--hardships I'll probably never experience on my mission--Ammon held out faithful. His own people mocked his efforts. But the Lord didn't. And what's incredible, Ammon's promise comes from his own personal experience: 

"Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall begiven to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance."

I told my companion, I believe we can find the same success, even in the same magnitude if we have the faith. Just as Elder Ballard promised in General Conference, praying for missionary  opportunities will "surely" bring them. As Ammon counseled, repentance, prayer, faith, and good works "shall" reap the rewards of numerous conversions.


What a promise!! We are reminded weekly (if not more) by church and mission leaders, that the Lord is hastening His work now.  Forget fear, and forge forward! 

Onward and Upward!

Sister Anna Parker