Ok, the lesson that I learned this week. The little things do make a difference. Last wednesday we were working in Kapfenberg. There are a couple members there and so we wanted to go contact them, share a message and move on. It turns out that we kind of underestimated the size of Kapfenberg. Its the second biggest city in the Steiermark (the state of Austria I live in) (Arnold Swartzeneggar was born here by the way). Anyway, we walk to our first appointment which took way longer than we thought. We get there and the Sister opens the door and invites us in. But, we had to make sure her husband was there in order to follow the rules with exactness. Sure enough, her husband isnt home. Then we had to tell her that we couldn't actually come in because that would be agains the rules. She got really upset and was yelling at us, for who knows what, and threatening to call our Mission President. Finally we got her calmed down and made out another appointment. Elder Botcherby and I were kind of bummed out that we couldnt go in, but we had both made a comittment to be obedient. So we walk to the other appointment (which took about an hour) and guess what?!?! Her husband wasnt home either!!!! So same situation came up. Do we follow the rule, or make an acception just this once? We decided to follow the rule. So we start walking back to the train station when we realize that we are so stinking far away we would have to speedwalk/jog if we were going to catch it. (keep in mind it is 85 degrees outside) So we are sweating through our white shirts, running to the train. We got there 6 minutes late.......
So we start walking home. (not really knowing how we were going to make it there) As we are walking a car pulls over and a lady yells "Hey Ya'll, need a ride somewhere?" Hearing American English is not an everyday occurance so we were a little confused. We said sure and ran over to the car. She had pulled into a parking lot and we noticed that it was just her in the car. We were super tired, hot, and didnt know how we were going to get home, but it would have been disobedient to take the ride. The lady's name was Cyndi, she was born in LA and moved here when her husband got drafted to play basketball here. Her son is actually in Oregon right now working! She was super nice and awesome, but we told her that we were not able to accept her ride.
We finally catch a bus, which takes us to the train station, which then takes us home. We are dead tired by now and we could have easily gone home, but we still had half an hour. We decided to take this walking path and spoke with this lady named Sevda. She was very open to our message, and we were able to teach her a small lesson. She then invited us over to speak with her more. It was a testimony to me that when we strive to follow the rules, the Lord will bless us. If we would have gone into one of those lessons, or taken the ride from Cyndi, we would have not had the chance to speak with Sevda. In D&C 58:4 we learn that after much tribulation or trials, come the blessings. We saw this first hand. We only recieved the blessing of talking with Sevda after our faith was tested.
Sometimes our lives are hard. Sometimes we do not understand why we are being tried, or tested in certain ways. We must always keep a bigger perspective in mind. Perhaps our Heavenly Father is teaching us so that we are better able to handle one later on in life. It takes patience, faith, and trust, but I think it is worth it.
Elder Botcherby and I have been talking alot about how missionaries get so focused on numbers and how many lessons they are teaching. I think that that is hurting them in some ways. If we really understand what missionary work is all about, then the numbers will come. I came up with a little saying that I think summs it up. In German: "Seht durch die Augen von Dem Der alles seit." In English: "See it through the eyes, of Him who sees it all." Perhaps this mission is just preparing me for some aspect of my life that I cant even imagine. Yes, I do want to be a successful missionary when it comes to numbers, but really who is going to remember how many lessons I taught in a transfer? Its all about the bigger picture