This week, we had our first zone meeting of the change. Hence, I had my first opportunity to say to the zone, "Hi. I'm Hermana Pickett, and I have 14 months on the mission" and that's when I am met with a resounding wave of "BAGGGGGGGGGGGYYYYYYYY" (that's mission talk for, you already want to go home, you're practically on the plane!) But no, I'm not baggy. Because I was called for 18 months, not 14. And fourteen sure isn't 18. Do they seem close by? Ask yourself what the difference is between being 14 years old and being 18 years old. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. 14 ain't 18.
You know what I got to learn again this week? I am an authorized representative of Jesus Christ, a laborer in the Lord's vineyard, a missionary for the only true and living church of the Almighty God on the face of the earth. That's a big deal! I won't always be able to say that, but while I can, I love it. I love being a missonary. It isn't easy at all, but I love it. At our zone meeting, our ZLs shared a video, in the which President Eyring, then Elder Holland, then President Eyring again spoke about this great work in which we are serving. President Eyring was speaking in a priesthood session, and Elder Holland was speaking to new mission presidents. Elder Holland posed a question that struck me to the core. He said "Presidents, you will have missionaries who will say, "Why isn't this easier, President? Why don't they get it? Why don't they flock to the waters of baptism? Why do they reject us? Why is this so hard, President?'" And to us, sometimes it doesn't make sense why the work is so hard. To us, the blessings and happiness of the gospel are so blatant, and we don't understand why others don't want those blessings. But this work is Christ's work. And if the Savior of the world was driven to ask if there wasn't another way, if the burden might not be lifted, it is easy to see that Christ's work is hard. It wasn't easy for Him, and it won't be easy for us. But He never stopped. He never said, I deserve a break. He never slackened His pace or ceased to be perfectly obedient. So we keep going, and we don't quit. That is the work we have been called to--the work of salvation.
And speaking of such, Walquidia and Axel are definitely gettng baptized this Saturday! They had to go away this last weekend on a family emergency, but that's okay--they weren't ready last Saturday. They're ready now. The Lord knows how His plan is to unfold. We were also very excited on Sunday to see Bairon, a missionary aged young man who is honestly persuing the truth. He read from the title page to 1 Nephi 10 in one sitting. That was cool. He needs to grasp a little more profoundly his testimony of the restoration, but he really has been prepared for this message. Stay tuned for good news.
This is such an incredible message to be prepared for. Let's recap: Before the world was even formed, God created a perfect plan to give His children every single good thing and happiness ever. So He made an earth and sent us to it, and His only perfect child, Jesus Christ, came and lived a life without a single mistake--not even a single unclean thought--and even though He could have passed on to rest without suffering, because He had done nothing to merit suffering, He volunteered to bear the guilt and pain brought on by the mistakes and heartaches, not to mention illnesses and worries, for every person who ever lived and ever will live on this earth. Think about that! He paid for sins for people who haven't even been born yet! He bore the guilt for mistakes you and I haven't even made! And He did it because He loves His Father, and both of Them love all of us. So now, if we can complete the very small portion of work that has been left to our responsiblity (if we can trust God enough to believe in Him, change our lives for the better, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and stick it out, always trying our best) there is not a single blessing that will be kept back from us. That means living forever in a perfect body, with a perfect happiness, with our families and loved ones. That means peace now and joy forever. That's real.
I'm going to say that again: it's real. If you don't feel like it's real, say a prayer. Read the Book of Mormon. Test God. He told me. He'll tell you.
I know that God loves us, and that He loves us just as much as He loved His children in biblical times. That's why He's still calling prophets, like Joseph Smith in 1820 and Thomas S. Monson right now. I love Him, and I love to be one of His missionaries.
Yesterday, we spoke to a man who really doesn't like our religion, or religions in general, or governments, or the United States. After ranting about all of the above for a while, his anger became focused on me, an obvious citizen of a country he doesn't like. With hatred in his voice, he accused me of only coming to Honduras to find something I liked and take it away, because that's what Americans do. Without a moment of hesitation, I looked that man square in the eye and said "I am here because God sent me here to preach His gospel." And that's right. There's no other reason that I am here--just to be a servant of my Heavenly Father. And it's the best reason there is.
I love you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week. Take a second to remember what has been done for you, and ponder the question I was asked 13 months ago in the CCM: What are you going to give to Him who gave everything for you?