Monday, April 6, 2015

What is MY ministry?‏

Here's how it goes.
I've always been a kind of "lead from the front" or a "come follow me" sort of missionary. I have a hard time telling the elders to do and be better, when as far as statistics goes, we aren't doing good at all. Honestly it's been the hardest time on my mission as far as the work goes. Our work and prayers aren't yielding huge and obvious results. The Lord is teaching me patience. 
I think He, the Lord, is trying to see if I will continue to pray, act and live according to the faith I have EVEN when things aren't going super well and we aren't seeing the success that I have grown accustomed to on mission. It is very humbling. My whole mission I have been the elder that president puts in a dead area, with a struggling companion, and says, "Go to work." But now I am in an AMAZING area, AMAZING zone and with an AMAZING companion, but we are struggling with the work. This zone used to lead the mission, now we are all suffering. Lots of car accidents and issues as well. It's been humbling for me. But Pres. Uchtdorfs talk in Priesthood session was SO good for me to hear. I am not here to pretend like everything is amazing. I am not doing this to receive recognition for the good or the work that I do. I am here to give my all to the Lord and working on blessing the lives of the individuals. And that is honestly what we have been doing. Yes, statistically we aren't on top, but we are giving it everything we have. We are following every prompting, serving and talking with everyone we feel we should. 
I was counselling with my companion about all of this last night and I told him I feel like we need to work on the Christlike attribute of hope. Faith is belief in the action, but hope is belief in the Lord's promise. We take action, but do we really believe the Lord is going to bless us? Anyways, I told him of my desire to gain more HOPE. Then I sat down for studies, opened my scriptures right to Alma 22:16 16 "But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest." Then I followed the footnote to Ether 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
Well, that was straight from God. I need to pray and repent of my lack of hope/faith and I will receive that hope. Which will be an anchor to my soul in these struggles and hard times I am having. S'all good. I know I got this, with the help of the Lord.
In our Zone we have 14 elders. 7 companionship's including us. So not TOO many, but enough to keep us busy with one thing or another just about every day. The power goes out every once in a while, which is annoying because then our food in the fridge goes bad. But we are doing great.
Don't worry about me. I just wanted to share the struggles so you could see how the Lord has reached out and sustained and helped teach me. Mission has been so good. And tell Tal, to look forward to the times beer and stuff is thrown on him. Those will honestly be some of his most treasured memories. It's all about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you are a good one, then there WILL be hatred and opposition every step you take, but there will also be the Light of Christ leading you forward with every step you take.
Real quick, during conference I got an SMS from Elder Mchunu (who is now our AP) telling me the Leroux Family (Reactivated the parents and baptized the children) were all at conference. They said they got their temple and patriarchal blessing recommends as a family and are preparing to go get sealed in the temple later this year. And then I just received an email from Monwabisi (or Happiness) in Khayelitsha/Mandalay telling me that he just got his mission papers from Bishop and is starting to fill them out just now. So cool. My joy was full.
Also, do you remember brother G? Brother Gcina from Khayelitsha. Used to be the Elders Quorum president when I was there. Anyways, because of extreme struggles in his life (father figure getting murdered by gangsters of his past, family getting robbed and attacked, wife kicking him out of the house after being unfaithful to HIM) he has gone less active. I had the feeling to call him and check up on him the other day because him and I are best friends (best friends with a 32 year old retired gangster) anyways he had just picked up a gun and was going with three of his friends to "put an end" to all of those other guys. I called him to repentance and told him he is a priesthood holder and cannot turn his back on all of this. He then hung up the phone. I gathered my district and we knelt in prayer asking God to help brother Gcina. I called him a week ago, he told me right after he hung up on me as they were driving to put an end to those guys, a cow ran in front of their car and they hit it. It ruined their car so they aren't able to go do that. He said it was my prayers and the Lord stopping him. He is still struggling, but he is doing better. The Lord DOES answer prayers. It happened right when my district and I hit our knees. It's real.
I learned a lot from conference. YOU KNOW Jeffrey R. Holland was amazing. But so were SO many others. I loved the talk by Dale G. Renlund. He kicked trash. He talked a lot about SA, so everyone here was very attentive. Anyways, when he said something along the lines of "... Then we would be called Latter-day hypocrites." The whole chapel burst into people saying, "Yoh, yoh, yoh!" Mama's and Tata's were put back in their seats. So awesome. They loved it.
Well, "I'm no saint, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." - Nelson Mandela. And that is exactly what sets us apart from the world. We try.
E. Thayne

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