Tuesday, January 12, 2016
(The Desert, Part 1)
Stumbling along the desert trail, I collapse beneath my load.
The sun is unforgiving on the dry, desolate road.
My shoulders burdened with a yoke of sin and grief and pain,
My feet worn down and blistered, and my energy now drained.
As I fall to the ground, I hear quite a sound that shattered the deafened sky,
But soon I could see it was just lonely me that had helplessly started to cry.
I could see my footprints which started afar, following always behind,
But I still cannot see nor even believe in the end that I thought I could find.
So I lay in the sand and I taste the thick dust that my feet kicked up in the air,
And my tears roll down my sorrowful soul as I sink further into despair.
All that I have is hollow desperation,
I just pray there is someone to offer consolation.
When quite like a flash, I felt a firm hand
Lifting me up to stand in the sand.
(Part 2 to come next week)
My dear friends, I would have you all know that the Surrey Zone is on FIRE!!! God has showered an abundance of blessings upon this beloved zone, particularly within the past week. Our mission has a "Standard of Excellence," a set of weekly goals that each companionship is invited to constantly strive for. There's really not any award for hitting the Standard; its purpose it simply to make us all stretch and improve. This week, 6 out of the 11 companionships in Surrey hit the Standard of Excellence! The highest that the zone has achieved since the Standard was established was 4. Not only that, but the Surrey 3rd Ward just witnessed the wedding and baptism of a wonderful couple. Surely, these were the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father, because I know that there's no way we could have done this without him.
The missionaries in the Surrey Zone are just as remarkable as the people we teach. I've never felt so much unity with my peers; I trust each and every one of these missionaries, and I'd die for any of them. We are all a part of such a wonderful work, and we all recognize why we are labouring here. This time is such a blessing.
I also feel it a sacred privilege to have spent my entire 19 year-old life in British Columbia. Today, as I turn 20, I can only look forward with wide-eyed anticipation for what the year holds. This time, I will not be spending an entire year as a full-time missionary, so I do not know what I'll run into next.
I would like to briefly relate to you all an experience we had yesterday that strengthened my testimony that God is truly in every detail:
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to go on splits with some members of the Priests' Quorum (the 16 year-old young men). These priests had never been out with missionaries before, so they were a little nervous; Elder Asi and I wanted to make sure that they had a good experience. We had two appointments scheduled for 1pm, and we intended to split up and take a priest to each of the lessons. I dropped off Elder Asi and his priest at their lesson, but soon discover that the lesson set for Rayven and I had fallen through. Well, we neglected to make an effective back-up plan... so we decided to go with our 2pm plan, which was to see a mormon.org referral named Richard. Richard was not home, so we called him; he said he wouldn't be available until about 6pm. So now I'm running out of ideas of what to do with this priest, so we decide to go and introduce ourselves to some of Richard's neighbours.
We met some very nice people on the street, and even met a family that wants us to come back on Saturday. After a while, we see that it's just past 2pm and we need to pick up Elder Asi. We get in the car and start to drive away, turn the corner, and we see a man waking down the street. In a desperate attempt to impress Rayven, I roll down my window and start talking with this man. I offer him a mormon.org card, which he takes and says "I think I requested you online." I asked, "Are you Richard?" and he responded affirmatively. So I pulled over, we hopped out, and we taught Richard the Restoration on the side of some random country street. He agreed to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, pray, and accepted a date to be baptized!
Everything we had done that day, including the cancelled appointment, was God's way of leading us to Richard, who was prepared to hear the gospel. God is in every detail.
Love you all! Shout-out to my mom, who should receive the real recognition on my birthday; after all, she did all the work those 20 years ago.
(Birthday pictures sent from a member)
Snow ball fight (Shane on the left)