Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fear and Faith Do Not Coexist

July 22, 2015 
I love being here in Pontevedra. As our branch president always says this is the best Rama in the world. We have had a great week. Great news from this week comes in the form of quotes from investigators or people we talked with on the street.

Waiting for the ward mission leader
An older lady named Amable stopped us and told us, "you two are very handsome. If I weren´t Catholic I would be a member of your church just because you two are so handsome."

When we asked an investigator how he was doing giving up smoking he told us, "Smoke? I don´t do that anymore."

From Victor, talking about trying to find work that he could do without having to come home in pain everyday, "I don´t work to die, I work to live"

When teaching our invetigator Pili that if she reads the Book of Mormon, prays to know that it is true with a sincere desire, and comes to church that she can receive an answer from God through the Spirit that this is the true church, she said, "If it is so easy to receive an answer from God and know that it is true why then is not everyone in the world members of your church?"

This is a great question and one that I believe has many reasons but one of them is fear. In the scriptures there are two types of fear, the first is the fear of God which is a respect and love of God that leads to obedience and progression. The second, is the fear of worldly things or people. This type of fear leads to a stop in progression, every time. I realized this last week that I have had a fear of failure, in school, in learning, in trying to be innovative, in opening my mouth and speaking as much as I should. For me this is a problem because this type of fear does not come from God. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul writes, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." If something does not come from God it comes from the World. For everybody fear is different, sometimes this is a fear that people will reject you because of your beliefs or will ask obnoxious questions if you come back to church or that your boyfriend will dump you because you are meeting with the missionaries, but no matter what it is it stops or at the very least slows progression. Over and over again it is this fear, especially a fear of change that stops people. People become comfortable in the situation in which they are and don´t want to change because change is hard and as humans we are sometimes frightened because we do not know what change will do to our lives. But, change is good as long as it is a change that leads to good. 

On Sunday our branch president gave a talk and said today is the day to determine what our future will look like tomorrow. In reality we often times cannot change the situation that we are in, in an instant of change. But as we continue making daily changes in our lives we will see the future begin to look brighter. I love that as a missionary I have the opportunity to invite others to make and keep commitments and eventually covenants that will be a blessing for their lives. We have found investigators who only need an invitation to act and make changes and they do it without fear. Others we have found and invited and lost because they were afraid of what might happen if they took steps to act. This is so sad because on occasion we are blind to our own faults or the things that we should be doing that when we receive an invitation by someone who knows that it would help us we choose not to accept it. I love being a missionary because I can invite, teach and re-invite people to take these steps and commit or recommit themselves to living the standards of the gospel, and see the light and joy that comes from overcoming fear and changing. I am trying to get rid of the fear that I have in my life and to increase my faith in my Savior, and my invitation to you is to do the same, look and see if you have fear of doing something good whether it is sharing the gospel with your friends, or going to church every week, or whatever it is that could be stopping progression and just do it. That is the best way to overcome fear. The Savior is there to help us, over and over again we are promised that if we are working to do better and overcome our fear that the Lord will be there by our sides. This I know to be true as I have felt Him over and over again by myside as I´ve had to do something difficult.

To finish, a quote from Elder Giforos who said, "If serving a mission means loving people it never stops." Love is the key, in the mission and in life. Our goal should always be love. In 1 John 4:18 we read "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." Love is the key to overcoming our fear. If we love God more than the World, more than our possessions, more than our own selves, more than everything there is nothing good that we cannot do. I love the Lord and am grateful to be His servant here in Spain at this time. I love you all and pray for you.

Elder Gustafson
The Pontevedra Triathalon swimmers
We had lunch at a 50s dinner in Vigo with Elder and Sister Arnett and the other missionaries.   

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