Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week 42: Discipline + Diligence = Difference‏

One time we met a baseball player. Plays for the Braves.

Status of my disciplined lifestyle:  I DID IT.  A week straight.  Still not broken.  Have not purchased Sonic or indulged in anything on the unhealthy side (without halfing it with my companion.  it counts.)  I did the first week of the Jillian Michaels workout Monday through Saturday and I feel fabuloso.  I don't look much different, but I feel ten feet tall.  And my biceps/triceps are a bit more defined.  20 miles of biking this week did the legs some good as well.  I know, this doesn't sound missionary related.  Why mention it?  Because of the principle here.  My workouts and my reformed diet would make no difference if I didn't have both, neither would they do any good unless they were consistent.  Discipline makes no difference unless applied with diligence.
Words of wisdom from Jillian:  "Transformation is not a future event.  It is a present activity."

Words of wisdom from the apostle Paul:  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  [Romans 12:2]

He actually says just one verse prior:
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

That's what all this is for.  To present my body (which is really just on loan to begin with) a living sacrifice.  To give it to the cause, to make me a better servant.  And it's working!  This week we have run (biked) and not been weary.  We have walked and not fainted.  We have found hidden treasures of knowledge (and muscles).  And glory be to a Heavenly Father who blesses the obedient in all things, both temporal and spiritual.

Despite Tuesday being a crazy hard day (I've had it up to HERE with sassy preachers) and getting dropped twice, mercy miracle hit us on Wednesday.  The missionaries have been working with a less active and his live-in non-member girlfriend for like 9 months and getting him to abandon bad habits and living the commandments has been the equivalent of potty training a hyperactive puppy. Frustrating.  However.  Our long-suffering was not for naught.  After all the sets of sisters that went over and won their hearts, after all the object lessons, acting out Book of Mormon stories, trying to show Mormon Messages without getting knocked over by his slobbering Doberman, they broke the news to us: he's quit smoking, he's quit drinking, and they're getting married!! We screamed.  Guess who gets to be the two witnesses?!

I gave a talk yesterday in sacrament about honesty.  A topic very close to my heart.  Bishop assigned it, and, in addition to some general authority quotes and the story of the people of Ammon, I ended up putting heart and soul into this talk.  Awkward moment when the ward your'e serving in now knows things about your life that your own family doesn't know.  (Sorry, not telling.)  In the talk, I also mentioned something we learned this week:  we are not the only ones affected by our commitment to our high moral standards and values, in school and the workplace.  Tracting, we met a woman and her daughter who both had nothing but good things to say about the church because of good friends they had or people they worked with who were LDS.  One basically told us, "I was amazed by the things I learned from them.  If it weren't for my husband, I would join that church."  The way you live is the greatest testimony you will ever bear.  Even if you can't see it, it makes a difference.
I've noticed a bread-trail pattern that occurs a lot when we get a good feeling about a particular street or area we should proselyte in.  We'll find someone the first time, go back and they're not there, meet someone else.  We go back for that person, they drop us or stand us up, but while we're there, we find someone ELSE.  This continues several times in most cases until we find The One.  The meek and humble person who's been praying for us to come.  In this week's case, it was an awesome woman who wears t-shirts that say "I <3 God" and "God Has Blessed Me Today", thanks "Lord Jeesuh" in her prayers at least 20 times, and told us she's prayed for someone to come that knew God's word better than she did.  Her prayers are the best.  "Thank you for sending me my sisters," she prayed,  "I didn't know they was comin here, and they didn't know they was comin here, but You knew, Lord Jeesuh!"
We found her the fourth or fifth time we revisited the area.  Diligence reaps results.

Sometimes, the mercy miracle is small. Like getting a good laugh out of an unfortunate event that's not as bad as it could have been, i.e. when a fellow missionary gets pulled over by a cop but there's nowhere to pull over on small country roads so she accidentally drives into a ditch and hits a pile of gravel and (after turning on the tail lights, which we got pulled over for) having two more cops show up, one to watch for traffic and one to help push us out.  They prob thought these outta-state missionary girls were nuts who wouldn't stop laughing in the backseat and taking pictures.

Oh, remember our guy who came to church last week?  We got to actually teach him this week, and he came to church again yesterday!  All you gotta do is get em once, and they're hooked.  The Spirit in our meetings is undeniable.  Why?  "One true and living church."  How blessed we are.

I'll close with the words of the ever-diligent Alma, who learned as I recently have to accept all that is within my calling and stewardship:

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
 10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me. [Alma 29]
That arm is always there.  Be diligent.  Be disciplined.  He'll make up the difference, and together you make a difference.
Sister Valdez

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