Love Elliott's message to look forward and trust in the Lord, here. Hope the message uplifts you, too!
October 20, 2013
Wow. Wow. Wow. This week may or may not have been the toughest one yet. As the subject suggests, mom's package came at the most opportune time. PS, lessons learned this week. More to follow.
So, why was this week so rough? I can honestly say that 5 appointments we had planned and set up fell through 30 minutes before and/or after the scheduled time. To kind of put things in perspective... on average, Elder Pruner and I have been able to set up and attend around 10, 11, 12 appointments each week (and that's giving it our all... all our might, mind, heart, and strength). As you can imagine, losing 5 appointments (all in the course of 2,3 days) is incredibly stressful, heartbreaking, and well, frustrating. Mind you, everything just sort of culminated on Sunday (nothing went according to plan, and well, we had to make the backup plan on the spot), resulting in me breaking down at church during a closing prayer of a baptismal service, quickly trying to pull things together, and then have 3 members come up to me and ask me if I was all right, and that it looked like I had just been crying (whoops... yeah, it came to tears this week. On the plus side, our members are angels... one of whom sent me a text this morning telling me to be happy and to have a wonderful day^^ I never want to leave this area. I could spend another year here and be totally happy).
But, I learned a lot. First, I really love the people we teach. Every time an appointment cancelled, I was heartbroken. And five heartbreaks in 3 days is a lot, emotionally. Fortunately, Elder Pruner had more than enough optimism for the two of us these last few days... I don't know if he realizes how much of a help he's been... and I don't know how to put it into words how grateful I am for his support.
Second, I'm relearning and repracticing trust in the Lord. It's not just acknowledging that this missionary effort is really God's work, and that we're just tools in His hands, but it also includes that we can't afford to be stuck wallowing in the past but to reflect, move on, and then make the most of the resulting situation. Yes, the solution to hard situations and effective missionary work isn't to be stuck in the disappointments of the past, but to realize that the past may simply have just been the thing that needed to happen in order to be somewhere else at the right time. I feel like I'm not being overly clear... so I'll explain with story:
Friday was exceptionally hard. We had a dinner appointment at 7:30pm set up with an investigator, and we were going to meet at the church. 7:30 rolls around, and, well, no show. We wait around 10 minutes (he's in high school, and I know I ran about 10 minutes late all the time). Still no show, so we call. No answer. We wait another 5 minutes in case he didn't hear or feel his phone (because, well, sometimes that happens), and no show. So, we leave the church (I'm really heartbroken at this time). We head back home to eat dinner (we're starving at this point, and I'm still heartbroken). And when we arrive back to our apartment complex, we run into another one of our investigators. We talk briefly (I'm out of it... again, hungry and heartbroken), and we part ways. I'm feeling a little bit better, but still, a little upset. When we get into our apartment, we pray. And at the end of the prayer, I had the distinct feeling that, well, I needed to look forward, not backward, and make the most of the situation we were in. So, I text the investigator we saw just before arriving home, and explained a little bit of what happened that day (just that it was super rough, so we're sorry that we weren't overly talkative, but things are all right now). And he sent me back the nicest text... to the effect of keep your head up. Something good is bound to happen soon!... And, well, I just felt good about how it played out, like we did what we were supposed to do.
And so, there's the most profound lesson I learned. To look forward, not backwards, and to make the most of the hand that I've been dealt. Just as in card games, sometimes we have a bit of an unfortunate dry spell during which we don't get what we want (Dad, our current cribbage streak is like, what, I've lost the last 20 games to you?). But, eventually, the dry spell passes, and well, things turn out okay.
Now, how do we look forward and play the hand that we've been given? It's really to trust in the Atonement. Remember, God hasn't set us up to fail. It's not on His agenda. He's given us the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We have our short-comings, we have our heartaches. We have trials. But because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we don't have to face these trials alone. We have the ultimate co-pilot who, if we aren't able to drive anymore, will drive for us until we're able to drive again.
So, the week was rough. Now what? Well, look forward, not backward. Focus on the good that resulted from last week, and to build upon it. That's the most I can do right now. And that's what the Lord asks of each us... build upon the good that already has been established.
I love you all, work well. Work hard. Know that you can't fail in fulfilling your righteous desires - for God will lead, guide, and inspire... just have the courage to act.
Elder Elliott Wedam