Adjusting to Missionary Life
It has been a rough week for me. It feel as if I were the Prophet Joseph Smith, who in the Liberty Jail, in a feeling of abandonment and recognizing the magnitude of his calling was depressed. He even asked God: “O God, where art though? Where is the pavilion that coverest thy hiding place” (D&C 121:1).
This week and the week prior, I myself am having these same feelings as the Prophet Joseph. I don’t understand why I am going through the challenges that I face (not having the self-control to stay off a computer, having a companion who I feel does not trust me, and treats me as if I am being disobedient all the time). What would the Lord have me learn from this, and when will it be over? This past week after having all this frustration with myself and I suppose others s well, I met with President Henrie. I would say that it has helped a little bit. He did provide me a little encouragement. He taught me from “Preach My Gospel” (pp 10-11) about how I shouldn’t compare myself with other missionaries and how the surest way to measure the success of a missionary is by their commitment to baptize the people they meet, recognizing that the investigators have their agency. He encouraged me to study “Adjusting to Missionary Life” and to study “Safeguards for Using Technology.”
I did as instructed and learned several ideas for how to be safe on the computer (eg. Keeping track of the activities I do on the computer). Plus, I learned several ways to combat (or at least try and combat) the negative thoughts I’ve been facing by doing as it says to do in “Adjusting to Missionary Life” and that is to aggressively fight off thoughts of inadequacy.
I don’t know how long these feeling will continue or if they will ever go away on the mission. But, this much I do know: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be for a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well … know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way. Thy days are known (next May); therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” (D&C 121:7-8 and D”&C 122:7-9). How blessed we are to have that struggle of the Prophet Joseph Smith and God’s answer to his cries for comfort recorded as scripture!
So, after a lot of thought, pondering, and praying; I decided to attempt to at least reduce the amount of time I spend on a computer – for at this time I would appear to lack the ability to stay off of them entirely is to send my picture home in as little time as it takes, then find a picture of a temple on LDS.org and draw it. Even after I get my email privileges restored, I’m going to email and send pictures home real fast so I can still draw. I want several perhaps 10-12 drawings of temples done before the end of my mission.
Anyways, the rest of the week went as follows: Monday, seeing as it was the fourth of July and was not preparation day, I believe you already know what we did. Tuesday was preparation day and we did a lot of fun games as a zone before having a lesson with our investigator Mel and his friend Antonio whom we picked up as a new investigator.
Wednesday was when we met with President Henri and we had weekly planning. Thursday was district meeting and we had a really awesome video shown to us which was a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the MTC, similar to a semi-recent talk he gave (probably 2012 or 2013) about Peter and Jesus telling him to “Feed my sheep.” We also picked up a young couple as investigators during KO (knock out).
Friday, we had dinner with a member who invited their friend to have dinner and a “message”, we picked him up as an investigator; but, he lives in Simi Valley, so I’m not sure how long we’ll actually be teaching him.
Saturday, we taught our recent convert Leo about temples and temple work – my favorite! Then we tried going by potentials all day long with no success.
Sunday, we had an awesome day at church. We didn’t have to teach gospel principals for the first time since I’ve been here in Tarzana. Phew! We had a lesson on temples in priesthood, plus we picked up a new investigator at dinner who also invited a friend over and thankfully, he actually lives in our area!
Elder Allen Blodgett