"Certainty of death...small chance of success... ...what are we waiting for?"
NOTE: This email contains many of my random thoughts over the last week. Some are not so serious, others are, and I had a lot more that I decided not to put in for the sake of your attention span. Still, I hope you'll bear with me as I unload the rest -- considering, of course, that you actually read the entirety of my fatty emails...
Well, it happened again.
We got a call from President Craven this last Saturday, telling me that he had talked with the stake president and the bishop, and, after those two conversations, the decision had been made that the Monroe elders were going to be pulled out this transfer and be replaced with sister missionaries. This is the fourth time in my mission that this has happened to me: first Dobson, then Pineville, then Huntersville, now Monroe. Or, to put it another way, 4 out of the 5 areas where I have served, I have been in the last elder companionship in that area before it was given to the sisters.
This really was a good time for sister missionaries to come into the area, since the lease on our apartment expired and our Ward Mission Leader had found us a new one in the nearby town of Indian Trail, which is much higher class and has not seen missionaries for years. The sisters will be able to move into a new apartment in a area that is probably a lot safer for them than the sometimes sketchy
I know they will have lots of success here, and that makes me feel happy. I
feel bad in that, despite Elder Schauerhamer and I's best efforts
this entire transfer, we never got even a single investigator, so the sisters
will be coming in with no one to teach and will have to start from scratch.
Regardless, I am being transferred from
Monroe. Where to, I do not know.
This development with transfers has only been one of the many interesting events which have occurred this last week, not the least of which being Elder Schauerhamer having to make an emergency trip up to Charlotte for a doctor's appointment this morning, which is why this email got off so late. It's been an interesting transfer, all things considered. I have learned a lot and grown a lot more.
A) Those of you who look on my Facebook page will note I liked all the Brethren. It's interesting to see how many likes each of them got. The current leaders are:
1) President Monson: over 100,000
2) President Uchtdorf: over 60,000
3) President Eyring: over 40,000
5) Elder Bednar: around 32,000
All the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve are under 30,000. I think Elder Hales has the fewest, poor guy.
B) One of the CDs my trainer Elder Molina liked to listen to was called "The Work," about missionaries. One of the songs on there was actually called "Work," a real gung-ho song about...working. One of the lines in this song mentions "rockin' on, knockin' on a billion doors."
I got a little clicker thingy in February to keep track of the number of houses I've visited blind on my mission. It occurred to me, after I passed the 1,000 mark, that if I knocked a thousand doors a thousand more times, I would only be a thousandth of my way to that billion-door mark. Crazy.
C) When I made my Mormon.org page, I looked at the profiles on the side of the page and, lo and behold, there was my cousin-in-law (?) April McMurray. That was a real day-brightener!
D) I returned back to Pineville on exchange with the Zone Leaders this last week. That was definitely a lot of fun for me. The apartment's a mess now that I've left it, though.
Perhaps it was the fact that we haven't had anyone to teach the last six weeks, but I have been thinking a lot about how to really measure success on a mission. How to really be a good missionary, when you get right down to it. Anyway, I think I found an answer when I read an email from Aaron Machen, an
El Paso friend currently serving his
mission in Mexico,
and he repeated the same conclusion I came to:
We are good missionaries if we forget ourselves.
-- Forgetting yourself is only using 10 minutes of your lunch hour so you can go out and work longer.
-- Forgetting yourself is working right until 9:00 PM even when you run out of stuff to do at 8:25.
-- Forgetting yourself is wearing missionary clothes even when you don't necessarily have to.
-- Forgetting yourself is not owning a large stuffed Spiderman ball or a Marvel notebook or a Lord of the Rings calendar or other childish things, even though those aren't specifically mentioned in the Missionary Handbook.
-- Forgetting yourself is listening to spiritual music all the time, even though none of your missionary leaders would have a problem with hearing something a bit heavier.
-- Forgetting yourself is talking about the Gospel when it's just you and your companion and you have nothing to prove by doing so.
-- Forgetting yourself is working out of a desire to serve the Lord -- not to get numbers.
It occurred to me that all the missionaries I admire most did all of these things above. Therefore, I have tried to do those things. Still, despite all this, there is so much more work to be done on forgetting myself and becoming like Christ.
For example, I never knew what sort of person I really was at heart until the time Elder Schauerhamer asked me if I could please sleep without my fan from now on, since it was keeping him awake at night. At that moment I learned very quickly who the realElder Fisher was.
It's ironic: when we were born into this world, we forgot who we were before: the Person of Christ who knew exactly what was right and wrong. The whole point of this earth life is that we will forget our natural selves -- who we are familiar with -- and remember the Person of Christ that is deep inside all of us. The Atonement is the power that allows this process to happen.
There is so much more I want to say, and I have no more time to write. I guess I'll have to write more next week in my new area, with my new companion. I love you all, and I love my mission. Hurrah for