Be not afraid, only believe.
I feel like I had a week long experience in learning about how Faith and Hope are connected, and I've thought a lot about this council that the Savior gave Jairus.
Last Wednesday we had a great district meeting on Hope and Diligence. Someone made the comment that when we are in the house we live on Hope, we recognize that the work is the Lord's and we have hope that our goals and plans will be realized, that He will make it possible for the work to move forward. And then in the car we live on Diligence, and we work as if the work depends on our efforts.
So the week started out with high Hope and acting with Faith.
I told Sister Ramirez how I've been feeling about the family from England, that I've felt prompted over there to visit but how I've been kind of afraid to. And she told me off for not going! Which was what I needed. We had plans to go and visit them, but ended up being led to a completely different family in a completely different part of the area in Petersboro. AKA middle of nowhere. And would you believe, this family is BEST FRIENDS with them. Brother Torrie has a scripture study with this guy every month. They told us that this family will be out of town for 2 weeks. So yeah, we are excited for 2 weeks from now to meet them!
We had dinner with a less active family this week. We haven't formally started teaching them yet, but we did want to share a message after dinner. We were going to share a video about the Restoration and we learned that they really don't know what the Restoration is! So we summarized it, and when we got to the Book of Mormon we were surprised that they are not familiar with the Book of Mormon besides the fact that it is scripture and we read it. So I had the opportunity to explain that it is an ancient record compiled by a prophet historian Mormon and burred in the earth bu his son Moroni, and kind of the history that happens in this book and why we have it, and then to share my testimony of it. They asked very sincere questions about it, and asked us if they could have one! They were so excited! And we were so happy to see that miracle.
We were in Petersboro another day visiting a recent convert, and we decided to tract. Which doesn't happen out there because everyone is so spread out. Literally. But we knocked on a door and miracles started happening. She is a less active for several years but we invited her to come to Church after hearing about the trials that caused her to stop going. We testified of the Savior and of the truthfulness of the Church, and she agreed to go to Church! And she came!! After 5+ years of not going, she came this week because we happened to knock on her door and invite her. We have another lesson with her tonight. I'm still not sure what kind of message she needs to hear, but I'm thinking we will teach the Restoration with an emphasis on Prayer. We'll see.
Then after that the week kind of turned around and things stopped going right. There was one day that really climaxed. We had lots of rejection. And not the kind where people told us that they just aren't interested, but the kind where they open the door a crack and don't really even look at us before they slam the door, let alone allow us to share our testimonies. And honestly my hope faltered a lot. I began to doubt that there were people here in Mendon that have been prepared for me to teach. I still believed that Christ has the power to change people and help them be prepared for us to knock on their door, but I lost the hope that He was actually doing it. I felt so distant from God I wondered if He knew I was here doing the very best I can to serve Him. The evening was a mess. The end of the night rolled around and we found ourselves locked out of the church building without our car keys. I just prayed because that was basically all I could do at that point.
I remembered my baptismal covenant. That I promised to stand as a witness of God at all times and all places and in all things. And that I received a covenant promise from God that in return I would be on a team with Jesus Christ. That He would always be there to carry the loads I couldn't carry. And I felt that. I felt like I honestly had no more strength, no more energy to move things forward. But they continued to move forward, and I felt the strength of my loving Savior.
I felt like Jairus, and Christ was there for me to tell me "Be not afraid, only believe.".
Alma 33: 11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.
I've probably learned this lesson a billion times before, and I'll probably have to keep on learning it, but God loves us. He knows us. His plan is always different from our own simply because He can see the whole picture. And because He loves us that plan will always get us to where we will be the most happy. It's been a long week but one that I will LOVE for the rest of my mission, and probably the rest of my life. This is the best :)
Love you all,