Monday, March 16, 2015

Elder Scanlan Finally Grows Up‏

I hit my 6 month mark last week Tuesday! To be honest I don't feel different. I'm just glad I'm getting to a point where I'm loving the work even more. That's the most important thing. I'm glad I've got loads of time left. I spent that day in divisions with a Zone Leader, so it flew by without any introspective existentializing. Here in the mission until you hit 6 months you're a "guagua," a "baby," a youth until 12, an adult until 18, and until you die an old person. I'm still in my youth here! And besides, every time you gain more time somebody who has more time on you grumbles like an old person about how little time you "really" have.

The Continuing Travesty

"Estar chiro" is a phrase that indicates the speaker is without money. And so I was very chiro this week. I'm going to see how much I really have to spend to survive - that means I'll be eating nothing but rice, eggs, and if I'm lucky tuna every day for breakfast from now on. Sometimes I have no idea where the money goes. And we don't even have to pay the light or water bills in our apartment.

Speaking of water in the apartment. 

The other day I woke up to a high-pitched sound. Sleeping is one of the things we want to do most and get to do least in the mission, so I went back to sleep - but I kept waking up again. I remember praying that the sound would go away - I thought it was something outside - and the thought came to my mind that I should check it out, it might be something in the apartment. But I wanted to sleep, so I kept trying to, until finally I gave up and followed the sound to its source.

That's when I found that one of the pipes in an uncovered section of the wall had broken and was shooting out a fine water mist in the bathroom. I woke up my companion, and as it wasn't releasing much water, we went back to sleep for the 30 minutes we had left. We got up on time, went around doing our things, but it was obvious quickly that even though not much water was coming out, the bathroom drains wouldn't be able to hold it off forever. So my companion went to move the pipe back into place. Upon which he managed to break it completely out of alignment and the water began to shoot out at a rate that the drains DEFINITELY weren't going to be able to handle.

We managed to run down to a ferreteria (I have no idea what that translates to. There are specific stores here that are like mini-Lowes.) and buy a pipe. Thankfully my companion managed to figure something out and we repaired it - at least long enough so that by the time it broke again, the owner of the house had arrived and called more professional people to figure it out. We were removing water from the apartment for about an hour.

But we didn't forget to take pictures

Miracles of March

That's the theme of this month for the mission, and I've been on a lookout for the miracles we've been waiting for! We all sacrificed something specific last month and also fasted specifically for the success of the mission at the beginning of this month.

There's a family here, the Navias, that have been investigating the church (according to our records in the house) for about 6 years. And finally they're ready to get married! Often that's one of the biggest barriers here - people have to be married before they can be baptized, and with so many people just living together, it's difficult, and the paperwork makes it even worse. It's not easy. But their papers are ready. We just didn't understand what else was holding them back, so we when some of our appointments fell through, it came to my mind to visit them.

We talked and taught, and finally understood that the husband was a bit reluctant because right now he's without work and didn't want to throw a big party or anything because they don't have money - and the wife understood that, but didn't want to get married without doing SOMETHING. We helped them to set a date and if everything goes smoothly, they'll get married at the end of the month and baptized! I have faith they'll get there.

It's just interesting to me the ways the enemy puts little obstacles in our paths to keep us from doing things that really are important. We have to keep an eternal perspective, or we might let little things get in the way of salvation.

The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality

I learned something interesting, from a talk by Elder Bednar:

What he explains is that there's a part of the Atonement that sometimes we forget about, or don't understand - its ability to enable. He uses the example of Nephi - while in the desert, his brothers rebel against him and start to tie him up. The interesting thing is what Nephi prays for in Chapter 17 of 1 Nephi:

“O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee,wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren;yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bandswith which I am bound”

What's interesting is that he doesn't pray so that his circumstances will change. He doesn't pray for the Lord to get him out of there in that moment. He asks for the strength to change his circumstances.

Trials are part of our mortal life and God wants us to learn from them. He won't make the trials stop - partly because he can't, but partly because he doesn't want to, either. Instead he wants us to learn to overcome our trials and do it well, and to rely on Christ's Atonement.

It's really something incredible. I'm still learning how to apply it, but when applied in this way, the Atonement can help us overcome trials in a remarkable way, where we're enriched even more. For instance, contacting is almost never a missionary's favorite thing to do, and so it is with me. So this week I tried praying for the strength to want to contact and to be interested for and love the people. I didn't pray to not have to contact, just to have the strength to meet the challenge. And at the end of every day I found I loved it more, and I had many fulfilling moments!

Likewise, I remember praying when the pipe broke that the water would stop coming out of the pipe. It didn't. When I thought about what I'd learned from this talk, I instead prayed that we'd have the genius to figure out a solution. And not long after I finished the prayer my companion suggested we go buy the pipe that we used to fix it!

I don't know if I can sufficiently explain this, so please check out Bednar's talk. I had to read it a couple times before I got it. But I know that Christ lives and that he died for us, that through the Atonement we can overcome anything! Love you all, and hope you have a good week!

Elder Scanlan

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