Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blessings From Serving a Mission

Life as a missionary is something else. We almost feel like there is no real point in unpacking since we might get shipped off somewhere new every six weeks, we gotta "learn the area" and the geography of the land, we get to talk with brand new people who we've never met before about the gospel, and we always have at least one person in the area we are serving that takes us missionaries under their wing while we are there.
Learning the area is big on my mind right now seeing as how I've only been in Gallatin for about eight days now. I got two way awesome Elders who got it down so we don't get lost, but I'm convinced that the GPS came about to help further missionary work! The quickest it took me to learn an area was about two and a half weeks in Leitchfield Kentucky, but with larger area's you can plan on devoting mucho time to studying maps and such for the first four weeks of the transfer!

Its been an amazing change for me as I've been talking with people also... I never really went out of my comfort zone or anything before I came out on my mission, but now I'm getting to the point where I'm comfortable being uncomfortable. I guess it just naturally happens when you spend about eight solid hours a day talking with people, but it still surprises me that it has come so quickly.

However, the best thing so far has been the change I've seen in people. One of the first nights I came to Tennessee the other Elder and I split up to be more effective for the night, each of us going with another member from the local congregation to visit people. The family we talked to that night was having a really rough time, most likely the lowest point in recent memory for them. I knew next to nothing, I was far from eloquent, but as we talked and comforted each other we all found peace and felt the spirit.

Over the next ten weeks, that family grew immensely in their faith despite continued hardships. They put their trust in god and started coming back to church. Every time we returned, they smiled bigger and laughed deeper. The outside world had no sway over the spirit that was contained in that loving household that we were met with as we continued to talk with them. Though things were far from perfect, they started to bounce back.

Witnessing their growth strengthened my testimony. Their continued gratitude to god despite hardships deepened my love for my heavenly father and reminded me constantly to be grateful. I can honestly say that my life is fuller because of the wonderful example this family provided to me, and it makes me want to be the same thing for other people in life. If all of us start with ourselves and "Let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which art in heaven", I know we can make good things happen in the world starting with us.

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