Saturday, September 10, 2016

An Anchor of Peace

August 24, 2016

I´m sorry that this letter is coming to you a couple of days late, we have had several incredibly crazy days here in the Madrid Mission. To start it off on Monday one of my companions and our Secretary in the office went home for some medical tests. He has a blood clot in his leg and has been having chest pains that the Spanish doctors haven´t been able to identify a reason for. The good news is though that the American doctors they have talked to sound confident that they can find the problem and that it won´t hinder his desires to continue onward in his missionary service. Elder Douglas will be coming back in about two weeks to resume his position as Secretary. We are praying that things go well for him. In the meantime, Elder Kirby and I are holding the office together with the Youngs.

Anyways, we spend the day running around trying to make sure that all the people who have trips are able to catch their planes and trains and buses. We only had a set of Hermanas miss a train and an Elder on a bus which broke down and who waited on the side of the road with the other people there until someone from Madrid could travel the hour and a half out to fix the bus. All in all, for us it was a pretty smooth day just long hours.

Then we get to Tuesday. Tuesday is probably a day that I don´t really feel like recounting simply because we made some mistakes that should not have happened, such as getting lost several times (I was driving), waiting at the wrong terminal for new missionaries and getting word that they had gotten in, waited, and finally gotten a taxi to the mission office, a nice new scratch on the mission van etc. We were all looking forward to the day being over. And it did when we went to bed at about midnight.

This morning, I was writing in my journal and was thinking about all of the dumb things I had done and just feeling sorry for how the day went when I started to realize that during the past couple of days I have seen the way other people have been able to show to me that the Lord knows me specifically. On Monday night we had about two hours when we were called to give a blessing to another missionary. Amongst the craziness of transfers, it was such a blessing to step back from all of the temporal logistics and see what really matters. To be able to feel the joy that comes from ministering.

The next day I saw the same type of miracles. I saw how a missionary in one of my old areas was able to help me focus again on my purpose as a minister as he called to talk about the area and how he could help the people there. I could tell you about the delicious food that the Youngs left out for us at the mission home after a day of not having a whole lot of time to eat. Or about the Elder who at 11 o´clock at night was thanking us for having picked him up and taken him to our piso up so that he could more easily make it to his flight instead of whining about the flight that we had gotten for him. I am grateful for the matrimonial couples that are out serving and who have been helping me to find pisos. They push, encourage, and are understanding and for them I am grateful. I am grateful for Elder Kirby and his ability to get through tough situations with his head intact. I believe that going through hard things is possible if you have the best people around you, and Elder Kirby is just one of those people. I am grateful for the faith and love that Elder Douglas has shared with me. Focused on other during probably one of the most difficult moments of his life. He is one of my heroes.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am so grateful that I have a knowledge of the restored gospel because of the inner peace that I can find during times of turmoil. When we talk with people on the streets one of my favorite things to talk about is what they are looking for out of life. This usually leads into a discussion on happiness which in my mind is peace. Being able to be at peace with oneself can only come about as we fully apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness. I was reading this morning in Ether where it teaches us these principles. Ether a prophet goes out to teach the wicked people and Ether´s teaching is summarized in the following verses.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

Let us let hope which comes from faith be an anchor for the days of turmoil ahead. I know that He is watching over each of us. In his plan he has put people that fit together perfectly so that they can be ministers to and ministered by those around them. Let us keep our priorities in line with the will of God and what joy shall we feel when we can be the instrument in the Lords hands even unto one other soul.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

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