So Elder Barnes ran off to Norrköping and Elder Schultz came in from way down south in Lund. ch-ch-ch-cha-changes (turn and face the strange) ch-ch-changes! and Borlänge is proving to be stubbornly stuck in winter, both in weather and mood. It snowed this week, even. But strangely, despite how this hands down is the lowest amount of success in my mission since I came into my first area with ZERO investigators, I feel happy and energised. Why? I don’t rightfully know. I am working until I get blisters every day (thank goodness for Doc Martins…all my other shoes have worn through the soles…) and come home beat every night, having talked to as many people as possible, having testified as much as possible, having poured my whole heart into the work, to receive nothing tangible in return.
Every area in the past, we would work a few weeks super hard and in due course find some wonderfully prepared people and baptise them. That was my general expectation for how missionary work goes because that is how it went up to this point. But 7 weeks in Borlänge, and still hardly anything….. I realise I have been spoiled my whole mission. I got a baptismal date on my first lesson and since then, would just stumble upon prepared people…. people who would be baptised regardless of what I did as a missionary. This was wonderful. Wonderful for my dear friends who have been baptised and are still experiencing the blessings of this gospel. The wonderful converts I have seen baptised have changed my life….built me up. Particularly Ghazanfar and Mesomeh have taught me what pure Christian love really is, and what real sacrifice for the gospel means. They have aided my spiritual progression undoubtedly……but the Lord wanted to teach me a lesson that only can be taught when success is absent….that can only be heard in the silent drab apartment in a silent drab city….. the lesson of faith despite adversity. Faith continuing when miracles are not present.
It is good to build faith, believing in miracles………but could there possibly be much more than that? Could there be another level? How about building faith regardless of miracles? To believe miracles will come, but furthermore determining to hold on through even if they do not come. In my past areas, I would hold onto hope for miracles and that would power me. and the miracles came…and my faith was strengthened….but here in Borlänge, with more faith, more diligence, more obedience, and most importantly what I hope to be more love, The miracles have shown no sign of coming. At first, I looked at it as a “well, this just means it is an extra big miracle for it to take this long” which can very well be true, but I have, as of late, realised I should not place my fate in rewards…..I should place it in the Lord. I must mature from the “please give me this” level of faith to the “not my will but thy will be done” level of faith. It is the higher level of faith that Shadrach, Meshak and Abed-nego had when they told King Nebuchadnezzar “ If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
We need to have a “But if not” faith. Not just faith that God will bless us and send us miracles “BUT IF NOT” still follow him.
So …… I believe The Lord has prepared people in Borlänge to find, teach, baptise, and ultimately bless their lives and give them the sweet gift of the Gospel and Eternal life, BUT IF NOT I will still serve and work with all my heart might mind and strength, regardless. This
is the higher level of faith I am hoping to achieve.
Much love and peace,