“Burn Baby Burn”
October 21, 2013
This week, we burned our area. Right to the ground. I feel like I should be depressed or discouraged about this, but I feel remarkably calm. Allow me to further explain.
This week we dropped, passed off, or got dropped by nearly all of our investigators. We went from 11 to 1 solid investigator and 3 we are giving a little more time to progress before dropping them. That's a missionary "Ouch" if I ever heard one. It was all extremely sudden too. Thursday night, we were planning a baptism. By Saturday night, we sat staring at an almost empty white board. And yet, I feel totally ok. I'm sad for these people because I loved them and they weren't ready to accept the blessings of the gospel, but at the same time I have a firm faith that there are great miracles in store for us. The Savior is in the struggle. And so we press on and start fresh. How exciting! It's an adventure.
There were plenty of miracles this week and a few experiences stood out to me.
We've been working with a less active family, the X-Men’s, and getting them back to church. We meet and teach them once a week and they have been at church every week for the past month. It has been a miracle watching them remember why they love the gospel, to see their testimonies grow and their questions get answered. I missed their appointment this week because I was on exchanges. When they came on Sunday they said, "We missed you this week! But we knew we would see you on Sunday. We just love church." (Insert Sister Burchett's heart exploding with joy)
My favorite part of church (besides the Sacrament of course) is what I like to call "Grinning and Gripping". It's when we greet everyone at the door as they enter the chapel. Nothing makes my day brighter than welcoming my brothers and sisters into the chapel where they will be able to renew their covenants and rejoice together! I get to follow up on their weeks, their lives, their families, and at this point I know almost everyone by name. I love helping create a love for the badge in the wards I serve in. Without our members, we are nothing! We are useless. With them on our side, we are strong! It was bittersweet looking at all of them singing the opening hymn and knowing my time here is most likely short. Transfers....they're coming :(
I went on exchanges across the border in East Sac and we went to visit a member there. This woman has been taking care of her 98 year old mother. Her mother is fading every day and is ready to peacefully slip into eternity. We got to visit with both of them and leave the Savior's Peace and Blessing on their home. It made me so grateful for the knowledge that death is a gift from God, that it is only the beginning of a glorious forever of happiness for those who accept the fullness of the gospel. Here lay this woman - 98 years old, a survivor of wars and the Great Depression, a singer in the 1930s, who married the boy next door and loved him so much - no longer able to care for herself and knowing that the end of her mortal life is near, and she was so happy. She was ready to see her sweetheart again. She was ready to see her family and friends. She was excited to experience the world after this one. I can't imagine not understanding death the way members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. We know it's just the beginning of good things to come. I know life continues after this one, and it continues marvelously!
Also on exchanges we talked with a woman who hadn't been active in the church for over 50 years. We asked her why. She told us how her mother had passed away when she was a teenager, and she couldn't believe that if God was real and loved her, that He would allow that to happen. And so she stopped believing in God altogether. We testified to her of the reality of a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who gave everything for us.
She said, "I admire you for your faith. I envy it. But I do not believe."
My heart broke for her! Here sat a woman who didn't believe in anything more than the here and now. I can't imagine how hard that kind of life would be. I just wanted to hug her and then shake her and say, "Look around you! Look at yourself! Look at the miracles that happen to you every single day. There is a God, and He DOES love you! Don't close your heart to the perfect love that your Heavenly Father and Savior have to give."
No one gets through this life unscathed, untouched by heartache, mistakes, and regrets, tragedy, and conflict. We all must pass through "fiery trials". But the struggle IS what brings us closer to who we are meant to be. The fire burns away all the junk and leaves us as perfect ashes, ready to be pressurized into a diamond. Sometimes, we are ash and think we are done, but God wouldn't leave us as dust. He pushes us a little bit farther so we can be gems. When the road seems too long we MUST ask ourselves, "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?"
And so, Let Us All Press On In The Work Of The Lord! If faltering and finishing are our options, I would much rather finish. Wouldn't you?
Have a wonderful week! Smile on your face, a song in your heart!