"Forget Yourself and Go to Work"

Friday, August 23, 2013 0 Comments

Going on a mission is like being a freshman at college. (Sorry about the following terrible metaphor.)

You take all of your core credits, from "Scripture Studies" 101 to "Talking to People about the Gospel" 115, and you major in "Find, Teach, and Baptize" (at least here in the Carlsbad mission). My least favorite class, but the one that you have to take for whatever major you have, is "Get Over Yourself" 101.

Seriously, not the most fun of classes. 

Okay, I'm dropping the metaphor now. All that you do as a missionary eventually contributes to getting over yourself. Teach a really great lesson? Awesome. Get over yourself. It was the Spirit teaching, not you. Have a really bad street contact and want to cry? Get over yourself. Life goes on. Keep on truckin'.

Maybe I'm sounding harsh here, but a mission is not all butterflies. You will not always be a wildfire, passing the Spirit like a torch to everyone you meet. You will most definitely have days where Satan is pelting you with a fire hose, trying to get you to lie down and quit.

But you can't. You can never do it. You just have to get over yourself and keep moving forward. This is definitely the most important lesson I've learned over the past two months as a missionary. 

Oh yeah, can you believe that I've been Sister B for two months already?

Back to all of my metaphors that I said I'd drop.

When you're a missionary, you have to be a missionary. 100%. No holds barred. Pull out all the stops. You are sprinting at 100% all day, every day. Is it exhausting? Oh yes. Is it rewarding? You bet it is.

If I could give any advice to pre-mission missionaries preparing to go into the field, I would tell them not to waste any time being homesick. There's this amazing quote in Preach My Gospel (p.121) by President Ezra Taft Benson which I have on a sticky note on my cork board in the study room. I look at it every morning before I begin my studies.

"I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."

I can't tell you how true this is. If you're like me, and have a lazy streak, this is not the most fun lesson to learn. It means getting over yourself every day and working hard, even if you didn't get much sleep the night before and you're feeling sick from that wacky dinner the night before. (Come to SoCal. No wacky dinners here. ...Yet.) It means truckin' on even when you've had a streak of bad lessons or terrible dinner conversations or crushing rejections.

But you can do it! We can all do it! Whatever you're struggling with, turn to the Lord. I've never had a stronger testimony of the power of the Atonement. I have to pray all of the time and beg the Lord to give me just enough strength to get out the door. I have to pray that Heavenly Father will give me experiences that will help me become the best me I am capable of being. On Sunday, we taught our ward's Gospel Principles class, and the lesson was on honesty. I loved the last section, which was titled, "We Can All Be Completely Honest."

They didn't say perfectly honest. They didn't say infallibly honest. They said completely. The reason that we can be completely anything is because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us. He took on our sins so that we could work past them and repent of them. When we truly repent, those sins are erased from the mind of our Heavenly Father. He remembers them no more. Then, for that small period of time, because of the power of the Atonement, we are perfectly something.

Christ completes all of the things that we cannot, and helps us with all of the pains that we can't bear on our own. Don't let a trial pass you by without turning to the Lord. Don't let a perfect day pass you by without giving thanks for it!

I love you all! I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary and to be able to share my testimony every day. Your support gets me by when I am struggling.

Love you,

Sister B

Pictures: 1. My snack drawer. Seriously, I don't know where I'd be without fruit snacks and Goldfish. There's a startling lack of chocolate in there, though. Good thing it's p-day. ;)

2. An Olympic torch! A man in our ward ran with the torch for the Salt Lake City winter Olympics in 2002, and he has the torch to prove it. And I got to hold it!