Monday, August 27, 2012

Patience in Language

August 27, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,

My word has this week been hard. I have been so tired the past few days, and it doesn’t help when you're apartment is just about as hot as it is outside (which is really hot) while you sleep and have a fan that blows all the hot air around. Now I'm not complaining, ha ha, I'm just stating the facts. :P But being tired every day is a good thing because it just means that I am working very hard. One thing is for sure is that this language does not come easy. I have been pushing myself to speak better and better and to understand better and better, but this ability to know this language is so hard. There are times where I can understand what a person is saying, but my mouth just does not spurt out the right words that I want to come out. And there are other times where I cannot understand what a person is saying, but I can speak pretty well. At the end of these days I collapse on my bed with my pillow in my face and just think "Why can't the speaking and the understanding both go together? Why can't this come quicker and easier?" Don't I sound like a little toddler, ha ha!

I have really begun to realize how much faith is important in knowing a language while on your mission, or not on one for that matter. I think back to two scriptures every time I question why I'm not getting this. One is James 1:3-6. Sure, everyone knows James 1:5-6, but I really love the two verses before 5. It says that the "trying of your faith worketh patience" and let "patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." I love that scripture! Whenever I think to myself "I just want this now, Heavenly Father." I go back to this scripture and know that this trial of faith is working and strengthening my patience, and if I endure it well and let patience work perfectly, I will be made strong. The second scripture is Ether 12:6, where it explains that knowing that the blessings come after the trial of your faith. So as I continue working and striving to be better and speaking the language to the best of my abilities, the Lord will bless me. Yes, this language is ridiculously tough and it still will be for a while, but I know that as I continue to have faith and pray for strength that I may be able to speak this language, the Lord will bless me when he knows is right.

Another thing that has been tough this week is that we had a really good week scheduled with new investigators that wanted to learn about the gospel. We were really excited because we haven’t had any new investigators for quite some time and the ones that we do have are either slowly progressing or barely progressing at all. We plan, prepare and pray that lessons will go well with them and that they will progress, but even when the lessons are good it is up to the investigators use of free agency and their sensitivity to the Spirit that determines if they will progress or not. So we were really excited at the beginning of the week when we had scheduled for programs with new investigators. Tuesday we had planned 3 programs with the new investigators. Our first one canceled. We asked if we could reschedule for Wednesday and he said sure. So we used that time to finish up our studies that we hadn't finished. Our second program canceled also. She also said that she didn't want to meet with us in general. We asked why that was and she said that it was because she had heard some stuff about us and didn't want to be a part of it. We were super bummed, but we had hoped that our third one would come because she seemed more prominent of showing. She dogged. We tried to get a hold of her and she wouldn't answer. We decided to call one of our other progressing investigators and see if we could meet with him so that we could at least help someone that day. Fortunately we did, but we were really bummed with the canceling and dogging of 3 possibly new investigators. And the guy who we scheduled again for Wednesday dogged us and we later called him and he said that he didn't want anything to do with us. It's just hard to think that when we are working as hard as we can, Lucifer is working just as hard with his followers to prevent us from bringing people closer to Christ. We switched the attitude of being kind of down to being positive, seeing that we now had more streeting and tracting time to find more people. We have been streeting for at least 4-5 hours a day and have been finding some really awesome people. Some people have been miracle finds, because if we hadn't had streeted one person than we would not have found the person that was really interested. Sure, having bad things happen to you could give you the excuse of just saying "It's been a bad week and that's why we haven’t been doing so well", but you can change that attitude into a better one by just saying "We have been working hard so that we can make this week a good week." The way we say things can completely change the outcome of your day, week, month or even year! If it wasn't for Elder Headrick and I's good attitude, we would not have had the awesome programs that we have set up for this week, which is a lot. Attitude changes everything.

The last thing I will share with you about my week is about our investigator from China. We've met with him twice this week and our first program with him was about the Word of Wisdom. He had a tough time, and still is, with not drinking tea. Now, to citizens of the western world, tea isn't that big of thing because it's just another drink that they like to drink. But to citizens of the eastern world, specifically China or other Asian countries, tea is really important to them. They use tea as a way of showing kindness to people when they are welcomed into a home. It's a sign of respect in some ways also. It's very much a part of their lifestyle and culture to drink tea frequently and our investigator was having a tough time getting around the fact that God would command us not to drink such a drink. He kept saying that he agrees with giving up smoking and alcohol because they can be very addictive and bad for you, but tea just did not make sense, especially when he has heard from doctors that tea can be very good for people. We tried to explain its importance, but he still didn't understand. He said that he was willing to follow Christ, but he felt unwilling to follow this commandment. We were unfortunately out of time, but we committed him to pray about it and gave him Alma 32 to read for our next appointment.

Through the week he was on our minds and we just hoped and prayed that we would be able to help him come closer to Christ and come up with a way that could help him accept this commandment and to understand why we need to follow it. Our appointment with him came and we planned to discuss more about faith and why it's not to have a perfect knowledge of things. We began the program and helped him with the concerns that we had. This program I could see the Lord using each of us, both Elder Headrick and I, with our individual abilities and skills to help our Chinese investigator come closer to Christ. Elder Headrick would share a scripture and then I felt a prompting to use an example to help explain the scripture. We had never planned these scriptures or examples beforehand and I had never really thought of using them in this lesson. But I couldn't deny the promptings that were popping into my mind after Elder Headrick would share a scripture. We did this several times, back and forth, in between the concerns that our investigator had. After I had given my last example, he finally just looked at us and just sat there thinking. After a while, he finally told us "How can you help me with this?" Both of us were filled with happiness and we told him that we would help him every step of the way. He said that he wasn't sure if he should give it up yet and he told us that he wanted to pray again about it first before he makes his decision. We told him that would be just fine and we were excited to meet with him the next week. Yesterday we fasted for him and prayed that he will get an answer and find a way to accept and keep this commandment. It's been a really amazing week this week. Even though it has been really hard at points, we continued to push through and keep the positive attitudes that we needed.

Nate I. got married?! What is happening?!?! I thought I pushed the pause button on life back at home when I went up the escalator in the Sacramento Airport. My word, everything is continually changing back home. It is so cool that you are talking to Sister MacKay's mom. She and I are awesome friends and it is always super cool to us that we have done TJYC and other stuff that are similar in our lives. It's way awesome. Tell Paul A. I say , “Hi!”  I'm glad that Valley Choral is still going strong and that you and Ashleigh are having fun singing in it.

That's all I have for right now, but I will have more to say for next week, I am sure of it.

I love you all and continue moving forward steadfastly in Christ.

-Magda Elder

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