This week was great! Remember how I told you about the family that we were teaching that we had some really cool experiences with their sons? They got Baptized on Saturday! It was awesome. It was so beautiful to see how these young men changed their lives, and it gave me a lot of hope to be a part of changing the lives of a few more.
My health has been a lot better and it felt SO good this week to get back to work. We had a lot of great lessons and committed a few more people to baptism and it was a great feeling. I remember thinking that I was 100 percent fine and invincible…but then a few little things happened that reminded me that I still need to be careful and that I am still sick and wounded and whatnot.
When reality hit me that I am not “as good as new” I fell into the temptation of feeling sorry for myself for a minute or two. I got a little dizzy and just started thinking “WHY? WHY is it SO hard? Why can’t I be okay?”
In the middle of all this, I stuck my hand into my backpack to get my keys out and felt a stabbing pain in my finger. I pulled my hand out and found a Piranha tooth in my finger. Okay, let me explain. Our keychain is a real, dead, dried, jungle Piranha. It’s awesome! (Don’t worry brothers of mine, I’ll bring one home for you guys too. Oh wait, who am I kidding. You guys don’t read my letters!)
Anyway, I dug the tiny little tooth out of my finger and thought “Just what I needed right now!” I was surprised at how much a little cut could hurt. I examined it for a second, it was basically nothing more than a paper-cut, but it left I tiny little mark on my hand.
As I looked at my hand, I remembered other marks of someone else’s hand a long, long time ago. The whole reason I am here. Suddenly, I understood. That Little “Piranha Bite” was Heavenly Father’s way of reminding me why it is so hard.
I remembered a video we watched that was made out of a Jeffrey R. Holland talk called “The Atonement and Missionary Work.” He was talking to Future Mission Presidents about opposition and did a series of questions that their missionaries might ask them. As Elder Holland said “Why is it so hard, President? Why do they reject us, President? Why don’t they listen, President? Isn’t there an easier way?” the video showed Jesus Christ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, being nailed to the cross, etc.
He made the point that the mission isn’t easy because Salvation isn’t easy. That even Jesus Christ asked if there was another way. He explained that maybe, just maybe, missionaries have to suffer because we have to walk, in the slightest way, the journey that He walked.
I started to think of my own mission.
Why can’t we so much as have air conditioning or warm water in our tiny, cement apartment? *Baby Jesus in laid in a Manger*
I know that my parents are worried sick, why do they have to suffer, too? *12 year old Jesus disappears to teach in the Temple and His parents can´t find him.*
Why is it so stinking hard? *Christ suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane*
Why do I have to suffer Anxiety and Depression? * Christ prayers for the Bitter Cup to pass…it doesn’t.*
Why won’t the people listen? *The people spit in His face.*
Why do I have these Parasites? *Jesus fasts for forty days and forty nights*
Why won’t my leg heal? Why did I have to fall in that stinking sewer in the first place, especially while suffering so many other things? *Jesus falls as he carries his own cross*
Why do the people lose their testimonies and go inactive? *Peter denies Christ for the third time*
How many more times will I have to go to the hospital? How many more needles are they going to stick me with? How many more blood tests will I need to do? *Christ bleeds from every pore*
When will I get a break? *Christ dies and immediately starts teaching in the Spirit World*
Fungus on my head! Why?? My hair is falling out and my head itches ALL the time! *A Crown of thorns is placed on His head*
Why have I been training non-stop for so long? It’s exhausting. It gives me more responsibility and there is so much that I have to do alone. *The Apostles fall asleep while Jesus suffers alone*
Why do some people discredit the message I share just because I am a young, female, and white? *Can anything good come out of Nazareth?*
Why doesn’t the Ward always trust me when I explain to them the new rules that the Area has given us? *Thomas awakens Jesus during the storm*
Why can’t the people just keep their commitments? Don’t they understand what they’re missing?? *The rich young man turns away*
Two stakes! Two stakes in Iquitos just disappeared! They people just stopped coming to church. Why? *Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus*
Why don’t I look the same as I used to? *The Apostles touch the scars in Jesus’s hands*
Why is it that my hardest trials in life come now while I am so far away from my family? *God leaves Jesus alone on the cross*
If it wasn’t easy for Him, why would it be easy for us? If nothing else, I can at least say that on my mission, I learned to love my Savior, because I started to feel the tiniest bit of what He felt. I’ve suffered a tiny bit to bring Salvation to others, while He suffered more than I can imagine for each of my many shortcomings.
I am SO grateful for the opportunity to do as Elder Holland said, and walk the tiniest part of the path that He walked and feel the tiniest bit of pain and rejection that he felt. I love Him now more than ever, because I KNOW Him now more than ever.
During several hard moments on my mission, I asked myself where He was. Now, I feel as a part of the poem “Footprints in the Sand” as I look back and realize that He was always there suffering alongside me. I love Him so much and love His work that I am a part of. SO. WORTH. IT.
Love- Hermana Simonson