Friday, August 19, 2016

Called to Serve (11/16/15)

So, I've spent a lot of the past months learning what it means to really serve. I've done work in nursing homes, food banks, soup kitchens, thrift stores, and people's homes. Those are stellar ways to serve. But the best experiences I've had, the ones that have really shaped me, are the opportunities that I've taken to just show people that I love them. Mourning with those that mourn. Listening to those that need a friend. Visiting the depressed and the downtrodden. There were a few experiences this week that stuck with me. I'll share two:

1) We have been visiting a struggling member of our branch in the past weeks, helping her with her spirituality amidst all of her trials. She needed someone to tell her she was loved, that there was hope; and most importantly, she needed someone to listen. As we followed the spirit, we were able to serve her in the ways she truly needed.

2) One of our investigators with a baptismal date, M, got into a really terrible car wreck this week in which her abusive ex had driven into head-on traffic trying to kill them both. The guy died, the other driver is still in serious condition, and M came out with broken ribs, dislocated hips, lacerated organs, and a fractured neck. She's been struggling with all the physical and emotional pain that comes with surviving something like that and being confined to a huge body brace. We visited her and were able to reflect on how much love we have for her, share scriptures with her, and help her cope. (Not to mention that she's been finding solace in the Book of Mormon and now knows that it's true!!)

One night I was looking at a picture of myself opening my mission call. I had been thinking about how grateful I was for the opportunity to love and serve the people here. And I imagined that instead of Louisiana Baton Rouge being written on that letter, it said, "You have been called to serve M, the H's, Joe, B & D, (etc.)." And then I just had to thank our Heavenly Father that He's allowed me this opportunity and has showed me how to love and serve.

Update: D, an investigator who hasn't been progressing for a long time, has decided to quit smoking and is finally reading the Book of Mormon and has agreed to come to church! What a tender mercy :) Never thought that would happen!

I was going to write more, but this email filled up real quick. Definitely not a boring week, and man was it mentally exhausting! For more dramatic details and happenings, stay tuned for the publication of my mission journal in approximately a year :)

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