|Sorella Holloway (and me).|
I was really sick this week with the flu. Emilio wouldn't let me go to church, which, looking back, is the right choice. However, it was really hard for me to miss church. It was the first time in eight months that I haven't been to church. Because of this, though, we had a beautiful experience. Emilio and Ilaria brought Giaccomo over to our house after church so they could give us the sacrament. I've never before had the sacrament in my home, but it's a moment I will cherish forever. I was filled with such love for these church members. As Emilio knelt to pray, I was struck by how sacred the moment was for him. After the sacrament, Emilio and Ilaria both bore their testimonies to us. I've never felt more love for them then I did in that moment.
Since I was sick, I had a lot of time to think. I was thinking a lot about what it means to be a missionary. Yesterday, we had a beautiful zone conference, and President Dibb compared our time as missionaries to paying tithing. We're giving a portion of the time we have in this life back to the Lord. This isn't necessarily a new thought for missionaries, but it's something I very much needed to hear.
You see, you don't pay tithing with money, not really. You pay tithing with faith. The time I'm giving isn't the most important part of my mission; it's the faith I use to do so. When we come on a mission, we are telling the Lord, you are the most important. We show our faith when we do His work, when we follow His word.
That's something else I was thinking about . . . The word of the Lord. You see, when Christ went to Peter as he was fishing, He told him to throw the net down one more time. Peter had every reason not to listen. I have no doubt he was tired, no doubt he was hungry, no doubt he felt downtrodden. All through the night, he had thrown the net in the water, only for it to come up empty. Yet, when the Lord asks him to try one more time, he replies, "Master . . . at thy word I will."
What does this have to do with being a full tithe missionary? We're asked to do many different things on our missions. For instance, every morning, we wake up at 6:30. Maybe this doesn't seem important, but I promise it is. It's difficult to wake up, day after day, at 6:30. It's easy to tell yourself, "I can sleep in one extra half hour and still start studying on time." Maybe the time itself isn't the important part. But when we are being obedient to the standards of the mission, we're being obedient to the Lord. If I choose to wake up at 7, I'm not a full tithe missionary. I'm still here, still doing many of the things God has asked me to do, but it's only a part tithe.
It's difficult day after day to walk up to strangers and share the beautiful message we have been tasked with sharing. Often they don't want anything to do with us. Often, we talk to 50 people without finding a single person who is willing to listen. Often we're hungry, often we're tired, and sometimes, we feel a little downtrodden. I feel very much like Peter, throwing the net in over and over again, only to come up with nothing. Yet, if we want to pay a full tithe, we have to keep going. We have to throw the net in again. In the moments when it is the most difficult, and we try again anyway, we are responding to the Savior, "Master, at thy word I will."
Being a full tithe missionary doesn't mean you're perfect. If it did, none of us would ever come close. All it means is that day by day we try to become a little better. I'm a better missionary today then I was yesterday. I know Christ has asked all of us to do many, many things. Don't ever feel like you can't accomplish them. Christ is there to help. We don't always understand everything we are asked to do. We don't need to understand. We pay this tithe with faith . . . our faith on the Lord's word. No matter what we are asked, we can resolve to always answer, "Master, at thy word I will."
It is my prayer that we will all learn how to give this answer everyday of our lives. I love you all. I wish you all the joy in the world.
Vi Voglio Bene
|First thing we saw when we got off the train in Firenze.|
|Sorella Strong did not feel like getting wet.|
|We're so excited to be in Firenze!|
|Sorella Gjika tasting her first Tiramasu . . .|
|. . . Tiramasu . . .|
|. . . yum!|
|My sweet Sorella Jefferies.|
|Halloween party at the church!|
|So, this is what happens when the two|
most beautiful women in the world
dress up for Halloween.