This Friday is February 24th, and is for me what missionaries call "the year mark". Since it is my halfway mark in the mission it is an interesting moment to analyze the ministry and the work I have done in this first part of my journey. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the worthy members who desire can receive a patriarchal blessing. It is a special blessing by the laying on of hands by the authority of the priesthood. This blessing is recorded and typed so we can have a copy of it and study it often. I try to understand my patriarchal blessing as I go on my way, and overtime many things are made clear or are fulfilled. When missionaries come to the Mesa Mission we receive a binder which contain a few pages with a list to be filled out of one hundred things I've learned in my mission. I decided to try to put in words some of those things and share it here:
- Work more on "to be" instead of "to do". Without the possibility to checkmark you can make sure to keep daily track of who you are becoming - you have the chance to do a self inventory and see how you are improving in order to become who Heavenly Father expects you to become.
- Repentance is real - this seem like cliché but it is not. The greatest thing that we can witness in our mission is to see people change. Not only in others but in yourself. It starts by changing behavior with effort, time, and the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- Creating a relationship with the Savior - I am so glad I decided to come on a mission. I know you surely can develop a relationship with Christ without being a missionary, but personally this experience gave me the chance to come to know who He is and who I can become because of Him- by being a missionary I can understand more about my Savior.
- The work of Salvation is rewarding, fun, and great! This is something that took me a few months to understand - when we first leave our homes we go to the missionary training center and everything is great. There is a little bit of home sickness, but everything is okay. Once we come to the mission field we are by ourselves with our companion, and things get different, more difficult, etc - at the same time, as we keep trying, day by day, we can start seeing the tender mercies from Heavenly Father. We experience extremes: the most joy you have ever felt in your life and the most sadness. As the months go by you can see the seeds planted and the fruits of your work and specially who you are becoming and this is just awesome.
- Arizona has THE best sunsets and sunrises ever. I have never seen so many gorgeous sunsets. Seriously, day after day they are great, and it happens so often that it becomes easy to take it for granted.
- Obedience - There is no other way to be happier in the mission field. It is very visible, and you can feel the power that obedience brings into your life. "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:20-21)
- Trust your mission president - This is definitely something that I've learned a lot. Our mission president is called of God to help us, and he also presides over the work in the mission. Every week we have the chance to write to him, and we also are interviewed by him often. We can trust him and ask for his help! Personally, I have developed more confidence in the priesthood leadership since I have had the chance to receive orientation from him. Lesson learned!
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the Doctrine of Christ, is a pattern of living. It is not only about a line that keeps going on, enduring to the end, but a cycle. It is an eternal circle of daily faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost (or the sacrament), and enduring to the end. This doctrine is the very focus of the Book of Mormon, and that's why it had the fullness of the gospel. Because it teaches us the doctrine of Christ. How to achieve happiness in this life and Salvation in the world to come.
- Keep you eyes opened for the blessings and tender mercies - When you plan a whole day and several things don't go as planned, sometimes it is hard to stay motivated. The key I have learned is to focus on the good things, on the blessings, on the tender mercies. Many days all we have to do is to realize that we are in a great place. We have a visitors' center, clean water, and so forth. It is always a good day to be an Arizona Mesa Missionary.
- Another thing that I have learned is about priorities. We can think of them in different patterns: Essential / Necessary / Nice to do. Good / Better / Best. Try to prioritize or to handle your life, goals, missionary tasks. Once I've heard that a good way to think of it is to think of: "Things that matter most and things that last longest." I've learned: If you are waiting for a spiritual experience to happen you are wasting your time - we can't just wait for them to come, we must make a conscious effort to make it happen!
I hope that these few words may help and bless your day! That we may center our lives on Him and His Atonement, we must remember to become more like him, act like him. Keep the primary hymn in mind help you to keep the focus: "If the Savior stood beside me, would you do the things I do?" In the moments of hard things and trials remember Alma 26:27 - "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
I would recommend you to check out the LDS blog: https://www.lds.org/blog/youre-not-messing-up-gods-plan-for-you?cid=HP_WE_22-2-2017_dOCS_fBLOG_xLIDyL2-3_