This week was the hardest but best yet! So many cool expereices to share but not enough time. We had a baptism in our ward which was fabulous. One of the elders' investigators, this little old lady who calls me "gordita" and laughs whenever she sees me.... THANKS LADY! JK I love little old Rosaria. (its funny because in those pics i am a giant.)
I am seriously learning SO MUCH! This week in our zone conference we were challenged to a 40 day fast. (not of food) but of anything at all that would inhibit the spirit! We were challenged to write a list of 40 small things you were going to STOP doing in the next 40 days as a purification process. For example, I'm not going to let my desk get messy, not EVER gonna be without a Book of Mormon (even pday), and not change into PJs before daily planning (no matter how cold our room is).
With all these new goals at first came a little discouragement. I want to be a perfect missionary and that's impossible! I've been feeling like I'm NEVER going to even be a good enough missionary. But I guess thats the idea isn't it? The repentance process and the refiner's fire never were easy. I've been feeling a lot like Nephi in 2 Nephi 4:
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
Nephi was an incredible prophet of God and yet calls himself a "wretched man". I am obvi nowhere near where he is but here I am on a mission trying to devote everything I have and am to the Lord and I'm still SOOOO far from perfect. Because of my flesh, sins easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
He continues to recognize God and the unconditional support and love he receives from Him. I too feel somehow unworthy of all the blessings from the Lord I receive every day.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
He then starts to feel a little sorry for himself. He essentially asks, why do I yield to all this temptation and anger? I have my agency, don't I?
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
Then here again he praises the Lord. He recognizes his goodness. He prays for help to shake at the appearance of evil and sin. He prays to know the good from the evil and help as he does all he can to walk in the path of righteousness.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
He has trusted in the Lord and he will trust in Him forever. He is the rock of our salvation. He is the rock of MY salvation. I have a testimony of that.
I am just beginning to understand this concept. the Preach My Gospel explains it beautifully and essentially says that in this life, we can never achieve perfection as our Savior. But that though the love and power of His atonement, we CAN become perfect later on. We just need the same grand desire as Nephi to please the Lord, we need to be willing to humble ourselves and recognize and give up our weaknesses, and we need to be willing and anxious to improve every day. This is the cycle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is hopeful and beautiful! I love you all. Keep refining your beautiful selves! The Lord loves you