Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 36: Vava'u- The rain came down and the flood came up

You know, when God wants us to learn something, I think He always asks us this question, "Are you going to learn this is the easy way or the hard way?" Here are my thoughts on the matter: the easy way is a lot better and nicer, less pain, no embarrassment and humiliation; you feel enlightened and you catch a glimpse of the Glory of God. The hard way is different. You experience heavier pain, you undergo the greater change. You get more than a glimpse of the Glory of God; you get a full blast of it to the face. You are dragged down to the bottom by your own mistakes and then God pulls you up to a place that's higher than you've ever been before. I cite my reference from the Prophet Lehi, "there must be opposition in all thing". "It's always darkest right before the dawn" (Fictional source) 
So this week we had a person we were working with who is rather frustrating to me. He does things that I don't agree with and in my judgment (notice I said "my") is wrong. So characteristic of me, when I see something wrong I feel a desire to fix it. It’s not a bad desire; it's what is motivating me to keep trying to help people. But it's wrong when I pass judgment. Especially when it's not my place to judge. This individual was not under my jurisdiction or authority and so my duty is to work with and love this person to the best of my abilities and not judge rashly or treat him differently. So... that lasted like two months and finally last week I was like what the heck. So I called President, and asked him what to do. First comment, he said I was the 30,000th missionary to call about this guy. (I hope he's exaggerating) Second, he told us to repent. That one hurt my pride a little. I was like (on the inside) hey, I’m doing the best I can here, giving it my all, and you just called me out. But I listened to what he had to say until the storm cut him out and he said he would call later. I figured God gave me the message I needed to hear and it was conveniently so stormy we couldn't work the next day so I had plenty of time to figure out where I went wrong. I learned a lot and recorded a lot of my understandings of the doctrine and so I guess I’ve grown. I was so very frustrated with this issue, and then the issue of me making a mistake when I was trying so very hard to give it my all. Maybe it's a lesson everyone knows already but I learned it. The lesson is, "why does God let us fall when we give him everything we have?" that question is kinda anti-religious until you understand. So in my capacity of an unforgiving, quietly judging missionary, I was able to accomplish lets say, 30 units of work. It was 100% of my full-blown effort to achieve those 30 units. I gave God my all, but when I fell, I learned. So when I came back, I was able to muster 45 units of work. Still giving my 100% chest-heaving effort. You see, when we fall we learn, (aka the hard way) and it sticks with you and you are able to accomplish more. So the thing I learned from this, if I want to be successful in whatever I do, I should expect lots of crappy infuriating failure. Which will eventually lead to blazing and glorious triumph. Haha, something fun to think about.
The good part of the message is when I was having trouble forgiving this individual and working together with him, I was able to pray for the help from God and He always rewards effort. Through nothing but the goodness of a benevolent God my feelings of frustration and anger and judgment somehow faded and now I have a brighter future. Obviously it won't be easy, but I’ll remember what I learned and use it to accomplish more than before. I am Elder Stark.
PS. Note on the weather: It has been ridiculously rainy this week; I’ve almost run out of dry clothes because there is no place to dry them inside the house and outside is one constant Idaho (different weather like every 5 minutes). It will change from pounding, livid rain to bright sunshine and chicken and pigs enjoying a muddy world and back to flash flooding rain. When we go out and work it's nice and in between houses, the rain came down and the floods came up and the little Elder Stark got washed right back to his house to wait for it to be over.

Ofa and atu. 

 a basket I learned to weave

kids in the rain/gutter

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