Week 57 : normal week

 

Hi everydody,

So this week was in a sense an odd sort of week. It was normal as far as normal missionary work goes with proselyting, teaching, and contacting to try and find new people to teach. The thing that made it different was how much we’ve talked and thought about all the missionaries in our zone. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happening and might happen in the future that’ll require a lot of adjustment from the missionaries here. We did a lot of companionship splits and exchanges this week to minister to missionaries and make sure that we’re all functioning together as a zone. One of the things that IU’ve had a lot of opportunities to teach over the past week and in turn learn is how important people are in this work, whether it be companions or investigators or even ourselves. One thing I’ve learned recently is God’s priorities in our relationships, concerning missinary work. The first is our relationship with him, second is our relationship with our companion, and finally is our relationship with the people we teach. It sounds funny, and I know it did for me when I first heard it, but one thing we’ve really tried emphasizing in our zone for the past few weks has been unity. God has called us to work in companionships of 2, and true success comes when you work with your companion in unity, not how many baptisms or how many investigators you have. One thing that I learned is that you don’t take your investigators home with you, you don’t take home baptisms, or the people that you met. But you DO take home the skills and the things that you have learned and that have changed you. Those are the things that will continue to influence you in your future life, and that is why I believe that ultimately the person that benefits the most from serving a mission is the one that serves one. Learning to work with another person in unity is such an eternal skill, and it’s absolutely essential for missionary work. That’s something that every new missionary needs to learn, that ultimately, their companion is more important than their investigators. I’ve seen missionaries who want to get out there and just work their hardest, which is an awesome desire, but they also have to realize that if their singular desire is to work hard, they are putting work before people, and I’ve seen that happen when missionaries put the work over the person that they should be closest with. It leads to a lot of “dragging this guy behind me while I’m trying to get things done”. It takes a ton of humility to bring it back a notch in order to see how you both can work together in unity before you go out and “get the work done” so to speak.

Along those lines I’ve also learned a lot about the danger of expectations. Usually we see that as a positive thing, but again, going back to the whole desire to work hard as a missionary. There can be a point where that is detrimental. We are counseled as missionaries to forget ourselves, to lay it all on the table before God, all of our desires and expectations, even the good ones. That includes giving up your desire to work hard as a missionary and be a good missionary. Sounds blasphemous eh? Haha I’ll explain. One thing I’ve learned as a missionary is that YOUR ONLY desire and expectation is to do what GOD wants you to do and learn what HE expects you to learn. Anything other we may have, no matter how good, is from us and therefore selfish in some way, shape, or form on our part. You have to give up everything. A new missionary may come out expecting for and from himself that he is going to hit the ground running and work his butt off, but then find out that maybe missionary isn’t all the grind that he expected, or that his trainer might not be that superhero missionary he expected, or whatever, and it’s a struggle for him to come to terms with what GOD needs him to learn at that time vs. what he wants to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hard work, but the Lord has lessons that he needs to teach everyone at certain times, and sometimes, at that moment, He doesn’t want you to work your butt off as much as he wants you to build your relationship with your comp. or develop efective study habits or build a more firm testimony in yourself before you help others. Everything revolves around Him and what He wants and needs from and for you. So as a missionary, your only expectation should be to do His will and learn the lessons He would have you learn. Like I said before, humility takes a huge part in that, but a person that is able to incorporate that humility and subject himself to God’s will and allow God to mold him into the potential image that he can become turns into something great. In the beginning of my mission, my biggest goal was to come home and be a master teacher. But as the months have gone by, my desires have changed and more than anything else, I want to become a Master Learner. A humble person is the one who learns the most.
Love you all so much and can’t wait to talk to you next week!
Elder Phan
Pictures: some goofy pictures of Elder Đông Quang and I and an awesome sunset by a lake that we walking by.

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