This week we had a really awesome training from our zone leaders. They gave us a bunch of popcorn kernels taped up in balls and started to teach us...how to juggle. At first we started with one, then two, then, after about 30 minutes, we could almost get three. But dang was it frustrating! Every 5 seconds I had to squat down to pick up the balls to keep trying because I just couldn't keep them in the air (in fact my rear end was a little sore the next day from doing that so much). I kept trying and trying. By the end I could almost get it down. They had us stop after about half an hour and had one elder come up and show what he'd learned - he could almost juggle! Then our zone leader pulled out three eggs. "Try it!" he said. "You can do it! It's not any different from the balls you were using." The elder didn't want to, but after a lot of encouragement, gave it a go. He got the three in the air for a couple throws...and then they fail, splat, on the ground.
Then the lesson. Says our zone leader: "Elders and sisters, juggling with eggs is like trying to do missionary work without the Atonement. Juggling with popcorn balls is like doing it WITH the Atonement."
It was so simple, but for me it really impacted me. It helped me understand...wow, we really do have unlimited tries! How comforting! Later that week I was reminded of something I read in a talk by Elder Holland's wife:
However, the battle that many of you wage on an interior front concerns me more than these external ones I have just mentioned. Many of us create a civil war within ourselves by internalizing problems of fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, and worry—often over things we can do preciously little about. If we spend our time and energy worrying about being too tall or too short or about our freckles and warts and big noses, then I fear we are doomed to certain defeat. The person who is engaged in such a constant internal fight has little energy and power left to win the outside battles. To be successful in the many skirmishes of life, you cannot afford to be your own worst enemy. And taking the battles inside—firing mortal shells into your very soul—is potentially one of the most damaging of all human activities. Believe it or not, you can recover from poor grades or a missed date or a flat tire and dead battery on the car. But if you turn such outside matters into self-recrimination and self-criticism, letting them damage your spirit and your sense of self-worth and esteem, then you have begun a battle with a very high mortality rate indeed.
...You can begin by practicing just three simple exercises in right thinking: (1) Remember that any failure is only temporary in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The decision to carry on in spite of disappointment turns the worst circumstance into success. (2) There can be no self-pity—and that means no self-pity. Nothing dissipates our strength faster or more quickly drives away those who would truly wish to help us than self-pity.(3) Eliminate all “would haves,” “could haves,” “should haves,” and “ if onlys.” What has happened is past and finished. Leave it there. Profound power will come in living and making things right in the present.
That's really helped me in my mission, let me tell you! I'm glad that this week I could remember a bit about Christ's Atonement.
We have two investigators that are progressing towards a baptismal date: Pamela for the 28th of May and Juan for the 4th of June. There's a lot of work we still have to do, but I'm just incredibly grateful to the Lord for what he's done for us. More than anything we've been working with members to help them get to church, be present in the lessons, everything! It's going well. Way too well, haha.
One last thought that I heard in sacrament meeting yesterday. I like what it says in John 16:33:
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
What a simple but important though. In the world we WILL have tribulation and trials. We're here to have that happen to us. But. Don't worry. Christ has overcome everything.
I think if we just learn to trust in Him, we'll have the faith to overcome anything. Love you all!
p.s. HEY just like to let you know that the Edwin Donoso mentioned here: https://www.lds.org/church/news/members-rejoice-at-april-2016-announcement-of-new-temples?cid=HP_TU_10-5-2016_dCN_fCNWS_xLIDyC-3_&lang=eng was totally the first councilor in the ward I was serving in while in Otavalo some 6 months ago.