Monday, October 20, 2014

Growing through trials

Elder Cranston, Me,& Sister Cranston

Well this has been one of the hardest weeks on my mission.  It seems like just when Sister Martinez and I were getting really excited about our vision and plans this last transfer here in Calapan, is the time when the trials came.
I had gotten sick last weekend and I thought that I would be all better and ready go for this week.  Monday night, we were really excited about a family home evening that we had planned with the district president and Randy and Erika.  They had made all of this food and the district president was planning on giving Randy a blessing to help him quit smoking.  When we went to pick up Randy and Erika they weren't ready.  Long story short, they got in a fight while we were there, because Erika had not done their laundry earlier and all he had to wear was a shirt that was half wet.  He literally didn't have anything else too wear and was too embarrassed to go.  They started arguing... yelling... and as we were waiting outside the door Randy hit Erika in the head.  She ran out bawling and we went out to comfort her.  She wants so badly to be baptized but this was just confirmation of the feelings that we were having about Randy... he is not yet converted.  She ended up still going to the family home evening and district president ended up giving a blessing of comfort to Erika.  She said that while they were blessing her, she could feel the "bad spirit" and anger leave her body.  She wants to get baptized, but she can't until they get married, and we know that we really need to help resolve Randy's concerns.
That night, the Cranston's gave us a ride home and they were really concerned about my health.  I was really congested and had a cough in my chest but I just figured that I would get better within a couple days.  After talking to Sister Galbraith (the mission health adviser), she said that I should just go to the doctor to get some medicine and make sure it's not serious.  Well that ended up taking a good 4 hours, and the doctor didn't run tests or anything.  I felt like he just looked in my mouth, patted me on the back, and then said I had an infection in my respiratory system.  He prescribed me all of this expensive medication including an inhaler for asthma (which makes no sense haha).  The next day, I thought I would be better and we went to the district meeting but I couldn't even think and I was having so much pressure on my ears (the feeling you have when you go on an airplane).  The zone leader suggested that I just rest for the day.... but of course... I was feeling a bunch of guilt for staying inside and not going out to work.
Thursday, we went out to work and I was trying my best to work normal but I couldn't think..... hahah I was so awkward every time we were talking to anyone because I didn't know what to say. hahahha I wish I had some of those conversations recorded.  Everyone was asking me if i was sick.  This whole time I was feeling so frustrated.  I was losing my faith and hope in the work and started having negative thoughts about the work that I had done so far on my mission.  I just felt really unmotivated and pessimistic.  The next day I talked to President Mangum and he explained that I just need to rest until I am 100% instead of going out at 60% and then staying sick for two weeks.  It gave me peace of mind after talking to him and so we ended up resting for two more days.
It is hard to explain how I was truly feeling during all of this.... and perhaps to you it seems a little dramatic.  But I just felt such a desire to go out and work.  I did have many epiphanies during this time of contemplation.  At one point I was looking back on my mission and wondering if I have even been effective because of my number of baptisms.  I have only had 4 baptisms so far on my mission, ... but I realized that 4 people that I found and taught got baptized after I left Rosario and I can still find and teach others who will get baptized here in Calapan.  But through more pondering and prayer I have really come to understand that it is not about numbers.  And even if there are things that I wish I could have changed in the past.... it doesn't matter.  You can't change the past.  All you can do is repent, change, and make use of the time now, looking forward with faith to the future.  I feel humbled and I have gained a greater measure of charity as I helped Sister Hingano through a couple emotional breakdowns (because of the work and family), even when I myself felt downhearted.  I felt that even though I was suffering, I could see and sympathize with those who are also suffering.  AND I truly do feel that our teaching is going to change dramatically.
I talked with the zone leader and spent a lot of time studying how to follow the spirit and teach people, not lessons.  From now on, Sister Martinez are going to change a lot of things about our teaching.  We are really excited to see what will be the effect and we feel that we will be able to help more people reach true conversion, faster.  I feel a new sense of faith and hope and although (because of the things happening these past couple weeks) I won't see any more baptisms here in Calapan (before I get transferred), I know that I can still prepare our investigators and find new investigators to enter into the waters of baptism.
Missionary work is hard and I feel more aware of my weaknesses now than ever, I also really realized that I CANNOT compare myself to others but I am so grateful that I am here.  I still have a good 8 months left, and I will make use of every second.  I miss all of you and appreciate your prayers and support.

Love you!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen

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