RUMINATIONS OF A SEASONED MISSIONARY
Letter from Sept 15, 2014
Elder Sierra's dad asked him how he felt he'd changed or grown in his mission. Here's his reply:
I thought about the changes I've made in the mission. There are many and I will list them as follows:
Temper- I know my temper used to be crazy and unpredictable. You couldn't light the fuse because it would blow up in your hand. However, now there's time to throw the bomb away before it blows. The time is 5 seconds lol.
Patience- It goes in hand with temper, but more than anything I have learned to accept that the Lord's timing is not my timing. Being able to accept that I have no control of certain situations has helped me to become humble and see the grand scheme of things in my mission and in my life.
Humility- I do think many times that I am above everyone. It has been a struggle to not get too overconfident about the success that I have. Following the Spirit, if anything, I realized that my success comes from the Lord and that gratefulness helps us to keep our ego in check.
Gratitude- Developing an "Attitude of Gratitude" is an attribute that I have tried to apply greatly in my mission during both the best times and bad. Especially during the hard times, it helps me to see how close the Lord really is as I work, which in turn helps me to stay diligent and endure.
Diligence/Endurance- I have always been a hard worker and always had the desire to go the 'second mile', but second milers are not enough for a mission. If you wish to see the fruits of your labor, you have to go a third mile and then some. It truly taxes everything out of me, but it's worth it. I get more and more exhausted as I work throughout the day, but following the Spirit gives me the strength I need to do what I must do throughout the day.
Obedience- There are some rules that I still ignore because I think they are ignorant and hold work back, so I can't say that I am a rule follower through and through, but I can say that when the Spirit whispers, I obey. As I obey the Spirit, I am able to fulfill my purpose as a missionary. Honestly, in this mission that is the hardest thing for a lot of Elders and Sisters to do. It's a stumbling block, because they can 'feel the Spirit', but they don't know how to act on it. That has been my greatest tool. I make plans and try to plan by the Spirit, but I also have to heed promptings to forget my plans in order to help those I serve. If I had always obeyed what the handbook would have said or what my plans asked me to do, then I would have missed SEVERAL of the people that I have met that are now baptized. Follow the Spirit. That simple. It really helps to pull down your pride.
Pride- I think we all know that I am a VERY prideful man. I am prideful of a lot of things. I know I am confident about what I do, I'm tough, I learn things real fast, I have a will that can't be topped unless I let you, I'm very opinionated, and if it's a skill that I am good at, then automatically I think I am the best at it. In missionary work, I could teach very well since the beginning. I teach pretty DANG well. I can relate to my investigators very well and I have many stories and experiences that I have had in my life to help me testify and bear witness of the gospel. However, my pride halted my progression in following the Spirit and letting the Lord (or my companion) take over. It also interfered with me finding new people to teach because I thought they weren't going to accept it or even give them the chance to change. It took a lot of work, but I have learned to rely on the Spirit to utilize my skills and also to yield to my companion when he is feeling prompted by the Spirit as well. We are both called to call souls to Repentance, therefore I gotta let him do his job as well. It helps to build unity within the companionship, which allows us to testify exponentially better. Honestly, the antidote to pride is charity.
Charity/Love- If there is one thing that I did right in the mission, it was to love the people, the members, and the missionaries. Love one another, by this shall men know that ye are my disciples. I believe that having Christlike love will help a missionary reach his TRUE potential. When you love God with all your heart and all your soul, your faith (belief in Christ) will increase immensely, also, you will want to make your dream/hope (salvation/exaltation) become reality. To make it become reality, you must be obedient to the commandments, you must seek after knowledge, being patient to receive spiritual guidance, also being humble to recognize changes that must be made, which will help us to become pure. The pure love of Christ is unfailing. It has helped me to conquer many bad habits, including my pride and temper.
Those are more or less what I have learned on the mission. There are obviously smaller things, and some other things that I left out (I don't want to spoil everything), but these have helped me greatly to be a better disciple.
Love you Dad,