Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flashback #27: Tough Days and Decisions

Dear friends, I am here to finish what I started. I have six more draft posts to publish. This post is unique because it was drafted twice while I was still a missionary. I'm home now. I spent the holidays in Idaho and then moved to Utah. More details on that to come. The stats on Blogger says that I still get occasional page views even though I haven't posted anything for night on two months. That almost makes me want to cry just knowing that I've been away from Tennessee for that long. I miss everyone there so much and I think of so many people every day that I want to call or write a letter or send pictures to. Anyway... that's not the point of this post! No mission-sick mushiness here! Not yet! Anyway, the italicized part is obviously from the first draft in September 2011 and the rest of this post with the exception of the concluding paragraph were written as I was preparing this to be my next flashback.

Hello friends! I remember this day. I also remember many other days like it. So, for those of you who think that going on a mission is fun and exciting, I am here to tell you that it is not always fun and exciting. But is it rewarding? Absolutely. 

September 21, 2011

This week... has been one of the most challenging weeks of my entire mission up to this point. I've had some really tough moments before, but this week it has been spread out gradually day after day. People just aren't home for some reason. We had one of the ward members who was so sweet to drive us around for two nights in a row, and we visited house after house, knocked on door after door, and Sister Anderson and I are to the point where we are trying to find people who have been taught over a year ago to try again just so we can have someone to teach. Want to know how many lessons we have taught this week so far to a non-member? One. And the member that we brought with us got along so well with that non member that they did most of the talking to each other. And that is GREAT! We love it when members come out with us! But this week that has been it. The only people who have let us into their homes this week besides that are members, active and less active. People have cancelled and not shown up to appointments. Yesterday we couldn't get a ride to meet one of our appointments, so we had two choices: walk or ride our bikes. We figured it would take us an hour to walk so we decided to ride our bikes. Up and down hill after hill we went, fixing broken chains and waiting at stop lights along the way until we finally got to the church where we were meeting our appointment. Annndd.... no one was there. We rested for a little while, tried to call, and then headed right back.
   Today has been pretty much the same. We walked to a christian thrift store that we volunteer at every week putting clothes away, hanging them on hangers, organizing, and whatever else they need us to do. It's something that I sincerely look forward to every week because I know that they can use the help.

... The part of that story with the thrift store is that we went there and it was closed for whatever reason. It was indeed a bad day, friends.
We were blessed here in the Tennessee Nashville mission to have a general authority named Elder Perkins come and teach us last Thursday. He and his wife (and our mission president and his wife!) gave us many words of wisdom and ways that we can improve as missionaries and help the work to move forward. There was one thing he said though, that I really love. Please forgive me for not having the direct quote, but it went something like this:

Your mission shouldn't be the best two years (or eighteen months) of your life, but it certainly can be the most important two-year decision.

A mission only lasts for a short time. There are other things that happen in life that are vital for us to draw closer to Heavenly Father, and a mission can definitely prepare us for making those decisions when the time comes.

And let me tell you, sometimes those decisions are hard. The most important thing we can do is to make those decisions wisely and with Heavenly Father in mind. I can testify to you that God doesn't only make up the difference for the sins in our life, but He makes ALL the difference for the choices we haven't even made yet. So, dear friends, for those of you who are wondering about how to decide to go on a mission, be sure that you take it to Heavenly Father. I testify that He will give you a clear and concise answer about what He wants you to do. And I have never met anyone who regrets that decision.

Have an action-packed day!