Timing is everything. I think we have all learned that. Sorry for not being able to write to everyone last week but I was in a rush and had to cut my time short. But, these past two weeks I have definitely learned that to every thing there is a season and a purpose. Some things take longer than others, but all things will come in their time. Anyways, a quick short funny story from two days. Elder Wells has been waiting for his driver's license so that he can finally drive the car. In the meantime, I have been driving since he has arrived, which to say the least, has hurt him in not learning the area; he claims that he can learn the area (10 different pueblos) better if he were to drive (something which I don't doubt). Well, after weeks of waiting, he finally received his license in the mail and so I took him out to an empty parking lot to teach him how to drive the car. "So now, Elder Wells, do you know how to drive a stick?" "Yeah, yeah, of course." "All right. Well, turn it on and let's get going." After about 5 minutes of him failing to start the car I ask him what happened. "What happened? Something wrong with the car?" "No... I guess I forgot how to drive stick." "Ah, who did you learn from?" "Need for Speed from Chuck 'E Cheese" Oh goodness...... hahahaha. Well..... it took a bit longer than I thought to teach him, but I am happy to report that he is getting it down, and he drove us here to the library. I am NOT looking forward at all to the day that I have to teach my first 16 year old how to drive a car. When it was time for Elder Wells to leave the parking lot for the first time onto high-speed Spanish traffic I nearly died. I don't think I have ever been so stressed out before. And then when we went on to the freeway..... wow.... Anyways, these past few weeks have been pretty good. To be quite honest, I have been a bit down just because the work hasn't been booming, and to be honest, it has never been really "booming" for me, but I have learned a pretty good lesson as of late and I will try and share it with you. This is what President Henry B. Eying said,
"All of us make decisions every day, almost every hour, about whether it’s worth it to wait. The hardest ones are where the waiting includes working. Does it make sense to keep working, to keep sacrificing, when nothing seems to be coming from the effort?
There’s a young man in the mission field who’s made that choice in the last month. I heard his story, but there must have been thousands of such choices made last month. His companion would have made Job’s critical friends seem like the Three Nephites. Just living and working with his companion required more contribution than the young missionary had dreamed he was going to have to make. The mission president authorized them to stay in their apartment because wind brought the effective temperature to 80 degrees below zero. So, the young man had to decide, “Shall we go out? We’ve been tracting and it’s produced nothing. For what it would cost us, what would we get? We haven’t got a contact, so we’d be just hitting doors.” Well, he went—that’s an odd investment decision, but he went. What he got was to meet one man, behind one of a hundred doors. In his letter about the man’s baptism, he said, “I’ve never been more happy in my life.” "
To be honest, that is how I have felt a lot of the times. "Should we go out?" "Is it even worth it?" Because a lot of the times it is discouraging when your recent efforts seem to not bring the expected rewards. The trick is to know how to keep waiting and working when the harvest seems delayed. I have learned that not all of our efforts will bring forth fruit right away. The trick is to keep yourself motivated so that you don't give up before the delayed blessings come. It's all under the principle of endure to the end. Once again, this is what Henry B. Eying said, "There are spiritual crops that require months, years, and sometimes a lifetime of cultivation before the harvest. Among them are spiritual rewards you want most. That shouldn’t surprise you. Common sense tells you that what matters most won’t come easily. But there is another reason suggested in the scriptures. Remember this from the Book of Mormon?
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. [Ether 12:6]
And from the Doctrine and Covenants:
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand. [D&C 58:3–4]
The simple fact is that there is a God who wants us to have faith in him. He knows that to strengthen faith we must use it. And so he gives us the chance to use it by letting some of the spiritual rewards we want most be delayed. Instead of first effort yielding returns, with a steady decline, it’s the reverse. First efforts, and even second efforts, seem to yield little. And then the rewards begin, perhaps much later, to grow and grow."
Anyways, I don't know if all of that just flew over your head, but it made sense in mine when I was typing it all out and thinking of what I wanted to write to you all. Point is, I have learned that perhaps the fruits of this mission will not come while I am on my mission. Maybe I won't be that missionary that baptizes 50 in his mission, but I have learned that with faith, and patience, I will see those fruits eventually. I know that if I endure to the end my reward will be there waiting for me. When I think of that principle, I think of the Jeffrey R. Holland quote that I used a couple of months ago that says,
"I think of newly called missionaries leaving family and friends to face, on occasion, some rejection and some discouragement and, at least in the beginning, a moment or two of homesickness and perhaps a little fear. I say: Cling to your faith. Hold on to your hope. “Pray always, and be believing.” You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. You keep your chin up. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ,they come.It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." So.... maybe you aren't a missionary, but you can definitely apply it in your life. Be patient in your afflictions. Know that it all happens for a reason. And maybe you won't receive the blessings right away but they will always come eventually. You have to have faith and hope. Remember this rule of thumb when setting goals:"You must havelong term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures." I suppose I can end with that. I hope that I was able to share a little bit of what I learned without completely confusing and making you bored. Well, until next week! I have been in Sevilla here now for about 6 months and transfer calls are this weekend. So next week there might be some exciting news! Love ElderStevenCard