Monday, April 18, 2011

Lose Yourself in the Work

I have learned a lot this week. I was in Culiacán for Seminary for four days. It was so fun. The opportunity to meet and become friends with lots of other Elders in the mission was a really great by-product. During Seminary, we listen to Presidente Cantú and Hermana Cantú from 8 to 12:30, go work in various areas of Culiacán until 5, and then listen to Presidente Cantú and Hermana Cantú until 8. We're able to apply what we learn immediately, and because we have a relatively short time to work in the middle of the day, everyone strives to be really effective during that time. On the second day, we had about half an hour left before we had to return to the chapel. I said to Elder Luna, my companion for the week, "Elder, I really want to see a miracle in these next thirty minutes." And we did. We found a woman, Sophie. We only had about ten minutes left to teach her before we had to leave, and in that time she accepted a baptismal date. She was very prepared to meet us. That strongly testified to me the importance of faith. Presidente Cantú noted a change that had come over the missionaries that week: a stronger desire. Results really come if you begin with true desire to have miracles.

Within the listening portion of Seminary, I would take notes diligently each day, and I had lots of small lessons and epiphanies that came for how I can be better in my work. I realized that sometimes I'm afraid of spiritual intensity; I'll try to make a lesson fun, but sometimes it just becomes lithe and I block the influence of the Spirit. The most spiritual moments I've had that have strengthened my testimony have come from times that were spiritually intense. I want to emulate those. Presidente Cantú doesn't teach lithely. I want to bring the Spirit with fire when I teach. I also don't want to waste any moment that I have with a member. It's all about working through the members in missionary work. The people who are getting baptized are referrals and part-member families whom we teach with members every time we visit. I want to be capable of edifying everyone I meet, including the branch members whom we eat with each day.

As I learned smaller lessons like these, I started to get overwhelmed. I felt like the reason that a mission is hard is just recognizing how much progress I lack. I started out a 1%. But once I progressed to 2%, I realized that I wasn't progressing to 100%, but to 1000%. Each time I make a step, I just gain a better view how far I have to go. In these stressful doldrums, the grander lesson came. Patience. I need to have long-suffering with myself if I'm going to get better. My aspirations are high, and the best way to achieve them is by focusing on each step of the way. So, I'm trying to be more patient with myself in order to augment every other attribute at a pace that I'm a capable of.

We saw the results of our faith and diligence on Saturday in a baptismal service! Amalia finally got married this week, and was able to be baptized. We also baptized Lisbeth, who is a member of a less active family, which is now more active. The preparation of a baptismal service is really intense; everything falls to us: baptismal clothing, inviting members and friends, preparing the font, somehow getting a member of the branch presidency to come. It always works out somehow, and we were able to have a great service. Both Lisbeth and Amalia were very excited.

On Sunday, both of them were able to be confirmed in the Sacrament meeting. Yesterday was one of the most edifiying experiences I've had in church in my life. I had so much responsibility to fulfill, and I loved it. I felt fueled by the Spirit and capable during church and through the rest of the day. I had to sight-read hymns that I've never heard before, confirm Amalia in Spanish, give the priesthood to Fernando - also in Spanish (and those were both first-time experiences for me) - and try to get all of investigators to church among other things. It was such a great day. And I really felt like the blessings of working hard came throughout the day. I try to have no hesitance in following spiritual promptings, and I felt like I was running on such promptings in nearly every action.

A few uncles told me before I left: "Lose yourself in the work." Lose yourself in the work. I think I'm finally beginning to understand what that means.

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