Here is this week's letter! I looks like the best way for us to write to her is directly to her mission email account, firstname.lastname@example.org. She says that dearelder takes a while to get to her because of the distance from the mission home. She also says that snail mail takes about a month to get there. Anything we send for Christmas probably won't make it before Christmas, but she'll appreciate it when it arrives! Keep those letters and prayers coming...
This week I don´t have a lot to report. That´s because we didn´t have much success this week. And that´s because I am not really very good at being a missionary.
I really have no trouble with the concept of the mission rules (well, the 6:30 in the morning thing isn´t my favorite, but actually in Chile we wake up at 7:30 in the summer and 7 in the winter, so I didn´t get off too badly), but we don´t seem to be very good at following them. Don´t get me wrong, we aren´t going swimming and watching movies and going out dancing or anything like that. But we run late. A lot.
We seem to always be late leaving the house to work. We stay too long in lessons and at meals with members because we don´t know how to politely excuse ourselves, and sometimes that makes us late coming home from lunch for afternoon study or at night to plan. Then we plan FOREVER. I don´t know why, but it always takes us at LEAST an hour to plan. (It is supposed to take half an hour.) So after we´ve planned for an hour or more we are lucky to have time to brush our teeth and get in our pajamas before it´s time (or too late) for bed. We aren´t trying to be disobedient. We´re just really struggling. We get up on time, we exercise, we study, we work all day, and then we plan. And yet we are oh, so disobedient because we can´t seem to do things in a timely manner. I´m really frustrated because it´s like, we study for three hours so even if I had everything totally ready to walk out the door before we started studying, we´d both still have to go to the bathroom before we left (because who knows when we´ll get another chance), and that´s like ten minutes gone. But if we stop studying ten minutes early to go to the bathroom before we leave the house, we aren´t studying when we´re supposed to be. I don´t know which is the lesser evil. It´s a vicious cycle and I don´t know how to stop it!
Our numbers have been so low that our district leader has been calling us every day. That is not supposed to happen. He´s supposed to call twice a week to get numbers. But no, we aren´t good missionaries, so Elder Aguirre calls every day and "counsels" Hermana Bowns for ten or twenty minutes. And sometimes he wants to talk to me and that always makes me stressed out and then I cry because he only speaks Spanish and I can never, ever understand him so I don´t really know what it is he wants me to do. And then I am so frustrated with him for stressing me out that I don´t even want to do what he asks me to do, so then I am being even more disobedient and that just makes us even less effective.
I have been learning a lot in my studies this week about how faith and obedience are so connected. There is a scripture in Alma 57:21, which talks about the Stripling Warriors. It says that they OBEYED with EXACTNESS and they were blessed according to their FAITH. Ding! Light bulb came on in my brain. The Stripling Warriors were blessed according to their FAITH in the Lord and their FAITH in the leaders whom the Lord had sent to be their commanders at war, and because they had FAITH they were OBEDIENT. They tell you here in the mission that you won´t be successful if you don´t have faith. They also tell you that you won´t be successful if you aren´t obedient. Well, they really are one and the same. You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith that that obedience will bring you some kind of blessing. You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith in the person who is giving you guidelines to follow. You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith in yourself that you can accomplish your goals to do so.
So this week, I need to work on having more FAITH. I need to be more obedient, yes, but the first thing I need to fix is my faith. I need to love the Lord and trust Him enough to DO WHAT HE ASKS. He asked me to come on a mission, and I came. I left my life and my family and my friends behind and I moved to South America for heaven´s sake! But just coming, it isn´t enough. When I accepted my call to serve, I was accepting not only the fact that I would have to leave things behind, but also that I would have to accept new rules, a new schedule, and a new way of life. I already accepted it. I said I would do it, and now here I am, acting like being here is going to be enough! IT´S NOT! The Lord loves me so much. He has given me everything, and He is really asking so little in return. I just need to get over myself and show Him my love and gratitude by doing what He asks of me. Because that is when I will receive blessings. That is when I will see miracles.
Whenever we have a bad day and we know it is because we weren´t exactly obedient, Hermana Bowns tells me, "I am going to be more obedient, Hermana Burgess, because you deserve to see miracles!" There are some wonderful people here who really need those miracles in their lives, and I am just getting in the way because I can´t do a few simple things that Heavenly Father and His chosen servants have asked me to do.
So this is your commitment this week: Please pray for miracles. Pray that I can be humble, that I can be obedient, and that I can have faith. Don´t worry about my health or safety or whether I am happy. Because if I am being obedient, those things are PROMISED to me as a servant of the Lord. Just pray that I can learn to overcome my "natural man" (Mosiah 3:19) and be the kind of missionary whose exemplary obedience and hard work prompts the Lord to work miracles in the lives of those who so desperately need His gospel.
One last scripture, that I read earlier this week and totally fell in love with. And I think it has a lot to do with my obedience as well. 1 John 1:6-7, which reads:
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
I love you all,
P.S. Congratulations to the Huffs, Hislops, and Knights, who all had the most BEAUTIFUL babies in the past couple weeks. My mom sent me pictures and I am SO HAPPY for you all. Tell them that I love them and I can´t wait to meet them! :D
P.P.S. Visit mormon.org if you do not have access to a Book of Mormon to look up the references in this post. I´d link it, but I can´t figure it out on this Spanish-speaking computer....