Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Still on house rest

Happy birthday Melissa! Happy mother’s day Mom (again)!
Video call, on Mother's Day, from a kind member's house in Valdivia
This week we had another division with Los Encinos. I was with Elder Smith again. We were looking through a Liahona and saw a pre baptismal service picture in Africa. There was a group of about 20 people all dressed in white. Standing with them were just 2 elders. JUST TWO. Haha. Elder Smith said "Wow, they probably had a line." Then thinking a little more, "They had a line." Then raising his voice, "They had a line!"  That made me laugh pretty hard. I know we can still baptize here, and that we are called to specific missions for specific reasons. But it was still funny.

I’m so sick of chess. We play it a lot, and Elder Hobbs massacres me EVERY TIME. I’m on a 8 game losing streak.

We made 2 foot long completos with Elder Smith and Elder Salazar.

We made brownies for the whole zone.

At that once (dinner) we had last night, I ate raw meat. It was a slice of bread, with raw ground beef spread over it, a little bit of lemon juice, diced red onion, and a mayonnaise cilantro sauce. It was alright. That night, I had diarrhea. That’s the weirdest thing I’ve eaten in Chile. They told us it was a German food.

Yesterday, we gave talks in church. Elder Hobbs spoke on doing missionary work as members. I spoke on how we can bear the burden of our responsibilities as we remember the Lord (1 Nephi 21:14-16), don’t fear (Doctrine and Covenants 6:32-37), and turn to the Lord in prayer (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63). I just told personal experiences from my mission to explain the point. The Spirit was poured out, and it seemed to strike well with the members. They all talked about it in the following classes. After the sacrament meeting had ended, an hermana in the ward came up to me and shook my hand. She told me, "Thank you Elder West for your message. It is what I needed." Then, joy poured through me. I was so happy. Bliss. Those are the moments you live for on the mission. I had blessed someone’s life and had been an answer to someone’s prayers. A miracle.

As I knelt by my bedside to end the day in prayer, I was thinking again about my back. I had the faith to be healed. I know God can heal me. I want to be healed, and it would be for a good purpose, too. But then the Spirit brought to my mind the thought, "But Jacob, do you have the faith to NOT be healed?" Or in other words, "Do you have the faith to follow God’s will and plan for you, if that includes a recovery that isn’t immediate?" A teaching moment for me.

Saturday, I was studying the stories of the people of Limhi and the people of Alma (Mosiah chapters 21-24). They were both in slavery. But one group was righteous and the other group was wicked. They both drew closer to God, and God freed them both. I was thinking about the people of Alma. They had done nothing wrong to deserve slavery. They were building up a city to God. They were growing and progressing. But then they were put under the bondage of slavery, and given a death sentence if they were caught praying. Why would God let that happen to a righteous people? Then the Spirit helped me see the application of this story to my own life. The people of Alma probably felt that they weren’t progressing because they were in slavery (house rest). But they really were a whole lot (in learning how to deal with stress and growing spiritually). That helped me a lot.

A few days earlier, I was pretty bummed out and feeling useless because I wasn’t able to work. I felt responsible for being in the house. I felt guilty for it. Because if I had just dealt better with things, I wouldn’t have ended up having this back pain. I talked with Elder Hobbs, and he was guided by the Spirit in what he told me: God’s perfect plan for me will be carried out. Whatever happens, it happens for a reason. God’s plan will be carried out. The only thing that I can do is be righteous. If I’m being righteous and everything is bad, crazy, etc., then that is perfectly how it should be. Am I being obedient? Yes. Then there is nothing else I can do. Just wait on the Lord. I only need to worry if I’m sinning. Being in the house is part of God’s plan for me. I’m worthy, so it is all working out right. With weaknesses, we try. If you aren’t trying, that is wrong and we should feel bad. We should feel bad if we sit there and do nothing. But if we are trying then we shouldn’t feel bad.
That all helped me a ton!

He was also telling me about something he read in the book Our Heritage. It was about George Albert Smith. He was bed-ridden and terribly sick. He had been fighting an illness for years. He felt frustrated. Then one night, he had a dream and his grandpa asked him if he had done anything that would dishonor his name. George looked over his life and realizing that he hadn’t done anything to merit shame for his grandpa’s name he proudly told him that he had not. After the dream, he felt very happy. He hadn’t done anything wrong so he shouldn’t feel bad. Then a few weeks later, he beat the illness. It feel good. I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I shouldn’t feel bad about being in the house.

God is guiding and teaching me. He is so merciful (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10).

Elder West

This is one of the millions of slugs that infest our house. It is in the sink.
This store is appropriately named.