Friday, February 26, 2016

Small and Simple Things

February 22, 2016

I am always amazed at the way the Lord works in our lives. It is incredible the way things just seem to come together. Let me give you an example, I have been struggling trying to figure out what I need to do to get out of a plateau that I have hit. When we first got to Talavera about 11 weeks ago things started to explode, just explode. We were receiving several references everyday and having great contacts in the street, our investigator pool grew and we were teaching more lessons than I have ever before in my mission, but a couple of weeks ago I noticed that we were not receiving many references nor were we having such great conversations with people and so I started looking to find the secret to finding new investigators. Praying, fasting, and pondering trying to figure out what the big secret is to Talavera. I found out the big secret, but it really isn't big nor is it a secret. The secret is the little things. When we got to Talavera we were talking with absolutely everyone, we were doing absolutely everything we could to find just one person to teach because we had nothing. As time went on and we started to grow we got comfortable. We started talking more with the people who "looked receptive" we began not looking or praying with that same urgency. In short we had forgotten to do some of the basic things while searching for a bigger answer. I am grateful for my wonderful mother who was inspired to send me a talk given at BYU by Ed Eyestone, it was the following story that finally made it all click.

"Kyle Perry was a track athlete recruited from Alta High School in Utah. After returning from a mission to New Jersey, Kyle began what would be a very successful track and cross-country career at BYU. However, at the beginning of his junior year he admitted to being somewhat frustrated by the fact that, despite being an All-American, he had not yet been able to break four minutes in the mile. Fifty years ago the sub-four-minute mile was considered a nearly impossible physiological feat—although when Roger Bannister finally accomplished the task in 1952, a succession of others soon followed. However, it is still considered a landmark accomplishment, and far fewer people have run a sub-four-minute mile (about 1,400) than have climbed Mount Everest (more than 4,000). Kyle’s personal record at the time stood at 4:05—certainly a better-than-average college time but far from world class. At the end of cross-country season that fall, Kyle came into my office with a proposal. “Coach,” he said, “I feel like in track I have kind of plateaued. I’m stuck at 4:05, and I’m not getting any faster.” “Well,” I asked, “what are we going to do about it?” He said, “I don’t think there is one single thing I can do to cut off five seconds, but I do think there are ten things I can do that will total five seconds and get me under four minutes.” He then pulled out his list, which read something like this: For the next three months I will:

1. Do my morning runs
2. Stretch after workout
3. Do core five times a week
4. Get to bed before 11:00 p.m.
5. Lift weights twice a week
6. Do sprint drills twice a week
The last four changes were dietary in nature:
7. Eat breakfast every day
8. No more ice cream
9. No more diet coke
10. No more candy

We all would probably benefit from those last four. After going through the list, he added, “Coach, on February 2 the track team is going to Seattle for an indoor meet, and I’m going to break four minutes for the mile.” He then turned the list into a legally binding contract by signing it at the bottom. I signed it as well, and we posted a copy on my wall and a copy in his locker. Over the next three months I met with him regularly for his daily workouts, and he let me know how his ten small things were coming along. As we flew to Seattle that first week of February, he was brimming with confidence. Not only had he paid the price on the big things, like running eighty miles a week and never missing a practice, but he had also made the additional sacrifices to do the small things that he felt would make the ultimate difference. On February 2, at the University of Washington indoor track, after a slow opening three laps, Kyle ran fifty-seven seconds for his last 400 meters and became the 302nd American to break four minutes for the mile, running 3:59.16. Contrary to popular opinion, he found that sweating the small stuff was necessary to accomplish big things and get him to a whole new level. Building on his breakthrough, Kyle won the national championships in the steeplechase that next year."

Really what I have realized is that it is the small stuff that is important. When we perform elite events, such as being a missionary, the small things really do count. I am forgetting myself and putting the needs of others before myself? Am I working towards becoming more exactly obedient? Am I having effective study? Am I being diligent in my work? Am I focused like I was at the beginning? These are some basic things that I need to reassess and make sure that I really am doing the basics, there are no shortcuts, no big secrets. The Lord has said, "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day...For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;" The Lord has already told me what to do, thrust in my sickle with all my might. Revelation comes in so many different ways I am grateful for all those people who like my mother are able to be tools in the hands of the Lord. Thank you all for letting me share my thoughts with you.

As for the work here, things are going pretty well. We are planning to set a baptismal date with Manuel this week. Please pray that his heart will be softened and that he will be able to hear the Spirit whispering to him. Lucy as well is doing well. She wasn't able to come to church yesterday and we aren't sure why after a great lesson with her on Friday. We are hoping to have more news on Lucy this coming week.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

Gluten free aisle at the grocery store!
I made GF cheesecake for FHE
Heavenly GF treasures!

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