Trust in the Lord
This week was nice, because…well, why shouldn’t weeks be nice?
The Zone Leaders came down for exchanges, which was fun. The exchange led me to setting a goal of talking to more people everywhere I go (outside of “contacting time”). I will have to work hard at this to gradually improve over time, as it’s really difficult for me to do. I also need to become an active participant in every contact. I struggle with applying the concept of just “jumping in” when we teach lessons, so hopefully this goal will help with that also. I was inspired to realize, in a testimony meeting I attended yesterday, that having the courage to talk to others, which has been the greatest challenge of my mission, is really no different than any other challenge I’ve ever had. Taking the desire to do what is right for granted, all challenges really only require one thing: trust. Do we trust the Lord or don’t we?
This reminds me of an experience I had at scout camp a few years back. I chickened out from repelling, the last thing I needed to do to get the climbing merit badge. A few days later, with the encouragement of leaders, I went back to try again during free climbing time. I was still afraid, but I went far enough to go over the ledge. It took a few steps of fear, but the ropes then took full hold, and I could feel their support. I then repelled, and even went a second time as it was so fun. Evidently I was the only one to come back of those who had chickened out (I didn’t know that others even had). I got an award at the end of the week from the leader over the climbing merit badge, making it an even more memorable experience for me.
I’ve only gone repelling again once or twice since that scout camp, and when I have, the initial fear of going over the ledge was still present. It literally feels like you’ll fall to your death before the ropes take hold, and as cool of a way to die as that is, it’s not particularly motivating in the moment. Yet I was able to simply move right through that phase, because I knew the ropes had taken hold before, and I had a high level of trust that they would again (well, that or the place I was repelling at would have some explaining to do…oh, wait, they made me sign a waiver…). For me, the challenge often isn’t as much “I don’t know what to do”, as it is “am I actually going to do it?” I’m not a very social person, at least not around strangers, but I didn’t get called to share the gospel to remain a person unable to share the gospel out of a lack of courage. I trust that I will continue to be changed until I can push through the barrier of reluctance with little thought beforehand.
Actually, I’ve found that the same principles apply to exercising daily. As a missionary, you’re expected to work-out every morning. I detest physical exercise, particularly when I’m half asleep, but I’ve found out recently that if I just get myself to start, just get myself to “Just Do It” (as Nike would put it), that it isn’t nearly as painful a thing to do, even if it is difficult to take the first step. I can therefore testify, through my own experiences, that the Lord can make us strong, but only if we choose to have the faith to let Him do so. (This may be quite a stretch), but as Beorn (in “The Hobbit”) might put it, “I fear my fears, but I trust the Lord more”.
We found a new investigator this week, he’s really cool. He didn’t show up for his lesson on Sunday, but the lesson we did have with him on Tuesday was awesome in that he seemed to me probably the most inspired investigator I’ve met so far. He was earnestly searching for the truth; with most of his questions stemming from things which can only be explained through the Plan of Salvation (we gave him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet at the end of the lesson). The coolest thing about the lesson (for me) was when my companion described some of the questions he had had prior to his conversion, and the new investigator commented on one of them by describing what he believed about it, which was the exact same thing as our concept of free agency.
Wishing everyone the very best,