Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Week of a Missionary

September 7, 2015

Usually when I write letters I try to think of a theme for the week in something that I am studying or something that I feel that I have been taught through my experiences this week, but this week I don't even know what it is that I should write about, there is so much that has happened and so much that I have learned. Hopefully I figure it out by the time I finish writing.

First of all I want everyone to know how awesome my companion Elder Peña is. I am grateful for the ability that he has to love. He is teaching me so much about the importance of loving everyone and doing everything that we do out of love. If we do the right thing only because it is something to do we become robots. Driven by tasks and lists and check marks on what we have done that day. But if we do the right thing because we love the Lord and those around us we become disciples of Jesus Christ. With love we go above and beyond the check marks and lists for the day (they still get accomplished) but we also have sought to go the extra mile to do a little bit more. Or in other words we are engaged in what we are doing with our heart as well as our minds. For example last night we had our weekly phone call report to our District Leader and while I was talking on the phone my companion made me dinner. It wasn't in his to do list for the day nor is it written that we have to make our companion's dinner but he saw an opportunity and took it to show me his love. This is just one small example, it seems that he is constantly looking to do that one extra thing to better the world around him and to show that he cares.

Second, the Lord works miracles as we try our best. On Saturday we had an activity in the church and got stuck there pretty much all day long. I was kind of frustrated because several things had not gone to plan and certain key people had not shown up until very late, but the Lord works miracles still. At about 9:30 one of the youth told us that her nonmember friend was going to come to talk with us. We went out in the street and talked with him about the Resurrection and the next day he came to church, and we met with him again last night. It was a miracle because after what looked to be a less productive day still the Lord blessed us through our relationship with the members.

Third, we have an investigator from New York named Felix, who is really cool. But he is going through a hard time right now. One of his best friends died in a motorcycle accident a couple days ago and he is struggling to understand why someone so young has to die if there is a God. I know that even though this is a hardship for him in the end it will be a blessing because Felix is turning to God and the Scriptures to find the answers to his questions for which I am grateful. I know that in the scriptures we can find the answers to all or our questions no matter what they are.

Fourth, I know that when we judge others it is because we can't see ourselves clearly. There are two lessons that I am learning this transfer. The first is that we need to look in the mirror first. Usually if we have a problem with someone it is because we are selves don't want to find fault with ourselves and so we push blame on others. We compare ourselves to them saying I do this and this better than them and so I am better but it is not true. There is a phrase that I don't remember exactly but it goes something like, never think that you are any better or any worse than your neighbor but always just as good. When we compare we fail. When we try to follow Christ and better ourselves without comparison we succeed. The second lesson is that we need to try walking in the other person's shoes. We must try to see as they see the world and then we can have understanding and compromise. But we first must make an effort to understand them. We really don't know the struggles of others until we take the time to get to know them.

Fifth, everything in its own and proper time. Victor our investigator from Pontevedra was baptized this last Saturday. I am super excited for this and it is something that I have prayed for that he would be ready and able to take this important step in his life.

Sixth, thank you to the person that sent me a package that I received this week. I am grateful for your thoughtfulness and kind words. You were an answer to my prayers. I know that God works in mysterious ways and an orange envelope with some goodies was a blessing to me.

Finally, I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. That through the Atonement we can be lifted during times of difficulty. I know this because I have felt it with all my heart. I also know that when we make mistakes, we can repent and change and be better all through the Atonement of Jesus Christ again. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that I have been called and set apart as His representative to bring this knowledge and access of the Atonement to others. I love being a missionary and seeing His work move forward here in Spain.

Elder Gustafson

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