About ten minutes ago, we taught a lesson to Michela. She's wonderful as always. We talked about prayer and how God will never fail to answer us. Then we read Mosiah 24:10-15.
10 And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.
11 And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.
12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
I love this. What I love most is that the Lord did not take away their burdens. Sure, this would have been great, but what happened was better. The Lord strengthened them, and they were able to carry their burdens. In the end, they were stronger. The Lord could have taken those burdens away, but He didn't, He knew the better way was to help his people gain strength.
Most of you know about my headache. I've had it since my second week in Italy. It's terrible, really, and when I first had it I couldn't even function. It was so hard to get through the day. I went to doctors, I went through treatments, and I took pain killers. Nothing really works; my dear little headache is still here. During the lesson, I was thinking a little bit about it.
If in my call letter had been a little piece of paper that said, "Sorella Ervin, you have been called to serve in Italy; however, for at least one year of your mission you will have a continual headache." what would I have done? I would have stayed home! If I had been aware of the pain I would face, nothing would have persuaded me to come on a mission. But guess what? I'm okay. Pain that once made me want to cry is now, most often, little more than an annoyance. But why? Is the headache any less? No, but I'm used to it. It seems strange, it seems crazy, but I'm just fine. Would I like the headache to go away? Of course! But at the same time I'm extremely grateful I'm so much stronger then I was a year ago. I can do difficult things, but only because the Savior is here to help me.
In life, we have to face difficult situations. We have to keep moving forward or somewhere a long the way, we will get lost. But if we keep pushing forward, we will become incredible people; when we rely on the Lord, we gain a portion of His strength.
President Dibb sent me this quote last week, and I really needed it.
"I have seen valiant missionaries brave icy wind, resist torrential rains, slosh through slippery, muddy streets, and conquer fear. Often they bear a powerful testimony, only to be rejected and roundly criticized. I have seen them struggle to communicate truth in a new language. Sometimes the listener stares in puzzled silence. Then there dawns the shattering realization that the message is not understood. But I wouldn't change any of it, even if I could, because there are those golden moments of success that make all of the hardships worthwhile. Such rewards come when the Spirit touches a heart for eternal good because someone like you was there. To share truth in difficult circumstances is to treasure it more. When you push against the boundaries of experience into the twilight of the unknown, the Lord will strengthen you. The beauty of your eternal soul will begin to unfold" - Anziano Richard G. Scott.
Think of the last year of all the trials you had to face. If you had known then what you would go through, what would you have done? I would have been afraid. But guess what, here you are. You made it. Ben fatto! [Well done!]
Vi Voglio un mondo di bene. Thank you for everything you have taught me and for all the support you have given. Thank you for the prayers; don't worry, I pray for you too.