Happy Wednesday Everyone!
I think this week held the most incredible (in a non-spiritual sense of the word) experience of my mission. The 4th of July in Anacostia. Wow.
Until about 11:30 at night there were non stop explosions, crackles, booms, lights, EVERYWHERE. It sounded like the middle of a war zone.
Now, part of this is fueled by the fact that fireworks are illegal in Maryland, so people living close by come to find some parking lot in DC to light off their fun stuff. So, end of story is, it was crazy. Insane. Beyond anything I thought it would be. Pretty cool!
But before that, we had church! We haven't had any of our people come to church for a couple weeks, so it was really neat that Gloria, Claudette and Clarence all 3 came to church this Sunday! Yay!
Gloria is a fun one. When we first went to teach her we weren't sure what to make of her, she didn't seem happy we were there, and yet she is the one that set up the appointment. But after church on Sunday and at our appointment yesterday she was a totally changed person. Happy, outgoing, totally different.
Claudette and Clarence are also cool. Claudette lives in a van parked out front of Clarence's sister's house (Because Clarence lives in his sister's house). They are planning on getting married, and are the funniest coupld I've met in a while. We haven't even really taught them yet, we just talked to her on the street, had a great chat about the gospel and her life, they got themselves to church on Sunday, then came to the 4th of July party on Monday. They're great! We're taking them to the Visitor's Center on Friday. Fun =]
A mission is a funny thing. In so many ways it is a mini-version of life itself. With its inclusive ups and downs and every way arounds. And yet, in one way it is so much different from life. It is different because you know exactly when it will end. Exactly! From the day you arrive here, you know the day, you know the hour when it will end.
In movies, when it is made known to someone that they only have so many days or weeks to live, they are portrayed as becoming hyper-active. Forgiving, begging forgiveness, telling family they love them, fulfilling everything they had always hoped to do, making sure they could leave this life with not a single regret.
And yet, in the mission, there is an unfortunate phenomena called "Trunkiness". Which has reference to someone being emotionally all packed up in their trunks (or luggage) and ready to go. Their heart no longer in it. Why does this happen, when the end of a mission draws near? Why does this end bring lethargy when in the movies an end of life brings hyper-activity?
Well, obviously the source can only be selfishness. It is more difficult to sow, when you know you will never reap in this life. It is much easier to plant a seed when you know you will be there for the fruit, than to labor over and weep over a seed, knowing that by the time the fruit comes you will have moved away forever.
A similar situation occurred in the early church. Some people were told to live in a certain area and create farms, but they had the question, "Well, how long are we going to be here this time? 2 months, 2 years, 20 years? Should we build real farms? Or live in a tent?" In response to this the Lord gives some interesting counsel.
16 And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;
17 And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.
Regardless of how long or short we are going to be somewhere, we should act unto that stewardship as for years. Whether we will be there to reap what we sow or not, we should be sowing! We should be laboring. Whether we will die, or no, the Kingdom of God will continue on with or without us, and we must build for the future just as much as, if not more so, than for our own generation. Those who follow us should not have to begin anew. If that were to happen with each generation than we would never get higher than one lifetime's work. But, if we leave the generation to follow a foundation to build on, which they do, and leave that to their followers. Then, then we can accomplish all that God expects of us, and commands us to accomplish. Oh the things that we could do.
So we will labor, as if we would be here to see all labors come to fruition, knowing that some we won't, and some they won't bring fruit anyways, but we labor. Because He did.
I love you all. Carry on.
-Elder Ted E. Bear