April 28, 2014
Sometimes, I really just like to take things completely out of context
and think of exactly what is happening. I never tire of reminding
myself that I am living on some strange little island in the Amazon
There I was in a ghetto ambulance speeding through the island
passing by Motokars. This little Mexican girl that I have come to love
a lot was laying down and looked up at my pale face and shaking hands
(the ambulance sent me straight into a Panic Attack, maybe I should
have been the one laying down!) and a light clicked in her face. She
looked like she was going to cry. "I am SO sorry!" she whispered. I
asked what she meant and she said "I didn't mean to call you crazy."
It had been a long, hard five days. We had been in the hospital for
almost a week and the Doctors could not find out what was wrong with
my companion. The Doctor finally gave up and called it "anxiety." She
instantly started protesting and claiming that she wasn't crazy and
she was too strong to have anxiety.
When members and other
missionaries came by to see her they all said the same thing. Every
time someone asked what's wrong she just said that they think she is
crazy. I just sat there quietly listening feeling myself being labeled
as crazy and weak. Of course, no one had any idea that I have that
problem, but the words still hurt.
My poor companion felt horrible for
what she had said, but honestly I was fine. I just wanted her to get
The doctors realized it wasn´t anxiety when she started having
seizures and, long story short, my favorite companion boarded a plane
Friday night, after one week in the Hospital, and was sent home to
Mexico for better care.
Hermana Allphin, the one that lives down the
street from me, looked over at me in the airport and said, "Well Job,
how is it going over there?" I got a good laugh out of it. She said I reminded her of Job because, over the space of three weeks, I
literally lost everything.
It started out with my health and then the anxiety got really bad. Shortly after that, my area started falling apart.
We couldn't find anyone to teach, and the fact that, between my
companion and I, we have been in the hospital for a total of 13 days
in 3 weeks. Then, when my Zone leaders saw that my baptisms have gone down,
they told me I can't just stop working my hardest just because I feel
sorry for myself and are talking to President to tell him that I
shouldn't be Sister Leader anymore because I can't handle it. The Zone leader said
I should stop training, stop opening new areas, and step down from my
spot on the Leadership Council and end my mission being Junior
Companion to someone with less time than me. I really started feeling
like everything was getting taken away from me.
Saturday night, the power went out and I just remember sitting in the
dark, by myself, planning by candlelight for an area that is falling
apart. I wanted to just be done. I was ready to just give up and go to
bed, when a word came into my mind and pierced my heart. "Diligencia."
I realized that, even with everything that has happened, I need to do
my best to be a Diligent and Obedient missionary. There is a strong
force (Satan) that really, really wants me to get discouraged and go
home. So, I have my choices. I can give up and just pack my bags, I can
stay in the mission and make excuses and not work as hard as I should,
or I can just press forward and stay on it.
My new goal is to find out
WHY Satan wants me to give up. I need to find the people that he
doesn't want me to find. I need to help the people he is trying to
keep me from helping. I need to marry and baptize the families he
doesn't want me to marry and baptize and, more than anything, strive
to become the person he doesn't want me to be.
Right before my companion left, Elder Mejia and Elder Scott came over
to give her a blessing, and no one wanted to leave or say goodbye, so
we just kind of awkwardly sat there, avoiding the unavoidable.
Mejia saw my journal, which I have sadly left untouched for about six
months, and started reading it. I didn't care 1. Because it's in
English and he wouldn't understand all of it, and 2. Because there are
no great secrets, just a bunch of stories. Anyway, he read all of what
I had written when I was new. Honestly, I don't even remember being
this way, but every single day I had written something like "I am
scared." "I just want to go home so bad." "I hate this place." "I will
never learn Spanish." "The food makes me sick." "I just want to give
I couldn't help but think. What would have happened if I would have
just gone home my first transfer when I really, really wanted to? Look
at all of the people I have Baptized, who would have taught and found
them? What would I be doing with my life if I weren't here? What would
have happened to all these poor people I have helped??? Maybe someone
else would have helped them eventually, but how sad it would be for me
to have lost the amazing privilege of being there.
All of the sisters
I have trained and the areas I have opened...what would have happened
with all that? I am SO grateful that I stuck with it.
Anyway, long story short, but in that candlelit moment I decided to
not just stay, but to rise to a sense of new commitment and be the
most diligent and obedient missionary that I can. And, can I just say
that the Lord is already blessing me for my decision? Sunday morning,
when I wanted to just sit and feel sorry for myself, I got up and
started studying and the phone rang. The President´s Assistants called
me and said that someone from my area had been going to their ward and
they wanted me to visit them that same day. I was able to find a
member to work with me (since I can't do it alone) and when we got to
the house I knocked on the door and someone that I taught a long time
ago opened the door, and quickly shut it in my face saying that the
new person I was looking for wasn't there.
I was ready to give up, but
remembered that I had her phone number, so I turned the corner and
called the lady, Shirley, and she answered and said that she was in
the house, so she sent her daughter out to meet us and let us inside
(the lady that shut the door in my face was in a corner, pouting that
we had found a way into the house) and we started teaching this single
mother and her two teenage kids.
I noticed that Shirley was shaking a
lot and couldn't look anyone in the eye. As I got to know her a bit,
she admitted that she suffers from very serious anxiety. She explained
that she was living in Lima and was being taught by the Elders, and
then came to Iquitos and her anxiety got worse. One day, she was out
walking (and having a very serious panic attack) and looked up and saw
a church and felt peace and has been going there every Sunday for a
month. I explained to her that there is a church a lot closer to her
house and we got talking and, after a very Spiritual lesson, the whole
family committed to baptism. It was amazing.
The lady almost cried as
I talked about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and said that that
could help her cope with her anxiety. It was...well...just amazing.
The Lord loves me and is taking care of me. I am so thankful for Him
and the blessings that he gives me for trying to be diligent and
obedient even when it is so hard. I love him and love His work and
SO grateful to be a part of it.
So incredibly grateful.