When I got home from my mission, I remember a time shortly after that I was talking to my Dad. I was in tears and I told him I thought I was a failure as a missionary. Sure, as far as baptisms, I had lots of success. I made lots of friends and taught daily. Yet I didn’t live the mission rules as I had desired. The longer I was out the more it seemed impossible to follow all the rules. I wanted to be exactly obedient to all the rules, but I wasn’t even close. When I say that, it’s not like anything I did would be considered a sin by a non missionary. I understand that nobody is perfect, but I just felt I had let the Lord down.
Continue reading Meekness & Humility
A post on Times & Season brought back some mission memories I thought I’d share…
I went to South Africa (Cape Town) on my mission. It is an English speaking mission. I bought a tape from the mission office that had some basic Afrikaans terms. Among them was a simple prayer. It was really simple. It was your basic â€œOur Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for our many blessings. We ask Thee to bless us with thy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.â€
On the a couple of occassions when Afrikaans families would ask me to say a prayer, I would use that prayer. Sometimes they I would add a few words in English, but that prayer was normally sufficient and the family would be surprised and delighted that I took the effort to learn to pray in Afrikaans.
One of my fondest memories was about 2 – 3 months into my mission. I baptized a 17 year old young Afrikaans speaking girl. The day of the baptism after a dinner appointment at a member’s home, the father of that house suggested I say the prayer in Afrikaans. He wrote it all down for me and I had about an hour to learn it beforehand.
I shocked everybody (except my companion and the witnesses) when I said the baptismal prayer in Afrikaans. I was sure nervous but I was told I sounded fluent the way I spoke it.
In case you’ve read my other post, this was Emily’s daughter that got baptized. This was another big part of your progression toward the waters of baptism. She was crying after the baptism and said she had never felt that good inside before.
Its somewhat funny because as a teenager I prayed that I would go somewhere foreign yet English speaking. (I really struggled in Spanish class). I have no regrets about where I went. I definitely wouldn’t change that. But sometimes I kind of feel like I missed out because I’m not fluent in another language. Yet I did pick up a lot more Afrikaans & Xhosa than I ever thought I would.
Before I tell this story, let me preface by saying I’m a terrible singer. I don’t feel bad about that, because I’ve never really liked to sing. I don’t listen to music often for that matter. When I was a teenager, we were asked to volunteer to sing as a stake youth choir for an upcoming Stake Conference. I fulfilled my duty by going. During practice they moved me to new seats a few times probably hoping to minimize the sounds that were coming from my direction. When the the first practice was over I asked what time the next practice was, and was told they had enough people and I really didn’t need to come back if I didn’t want to. They continued to ask for volunteers the following weeks. Don’t worry, I wasn’t offended in the slightest!
Now, to a mission experience. I had learned in MTC and Missionairy Training Manual that hymns were a great method of inviting the spirit. Some time within my first few months of my mission, were were visiting and investigator – Emily. She was visibly upset when we arrived. She had decided to be baptized but was not able to quit smoking. She said she wanted to give up and asked us not to come back anymore. We had dealt with previous episodes and went throught the usual routine of comforting here and giving her encouragement. This time, nothing we could say seemed to be of any use.
Continue reading Did You Think To Sing