Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Work is Worth It

Worth: of high value or merit

Work: activity involving mental or physical effort in order to achieve a purpose or result

We sure walked a lot in the beginning of the week. Whether it was by poor planning on our part or communication issues with our investigators, I can't quite recall, but I remember walking, talking with people, the chill air as the hours passed, and being tired at the end of the day.

At some point my companion, thinking aloud, asked, "I wonder how Christ faced rejection." I imagine it was something like this: his face takes on a hint of sadness as he lets them get the last word or walk away and then quietly, lovingly, and humbly, he says "that's ok, I'll pay for your sins anyway."

Random deep mental wanderings aside, it's been a pretty good week. We sort of consistently struggled to get citas [appointments] but had the typical meetings and weekly things kept us going: District Meeting where we were attacked with confetti cannons in the most loving way imaginable, English class where getting them not to roll their 'r' is the HARDEST thing ever, coordination with some newly called and very excited Ward missionaries (and food, of course, because Javier wouldn't have it any other way), Noche de Barrio [ward night], and half-hearted practices for some more last-minute musical numbers.

We had a pretty incredible lesson with Ana and Norma and a new roommate named Celeste. We talked about the "what, why, and how" of baptism. I had had a hard time focusing in  personal study that morning, though I had done all of the things I was "supposed" to do (read in PMG, the Book of Mormon, another book of scripture (D&C this time)), I just wasn't feeling it until, with about 29 minutes left, I thought about Ana and Norma. I thought about what they needed, how we should teach them, and what scriptures/experiences would help get the message across. And like flipping switch I felt a new energy and excitement in what I found for them. It was the perfect jumpstart to the day. And I learned again the paradox: focusing on others is the best way to help yourself. As we moved smoothly from idea to scripture to discussion, Norma said "We aren't baptized, but we go to church. If we aren't members, then... What are we?" A great question. You can go to church as often as you want and feel the spirit, but if you don't make the covenant of baptism you'll never have the promise of his constant presence. And I think they finally got it. Norma is just waiting on papers to get married. Ana has a harder choice to make, but she committed to sincerely pray about it. And I finally feel like we're helping them again.  Hermana Gutoff gets bad migraines sometimes, and it's gotten worse lately. I should have seen it coming: 50% of the missionaries I work with end up with serious health problems and I've at least crossed paths with every missionary who's had to go home early. I'm like a bad luck charm. ;) but we'll get it figured out.

How you survive piso purgatory. The District, arts and crafts, journaling, food, and phone calls.

Sometimes I wonder about worth.
I've sent out hundreds of reminder texts for church and activities, made thousands of unanswered phone calls, and seen no results. 
Worthless is what it seems.
As every transfer comes to the last few weeks, I evaluate myself as a leader and missionary and am overwhelmed by just how much I've missed the mark. I haven't hit pautas [mission goals] for over six months or had a baptism since Eduardo, I don't even work with members as well as I should and really, why haven't I been released yet? Why haven't they just given up on me "it's been a nice run, Hermana Een" and passed the torch on to a more worthy candidate? Am I really worthy to be considered a leader?
We stop and talk to so many people: most are Muslim, all are busy and we find very few who stop and listen, much less who want to learn more. And yet we keep walking. We keep talking, and we keep inviting.

And then there are times that restore your faith.
Because a man named Julio you contacted and called actually followed up on his promise to come to church, and you realize that SOMEONE at least, got the message.
Because yesterday was Specialized training, and in the leadership meeting they of course talked about how we can help missionaries work better, but we also talked about how our first goal is the exaltation of the missionaries we work with, strengthening their faith, diligence, and testimonies. And I know that I have at least done that.
Because the Lord’s elect are out there. Manuela is one of them. Eduardo was too. And we're not here just to fill the font and see our names in the mission news. We are here to build Zion.

Surprise run-in with the Dayton crew at the train station
And I know that missionary work is worth it. I know that it's worth every rainy, windy, gloomy day. It's worth every pain, headache, and broken toe. It's worth every slammed door and rude contact. It's worth it because it's true. It's worth it because I know. I know that I am a child of God. I know that everyone I've ever contacted in every area I've ever been in is a loved spirit Child of our Heavenly Father. It's worth it because of the disciples of Christ that we are becoming. It's worth it because the book of Mormon is true. And I love it. I love the example of great missionaries like Alma, Amulek, and Ammon. I love the examples of the great missionaries I work with. It's worth it because of the seeds you plant and the testimony you write on your heart every time you bear it. And someday those who've heard it will remember and it'll ring familiar and true. It's worth it because of Christ, and the honor I have to put his name over my heart.
The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.
It's worth a year and a half.
It's worth a lifetime.

You were worth every drop of blood he shed for you. And helping people come to know that is a high and holy calling. One I'm grateful to hold.

Please remember your worth this week. And give a special prayer of gratitude.
I love you all!
Hermana Een

Companion fact: obsessed with seafood, prefers salty to sweet, and has 4 sisters

Because some of you have asked...
Companion: just hit half way. Has 5 siblings but only one brother. Is the second youngest but only missionary... Most are menos active. I love her a lot. She gets migraines and likes to talk things out which is great most of the time. I know I'm here to help her heal and grow.  She's from Utah but both of her parents are from Argentina so people expect her to be native. 

Area: a solid 80% of everyone we contact is Muslim, and it gets harder for me to find the energy to continue in what seems like it will probably be another dead-end contact. Our most promising people don't have solid schedules or don't answer their phones, but we keep working and are blessed with miracle moments that makes everything else worth it. We're a little lonely, being the only hermanas here, but the district is like a family. A really weird, high energy, slightly awkward family. ;)

Een: finally starting to realize that I have less than 60 days left in the mission field, determining to finish strong and see those last few miracles. Ready to go to my tenth Concilio and sometimes just feeling all around OLD. But there's still much to learn, grow, and DO. And on
we go.

Love you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment