This week began the new transfer period, and this week we saw people with a good number of problems. One young man that we're visiting attempted suicide, and we spoke to him the day after. Those are the times when you hold on to the rope of the doctrine we teach and actually have to have the faith that our message can help. I felt the brutal reality that I'm not good at knowing what to say to people in hard situations. I think I have a talent for making people generally feel happier, but not in addressing problems such as this...any comfort always seems to me to be contrived. We gave him a blessing and visited him a couple other times in the week.
On a happier note, I've got another sad story that has a happy ending. We're visiting a young man who has lived with his drunk uncles nearly all his life. They've hit him at times, and the last time one did so, in January, he snapped and fought back, then escaped from the house for a week. He found a contact card he received a year ago and went to church that Sunday, which happened to be Stake Conference. He felt remarkably at peace while he was there, even though all his problems came rushing back when he left. He started attending another ward. The Elders there realized he wasn't from their area and passed him to us about a month ago. We became his friends, and he started accompanying us on visits, fasting, keeping the commandments, cutting friendships, telling us his story, and thinking on how to save money for a mission.
I suppose we're here to help people. I know if you're reading missionary blogs you're used to hearing stories like this. The truth is, these things don't happen very often. We missionaries get these gems in our experiences and it's what we share with you. What we don't share is the other 99 out of 100 days. We get magnificent opportunities, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I heard other missionaries say this to me before my mission, and I would chuckle a little. Not easy? I came on the mission wanting challenges and pain and tears...those are the heroics you hear about that you don't get that much back home. That's exactly what we came out here to do...suffer courageously to save others in celestial glory. I think I've learned that the difficulties come from doing the most ordinary activities over and over again in the faith that it'll do something at some point. Sometimes it doesn't work, and the people who need the gospel most don't accept it. Sometimes the most spiritual lessons don't end up going anywhere that you can see. And sometimes things do happen. So, in the end, we keep it up and fight the good fight, and wait for those flecks of gold that inevitably come, and then testify that the work comes undoubtedly and fully from God. In the end the flecks add up to something priceless.