Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 78

Hi, Mom (and Family and Friends and all of my loved ones)!

So, like we pretty much saw coming from a mile away, Elder Reilly got transferred (after nearly 7 whole months of service here in Balzar alone, haha), and my new companion is Elder Palma from Chile. I'm honestly terrified of what's going to happen between this companionship, because Elder Palma is known for having not the best of reputations in the mission. He's mainly known for being power-hungry, and overall INSANE. I just gotta pray, stay strong, stay true, and no matter what happens, remember just how much God loves me, and wishes for me to grow spiritually. In fact, most of my companions find themselves surprised about the love and desire that I have to serve them, in addition to the people in my sectors. Since I began my mission, I have always had our Mission Objective playing like a loop in my head: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel thru Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End." The part that strikes me most is that we, as missionaries, invite OTHERS. It doesn't say Investigators, and it doesn't say Less Active Members, but it does say OTHERS (in general).

 Everybody makes mistakes, but it's when we dwell on them and not use them to help us to get better when we find ourselves like a truck in the mud, as opposed to spiritually progressing as God intends. One of the most useful tools that I have found to help me cope with the stress of the mission, is applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ as much as I personally can. I can see how easy it is for others to take this sacrifice for granted, and think things such as: "Well, Jesus already bled and died for my sins. I simply have to have a firm belief in that, and I'm saved." However, it's so much more than that. I learned for myself that we have to earn such a blessing, and that the main reason that I found it so hard to do so before is because deep down, I felt that it wasn't fair. I saw it unjust that "for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died." I indirectly took pride in the idea that I couldn't let Him take my place for the sins, mistakes, wrongdoings, shortcomings, and limitations that I myself have. They're my mistakes, and in my thick head, only found it just if I myself paid the price for them. I want to thank Elder Reilly and especially President Riggins for helping me see this.

I absolute love just how much God respects our Agency, and how much He wants us to learn, and become like Him. One of the Scriptures that have been helping me out like crazy this past month (maybe more, not sure, haha) is 2 Nephi 2. It's helped me out a lot, and I like to use it hand-in-hand with Alma 42 in order to help explain why exactly are we here. Why exactly do the things happen in our lives that we can't control. For that reason, I understand that my fellow companions are not perfect, I hope they understand that I'm definitely not perfect, but if we can just put those differences and comparisons aside, we can start to realize just how much love we have for one another, and just how much we need each other's help. From how I see it (despite this being the first day that Elder Palma and I are companions) is that more than anything, we've been put together as companions to help each other learn, to help each other grow, and for me, in my personal opinion, to help check himself before he wrecks himself. He'll come to know for himself that I'm super linient, I can be super chill, but more than anything, that I love my companions and fellow missionaries for simply being out here, and doing the work of the Lord. It's been awesome to have Elder Reilly as my companion, but now is time to open a whole other chapter. Until next week, I love you guys so much, I'm extremely excited for General Conference, for Mother's Day, and for what I see as the "Climax", or "Home Stretch" of my mission. Thanks so much for all of the prayers and support, because they've helped me more than you guys can ever
imagine. Take care, and remember, Jesus Loves You!

Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke

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