The days are dark. My feet are wet. The Swedes put on their black. The small dogs put on their coats. Personally, I think if a dog has to wear a coat in October, they probably shouldn’t live in northern Sweden…… but I don’t want to sound like a bigoted dog breedist….
All dog breeds should have an equal right to live wherever they wish and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…. they should just consider the weather versus the thickness of their fur before settling in the northern wasteland. I’m the least breedist person you’ve met. Nobody has more respect for chihuahuas than me.
But filthy miniature canine rats aside,some weeks you are brought low. Real low. The seemingly perfect family that you feel is grasping the gospel suddenly drops you when you thought they were going to feed you Nicaraguan food that night. The baptismal candidates disappear and cannot be found. Your new converts are forced to move camps. You sit down and think ” wow, it’s been nearly two years…” and the thought of the mission ending in just 17 days feels bittersweet.
The closing scenes of the final act of my mission admittedly are not finishing off as immature young greenie Elder Scott dreamed they would. He envisioned a significantly stronger, taller, more physically mature elder with fluent Swedish and a boatload of investigators filing into the baptismal font. Somewhere, somehow, as a missionary you get this concept that the last wee bit of your mission is going to offer the greatest success.
Therefore, if you do not find your last weeks in the mission field to be your most successful, you initially ask “what did I do wrong?” “Why do I not get the grand finale with a cherry on top like everyone talks about?” Such thoughts are as relatively vain as my original vision of the ideal conclusion to my mission. It is expecting payment for a service that should purely be voluntary. Faith is not the power to control God to our wants. It is the sweet bliss found when aligning our will to God’s will.
Really, if Heavenly Father gave me the magical swan song of the mission that I thought I deserved, with baptisms on my final Saturday, I would’ve missed out on the great blessing that comes when your last weeks in the field are on your knees with nothing to boast about.
This is the blessing that comes from one of my favourite poems, which has proven to be the theme of my mission:
‘Father, where shall I work today?’
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, ‘Tend that for me.’
I answered quickly, ‘Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.’
And the word he spoke, it was not stern
He answered me tenderly:
‘Ah, little one, search that heart of thine
Art thou working for them or for me?
‘Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.’
and whenever I get discouraged, I need to always remember this video snippet: