When I had 12 weeks left, that brought interesting perspective and has also caused deep reflection. Speaking for most missionaries (I believe), we think about what it will be like when this great chapter in our book of life has finished. Sometimes we plan for what we want to do after, such as going to college, working, and getting married. But most often, we find ourselves pondering the questions, what do I want to be like after my mission? Am I serving the mission that will help me arrive at that destination? And, am I loving the journey?
The First Presidency message written by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf this month so clearly explained this metaphor for our races of life. I encourage you all to read it.
"In ancient Greece, runners competed in a relay race called a lampadedromia. In the race, runners held a torch in their hand and passed it on to the next runner until the final member of the team crossed the finish line.
The prize wasn’t awarded to the team that ran fastest—it was awarded to the first team to reach the finish line with its torch still lit.
There is a profound lesson here, one taught by prophets ancient and modern: while it is important to start the race, it is even more important that we finish with our torch still lit..."
It's not about how fast we go or how much we do or how good we look while doing it. To Heavenly Father, the essential is how good we ARE while moving through the different challenges in this life. And when one race finishes, do we keep on running?
This message pierced my heart this week because for much of my mission, I've looked at how fast I've been running and have become discouraged by weaknesses and unpredicted sicknesses. I have lost sight sometimes of the beautiful vistas to be found along the course. But remembering this week, in actual running, the best thing to help you reach the finish line is to focus on what feels good along the way.
So... here are some of the why's I love my mission.
15 Sept. It feels good to wake up at 6:30 in the morning.
16 Sept. We get to meet so many people, each with their own stories that have brought them where they are today.
17 Sept. We get to help people everyday.
18 Sept. We are taught as we are teaching.
19 Sept. We've learned to be active members, through seeing the importance of visiting and home teaching, helping with building cleaning assignments, and how much missionaries need members for the work to progress.
20 Sept. We are prepared for future callings (and often I feel the preparation is for primary).
21 Sept. A greater appreciation for our parents and their wise teachings.
22 Sept. Sharing the load of someone who is weary and downhearted by taking time to give them rest and trying to help them feel love.
23 Sept. Learning the importance of choosing wisely based on our goals.
25 Sept. There is a great need for unselfishness when working with others.
26 Sept. Greater love and appreciation for the prophets and apostles as we share (a small, small part of) their concern and labor for the well-being of Heavenly Father's children.
27 Sept. Partaking of the Sacrament each week becomes sacred and intentional.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for all missionaries. They really do help us.