North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are your brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. -Alma 31:35

Sunday, May 26, 2013

3/25/13 "I like to sit on MY pancakes" of today, I am a third of my way through my mission. Wowza, Bowza!

Well, very briefly, in response to last week's cliffhanger, Elder Heathcote was gently tapped while crossing an intersection last week. An older lady didn't really see him and clipped his back wheel as she turned right. Nothing major. Sorry for those of you who were expecting more.

We found a couple of promising new investigators this week, sought out a ton of less actives, gave Sister Helms (the recent convert we stumbled across a few weeks ago) the first birthday card she'd received in ten years, and other good stuff.

The milestone I reached today has been a lot on my mind, though. It has now been over a year since I received my mission call, and I am a third of my way done. I've talked to a lot of people, and I've knocked on a lot of doors. I've been doing a lot of reviewing and thinking and planning about what I'm going to do for the next two thirds of my mission.

I've realized a few things:
1. The mantle.
As a missionary, people wave at you when they see you on the bike. They say you bring a special spirit into their home. Occasionally they'll give you a free meal. Near the beginning of my mission, I subconsciously felt that all these things were done because of me. It was my personality that had people wave, my testimony that brought that special feeling, my character that had people provide for me. Slowly, however, I have come to the conclusion that all of this was not because of me. It is because of the mantle I wear. I am, in fact, not special at all.

Oh, there are plenty of things I'm good at, and I think that I am a fairly spiritual person (at least now), but I am special at this moment because I have been called and set apart, and I wear a mantle. I have been given this mantle for the sole purpose of helping people come unto Christ and feel the Spirit. In a short while I will no longer have the name tag, and I will no longer have the mantle.
With the realization that you wear a mantle -- that it's not really about you -- and that this is not really your mission after all -- but that it's His -- comes the realization of how you need to act and how you need to work. You, my dear Elder Fisher, need to work harder, because you have this very, very brief time where you can go forth and serve. After your time is done, you might always be at the same level of spirituality, and you may continue to live the missionary lifestyle, but you will never again wear that mantle. People give you special treatment because of the mantle you wear, not because of who you are (though you are quite a good person anyway.) Go forth and serve, then!

2. Teaching with power.
Missionary work is not just teaching a lesson. We do not accomplish anything if we just go and parrot to someone the stuff we read about the Restoration. We are all about providing people with spiritual experiences; we are to teach with spiritual power, and we cannot do that unless we study, unless we are worthy, and unless we focus onthem. We have to give them spiritual experiences so that they want to come unto Christ; they cannot do that without making covenants; they cannot make covenants without accepting and keeping commitments, and none of this process can begin if we are not focusing on them, teaching with power and providing them with spiritual experiences.
My problem is that I came out knowing so much. I studied Book of Mormon and other stuff like crazy before my mission in order to prepare myself. (Frankly, I probably know my material better than any other missionary I've been with out here.) However, there have been times in my mission where my knowledge has gotten in the way. Reciting a lot of doctrine is not teaching with power. (Knowing a lot of stuff really helps, though.) 

3. Weakness.
There have been times on my mission so far when I've gotten fed up with myself. Sometimes is that I didn't work as hard as I could, or that I didn't work as smart as I could, or that I pushed too far, or pushed too little, or that I haven't gotten as much success as I've wanted, blah blah, etc. I have come to realize though that it is okay to not be perfect. It is not my mission, it is the Lord's. It's going to work out. My perspective is not His perspective.
The other day I read the Lord's words to Moroni. In Ether 12 Moroni talks to the Lord about how he's so bad at writing, and he's afraid that people are going to mock at him for his weakness. (Moroni? Weak? Really? Read Mormon 8-9 to see how much baloney that is.) Anyway, the Lord responds by giving those great words of counsel, "I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble."
Elder Nelson told us that perfection is an immortal result. I am so glad that I have been permitted to make mistakes. The lessons I've learned thus far in my mission have been priceless. I am so glad that Heavenly Father allows me to learn, and that He is willing to make "weak things become strong."


Well, I've gone and run out of time. I love you all, and I will write more next week. Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Fisher

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