I swear I was sitting at this computer yesterday. My perception of time has completely shifted from long and drawn out at the beginning of my mission to feeling like every week is about 24 hours long. I feel focused the whole week on our various tasks of street contacting, chapel tours, visiting investigators, planning, and studying, and then the next thing I know I wake up and it's time to go write an email. Now people are slowly beginning to remember me and send me emails and letters reminding me that I'm coming home soon, and I'm already beginning to wonder what I've done every day for the past year and a half or so. It's a foreboding thought that being a missionary is not something that lasts forever, yet I'm determined to take the skills learned, experiences had, and matured relationship with God to better bless the lives of those around me for the rest of my life. I love my mission so much.
We had a better week with lessons, although we were dropped by our most progressing investigator. It was rather sudden; I called him on the phone to follow up with him reading the Book of Mormon to which he reported that not only had he not been reading, he did not want to read it or to learn anymore about the gospel. With his baptismal date soon approaching, the first ounce of pressure associated with becoming a renewed disciple of Jesus Christ pushed him over the edge like a seed thrust on dry ground. It'd be much worse to have seen him do the same after covenanting with the Lord, and knowing that Elder Young and I have done our part, I suppose it's better that he has a little time to engage in self-introspection. It's disappointing, but I've come to grips with the fact that I can't and shouldn't ever force someone to follow the Savior. If there's anything my mission has taught me, it's that Peter Parker's uncle wasn't lying when he said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Where much is given, much is required, and nobody has given or is giving more than Jesus Christ.
I used to think a lot in the beginning of my mission about what I'd take from my experience, but as time goes by, I find myself thinking a whole lot more about what I'm leaving behind. I used to think, "Man, it's going to be so sick, I'm going to get pro at Chinese and open up so many opportunities for my future." Now I think, "Elder Young is a new missionary, and I want him to be better than I was, and I hope I can teach him as much Chinese as possible before I leave him." It reminds me of Priesthood Session from the latest General Conference when Tad R. Callister spoke about the Priesthood power in the boy. He quoted an old saying, "Do not die with your music still in you." I think that when I've faced discouraging moments and felt too inadequate myself to get any music out at all, I think I've overlooked the fact that my "music" can live on in others.
On that note, and in addition to the doctrine of grace which I shared last week, I believe wholeheartedly that there is no gift given us from divine hands that are intended solely for our own individual enjoyment. The "mighty change" that can be wrought in our hearts by His Atonement is meant to make us more capable of blessing everyone else.
I want all to know that I stand firm in that testimony of Christ, that His whole life and ministry was selfless and outward, and as His true disciples, we are required to do the same if we ever expect His grace to be sufficient for us. I love this work. I love my mission. It is Christ's.