Monday, February 7, 2011

Love, Kristen - Week 15

Kamusta!! :)

Well this week sure was interesting. First things first, my kasama (her companion) and I have cleared everything up. It sort of just happens when you're with someone 24/7. You love them, but they can get on your nerves too, and we just needed to communicate more, and we did and things are much better now. So no problems there.

This week was kind of rough for me. I'm learning each day to love the Philippines more and more, but let me tell you, it has been rough. I don't think one can fully understand until they fully immerse themselves in another culture, and not only that, but try to be the people's friend even though you don't fully understand them (not only because of the language, but because of the culture), the food they eat is so different (although I quite like it), and well...just everything is different! Even the grocery store is completely different!! I'm not sure how to explain it.

I was doing pretty good this week though until I got sick on Wednesday. No one worry about me--I'm okay now. We're not even sure what it was. It started out early Wednesday morning with a bad stomach ache, then later the stomach ache went away and it turned into a fever, but then the fever went away and I was just nauseus, then the nausea went away and I had a fever, then the stomach ache...everything just kept rotating. Then finally it all went away and exhaustion hit. The next day I was fine, but still very, very tired and couldn't function properly. The next day all the pains came back. It was weird. And this continued for about five days. Even today I'm still a little queasy, but I'm doing okay, I promise. I've been taking Tylenol and getting lots and lots of rest. I tend to push myself to the limit, and well, I reached my limit I guess. My body just couldn't take it anymore, and it demanded that it be rested. I did manage to work on Friday for one appointment, but it completely wore me out, and I couldn't continue after that and had to stay home the rest of the day. However, Sister Sablan and Sister Villaester were able to go out and work, and Sister Hameed stayed home with me, so our area was still taken care of.

So I just kept following Sister Pagaduan's orders about taking medicine and resting, and I'm feeling fine now. She suggested I go to the doctor, but since it was only a suggestion I said no. I've had enough of doctors, and well, I'm a little nervous to go to one here. So I said that if the fever really kicked in, fine I'd go, but for now it was just a low-grade, and I felt like rest would be sufficient. And it was. I was sooo bored at home and wanted to go out, but Sister Sablan wouldn't let me. She said, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. REST!!"

Then, I'll be honest, Sundays have always been hard for me. I think that church is my biggest trial, surprisingly enough. I've always loved church, and all of the same things are taught here of course, but it's just an adjustment too. I'm treated differently there too, but not in a bad way. They just get a little intimidated because I'm an American, and they're nervous about their English, and well, my Tagalog is so-so and because I spoke in sacrament meeting the first week, they know it :). At church it is in half English half Aklanon, and so I don't understand the Aklanon, but then I get upset because I don't think they understand English and so I can't understand why they teach in English!! So Satan really really works on me, and so I get silent, and then people wonder what's wrong with me, and it's bad because I'm a missionary and supposed to be an example! And none of our investigators came to church. The one I had gone to pick up had another person there waiting for her from another church. This investigator was going so strong and then met a lot of persecution from her family and neighbors for listening to us, and so she's actually now decided to stop taking our lessons. So I wasn't happy about that. And Sister Sablan and I were miscommunicating again. It was just rough. So after church, Sister Sablan and I had a complete heart-to-heart. The spirit was with us again, and we knew that we were once again on the right path.

But I still felt unsatisfied--like I was still doing something wrong. And I didn't figure it out until that night when Sister Sablan handed me a talk that she said really helped her when she first got here. I read it, and it solved my problem, and truly, I think it's the secret to missionary work. It's called "The Fourth Missionary," by Lawrence E. Corbridge. President Corbridge was a mission president in 2002 (I don't know over which mission), but in this talk, he talks about four different kinds of missionaries. I decided that I was currently the 3rd one--the dutifully obedient one. I was obedient because I knew it was the right thing to do. I consecrated my time and talents to the Lord, but I withheld my heart and my mind. I did what was right, but there were many times that I resented it and wished I were doing something else (sleeping, eating ice cream, being with friends, speaking English, having church in my ward back home, etc.). I could feel the spirit of the Lord leading me and guiding me to help others, but truly I wasn't gaining anything for myself, and I could tell that if I continued on this path, many souls would be blessed by my service, but that I would go home much the same and expect much the same. I would not get all that I could from a mission.

So I've decided to strive to be like the fourth kind of missionary--and that requires me to give not only my time and my talents, but also my mind and my heart to the Lord. Truly, that's the only thing that He has given me that He cannot take away, because by so doing, He'd take away my agency, and He will never do that. I must give him my hopes, my dreams, my desires, my will...and I must make them His. It sounds hard, but it's not. Believing that it's hard is false doctrine. Christ's gospel is easy, not hard. It is only when we resist and try to do things our way that it gets hard. I wish I could expound more on this talk, but that would take so much more time than I have. So I will leave you with some quotes that stood out to me:

"He cannot work on what he does not have, and He cannot have you, unless you give yourself to Him."

"You can't be happy if you don't want to do the things that lead to happiness even if you do those very things."

"I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man, but to kill it." (C.S. Lewis paraphrasing the Lord)

"In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have."

"The fourth missionary does not so aspire to become a 'great' missionary; rather, he aspires to be a servant."

"You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God."

Alma 37:45-47

After reading the talk, I got down on my knees and repented. I apologized for hardening my heart so much, for doing things grudgingly and for giving in to Satan. I said that I cannot do this alone, and that I know I do not have to. I told Heavenly Father everything that I'm struggling with, and then, I offered Him my heart and my mind, I told him my dreams and desires, and then I gave them to Him, and asked him to take care of them. I cannot worry about them anymore. They're tearing me down. I said I knew he could make so much more of my life and my mission than I ever could. I gave Him myself. And after I did so, I felt a burden taken off of me. I felt light. I felt like I can do this. I know that I can.

A mission is hard. But doing it the Lord's way is easy. I know sometimes I'll give into my carnal self, but so long as I have the goal in mind to always do the best I can, and keep aligning my will, willingly, with the Lord's, everything will be okay.

This can apply to life too. I promise :).

I'm out of time. Love you all!!

Sister Danner