How is everyone and how are the New Year’s resolutions coming? Progress? I sure hope so. I feel like I am progressing, too. At least in the area of learning so much everyday from everyone around me and from this experience in general. About myself. About the Lord. About His plan. About His grace.
I am so thankful for it.
The mission is a package deal of learning and growth and change and trials and heartaches and extreme joy and disappointments. But I truly believe that this is the way it is meant to be. It’s meant to be hard and crazy and jumbled and new and different and lovely–all at the same time.
To be honest, I feel like I’ve been in a time of extreme learning and discomfort recently. I think just because of my transfer. It is still the Bronx, but very different. The bright side is that the ward has tons of super solid members and AWESOME leaders. Something my last area really struggled with (simply due to lack of leaders). I am really excited to jump in and work with them. We already are and can see progress and success. It is amazing.
Hermana Molina–my new companion–is a firehouse rockin’ missionary. Seriously–my mind is blown by the manner she does missionary work. Her purpose is so drilled into her brain I feel like it is a legitimate part of her soul. I really admire that about her. Always asking for referrals and planning and filling our triple back-up plans with more lookups and activites to do for every moment of the day. She is one cycle older than me, meaning that he has been serving for 6 weeks longer than I have. I love her very much and feel so grateful that I can serve with her. I learn so much from her each day.
This week was mostly spent–from my perspective–meeting investigators and working with them and trying to learn my way around. It’s been fun, and our area is about a billion times smaller than my last area (the whole ward boundaries) so that’s a plus. There are ten (I believe) missionaries in our ward, and 2 companionships of sisters. This makes travel and covering the ward so much easier! I’m loving that.
Probably the funniest thing so far–besides my firecracker companion and her commentary on everything–is looking up less active members. I have faith that it is helping and will reap fruit in the long run, but right now it is basically a giant fail. All our less actives really want nothing to do with the church at all, and it breaks my heart. But at the same time, I always laugh so hard when we get rejected hard core at the door. If that isn’t a hit to your confidence, I don’t know what is! It’s pretty funny.
Alright–thought for the week, or at least for the moment (I have so many these days, another will come before I’m finished typing any of this):
I read his librito this morning and really enjoyed it. I feel like I always breezed through his book and just thought “ok, wrestle with God and forgiveness. Cool! I really need to learn how to pray so hard that it’s like I am wrestling. I need to make it a work out and do all this mumbo jumbo and then somehow I’ll see a miracle like Enos and wrestle with God. Maybe He’ll even sign my boxing gloves when we’re done.”
As I read this morning, it kind of hit me, for the first time, what Enos was fighting for–forgiveness. But not just the type of “I’m sorry and I’m trying to be better” forgiveness that I feel like I always throw on the table. REAL forgiveness. The kind that reaps unbreakable and unquestionable confidence in the presence of God. The kind that acknowledges weakness and sin and imperfection and all that is “made strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). In Verse 5 (very early on in the chapter) the Lord forgives Enos. Verse 5 out of 27 verses. So what are the other 22 verses about if Enos already received a forgiveness for His sins? Where was the wrestle? In the first four verses? I think it’s really only in verse 4–this is when he is actually praying (“wrestling”…or so I thought). Verse three–his soul hungering and his desires to be forgiven. To be honest, I highly doubt that this was the first time in Enos’ life he “repented.” He had a great father and a strong family, I’m sure he had experiences in the past where he had thought about the Lord and did something wrong and asked for help or forgiveness. What is the difference here? His soul hungering? Why was his soul hungering in the first place? What was his soul hungering for? He seems to already know that there is a God and that He is perfect. He seems to already know about the Plan of Salvation and that he, Enos, would one day stand before God. So what was he fighting for?
I am wondering if he wasn’t necessarily “wrestling” for a testimony of for understanding, but for an assurance that he was, in fact, clean before God. To know for certain that he was forgiven and would be able to “enter into His rest.” I have wrestled with that before. I have wondered if I really am forgiven for the things I have done wrong. Verse 5–forgiveness granted. Verse 6–the mental digestion of Enos realizing that he was forgiven.
“Lord, how is it done?”
This is how i feel about my Savior, Jesus Christ–how is it done? I can picture Enos looking heavenward with tears in his eyes–this big strong hunter man–and truly in awe at the Savior’s grace and ability to make us whole. I think that is what the whole rest of the chapter is–more of Enos’ mental digestion that the Savior does forgive. Even us! In verse 17 it talks about covenants. And it is these covenants, I think, that gives Enos such confidence in the Lord. It is his covenants that lets him know for certain where he will go after this life (last verse). How was it done? Covenants.
From that lets go to the 10 lepers in Luke 17. They were standing afar off. They were outcasts and unwanted. Dirty. And then they raise their voices and ask for mercy. I think that’s interesting–they don’t ask to be healed; they ask for mercy. Then the Lord gives them a somewhat unexpected response–go away from me and show yourself to the priest (who probably already rejected them for their “uncleanness”). So here they go again, and “as they went, they were cleansed.” As we go on our way, as we work and try and just keep on keepin’ on, we are cleansed. Just hold to those covenants.
I wrote this at various times so I think I may have lost my mojo with the stops and starts, but I hope it brought some light to all of you. For me, I feel like Enos–Lord, how is it done? I still don’t know how. But I know it is done. And I’m so grateful for Christ that loves me enough to forgive. That He loves me enough to make covenants with me and give me the grace I need to be perfect in Him.
I love you and hope you all have a fantastic week!