Vision. Obedience. Sacrifice. Consecration.
Bueno, I’d just like to offer a few words if I may. I know this is a bit long and probably nothing most of you want to know, but I’d appreciate if you read this before asking questions.
As most of you know I have been struggling with some physical health challenges as of late. Fainting, extreme fatigue, pain & weakness in my limbs, lost function in my hands, & a host of other symptoms. As is customary, they will do all they can to keep missionaries in the mission field, and they kept that promise to me. I spent hours at the doctor’s office, had blood work done, was given extra money to take a bus or taxi to appointments, etc. I even spent a few days in the good care of the mission home, but it’s hard to keep missionaries that can’t work the way they need to. It’s so hard to have the responsibilities that missionaries have and not feel like you are doing your part or completing your goals, even if there is a reason. It’s hard on the sick missionary, the companion, the District and Zone Leaders, mission nurse, family, and of course, the President. It’s just hard. All eyes are on you, wondering what the next move is and really you’re out of answers. The deal is that when a missionary gets sick the goal is to keep them in the mission. Ideally there is a smoking gun of sorts, a fast answer with an easy solution and as soon as possible all is well again. That’s what we were hoping for too. I met with the mission Doctor a few times and after some remedies and counsel we decided blood work was the next step. When it came back we thought there was a clear answer with a quick solution. Everyone legitimately thought that after a week in the hospital I would be working full speed again, until they went to verify the number from the first blood test and it was wrong. A false blood test. That left us with no answers and less possibilities. My heart was checked and that seemed normal, and it was decided that the next option was to see a neurologist, because no one really has any answers. But that waiting takes time, which is not something we have much of to spare in the field. After all, this is the saving of souls we are engaged in. Unfortunately we were waiting for the answers that never came from the blood tests and with the unknown before us, likely taking weeks before we’d know anything more in Chile or I could even get in to see a neurologist, it was decided that the best option was for me to return home. To seek medical care there, which would likely be faster, and perhaps return to Concepcion someday in the future.
And so the unspeakable has come and is upon us. I am home from the best mission in the world, partially against my will, I might add. And to be honest, I am torn apart. I love Cache Valley, I love my ward, my friends, and wow do I love my family, but I don’t want to be home for 15 more months. I don’t want to do it. Excuse my whiny moment, but I don’t want to go home. It’s not where I want to be. I would do anything to stay. But, as we know, life is not a wish granting factory, and our vision is not always the best vision.
And that’s what I want to touch on: Vision. In my mission we have something called “The Vision”, which is something we strive for everyday: one lesson with either a less active or a recent convert with a member present, and one lesson with an investigator with a member present; every day. This is President Arrington’s vision for the mission, something we strive to complete each day, act in accordance with, and instill in our minds as the bar or expectation. We try to make the vision for the mission our vision and then act.
I guess it’s the same with Heavenly Father. He has a vision for us, for our lives, for our missions, and we are to do all we can to make His vision our vision, and then act in accordance. I’ve learned that sometimes this is hard, because I like to make the plans, and when the plan doesn’t go the way I think it should, I am always devastated, even after 19 years of this repeatedly happening. However, I am also learning, and know, that His plan or vision is better than my vision, because He sees the big picture. He sees life and eternity, where I see just right now. I am blind, it’s the truth. And that’s why this is partially against my will, because if it was my will, I’d stay. I’d stay 1,000 times. But that’s not the vision. The vision isn’t for me to serve my mission in a wheelchair, or falling in the street, or spending every other afternoon in the apartment. The vision is for me to be better, stronger, wiser, and more of who He needs me to be in order to fulfill what He needs me to. And if I don’t act in accordance with His vision, what use am I to Him? I don’t want to be just half of what He needs me to be, I want to be the whole, and I guess I’m not there yet because He’s telling me I can be better. That’s the vision, for me to be better, to suffer in order to grow and become.
That means I have to act. If I understand what He is asking me to do, then I must do it… This is Obedience, the next part of the mission motto and the first law of heaven. We are supposed to act in accordance with what we know; obedience to those laws and ordinances that we hold so dear. Obedience to the answers we receive in prayer, to those things that are asked of us, to the vision, the plan, and ultimately Heavenly Father.
But that takes Sacrifice, the next part of the motto. First, understanding that it doesn’t really matter what I want. It doesn’t matter that I just keep saying to myself, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to go home. I’m not really that sick. I can’t do this, I just want to serve my mission.” It doesn’t matter because it’s not the vision, His vision; and although sometimes I’m hesitant, I do trust Him, even when I don’t understand. It’s so easy to be impatient and shortsighted when we are confused, to give in to spite or rebellious tendencies. The reality of it is that trust is hard. It’s hard to submit your will to the Father’s. I have a good plan, a great plan; one I spent a lot of time on and really thought out & now it’s not working. It’s not working because we’re not in charge. Obedience to what is asked of us and what we know is true, Sacrificing our plans and our will for the Vision of the Father.
But that’s so hard. It’s all hard, especially when you’re confused and frustrated. I am frustrated because the first few weeks in the mission field we really hard for me, terribly hard. At times I didn’t think I could do it, or that I even wanted to, so I prayed. Hard. I prayed and prayed to love the mission and then I got up to act like I did, to try my very best to love it, hard times and all. I remembered the explanation given by Elder Bednar about asking in faith, which means we ask with the intention to act, and when we close our prayers we get up and do it. And it worked, which was such a blessing to me, and now makes this terribly, awfully hard. I love the mission. I love Chile. Despite how difficult it has been, there is nothing I want more than to finish serving those people I love so much.
Sacrifice; it takes work, it’s not always what we want, but it’s an important part of growth.
This is the part about Consecration. It’s the big whopper at the end of a lesson like when we teach The Gospel of Jesus Christ and tell the investigators about Enduring to the End & that it lasts forever. Not a week, month, year, 5 years, etc. but that it is their life now. Perseverar Hasta el Fin; a commitment to live what you know forever, good times of bad times, convenient or not. When they accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ they accept the step of enduring to the end… Reading the scriptures & praying daily, attending church every Sunday, following the will of the Father for them personally. It’s part of consecration. You give it all up, you do your best everyday, and you remember the Eternal perspective.
It’s the same right now.
I don’t want to be home, but I understand that if I stay in the mission field in my condition I am not being the kind of missionary He needs me to be, ultimately that He asked and expects me to be.
And so my point is this… Through all my jumbled thoughts I made a connection from the mission motto to my life, and really it’s the only reason I’m here and not hiding in an airport somewhere in Concepción.
It is this:
Heavenly Father has a plan for me, a Vision for my life & although I’m confused and heart broken I trust Him, because I know He’s right & He is always, always good.
It’s not necessarily what I want or what I would choose, but it builds faith as I am asked to exercise Obedience & Sacrifice my will for His, aligning my thoughts & desires with those of someone a lot better & a lot smarter than me. But it’s hard. I am weak. I don’t always want to do it and when I do I lack the strength. I’m broken, but with God all things are possible.
This requires Consecration or it is not possible to succeed. Because I’m human and humans are imperfect I will fall short, but that is an opportunity to learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ & to be grateful for the miracle of seeing it work in my life every day: Redemptive, Enabling, Strengthening Atonement.
This is an opportunity to grow & be so much better. I’ve got to give it my all, please don’t let me do any less.
Thank you for the kind welcome home. I was, and still am scared to be here, but I want to thank you for your love and prayers. It means so much to me.
Con mucho Amor,
P.S. If anyone would like to practice Spanish I am taking applications. Just teasing about the applications, but I need to practice.