We woke up super early last Saturday to go to the Temple with Frank, and then woke up early again for zone conference on Tuesday, and agaiiin on Friday for a special meeting with Elder Cardon, and then Saturday and Sunday were mega stressful, so needless to say I’m feeling the effects of sleep deprivation right now. Preparation Day = Nap time.
Well. Let’s start off with Zone Conference. I love meeting together with a bunch of missionaries to receive instruction. I always learn so much. I set a goal for myself two weeks ago to pray more sincerely and to work more closely with the ward members. Every single talk on Tuesday could be tied back into those topics. When you set a goal, God helps you achieve it. The only problem with zone conference is that it eats up an entire day of proselyting…
On Thursday, we taught the most solid member referral ever!! We’ll call him S. He’s basically the most prepared person on the planet. He came to church on Sunday and accepted a baptismal date of October the 12th! First lesson!!
On Friday, Elder Craig A Cardon of the First Quorum of the Seventy toured our mission and we got to hear from him! He spoke on…. actually I don’t remember and I don’t have my notebook with me haha. I’m still a little frazzled from the weekend! But again, we received a lot of edifying instruction and once again I came away with a looootttt of things I need to work on. I was asked to sing in a musical number with some other missionaries from our zone for the meeting. It was a wonderful experience. Singing is far less stressful than playing the piano, in my opinion 😛 Another amazing meeting, buuuut another lost proselyting day.
We ran out of money again this week and once again the Lord provides. Members out of no where have given us tons of food. Like, we have two whole chickens in our fridge right now. Our members are the best 🙂
We’ve been working on going through our ward list lately and trying to track down some of these people that don’t have a phone number and no one has seen in years. On Saturday night, we dropped by a couple of those people plus less actives to drop off invitations to the fireside on Sunday. No one was home… but we left them notes and an invitations.
Then we got a phone call from a lady in our ward whose opinion I really value. We missed the phone call actually, but she left a voice mail. A very vehement voice mail. As you know, I’ve been struggling lately to feel like a successful missionary and have been working to develop more love for the people I work with and to work more closely with the ward members. This sister left the most hurtful message I have ever received in my entire life. I’m not going to go into details, but the overall theme of the message was that she felt like we were irresponsible missionaries. Luckily we got the message at 8pm so I only had an hour to be distraught about it. I still have no idea what prompted this or why she felt the need to express those feelings. Sister Lundin was far more calm than I was. Upon a TON of reflection, I truly feel like we have been doing everything in our power to fulfill assignments, to be exactly obedient, and follow the counsel of our leaders. To be accused of doing otherwise was, to say the least, hurtful. Especially since I’m not only the senior companion, but also Sister Lundin’s trainer… I felt like I had failed in my calling.
After counseling with our sister training leaders and bishop (who reassured us that he is very pleased with our work), we decided to let it cool until we saw this woman at church the next day. Oh and by the way, out of every ward in Toronto, Elder Craig A Cardon and President and Sister Clayton chose ours to attend on Sunday. Aaannnd prior to knowing that he’d be coming, Sister Lundin and I agreed to do a piano duet in Sacrament meeting which we had been practicing during our lunch hours. I forgot how stressed out I get performing on the piano! Which makes me really sad because I really do enjoy playing…
Anyways, with a lot of prayer we mustered up the strength to go and apologize to this woman before our meetings started. She apologized for the way that she expressed her feelings, and we tried to figure out where she was coming from. Throughout this experience, I had a hard time discerning how much of her criticism I should take to heart, and how much I should disregard as heated, insincere accusations. We didn’t talk with her long. Just long enough to discern that whatever tension was there is now fizzled out. I am still convinced, however, that we do not have her trust and will have to serve her with all our heart, might, and strength to earn it.
So, with all of those events, we went to play our musical number. God truly guided my hands. Many people, including this woman, came up to us after and told us how much they enjoyed our number. Music truly invites the spirit much faster than anything else. I think it helped soften her heart.
The talks in Sacrament meeting were once again geared towards me. The fist speaker talked about prayer, and the second spoke on charity and speaking kind words. “Imagine being on the receiving end of unkind words” he said. Ha.
Through this mortifying experience, however, I learned a billion lessons on humility, prayer, charity, forgiveness, and Christlike love. I’m still a little rattled because I still don’t know what we did. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t think it matters. What we needed to learn from this was how to respond in a Christlike way, and how to earn trust though service. You can’t assume that people know that you love and appreciate them. You need to let them know. … That’s a President Monson quote from somewhere…
Which brings me to Sunday night’s fireside. Remember those invitations we dropped off Saturday night? One of our less actives and her non member husband were there! They were early even!! Our investigator, S came as well 🙂 It was really well attended. Anywho, the fireside was on communication. ANOTHER lesson directly for me. I think this whole kerfuffle was instigated by poor communication, and was fixed with humility and prayer. Well, if you want to call it fixed. We’ll find out later. S, having no idea what the topic of the fireside was, wore a shirt to the fireside that said “Good Talker. Bad Listener.” How ironic 😛
So. My thought for the week is: Don’t judge. Unless if you have a missionary companion who is within sight and sound every single second of every single day, then you don’t have the right to judge someone else’s actions. Even if you do see them every second of the day you STILL don’t know what goes on in their head and you again still do not have the right to judge them. I still don’t know what’s going on in this woman’s life, so maybe we had done or not done something that was just the last push that she needed to make everything tumble over. We’ve gotta turn the other cheek and seek to act as Christ would. Pray for charity. I’ll be doing a lot of that myself.
I was so scared to walk into church that morning because I was so afraid that her sentiments were echoed by other members of the ward. As more and more members started to greet us, I realized that wasn’t true… But regardless, it was hard to walk into a building that I loved so much feeling so scrutinized. Which made me wonder about how less-active members must feel walking back into a chapel for the first time… especially if they had been offended in the past. I definitely feel more empathy for them now.
On a happy note, three of the less-actives that we’ve been working with are no longer less-active 🙂
So, that’s my week. Haven’t had much sleep. We received a lot of instruction from a lot of different people in a lot of different ways, and I have a lot to work on. I’ve changed a lot since coming on this mission thing, and still have a long ways to go. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a way of life. Eternal progression.