"The Vending Machine vs. The Street Sign"
I think this week was much better than last week. I am finally used to the schedule and I think my fanny is finally used to the 9+ hours we spend every day in the classroom.
As we have been spending so much time on the language, I felt that I was lacking the spiritual connection I thought I should be having here by now. I felt envious of the english speaking missionaries who get to spend every waking moment in the scriptures while I have to learn all this grammar and kill my brain over such a strange language. I felt somewhat gypped. But then I had a revelation: I have been so spiritually blessed throughout my entire life. God has blessed me to grow up in the church and be fully involved my whole life. I graduated seminary. I had various callings as a youth and then as a single adult. Heavenly Father knew I could afford to not be selfish with my spiritual time for now. It's not that I'm not working on it, but I have been so blessed that it's now time for me to learn to communicate with those who aren't. I can put all that deep doctrine on hold and work on my trust in the Lord. Because apparently He thinks I need more of that...
Okay, so now about the vending machine and the street sign. When we were teaching our first investigator, we just sat in front of her for an hour and regurgitated all the knowledge we could in Tagalog. All she did was listen. And the Spirit wasn't as strong as I knew it should have been. Then I was sitting in class and my teacher, Brother Kaka, told us to stop being vending machines. Our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them..." (PMG. pg 1). I wasn't inviting. I was telling. Brother Kaka told us that instead of being a vending machine, we should be a street sign, merely giving direction and pointing the right way. So that's what I have been working on, of course, in broken Tagalog.
On Sunday evenings we have "movie night". After all our meetings and such we get to choose one of four different talks or church videos to watch before heading off to bed. We chose one called "Characteristics of Christ" by Elder Bednar.
(This is a talk that was given in the MTC and so the recording of it will never leave these walls...so don't try to look it up. #privilegesofamissionary)
Anyways, in this talk Elder Bednar said something that struck me: "When you don't think you can do this, you're right."
Now, out of context that just sounds like someone who woke up to ice water in the face. But it's true. YOU can't do it. At least not alone. But with the Savior we can do EVERYTHING. His Atonement makes up for all our sins and our mistakes and our weaknesses. You know what else it makes up for? All the unfair things in life. I'm totally using that one on my kids whenever they use that beloved immature phrase, "That's not fair!" "Well good thing we have the Atonement then, Jimmy." **
I would like to ask that if you remember perhaps in your prayers tonight that you pray for me to get the language a little better. I will be teaching two different filippino investigators this week and I just don't want my current lack of language abilities to get in the way of the Spirit. So that would be great! :)
Salamat po! Mahal ko po kayo!
**Writer's note, I will not actually be naming my kid Jimmy.