It is truly incredible how greatly the mission changes you if you open yourself to be changed. It scares me to even think of what I would be without this mission. I have been able to grow so much and still have so much more distance to grow. There is no greater happiness, in my opinion, than the happiness of actively trying to increase in love and service to others and seeing their lives changed in return. No other work on this earth is worth more. No other work has a more lasting, or more far reaching affect, than the work of Christlike love. All joys on this earth are but temporary apart from the joy found in the family, the gospel and all the appendages of it. As C.S. Lewis said
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
How many years to come could I have potentially wasted on mudpies? I am infinitely grateful for my mum and dad for teaching me where true joy is found, and my mission for letting me experience that joy. When I think of my core memories that make up my life they are either memories of my family, like sitting at the dinner table and talking about anything and everything and being banned from talking about the injustice of the tyrannical reign of the recess teachers. Other great memories are the countless roadtrips (like the one when Elizabeth ran away into the desert because she wanted to watch Pride and Prejudice and everyone else wanted to watch Indiana Jones hahaha….that is a core memory for some reason.) Or, it is memories of things I’ve been able to do for others.
How absolutely silly it is then that all this time I’ve been trying to collect memories of things for myself when those memories I won’t even remember? They will never make the core memory list and yet they are the ones I have wasted the most time trying to get. I have been self centred in my life pursuits and so far from who I can be for so long. I have wasted so many days away. That pains me……but I can’t dwell on it. I can only be better.
On my mission, I have realised what it actually means to desire to be like Christ. I understood a fraction of it before, but now the desire, or rather the desperate need, is so much much much more. I am so far from being Christlike. Every night it is a long list that summarizes my shortcomings and opportunities I missed to do good for others. Unfortunately, the accounting has consumed me far more than the improving as of late and it took my mission president metaphorically smacking me across the face and telling me I’m too hard on myself and expect too much and don’t give myself a proper break to make me realise my folly. (From his Mom: This is so true.) So, President ordered me to take a pause for once and just get an ice cream with my companion and not worry about baptising all of Göteborg. It was -17 degrees so we went out for Starbucks hot chocolate instead of ice cream…. but it was good…….and taught me you can’t improve upon Christlike attributes with stress. It does not work that way. I cannot stressfully increase my love for my fellow man. I need to just improve without worrying about where I am at on the scale. Just work up without looking back.
And, so I have entered into a state of Nirvana with my work. Not a state of apathy or laziness, for I am working just as hard as ever, but my mindset has matured. There is all this stress put upon Elder Mecham and I because we have four solid investigators that come to church weekly, have read the majority of the Book of Mormon, live the commandments and believe, and yet none of them have baptismal dates. There has been a push in the mission to get baptismal dates and so everyone is expecting them to have them. For the longest time I was going right along with it. I was stressing and trying every angle I knew how to get dates on them because I was expected to….but then I found my mission Nirvana. My realisation that this isn’t about me, and I do not control the speed of the Lord. I know all four can and will be baptised, but they do not get baptised when I say they do. They get baptised when they are ready. I may think they are ready but I am not God. Once I eliminated my desire to get a baptismal date on them and just served them for the sincere love of them, taught them because I love them, then, now, I find true conversion is taking place. I am a much better teacher and missionary for them when I am just serving them, with no ambition behind my actions. Competition is the soul of Pride, pride is the opposite of Humility and Humility is required for all Christlike attributes and the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost is required for conversion. When you subtract competition from the work, you find the REAL work. So, maybe they are not going to be baptised next week, but when they are baptised, which the spirit has testified to me that they will, they will be baptisms that will be worth more than anything I could ever create on my own. We need to be baptising eternal converts, not baptising numbers. Eternal converts require love, patience and every once of your soul.
I’m not really sure how my rant ended here, but that is just what spilled out on this keyboard. Hope you got something from it.
Much love from snowy, freezing Göteborg,