July 17th 2015 day 31.
Hey Dad! I miss you a lot. I really really appreciate your letters and emails. The wisdom in your words is uncanny. All of it. But especially that regarding HARD WORK. I think that justifying efficiency is probably going to be my biggest battle out here.
Don’t get me wrong, I do want to work HARD. Like I’ve said before, being away from you all is a sacrifice, so I fully intend to make it worth everyone’s while. The problem is just exactly as you said: working hard and being efficient are not necessarily directly correlated.
I think for the most part, missionaries out here want to work hard, like me, but I don’t feel like we’re being as smart as we could be about it. Being efficient is a different kind of hard work. It takes coordination and sorting and much more planning and organization. I REALLY wish I could convince Sister Smith to give it a try! It’s just that whenever I try to do or say anything about it she makes me feel like I’m being crazy or OCD. Yeah. I know she’s kind of right. But still! It drives me crazy nuts to know we could be doing so much more.
I really hope I get the chance to train my own missionary one of these days! Yeah. I know I’ll probably regret saying that. Maybe. But also maybe not 🙂
So someone broke into the shop, huh? How significant is the damage and how lasting are the ramifications?
Sister Smith throws up if she starts to cry too hard. I love companions.
5 minutes later . . . .
I just went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. There are currently two cockroaches bouncing around from ceiling to mirror to shower to floor. Let’s just say it was a real party! There are also ants in the cupboard, now, although I don’t know what they’d want from in there.
You know, this morning during our closing prayer at companion study Sister Smith squashed a bug on the carpet. No biggie. When we came back for lunch I noticed a trail of ants coming to and from the deceased. I think a few of them were backpacking out with the head. Gross, yes, but it really just reminded me of your letter, and how I once read that second only to humans, ants and bees are the only living organisms capable of so thoroughly organizing themselves and working together to achieve certain purposes. I think we missionaries need to take a hint.
My Mormon mind is getting pretty good, isn’t it? 😉
Oh hey, I remembered another cockroach story! So, like humans, sometimes cockroaches die for no particular reason. We find them every now and again (roughly one per morning). Anyway, this morning I woke to find one in the hall. I skirted around it and into the bathroom, hoping Sister Smith would do as mission moms are supposed to and dispose of the little fella for her sweet sweet daughter (me). She didn’t. So, I accidentally kicked it as I walked out of the bathroom. Also, ants had already started eating it. That was a nice bonus! It’s all good really. These adventures are perfect, but still, NEVER again will I ever forget to put my shoes on when I wake up in the morning.
. . . . I like the Book of Mormon a lot. It’s really good and I think everyone should read it more often. Alone, and as groups. The latter is really fun actually! Just going one verse at a time, and explaining it all. It is a big help because it forces you to pay attention to what you often just skim over and address things you may not have even realized you didn’t understand.
That’s what we did with Keesha this week. She has some questions about The Fall and why on earth we have to be here on earth . . . you know. All the goods plus some more. So we went over 2 Nephi 2. She was super into it and excessively analytical. It was way neat. But then it was taking too long, so I skipped her down to verses 22-27:
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
She (Keesha) was reading and underlining and I was containing my excitement, but not, and then she finished and said, “I want more.”
That’s when I recognized the difference between us. Negative connotation already taken into consideration, I’m often times a skeptic. It’s inborn, thank you. But, never have I once allowed that to completely tear down my belief, because also inborn in me is the ability–or more, I guess, the desire–to trust.
3 Nephi 26:9 says that when we have received this, meaning Christ’s gospel, it is expedient that we should have first–to try our faith–if we shall continue believing in these things then are the greater things made manifest to us. Regardless of an individual’s religious understanding, everyone, yes everyone, has experienced this to some degree. If it wasn’t at church, then in chemistry. Or gymnastics.
Our being here on earth is described as a test: A giant trial of our faith, if you will. But lately I’ve come to see it more as an opportunity to LEARN TO HAVE FAITH. For some it’s easy, and for others, a life-long battle.
I think the reason it is so difficult for some of us to learn to have and keep that faith is because in order to do so, we must first TRUST that there is a reason behind it.
Although I probably haven’t pondered enough to fully express the idea and defend myself, I do not think that faith is the first step. At least, not for everyone.
Having trust in God or trust that there is a God, to me, seems even more basic. Even more fundamental. If we do not trust, then everything meant to build faith is instead debilitating. It’s a path that is much too easy to follow. Like always, It’s a choice, which is honestly sort of frustrating at times. But in my experience it’s a choice that time and time again yields good results.
I’m glad I have chosen to trust, but I don’t know how to teach or convince someone to do these things, to try the experiment, to begin to learn to have faith if they don’t desire or aren’t willing to trust. Help me help Keesha . . . It’s like she can’t accept it unless she is all-knowing. I understand that feeling, but I also know that we cannot be all-knowing. In fact, It’s one of the very few things I can say I know “WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT.”
Keesha still is ME, but she’s dug herself a level deeper and knowing where I’ve been, I don’t know how possible or likely it is that we can dig her back out.
. . . . I ate dinner at about 4:30 today. It was nice because I imagine you guys might have been eating right along with me! I think of you whenever we have an early dinner. 5:00 for me. 9:00 for you. Still having family dinner 1300 miles away from each other, aren’t we?!
Side note: I was studying the restoration scriptures listed in the topical guide. It was awesome. And also frustration inducing because if people would just read the Bible they would know that it’s this church or no church. Really, nothing else is even close to making sense. I wish I could somehow tell that to people clearly and kindly. Sometimes I find that tactfulness is somewhat ineffective.
Write again soon.
tofa soifua (the correct Samoan goodbye),
The misplaced (by the mother) handwritten letter, but definitely worth it.