Hey everyone! This week has been so great. Sister Apiyo is fantastic! She’s just my favorite and we have way too much fun. She said when she goes home she’ll tell her friends, “if you know me, then you know my last companion,” implying that we are so similar. We both agree we are better friends with guys than girls and so our motto for this transfer is, “act like a lady and think like a man.” I just love her so much!
Along with the man thing (kinda), I was having an interview with the Visitors’ Centre directors, Elder and Sister Hulet. Elder Hulet near the end of my interview turned to his wife and said, “Are we finished?” She said we were, and he turned to me and said, “Now let’s talk sports.” He’s the coolest Visitors’ Centre director ever, end of story.
Now onto the important stuff–the missionary work–it’s so wonderful! We have been teaching some really amazing people. Sadly, we had to refer Michael to the London South mission as that is where he technically lives. It was so heartbreaking, but I know the Lord has a plan. We have been having a really difficult time finding people in our area, and we have become referral pros, so the other missionaries love us because we continue to find people for them to teach in their areas. That’s the difficult thing about London, but we continue to pray we will find solid people who are prepared to receive the gospel.
One miracle we had this week was with Farzad. Farzad broke my heart the first day I came to London. We taught him once and the next day he texted us saying he no longer wanted to talk about religion. I thought this new transfer we should try contacting him again, and so we called him Thursday night. He wasn’t very happy with us at first, but as we talked with him, his heart softened. He then said, “I gave up drinking a long time ago. But I was just feeling so low. And so I was walking into the pub when I received your call, and tonight you helped me. You stopped me from drinking and helped me with so much more. Thank you so much.” It was a really incredible experience and he came to church Sunday! There are always miracles to be found.
This week I was reminded of an experience I had before my mission. One day in Idaho, I was hiking with my friend Jeff. There was this mountain with falling rocks that led down to a beautiful river. I was determined to get to that river.
Despite Jeff’s best efforts to convince me to not hike down the rocks, he knew I was going to do it anyways, and so he knew he would have to go along as well. We began hiking down and found a sign which said “Falling Rocks” that had been knocked down from the road by the falling rocks. This sign probably should have been a bit of a warning for us, but instead we grabbed it to take pictures with, while standing on those unstable rocks.
We continued down the mountain, and Jeff was a bit in front of me. I then stepped on a rock that was extremely unstable, and began to slide face first down the mountain.
Those few seconds of sliding felt like a lot longer as I worried about how to stop myself. Once I was able to stop falling, I caught my breath a bit, stood back up, and kept climbing down. I was still quite determined to get to that river, despite the scare and fall I just had.
We eventually made it to the river, where I noticed my ankle was beat up a bit and bleeding. We enjoyed the view, took some pictures, and headed back up the mountain. Later that evening, Jeff cleaned out my wound and bandaged it up. But the scar hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s a quite dark scar that I still have all these months after the incident.
As I’ve reflected on that time, I’ve thought about how that experience can relate to so many different aspects in our lives. The first being the rocks and mountain attempting to stop us from reaching a beautiful destination.
In life, we are given so many rocks and mountains to overcome. Some of these “rocks” are temptations and mistakes, while others are mountains to climb filled with challenges and trials. The rocks can try to stop us from reaching our goal and the mountains can be difficult to climb. However, there is a final destination in mind and so we need to begin the journey regardless of how difficult it may appear.
The second aspect was the fall. We stumble as we go on our journey. These rocks distract and scare us, while climbing these mountains is tiring. We begin to slip and fall down. It’s scary, but we get right back up and keep going.
Third is Jeff. Now Jeff is like my big brother and is always looking out for me. In life, our big brother who is always looking out for us is Jesus Christ. We slip and fall, and it hurts. But Christ is right there to heal us. If sins are committed, He cleanses them as we repent. If challenges arise that are believed to be too difficult to overcome, He helps us through. He bandages us up and motivates us to continue.
The final aspect of this story I found that relates to life is the scar. I’ve always loved scars because they have a story behind them. My favorite scars I have hold stories in which I’ve been tested and grown. We get hurt and don’t walk through life without challenges. But the scar reminds us of the pain we overcame. We will get beat up a little, but we were healed and strong enough to continue. There is no wound too deep, no heart too broken, no cut too large that cannot be healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In the latest session of General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek.”
Soon enough we will have overcome the mountain and passed by the unstable rocks. Soon enough we will have reached the beautiful destination. We may have wounds, but Christ will heal them. We may get scared, but we can persevere through Christ’s help. We may have scars, but we can be reminded of the lesson learned, the challenge overcome, and the strength gained.
Paul Harvey, the famous news analyst and author, once said, “Someday I hope to enjoy enough of what the world calls success so that someone will ask me, ‘What’s the secret of it?’ I shall say simply this: ‘I get up when I fall down.’”
I would invite you all to continue to persevere. No matter how steep the path may seem or how many rocks are in the way, push forward. President James E. Faust said, “Perseverance is demonstrated by those who keep going when the going gets tough, who don’t give up even when others say, “It can’t be done.””
When the going gets tough, the tough grow stronger. I’m grateful for my scars as reminders of my endurance, but especially for the moments where I could turn to my Savior. He is who helped me through all obstacles and has healed me. I love Him so much, and He truly is my best friend. I promise you all that He is there for you. You can overcome all things with Him.
Embrace the challenge, get up when you fall, and be proud of your scars. You have “Mountains to Climb” (watch this video: https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/mountains-to-climb-2) and you can do it! As Dr. Seuss said, “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.”
I love you all, and thank you for the support. I am so blessed to be here and serving the Lord! I am so thankful for each of you and the kind messages you send me. They mean so, so much. I miss you all, but couldn’t be happier doing the Lord’s work!