Good morning America!
Real quick, I have to share a pretty funny quote. Last night we were planning Paul's baptism and his nephews and neices and siblings were all there and contributing ideas, and Paul was starting to get impatient because everyone was talking over him and stuff was getting rowdy and finally after a little bit of that, one of his nieces asked "Uncle! What are we going to do after the baptism?" And he turned and said so impatiently "WE'RE GOING TO COME HOME AND PLAY SKIPBO! WHAT ODO YOU THINK WE'RE GONNA DO?" And he was serious! The dude loves skipbo! I lost it. I was laughing so hard. It probably wasn't even that funny, but seeing this large Samoan man get so serious about skipbo... It was classic.
So on that note, Paul is getting baptized in 2 weeks! So we're very excited about that. His family is also very excited. There's just lots of excitement. Just so dang excited!
Elder Prestwich got SUPER sick, so that was rough. R.I.P. Misionary work for a few days, haha. Happens to the best of us though.
We had a big multi faith christmas program at the church... It was really nice... and then a very baptist choir performed and things got pretty irreverent. The had a drum set and a key board and were performing very loudly and people were jumping up and down.... yeah... A little strange. I would've been a lot cooler with it, had it been anywhere but the chapel haha. But it was fun other than that! We sang in a community choir... And let's just say it was no OHS chamber choir!
Not gonna lie, there were some pretty discouraging moments this week. Not so much with the work, just kind of frustrating things... Hard to explain. But I learn more and more each week that a mission is really hard. I know I keep saying that, haha, but it's because it's true! I wish I would've realized just how hard it would be, just how lonely I would feel at times, just how exhausting/tedious/frustrating it would be, so that maybe I would've been a little more prepared.
That being said, I don't think anyone can be FULLY prepared for what the mission has to throw at you, but a strong testimony and a readiness to work hard definitely helps.
But amidst those trials, we listened to a talk in the car called 'Healing=Courage+Action+Grace' that left a really big impact on me.
Here's just one of the many quotes that stuck with me:
"As we consider the key components for healing, let us remember that, in the end, healing is a gift from our Savior that will likely require effort and suffering on our part so that we can grow and develop through our struggles. The gift is often the refinement we experience in the process.
Let me give you one example from one of my heroes. When the relatively young Nelson Mandela first entered prison, he was described by his peers as too “emotional” (meaning he lacked self-control), “passionate” (meaning he had a temper), and “quickly stung” (easily offended), but when he left prison twenty-, the words he would use to describe himself were “balanced,” “measured,” and “controlled.” 7 As Richard Stengel noted in his excellent book on lessons learned from Mandela, “Nelson Mandela had many teachers in his life, but the greatest of them all was prison.”8 When he was pestered about how prison had changed him, Mandela simply said, “I came out mature.” 9
Was prison a healing experience for Mandela? It depends on how you describe healing. As described in Elder Oaks’ words, Mandela developed in prison the strength, understanding, and patience necessary to bear the burdens that were placed on him. What were those burdens? In the midst of decades of violent and hate-filled conflict, Mandela left prison to lead two groups into the miraculously peaceful development of a democracy, preventing the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in a bloody civil war. Is that healing? I would say yes. Mandela’s personal healing fostered nationwide healing. His life is an example of how courage, action, and grace lead to healing."
So for those of us who are experiencing our own prisons, please remember that healing is sometimes painful. It's different than being cured. It requires a process. The process of overcoming oneself is not always fun, but always worth it. As we allow our will to be swallowed up in the will of the Father, we come to realize that (As Elder Maxwell once put it) Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory.
I love you all so much! Church is true!