Monday, September 29, 2014

Scrapes and Bruises

This funny thing happened to me yesterday. Actually, a LOT of funny things happened to me yesterday... just one story in particular though is relevant. :) So there we were, talking to this guy on the street who was super nice and had an American Dingo named Drifter. We say goodbye to said super nice guy. We start to bike away... except that I actually fall over into the rocks. 

I didn't fall off my bike I fell with my bike. Just tipped over. I think I forgot to pedal after I pushed off. That's an important step, apparently. :) Sister Taylor just stood there and laughed at me really hard, until the nice guy came to help me up. Then she was like "Oh I think I should go help my companion!" so she came and picked up my bike.

It was SUPER funny because it was SUPER embarrassing! You know how you say goodbye to someone at the grocery store and then run into them two aisles later and it's super awkward because you don't know what to say now? That what this was kind of like. Except... not really. It was more like That Awkward Moment When You OYM Someone And then Fall Over. Yeah... that's more accurate. ;)

Anyway. My point is that my leg is covered in scrapes and bruises. From falling. It is pretty epic.

So... in other news, we had a lesson with this less-active named Tyler on Saturday. My entire world now revolves around him... Well, sort of. Mostly it was just the most heart-wrenching experience I've had on my mission. We shared the mormon message "Hope of God's Light" (which, by the way is amazing. I highly recommend that everyone watch it at least once in their lives.) and he just started crying.

We spent a long time over there talking to him. We cried too. He said "If this life is a test, then I am failing." I've never seen a soul so racked with the pains that sin brings. He wants to be free so bad, but he sees no way out. It hurts my heart. So much. Sister Taylor and I came home and cried that night. In fact, since then I have thought about him every single day and cried for him.

This is what I pictured mission life would be like: Where my heart became so wrapped up around other people that their pains and joys became my own. This is it. I never imagined it could be so hard.

Sister Taylor pointed out to me though that we are getting a small glimpse of how the Savior feels for us. He loves us so much.. He feels our pain, our sorrow, our joys and our triumphs. He weeps with us. He feels happy when we are happy. He wants us to have joy and peace because He loves us so much.

And when we give up, thinking we are a lost cause, it devastates Him.

It's caused me to reflect a lot on personal worth. There's that saying,  "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you are the world." Truly though, when you love someone they become your world. You can't imagine life without them. We are the world to the Savior - That incredible, perfect love is what made it possible for Him to suffer through the pain and give us the power of the Atonement. Because He loves us too much to let us go.

It has also caused me to reflect a lot on repentance. Tyler says, "I've tried changing. It never sticks. I always go back to the way I've been conditioned to be. I don't want to try anymore - I just keep failing."

...those words just kind of stick in my mind.

Repentance is hard. I've learned that repentance is not sorrow for sin. Repentance means to change - to bring ourselves in line with God's will. Repentance prepares us to live in God's presence, because we have to change to become perfected.
But that change doesn't happen overnight. We fall short. We sin. We mess up. It's part of our condition as imperfect beings. 

We told him to read the scriptures every day, to pray every day and to go to church every week. I think it annoyed him. He was like "It's notworking. I'm stilling sinning." Ha ha. I told him, "Yeah. Me too." 

But I tried to explain this to him - you cannot keep the commandments and sin at the exact same time. The Savior put it, "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon(or the world)" and that is exactly true. In order to walk towards God, you have to be walking away from something else. Any time you are reading the scriptures, you are walking away from sin. Same with praying.

No, sin doesn't stop. But that will keep you anchored to God. You can't walk away from Him forever if that is part of your daily routine. You'll keep coming closer to Him - and eventually you'll become strong enough to leave some of your sins behind. Just a little at a time.

And that, my friends, is the process of repentance as I see it at this point in my life. :) Sorry, I wasn't trying to preach. It's so hard to explain this experience, and there is so much more that we talked about that I haven't even written. (Is this how the writers of the BOM felt?) That lesson is burned in my mind forever. I want to help him. So much. But the thing is that I cannot just impart my knowledge - There are some things that cannot be taught. The Holy Ghost has to touch his heart.

So my dilemma is - how do I help the Holy Ghost touch his heart?

He's leaving on a business trip for a few weeks. >.< So it will be a while before we can meet again. In the meantime... I'll just keep crying. Ha ha ha. But really though.

So... that was my week in a nutshell. Oh, plus, Gus got married. Yeah. That's a big deal. I witnessed a perfect moment at that wedding, when Gus and Sister Taylor hugged each other. TECHNICALLY we're not supposed to hug men. But it was kind of a three-way hug between Gus, Sister Taylor and his new wife Marcia. So it was okay. And Sister Taylor cried tears of happiness. Well she actually kind of sobbed with happiness. And he cried too. It was a perfect moment. :) She was the one who brought him to the gospel, and consequently, to Marcia. He told her he owes her all of his happiness.

That was a good day. :) Weddings make me happy. Even more than baptisms. I think because baptism is the gateway to salvation and marriage is the gateway to exaltation. That would make sense...

Anyway. Good week, folks. I love you all. Hopefully you made it to the end of this letter. It was a long one, I know. :) 

<3 Sister Ball

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