These were our pep talks:
Dad and I felt it was important to contact the mission for further details and confirmation that we shouldn’t worry. You sounded great in your letter and as if the panic attack was a little blip in the road but we wanted a second opinion. Our only concern now is that you feel you are not having “success” on your mission. We are thrilled with all your successes on you mission, because bringing souls unto Christ is so much more than just the outward ordinance of baptism. Everyone who reads your blog is inspired by you and grows from your attitude and outlook. Remember Moro 7:16,19 about how we can judge if a thing is of God,
"wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is set forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God . . . wherefore I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that you may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."
Don’t condemn the good you have done because it doesn’t measure up to someone else’s definition of successful missionary work. The Lord uses everyone’s talents in different ways for the good of his kingdom. I know sometimes it feels bad to not be able to visually have other’s see your successes but really there are many people that do.
Hey sweetie! I wanted to address some of your concerns and possible causes of stress. Although I’m taking a stab in the dark at them, I’m thinking that some of it comes from the weekly reports you have to turn in and I can imagine the District Leaders and Zone Leaders badgering you for not having any baptisms. “If we are obedient and have more faith, then the baptisms will naturally follow." I heard these and similar attempts to motivate missionaries that while well intentioned, somehow miss the mark and inadvertently put pressure where it should not be. It is true that obedience and faith will bring miracles, we are not to define when or how those miracles are manifest. You may not have any baptisms yet in California, but I can assure you that you are having a very positive effect here in Iowa and throughout the country as people read your blog and share in your journey.
Your success as a missionary has nothing to do with the number of baptisms you have and more to do with the lives that you affect and the internal growth that you experience. If your DLs or ZLs are somehow making you feel less than capable, remind them that Spencer W. Kimball only had one baptism his entire mission! I don’t think that they would dare call him anything less than a spiritual giant and successful missionary.
Also don’t let anyone else have the power to tell you that you are anything less than exceptional. There will always be people who will try and tear you down and mock or make fun of you (remember the great and spacious building?). Well press onward, holding fast to the iron rod with both hands. Don’t let go with one hand to wave, keep both hands firmly grasped on and forge ahead through the mists of darkness. The reward at the end is worth any and every sacrifice and difficulty that we face. You are my beloved daughter and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Especially in admitting your weaknesses and dealing with them head on. Remember Ether 12: 26-28 26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteous.
I love you,
Thanks for the pep talk, fam! I really appreciate your readiness to help! I don't really think there is anything you can do different at this point. Just keep praying for me and keep your covenants.
I know this is probably really bad timing with all the loving notes about how baptisms don't mark the success of a missionary, but JORGE GOT BAPTIZED!!! And I got to go! Here's a picture! This is the Cueva's (those that found him) and all the missionaries that taught him and Hno. Rodgriguez who baptized him.
Saturday was an interesting day... Hermana Stevenson had a baptism in Yucaipa and I had one in Redlands... so we found our two member rides and left within an hour of each other. I had to kind of find two rides... because my ride (Cynthia) didn't have a car... so her cousin Danny took us. He got home a half an hour later than he was supposed to so Cythia and I ran out the door. I got into the car and almost suffocated from the smell of cologne in the car. Then he had to get gas... Merh. So Cythia and I ran into the gas station because it was a pay first gas station. We proceeded to make fun of Danny while we were in there because of the cologne. Then we got to the baptism. No one was there. It ended up starting an hour late because Jorge's family wasn't there. So that was funny. All went well though. I had to leave a little early so I could get home in time. Oh yeah! I got to see the Ruiz's (family from the desert that fed us every Monday) because they gave Hermana Bates a ride. It was fun!
I really enjoyed this week though. Throughout the week I had been thinking a lot about my situation and everything. The thing that was hardest for me was that I wasn't sure if this was my "enough's enough" moment or if this was just another tial to make me strong (obviously either way it's a trial to make me stronger... but I mean a trial that I would over come and stay on my mission, ya know?) I was really worried about whether or not I should stay and if it really would be worth it.(to clarify, the initial stress was not about whether or not to come home, that thought was something that came from her therapist and something she worked through just this week.) I was reading my patriarchal blessing today during my personal study and a line really stuck out to me. It said something along the lines of, "You will be of great courage in doing what He (Heavenly Father) asks of you knowing that as you please Heavenly Father, you will have no need to fear the temporal consequences of the things that you do." That hit me like a ton of bricks. My patriarchal blessing has been a huge strength for me and I'm all ready now to keep truckin' on!
One thing I would appreciate though is if you could email me a copy of my mission call. Apparently that's a good thing to read while you're on your mission too.
Also, I forgot to make a note for Dad. My district leader and zone leaders aren't baptism crazy. They've actually helped me out a lot in this time. They're all elders I've served with before and have become pretty good friends with so it's been nice having them here and serving with them again.