Saturday, August 13, 2011

I CAN do Hard Things

Being a missionary is hard.  It is a process of learning how to do hard things.  I marvel as I watch missionaries cope with illness, be rejected, change companions, accept leadership challenges, patiently and lovingly guide investigators to the truth, and learn many life lessons being away from home (yes, for many it is the first opportunity to do their own laundry, clean their own fridge, manage their finances, etc.)

Our missionaries are like Nephi.  When the brothers of Nephi murmered to their father, Lehi, "saying it is a hard thing..." Nephi boldly made the decision to "go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded..." His decision to be obedient and keep the commandments did not secure him a life of ease and comfort.  He still had to do hard things.  His bow broke.  He had to wander in the desert for years.  He had to construct a boat by hand.  He had to cross the ocean with those who wanted to kill him.

Sometimes choosing to be obedient allows us the opportunity to do hard things and grow.  Our missionaries are growing to be the future leaders of the church.  They are learning to make decisions.  They are learning to be good companions.  They are "trying to be like Jesus" and as they Preach His Gospel they are learning about the atonement in their own lives as well as in the lives of their investigators.

I receive strength from our missionaries and I get up each day and know that I can do hard things...because I have made the decision to "go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded".

So this last week we traveled to what they call the "Eje Cafetero" or the Coffee hub of Colombia.  The travel between each city is beautiful.  Monday it was off to Armenia, Tuesday to Manizales, and Wednesday and Thursday were spent in Pereira.  President Prince had countless interviews with missionaries and members, Marcie and I traveled the zones with the zone leaders to inspect missionary houses.  Zona Armenia wins the prize for having the cleanest apartments...what a pleasant change from last weeks apartments!

In Manizales Marcie and I had time to go for a walk to the Monumento de los Colonizadores.  There we were approached by a Police officer and as wondered what we were doing wrong, in broken English he asked us where we were from and told us he would like to practice his English.  Now English is one thing I do know how to do!  As he gave us the tour of the monument, we were impressed with his kindness.  He ended up asking about the church and gladly we shared with him about what we are doing here.  We exchanged email addresses and he has already corresponded with Marcie and I.  We are happy to help anyone with their English!

Off to Pereira we had lunch with the Stake President (President Gonzales) and his wife at their home with four of our missionaries.  We had the traditional is a wonderful soup from Bogota.  The Postre de Milo was a hit and we are hoping for that recipe to try.  It was a wonderful visit for all of us and the beginning of new friendships.

We had dinner with some old friends of President Prince.  Elizabeth Henao had invited us to her home in the evening.  When President Prince was a missionary in Pereira 35 years ago, the missionaries rented a room from Elizabeth Henao and her husband.  Her daughters were only 14 and 5 at the time.  She told us many missionary stories about the missionaries who stayed with them over the years.  Although she is a very good friend of the church, she has had no interested in joining the church.  We introduced her to our zone leaders and hopefully we can continue on in this great friendship.  We had a wonderful time getting acquainted (and reacquainted) with her and her daughter.

Before heading back to Cali, we took time to enjoy a little fun at Crepes and Waffles with our Assistants and Zone Leaders.  This has become one of our favorite restaurants in Colombia.  We have now eaten at the one in Cali, Medellín, and Pereira.  This definitely was worth taking the time for and then traveling home in the dark! 

And this is what HAPPY looks like after a Zone Conference!
What would we do without our assistants - Elders Gallo and Farr! 

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