Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 3:Let's Get Real

Want to know something weird?  Me living in an apartment.  I'm almost 22 and this is the first time I've lived away from home.  I live with Sister Haviland, my trainer, and Sister Ray and Sister Harker.  There's two bedrooms and a tiny kitchen, but we make do.  They laugh at me sometimes, because I'm just so excited to be living on my own that I do things like clean up, and so excited to be a missionary that I ask them things all the time to make sure I'm living by the rules.  (Remember the movie The Best Two Years?  I am Elder Calhoun.)

Want to know something weirder?  The familiar faces.  Since transfer day, I've met a bunch of new faces among missionaries and the weird thing is that they don't seem so new.  They look familiar.  Like I've known them for years.  Weird.  But necessary.  I've been able to bond with them easily, which has been a major blessing since we're all in a difficult line of work.  My district leader, Elder Arthur calls us to remind us that he's got our backs and that we can call him anytime.  After our first district meeting, he paid for my fried chicken at a fast-food chain, as a welcoming gesture (that I would eventually pay back by singing him and his companion a hymn over the phone to lift their spirits on a sick day.)  It's nice to be reminded we're all in this together.
Any of you remember Kyle Dalton?  Well, he's serving in this mission.  He called the other night to see how I was getting along and he said this to me:
"Remember, you're not here to change your personality, but to be the best version of yourself you can be."
Made sense, as he was very much himself on the phone.  But I've seen it happening.
It's not unlike me to be very conscious about rules.  Nor is it unlike me to be shy about talking to new people on the street or at their door - at first - then wanting to find common ground with them once we do start speaking.  I spoke with a couple... how you say... crazy potheads?  Let's call em "free spirits" instead.  One was an aethiest, one was the kind that believed in "god in all things" and "virtue in all faiths" and "the chakrahs, man" and "spiritual beings having a confined mortal experience" and I was like YO THAT'S WHAT I BELIEVE TOO.  And both were once Methodist.  So maybe we didn't get a formal lesson there in the Albertsons parking lot, but I believe some good was done.  We were able to clear up some false "Mormon rumors" and I shared with them a bit about the Plan of Salvation, namely that God is our loving Father, he sent us to earth to learn and progress, and that the goal is to become like Him and return to Him that we may continue our spiritual progression in His presence.  The way I see it, no interaction is wasted so long as some edification took place.  Even with potheads.
Things are just getting real.  I got to hear a paralyzed man's story of how he was "saved" in extensive detail (some may call what it became a Bible bash, but I will refrain).  The first family that fed us gave us ribs and mac-n-cheese and corn, as well as their conversion story, with little Shantai, Tyrone, and Deshawn as testaments of the blessing that the gospel is to families.  Two days ago, I passed a walmart window and caught sight of the shiny black tag, present as day beside my collar and I realized - I am a missionary.  I am a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am on His errand, doing His work.  And He is the reason I went from being leaf-shaking scared to calm-strong-confident in a matter of days.  The longer I'm here, the more I realize that all flesh is in God's hands.  Sure I have shortcomings, but so what?  God is all-powerful.  As Sister Haviland reminded me, so long as I am being obedient and humble before God and trying my best to teach when I can, the Holy Ghost can enter the hearts of men and tell them whatever I couldn't.  That is the promise.  No matter how scary the door approach is (and maybe always will be.)

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
[2 Timothy 1:7]

And that sound mind comes by earnest prayer to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  Maybe it's not a vision, or the gift of tongues, and is rather a warm feeling of peace, but it's sufficient.  It is my Savior reminding me "We're in this together."  May your peace be in Christ, and therein your power as well.
Sister Valdez

No comments:

Post a Comment