This week was very... wet! Yay for coming home at night drenched and smelling like wet dog! As we rode our bikes around in the constant drizzle over the past few days, we thought about taping signs to our backs that said "Ask me why I do this" (haha). There were a couple moments this week where I seriously had to ask myself that question. Despite my frustration, I can testify that tender mercies from the Lord are real and they come just when we need them most.
So why did I chose to come on a mission, leaving my friends and family for a year and a half, ending up in a place that wasn't my original call, where I have to face constant rejection and ride a bike all day, every day no matter the weather? Let me tell you. It's because I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I want to share the blessings of the Restored gospel with the world. It's because I love my Father and Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ, and the best way I can show my love is through serving others. It's because I am grateful for my Savior's sacrifice for me personally, and throughout my mission so far, I have truly come to appreciate His Atonement.
We read a poem at Zone Training this week called "He's Been There Before", and it gave me a better perspective about the hardships of serving a mission. Christ had the toughest mission of all, and because of that, He understands exactly what it feels like to be homesick, exhausted, disappointed. It's because of His divine mission that I am serving mine. Why would I do this if I didn't know this gospel is true?! I KNOW IT IS!
I learned this week there is a difference between disappointment and discouragement. It's okay to be disappointed- lessons cancel, investigators let you down, silly people tell you your religion is brainwashing you and that we need to 'wake up to the real world'. Missions, and life in general, are full of disappointments. But I have the choice of how I react; I don't have to let myself get discouraged. When I feel myself getting discouraged, losing courage, losing faith, I get stuck in a "pitty party" and I can't follow the promptings of the Spirit. So when disappointments happen, because they will, I can not and will not let myself get discouraged! Rather, I will count my blessings, and focus on the positive. Everything happens for a reason.
The Lord blessed us with many tender mercies throughout our rain adventures. Zarria is the 11 year old daughter of a recent convert and this week was her birthday. Guess what she wanted to do... have the missionaries over for a lesson and cake and ice cream! That made my day, especially because it was a place to go after dinner when we had to go back out into the rain. Zarria's mom, Sassy, is a strong single-mom who has been through it all. She always tells us we are her angels, but thankfully, they were our angels that night!
Here's another one. Right after I decided to get out of my comfort zone and talk to the guy who claimed we were being brainwashed, I had a bit of a melt down. I have to admit I reached the point of discouragement. Tears mixed with raindrops as they poured down my face. We rode past Sister Schmit's house, a lady in our ward, who immediately invited us in to dry off and warm up. A cup of hot chocolate and an eggroll later (haha), we were off on our way again. That's exactly what I needed right then and Heavenly Father blessed us through Sister Schmit's loving kindess.
Other highlights of the week... Julie is starting to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon as she read on her own this past week and felt like everything she read was exactly what she needed (yay!). We had another great lesson with Ivan and Belen, also about the Book of Mormon, and they are reading a few verses together each night. Overall, this week wasn't a bad one. The rain softened a lot of hearts and even though disappointments happen and we looked like wet rats everywhere we went, we were going about doing the Lord's will and we were never riding alone. Besides, at least we don't have to bike in snow!
"No matter what we feel like when we feel we can't take more,
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ, He's been there before".
Valiant missionaries don't give up just because they get a little wet. Valiant missionaries keep pedaling!
I love you all and miss you more than you know. Have a wonderful week!