Wednesday, May 3, 2017

March 13, 2017 - Challenges and seeing blessings

I forgot to take pictures last week... Sorry!!!! But to make up, I'll write a longer letter! ;D But be warned, it is very long.  Cause only 4 people wrote me today....  Woo!!!!

So, we're just out here working, having fun, sweating, and teaching with the spirit. And sweating some more.  

The sun has now come in full vigor!  At least that's what it feels like right now, and I know that its just going to get worse from here.....   Good News!!!!  My clothes are now too big!  Again!  Diets and walking A LOT really does work!!!!  Still not going to buy new clothes, since there's only several weeks left.....

So, message for this week.  God gives us challenges and problems in life so that we can grow and become stronger!  This last week we literally (almost) worked holes into our shoes!  We're finding, teaching, praying, fasting, making small little ward activity cards and doing everything single thing I can possibly think of or have heard of to bring others to Christ and complete with our purpose out here in the Mission field.  We had plan after plan of how we were going to complete with every little challenge that our Mission President has given us, and it has all worked out!  Until yesterday.

We were 100% positive we were going to see some big miracle yesterday, see throngs of investigators in the seats, all enjoying (or sleeping like one of our investigators the week before....) the morning services. 

And what ended up happening?  Nada.  Zilch. ZERO!!!!!!  I was dumb-founded!!!!!!  I thought to myself, ´´Como es posible?!?!?!?!´´ (Crudely translated to, How is this even possible!?!?!?!) 

I didn´t have an explanation.  I felt like all the effort and work we had put into the week had gone down the drain.  I even felt many doubts and accusations towards my own self begin to sprout inside my head.  I felt as if I had done EVERYTHING right, and had no explanation as to what possibly could have gone wrong!

Now, I understand about free-will and that the investigators made their own choices.  I know that the success of a Missionary depends on the level of commitment he gives and if he feels the spirit as he teaches.  (All of which I can happily give the affirmative towards).

As I pondered, and struggled to control my emotions and not allow any bitter feelings to appear towards those I taught or even God, I remembered a hymn that we had sung early during the sacrament meeting.  That of ´´Sweet hour of Prayer´´.  I remembered our Lords promises in comforting us in our times in need, and I poured my soul unto my God, pleading desperately for comfort and counsel that I needed in that moment. 

Shortly after I began to pray, I was amazed at the peace that I began to feel spread throughout me.  It started as a small feeling, which quickly grew into something much larger.  I then remembered many messages I had shared to others about adversity, and how it was there to make us stronger, and grow into a being more like our Savior Jesus Christ.  I knew then that there was something special I could learn from this experience, which I didn't learn till later in the day.

As we ate lunch, (a member had given us food to eat in our house cause they had to leave town that day), I was listening to a talk of Elder Holland. (Recently I've really enjoyed listening to BYU devotional speeches in the house when we're not doing anything, its always a highlight of my day!) The speech wasn't even that spiritual of a talk, it was a speech he had given about Mark Twain.  More of a biography than anything (yes I was surprised too).  However, as I listened about the life of Mark Twain, which from my understanding was a long list of sad events and failures. I began to ponder about how, even after everything, Mark Twain was able to use everything he had learned, to make one of the greatest books that is still examined by every school in the nation till this day.   

Anyway, to make a long story short.  I came to the realization (AGAIN) that failure and adversity are just components to success in the long run.  I looked at the few goals that my companion and I still had to complete that week (goals that we had never accomplished before), and decided that we weren't going to enter the house that night until we accomplished every last goal we had.  Which we did.

That night God blessed us to find many of the Elect.  We worked hard, and did the very best we could until the end.  I can proudly say that as the week ended yesterday, I could say as Paul of old ´´I fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.´´  Even though I didn't obtain the fruits I was hoping for yesterday, I obtained a treasure far beyond compare.  

That of a resolve to always give my best effort until the end.  I hope this experience helps some, and that this lesson can be learned in the poor grammar and broken English I can muster for this letter to you all. I love and wish for a great week for all of you! 

Con Amor,
Elder Pettingill

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