I have really been working on personal development these days. I can't tell you how much I worry about my ability to testify and things like that. It has really been a great experience here on the mission but I have to admit... The crazy spiritual train ride that I have been on here is just huge, I go on the CRAZIEST rides. I go from the highest of high's to the lowest of low's, all in the space of about 24 hours. For example this week...
It was on Tuesday that I woke up and I just knew something was wrong..... I could just feel it, something in my heart was wrong.... So I thought "ya know, I'll just go to the gym and work out and it'll all be better......" SO I went to the gym and worked out and long story short it was not better... I just didn't feel the drive that I had had the day before. I wanted to be a missionary but something inside me just... didn't.... So during personal study I just got down on my knees and prayed. I can't tell you how hard that was for me. To try and sit there and fight off this feeling that was in my heart. It hurt, however, I opened up my scriptures and decided to read about faith. So I opened up to Alma 32:26... I read that and all of a sudden I realized something in my life. I have lived my life pretty similar to the direction that it gives in Alma 32:26-End... I especially like verse 41 where it says we have to "Nourish the tree... by your faith with great diligence"..... I think about the process of growing a tree. Sometimes there are hard times in the growing of a tree. But even during those hard times we have to continue to nourish the tree. Even when it may seem hard, even when the conditions may not be ideal, in the nourishing of the tree we come to love it more and more. Not only that but if we are faithful and help the tree till it produces fruit, how much better it will be because we watched the tree and knew the whole process that it went through to get where it is.
I kinda tried to apply that to myself. These days are bound to be amongst the hardest times of my life. But it is through the hard times that we have to have our roots planted deep, so that even when things are hard on the surface, when it comes down to it, we know the truth. I know this is true and although some days may have me thinking otherwise, I always have to think about the blessings that I have received because of it. My life would be so much different if I wasn't living the gospel, if I didn't live this gospel to be perfectly honest I have no idea where I would be right now. But I do know this much..... "by their fruits ye shall know them..." this gospel has blessed my life and protected me from so many things. All I have to do is realize that to see that God is watching over me. That he does care. That although things may be hard at times, if we hold on we will be made strong. Joseph Smith once said "God will take hold of you and will wrench your very heart strings. And if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance of the celestial kingdom of God." This life is a refining process. There will be heat. There will be pressure. It will be uncomfortable, but we if we can make it through and not crumble, we will become so much better than we could ever be without it.
So Dad asked me to throw in something in my email home: What would I say to people who are preparing to serve a mission?
I would have to say that the one thing I worked the hardest to figure out was that God really does love me. That despite everything if we can lean on that one thing as a fact, life gets just that much easier.
So one of the things that I would say to those preparing for a mission is get a knowledge that God loves you.
The second is: Know where to go in the scriptures to find comfort.
In times of trial on your mission you aren't going to have the ability to just bail from everything. You aren't going to be able to just mope for a couple days and have some miraculous experience that gets you over it (Believe me I've been there). You are going to have to know where to go in the scriptures to find help and comfort. STUDY THEM, KNOW THEM. God can teach us and comfort us through the scriptures. This is one thing that I work on every day. I want to get to know them so much better. I can promise anyone who reads this that if they know the scriptures and know how to apply them to your situation in life, God can and will comfort you and teach you through them. He has and does continue to do that for me, EVERY DAY.
Kind of a sobering letter this week but I guess you know it happens. If ya'll would be willing to pray on behalf of my investigators that would be helpful. We just need to meet with some of them and others need that answer that it is true really bad. If you could pray for that for me I'd be much appreciated
I love you all. So glad that all is going well at home, remember that God lives. Remember that He LOVES you. Lean on that through everything and I can promise you'll make it through anything that comes your way.
Elder Josh Crowther