Joy in the Journey, Not the Destination
“And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things;being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.” — Alma 7:23
Often times, we obey God’s commandments out of a desire to receive blessings. However, what happens when we don’t receive those blessings right away? How will we know if we are truly doing what God asks of us?
As a missionary, I constantly struggle with this concept. Based on other peoples’ stories, experiences, and miracles they’ve seen, I often assume that if I’m obeying with exactness, and doing everything I can to teach the gospel, I will see immediate results.
However, we know that there are many blessings promised to us that may not come to us right away. Sometimes, they don’t even come to us until after we have passed on from this life to the next. We simply don’t know when the Lord is going to bless us, but we know that He will.
So, how do we find peace during those times? How do we find joy, if we are toiling our way through life without receiving a fullness of the blessings we have been promised? What I have found, and continue to find here on my mission, is that the peace we find by obeying God’s will comes from the Holy Ghost, and by the love we have for others, as well as the assurance that we are on the right path.
A couple weeks ago, I woke up one morning feeling like I was walking on clouds. Everything we did all day long, whether it be knocking, or driving or making calls, or teaching a lesson in 100 degree whether without air conditioning, I simply felt completely satisfied and joyous in the work I was doing. I felt and knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the work my companion and I were doing was truly the Lord’s will.
During that week, we realized that we had been teaching several people who, quite frankly, didn’t have desires to learn about the restored gospel. They just liked visits from the missionaries because they were lonely or sad. As much as my companion and I loved these wonderful people, we received a confirmation through prayer and through the Holy Ghost that we needed to stop visiting these people, in order to make more time for the people the Lord has prepared, who are ready to hear and accept the gospel now. It broke our hearts, but we knew it was necessary.
Every day, we wearied out our Heavenly Father in prayer as we pleaded with Him to help us know where to go or what to do or say in order to find these people. We were only teaching about 4 people, and when we weren’t teaching, we were tracting and visiting the members. All week last week, we toiled and worked without seeing any results. However, that floating feeling I had still lingered with me, and because of that peace I felt, despite the frustration, I knew that our Heavenly Father was still pleased with us, and wanted to bless us. We just had to keep working and keep bothering Him until He answered us.
Well, this week, He finally answered, with a big huge “YES. I will show you where to go, and I will bless you with more people to teach, because of your diligence.” Last week, we were looking in our records and found some names of people who used to be taught by the missionaries. A few days ago, all of our appointments cancelled on us, so we checked the list we made of those names, and started visiting them. We came to a street and had a 20 minute doorstep conversation with this one guy who said, “I LOVE Mormons! I think it’d be so cool to be one!” Um…. HELLOOOO. Our job is to help you become one, dude! (Well, actually our job is to help people come unto Christ, but we can help people do that by being baptized.) So yeah, we’re visiting him and his family this week, and we are SO excited.
After that, we started knocking down that same street. That evening we spent knocking doors and teaching, was one of the evenings I feel like I literally “lost my life” and found it. We ended up knocking on that street for 2 1/2 hours. And eventually, we found 3 new people who have earnest desires to hear and learn more, just in those 2 1/2 hours. The Lord is so amazing in the way He works. Sometimes, we have to just hold on and bear our burdens with patience, and then the Lord will help lift us and give us the answers we need to overcome them.
Also, here’s another amazing story I’d like to share: On Wednesday we were driving down the street, and turned at a light. As we were turning, I was staring out the window, and saw our investigator, Vila — who was homeless and was working in San Leandro and wasn’t receiving any of our calls, so we couldn’t get in contact with her — walking on the sidewalk! My companion and I turned the car around and parked on the side of the road and gave her a HUGE hug, and she started crying. She explained that she came all the way from San Leandro just to see her grandson. We called our ward mission leader, Brother Lopez, and he came and picked her up and took her to her daughter’s house to see her grandson. Long story short, we sent her number to the sister missionaries in San Leandro, and they called her that night. The next day, they had a lesson with her and she now has a baptismal date for July 17!!! I am so grateful for the many tender mercies Heavenly Father has shown to me and His children here in Brentwood this week.
Con Amor del Estado del Sol