Saturday, November 12, 2016

Enjoy the Journey

October 29, 2016

I am grateful to be here in the office. This week I was reminded to recognize the joy in my journey here in the office. I wanted to share a couple of the moments of joy that I have found this week in my journey. On Tuesday, we had a lesson with one of the less active members that we are working with. We got to sit with him and talk about the force and power of the Atonement in our lives. We talked about the story that Elder Uceda shared about ignoring the promptings of the spirit several times before finally realizing the consequences and his need for God. When he called out to God in need God heard and answered providing the help that he needed in that moment. I loved how he ended his talk with these words, "[God] is not one to say, “No, I will not listen to you now because you only come to me when you are in trouble.” Only men do that. He is not one to say, “Oh, you cannot imagine how busy I am now.” Only men say that." As I reread that statement I realized how true it really is. God is never going to desert us in our time of need, we are the ones that will separate ourselves from His presence but when we repent He will be there to comfort, guide, and support. He won't usually take the problem away but He'll give you the answers that you need to get through.

Another highlight from the week was a conversation that I had with Elder Young. The other Elders had gone to the store to buy a new mattress and Elder Young and I were in the office together. He shared the following wisdom as best as I can recall:

When you are on a boat all alone out in the middle of the ocean you start to hear things. You think to yourself is that my boat falling apart? Is that a rogue wave coming to tear my boat apart? When I began sailing I had no idea what I was doing, I had sailed before but there was a lot of waste, I didn't trim my sails correctly to get full power etc. I learned by doing as I went along. When I started out my journey around the world I went to Mexico and there I realized a couple of things, 1st that everything on my boat was going to break and I would drown, 2nd a rogue wave was going to sink my boat and I would drown, 3rd I was for sure going to drown. (Let us remember that Elder Young at this point in his life has gone through the Military, he has seen things that few of us could possibly imagine.) I stayed there for a time but could not get myself to shove off. You see it is fear that stops us from making progress. Fear is what halts any forward movement and you have two options with that fear, run away or get up and get going. There came a point in Mexico when I had to decide to go. I shoved off. That didn't mean that the fear had gone, I still knew that those three things were going to happen but I had decided to move and to see what would happen.

There is a lot of reality in what he said. We can stay where we feel comfortable or we can get up and head out to find, grow and learn making us more powerful servants of the Lord. I am not suggesting that we all must sail around the world but yes we must do things that are difficult that challenge us, that we are afraid of but that are good so that we can experience growth and self-mastery. I remember a couple of years ago when making a phone call was the most terrifying experience that I had to go through and now every day I am speaking with landlords in Spanish about things I hardly know anything about. I am grateful for the times when I have had to step out of my comfort zone into areas that have pushed me, where I have been afraid but have been able to deal with it, get it done, and progress. A couple of weeks ago some new missionaries asked me "When will the mission get easy?" I responded in a way that probably didn't help their nerves but I said, "It really never does. It is not supposed to get easy." And it hasn't. Challenge after challenge in life and the mission it won't ever get easy. Eternity I don't think will be easy either. Existence is not about being easy it is about getting up and getting on despite what happens.

I think about how this principle relates to the atonement. Christ did not passively go through the atonement. He went with full knowledge into what he was doing. He didn't hide under the covers when the terribly frightening image of everyone's sins was revealed to Him but instead he called out "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me nevertheless not as I will, but what thou wilt." He could have left out that final clause and ended His suffering that a mortal could not have borne but he didn't. I don't think that words could cover the gratitude that I feel towards my Older Brother who decided who willingly asked for my sins to be put upon Himself. I will forever be indebted to Him for His sacrifice.

Let us keep pressing on. Let us enjoy the journey that we have undertaken even though it is hard, it is a joyful journey. I am grateful for each one of you.

Elder Gustafson 

District activity doing a jigsaw puzzle

Night of Nations - Celebrating the uniqueness of our cultural differences

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