My study this week began with starting to study what is faith, how can I build my own faith and how to help others build faith. Unfortunately that lasted a day and then conflicts occurred. As these things have occurring I have been so confused on what to do. I feel like this trial is a difficult one but I can also feel the learning and the growth I am receiving because of it. First lesson, DON'T EVER think that you don't need help with things. YOU always need the LORD in all things. The LORD will shape you but you need to let him. I have been doing a lot of growth and a lot of stopping and thinking. I have to be honest this is so difficult. So often, we react on impulse instead of contemplating the alternatives. When we actually stop and think, we allow our rational side to take over, and stop our emotional side from taking over. We actually had an instance where we had a misunderstanding about something, and something was said that would've been taken badly, but because we stopped and waited for a moment, we were able to deal with it, in a positive way. I have learnt alot about Trust and how important that trust is. Since I was young I have had issues with trust and still continue to have them and I have built up walls to protect myself and I am learning to be able to bring those walls down for specific things. I know how important it is to make these changes and they are difficult. It seems though as progression is made on several things, that it seems to cause more opposition. I know though, that the Lord is causing me to endure this for a reason and is shaping and molding me into what he needs me to be. I am learning lots and was able to go on exchanges this past week and teach and I was able to learn alot from it. Oh, almost forgot one of the things I studied since my exchange focus was on Recognizing the Spirit was how to go about praying with Faith. I realized how important it is to go about praying for those who you don't necessarily get along with. And how important it is to pray for your leaders. I have had lots of difficulty with my trainer, everything I do seems to rub him the wrong way. I have found out how important it is to listen, to hearken and to pray for your leaders. There is a great talk for recognizing the spirit called an Educated Conscience- Stephen R. Covey. One thing I have had to also come to realize is how strong my testimony is and how much I know, one thing that helped me was to go through Alma 5 and reflect on those questions. We are also given an adjusting to Stress booklet, and it talks about all forms of stress and gives ideas how to combat all and I was able to determine many key things that I need to do to make it better, and how to have more effective communication. I feel the communication isn't as strong as I think it is so I am going to work on that this week while studying more on Humility and Patience.
The other day, I was so confused about a lot of things and wanted to know what the Lord wants of me and what to do at this time, and as I was praying I asked for an answer in the scriptures and flipped it open 3 times and all 3 times it landed on something talking about a mission, Testifying or being called. I tried again and again because I wasn't sure if that was my answer the first time and soon realized that that answer was the answer. I also was asking about what I need to do to improve and how I can make it easier to get along and out of several times of letting my scriptures fall open they fell open to the exact same places. 3 times fell open to Pride in the topical guide and 3 times fell open to 2Nephi 2: the verses about you can choose eternal life or you can choose death, and those really struck me and made me realize I keep saying that I am choosing to make these decisions but in the jist of making these decisions I am not choosing at all and because I allow impulse to respond I am struggling. I have thought about many ways in which I can help this and in Preach My Gospel on page 19 there is a quote by Boyd K Packer telling us that the study of True Doctrine changes behavior and I have realized I can't just study it but I need to ponder upon the messages I find and work to make those changes.
The last lesson I learnt just last night actually is why the Lord commands us to keep records and record things, my first week on my mission I was writing in my journal and I said something that was profound and struck me last night, which shows me how important recording spiritual prompting or spiritual experiences are instead of the temporal things. My quote was, " I think just as important as our faith in Christ, has to be our faith in ourselves." The Lord has called us and qualified us for the work and him knowing all things if he chose us to be here and to do this we must be capable of it and we must be capable to obey because the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he provides a way for it to be accomplished. So just as much as we have faith we need to trust ourselves to be able to accomplish all the Lord needs of us to accomplish, we need to trust in others to allow them to help us and realize we can't do anything without the people the Lord has given unto us to help us.
So now on to the actual week:
So on Monday we had zone development it was awesome, not really. I had a lot of past experience come back into my mind and I didn't feel well. I felt excluded and people were trying to reach out but I wasn't allowing them too. However from that I have realized that a form of pride is not allowing others to help you, it is not allowing people to care for you and it is pushing them away. I had some fun for some, we had a game for drama where we needed to solve problems with our character on the stage and it was fun however, this experience showed me another thing I needed to change, and I have always focused a lot on the fact that I need to be center of attention, I seem to do more then I thought to make people pay attention to me. In conversations I try to dominate the conversations and that is not right. I am working on how to improve with that and how I can make things about others. All in all Monday was a good day.
Tuesday was the usual. However I have been on Skype calls with Elder Peery, he isa mental health advisor for the church, and he is helping me a lot with difficulties and being able to get along with others. I have realized that my past has impacted me a lot more then I thought especially on trust but I am working on not allowing my past to impact me. We are living in the present and because we are living in the present and working towards our futures, that is where our focus should be. Learn from the past but look forward. I will study more on how to exactly do that in the following weeks.
On Wednesday, was a great day, good lessons happened, all lessons were kept which is nice.
On Thursday, was the day of serious reflection and referring to the managing stress booklet, I learnt how to use the book of mormon to gain comfort and bring peace to my soul, we then had a long day, and after that had a cottage meeting with our investigators where all who were invited came which was a miracle.
On Friday, I was on exchange with Elder Bailey( Brand new missionary), it was nice because I got to lead out the area the Lord has designated to me. It was an interesting day, at first all our joint teaches cancelled, but we were still able to get all the required joint teaches we needed for the day and I was able to teach an english class which was interesting. We have a lot of Brazilian and Venezuelans who speak Spanish and Portuguese so it was nice.
On Saturday, it was bait stressful because all cancelled however, I learnt how Patience plays a role, especially when studying patience I realized it is to endure afflictions calmly. So then I studied what Endure means and it means to take it with contention. So even though the day went bad looking back I learnt a lot.
On Sunday, unfortunately the day didn't go as planned it was nice that 3 investigators stayed for the whole 3 hours and the Chew and chat but after church there seemed to be some tension with my companion and I and we were scouting out the area for our next chalking and someone happened where we were separated, it was the scariest thing in my life, I couldn't find him anywhere and even though he was mad at me, I still cared that he would get back safely. I had the keys to the apartment and he had the phone so, it was interesting. PATIENCE with all things is very important.
So that was my week, a lot of growth a lot of instruction and a lot of goals.
Hopefully this week is better and continues nicely. This week we have an all Ireland conference on Friday which should be insightful.
Well I love you all and don't resist the chastening of the Lord he is shaping you and if you endure your afflictions with patience and charity and humble yourselves before him he will show you the way.
Love Elder James Reece