This week, the Spirit decided to take me on a journey of self-discovery...and Elder Prestwich acted as my tour guide. To be short in words, it was definitely a period of progression over the past seven days, filled with blessings and discouragements of a spiritual magnitude that rocked the scales.
Promised blessings are beginning to sprout and bud here in Guatemala City, all the sowing that was done over the past months is finally paying off as my companion and I have been thrusting in the sickle.
I have seen a lot of change and miracles in this area. And this week was no different.
Sunday was the start of a long line of blessings that came to follow, Ana came to church with the Pascual family and enjoyed it. And Elder Prestwich and I went out in the morning to wake people up and get them to the chapel, we then took the 8:30 TransUrbano bus that would drop us off at a two minute walking distance from the chapel.
The only problem was that there was a marathon going on and a boatload of traffic out on the streets and the bus took a wrong turn on the way to church. 8:45 rolled by...8:50...8:55 and we were still stuck in traffic. At that point I was just frantic, a headache carved itself into my brain and about a thousand stressful thoughts filled the empty space: What are the members going to think? Why me? Why us? Why on my companion's first Sunday in Montufar? What if a General Authority shows up to church today (it wouldn't be the first time in my ward)?
With my mind racing, I willed the Bus to go faster so that we could at least make it before the Sacrament. Ten minutes later at 9:05 we were dropped off at the bus station and my companion and I sprinted down the street in our suits to the Chapel three blocks away.
What do you know, they were singing all 4 verses of The Spirit of God as an opening hymn and we were able to slip in the back during the chorus.
Count your blessings.
That afternoon, our ward mission leader gave us Lunch...and it being his birthday, he served us his favorite dish: Masacuata (or, fried serpent). Yes, my friends, I ate a snake. It tasted like a mixture between chicken and fish...I wasn't a huge fan, but at least I can officially say that I have gotten over my "picky eater stage."
That afternoon we tried a two hour experiment in our area. Deciding that it was time to increase our faith, we started to knock on doors until we found a chosen family. We got about 20 minutes into our labor when, lo and behold, we found new investigators, Mamfredo and Lucy, a married couple with a little 2 year old daughter. Playing the lesson by ear, we talked about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our families. The conversation was lively and I feel like we can help this family to progress during this change.
The rest of the week had it's ups and downs, but the biggest highlight was the Zone's trip to the Temple this last Tuesday. As a mission we go to do an endowment session every 6 months...and seeing how the last time was in February...it was time for another excursion to the house of the Lord. I absolutely love to go to the Temple, and it's even more meaningful to me now as I am older. Everyone should have the mutual goal to be able to go to that holy place. There is a spirit there that just fills you up and makes you feel like everything is okay. And there is something about being able to be in the Celestial Room that is without comparison, it is, without a doubt, where heaven and earth make contact.
So I was motivated for the whole rest of the week to help Manuela and the Franco's to put the long-term goal of going to the Temple and to be able to participate in the same ordinances that have blessed my own life more than anything else.
The whole week I felt like I was insufficient, like I was trying my very best to work as hard as we could..but could never be successful. Like on Sunday, I was striving for perfection in worrying about things that are out of my control. At the end of the day I would feel self-pity for the things that we weren't able to do instead of seeing the blessings that the Lord gave us during the course of the day.
It wasn't just once either...it was many times.
Now I have a testimony of how every missionary companionship is inspired by God, because Elder Prestwich helped me to see that in myself, and had the patience to help me recognize the good instead of the bad. He said that "Sometimes we put higher expectations for ourselves than our Heavenly Father has for us, and when we don't live up to our own goals, we forget to see how God has a higher will. Don't stress yourself out if our appointments fall through, I am perfectly happy knocking on doors all day."
It was so true. I had been striving for perfection in my own area and in the offices as well, and neglecting to see how becoming perfect is a process...nothing that can just happen all at once. The Lord knows that we will make mistakes, and will help us to become better day by day, principle by principle.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Seventy said in this past months Ensign: "For those who may feel chronically burdened or anxious, sincerely ask yourself, “Do I define perfection and success by the doctrines of the Savior’s atoning love or by the world’s standards? Do I measure success or failure by the Holy Ghost confirming my righteous desires or by some worldly standard?”" (www.lds.org/ensign/2014/07/young-adults/becoming-perfect-in-christ?lang=eng Awesome article...read it!)
Christ is the only perfect one. And if we follow him, and do our best, he will make up the rest.
See you next week!