August 24, 2015
This week was another one of those weeks where it was a little rough, but I learned a ton. It started off tough because we hardly did anything. We barely tracted and barely taught lessons. We were also still having a hard time with the ward. Like I love the members, they are so nice and loving; they just don't do that much missionary work, we were hardly getting any referrals from members. And it was like this all up until Thursday.
On Thursday our whole zone drove up to this Missionary conference thing In Billings (I got to drive which was nice). And it had half of the missionaries from the mission there. It started at 9 and we heard from President and Sister Wadsworth and then had a member from the 70 and his wife there. Their name was Elder and Sister Martino. I loved both of their talks. Sister Martino talked about companionship relationships and about serving others and I learned so much from it. But the best was Elder Martinos talk. He gave about a 3 hour talk. He talked a bunch about members and about where we can find the most success. He just taught us all about working with the ward and with the leaders in it and serving them and how to better get referrals from them. I am really starting to see the importance of how much a ward means to the missionaries. When I come to church I just love being with the members and I feel so much more appreciation for those faithful members. But it's not just their love I feel, I'm starting to get this sense that there is very little that is different between them and us missionaries. We are all on the same journey, we all have challenges, and we all depend on each other. Are we all not beggars and do we not all depend on the same God? Are we not all commanded to do the same? I don't look at them as tools anymore but as fellow followers of our Savior. This new view I see of them has really shown me that the only difference between me and them is age and a name tag. And if I feel like they may need a little push to get the work going then I just have to think of myself a little less and put myself in their shoes and appreciate them for what they do do.
Criticism and chastisement rarely leads to growth. Encouragement, forgiveness, and patience is the only way that someone can really get the most progress achieved. It's easier said than done, but it's the best way to go. Learning to think of myself less is really the hardest part. Because when two people are suffering, how often do those two people tend and care for the other person before they think about them self? It is very rare to find that attribute in someone. I'm trying my best to get there. It takes a lot of faith, patience, and humility for me. But it never fails to be rewarding. Sometimes someone else's smile is more important than mine, and if I give up my wants to meet their needs it does so much better for both me and that person. And honestly, sometimes it's nice to just forget about myself. I too often get caught up in pitying myself and I just want to yell at myself to grow up! So the change is happening, just very slowly haha. And it's impossible to be completely selfless but I can sure try my best! This attitude has really helped me with teaching too. In one of Dads emails, he told me just seize upon the good in people and wish them well, no matter how rude or grumpy they may be. That has truly helped me a lot. Because there is something good in every person you meet. It may be hard to see with some people, but it's there. And when I find it, I'm going to bring it out of them and help them see it. Ever since I've been making this effort I notice that I'm happier with everything. I start to appreciate my surroundings. I start to appreciate the neighbors and the sky and all sorts of silly stuff haha. But it's wonderful, I wish I had this point of view all growing up.
I think the work will really start booming in my area if me and my companion both keep working towards positive change. I have already seen some success from our efforts. We have a lady on date for baptism and we have an investigating family that looks really promising. We met with them on Saturday night and they say that their family has seen positive changes since they came to church. They felt as though something was missing in their family and this is helping them a lot. It was an amazing thing to see. I can't wait to see where it goes. I may get transferred and not be able to see them anymore but it's very unlikely. Either way would be cool. Winter is coming soon and I'm trying to brace myself for it. It's starting to cool off pretty good in the nights now and before I know it there will be snow on the ground! The summer was amazing, It's beautiful in the summer here. It doesn't last long but it's nice while it does last. I hope you guys aren't too hot down there, just make it till winter. I don't know if there is much more to say. But I love and miss you guys! I hope you all are happy and settling down. I'm keeping you in my prayers!
-Love, Elder Schneider
Posted by Karla Schneider