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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week 6: Patience

My companions and I have knocked on many doors. This strategy of missionary work has been the most exciting part of my mission. This is due, largely, to the fact that you never know what is going to be behind the door. We are met by a large variety of people as well as a large variety of greetings. One such things occurred about one and a half weeks ago, while I was in the study of knowledge. At one of the doors, a man answered. We introduced ourselves, and (of course) he recognized us as Latter-day Saint missionaries. He invited us into his house without hesitation.
We were greeted by the warm, welcoming sight of an old house with little Furniture. Kitchen supplies, common in other households, were few. Despite this hardship, this man was kind, soft-spoken, and meek. We sat down in the living room, and he proceeded to tell us about his life, and how he was a baptist, and how his grandmother, and mother were "Mormons." We then shared with him the Restoration using cups. After the lesson, he looked at us and proceeded to say, "my mom, and grandma used to go to the Mormon church..." We, having heard this before, kind of shrugged it off, and began asking him if he would come to church. He didn't have a car, but his sister took him where he needed to go. Then he told us how to get to her house. Then he said, "my mom and grandma went to the Mormon church." As a missionary, we are introduced to a lot of people who want to waste our time. They repeat themselves over and over. This began to bother me a little. Then, we said a prayer with him, and I stood up. He, still sitting, repeated what he had just said about where his sister lives. I was ready to leave at this point. Out of instinct, we asked for a return appointment, and set it for Friday afternoon. Later that evening, we had dinner with some members of the church. They said they knew him. They said he used to come to the senior center a lot, and that he has dementia. "OHHH!" I thought to myself, "that explains it." On the return appointment, we heard the same stuff he told us the last time. But I was not in a hurry. I knew why he was doing what he was doing. It was not his fault. I grew more patient with him. For me, at least, patience comes with knowledge and understanding. This, however, is not the only Christ-like attribute that is "inseparably" connected with patience. Preach my Gospel points out "patience is related to hope and faith--you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled." But that does not mean to give-up. You must keep moving forward. Press harder when times get tough. While thinking of this subject, I reminisce of my earliest days as a missionary.

In my first area, as a missionary, I was privileged to be in an "all-bike" area. I wasn't too active before my mission, so this was rather tough. The fact my companion was a "work-out-junkie" didn't make it any easier. When we rode our bikes, he was far ahead of me. I recollect thinking to myself, "This is crazy. I didn't sign up for this. This is the reason I couldn't join the military." Then, a thought was placed into my mind. This thought came from one of my previous readings in the Book of Mormon:

"And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God... And Alma and his people... did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people [to]... ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs... this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people... And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." (Mosiah 24: 10, 12-15)

Then, I pushed my thoughts to further think about this concept. The Lord has promised "whoso is faithful unto... the magnifying [his (or her)] calling, [is] sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of [his (or her) body]." (D&C 84:33) At this point, I understood more fully that my mission is a part of my fulfilling the first great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him." (D&C 59: 5; see also Matthew 22: 36-37, Mark 12: 30, Luke 10: 25-28)

With these thoughts running through my mind, I had increased faith. I did, "awake and arouse [my] faculties, even to an experiment upon [these] words..." (Alma 32: 27) I began to "exercise a particle of faith," and followed the example of Alma and his brethren. I poured out my heart to Him. The result ought not be too surprising. I was able to go longer. The burden on my legs felt lighter. It almost felt like I was being pushed. Uphill didn't seemed so "uphill" anymore. Everyday, as I rode, I did pour out my heart. During the second week, I began to catch up with my companion. My Father fulfilled His promise to me. I just had to wait for it. I thanked God for granting me the blessing of strength. It took me a little while, but I did "submit cheerfully and with patience." Patience is more than just enduring. Patience is enduring it well with joy. The Lord has said "Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body..." (D&C 101: 37) "...all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God." (D&C 101:16)

My invitation to you is that "When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed; when you are discouraged thinking, 'all is lost;'" ("Count your many blessings") look to your faith. Have Hope the Lord will carry you through the storm. I promise you will have great peace, greater joy, and more blessings. "Be [patient and cheerful] and know that [He] is God."

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