Every week here is crazy but this week has been CRAZY!
Last Wednesday was transfers and me and Elder Goates stayed together covering the same two wards which i'm super happy about! They did move us out of the barn though but they haven't finished aquiring new housing for us so now we're about 6 miles out of our area living with our zone leaders in kind of a half barn. One of our Zone leaders has bronchidus so for them it's been a blessing for us to live with them so we can go on splits now and then so their area doesn't shrivle up and die.. And BTW for anyone unfamiliar with Arizona, LOTS of things shrivle up and die here. Infact I have seen birds in mid flight die and fall to the ground. Over the summer our bike routes were obstacle courses of dead birds we had to swerve around that had fallen into the roads bike lanes.
On Thursday night one of our wards threw a Halloween Party that we were invited to serve the food at. We were serving Senoran hot dogs (we were combined with the spanish ward so the food was legit) but we also had the opportunity to help prepare. The duty of cooking the weiners fell to me and after cooking 270 of them I'm a pro. At one point the grill was really hot and I kept getting burned by grease from the weiners and I almost gave up because no where in my call letter did it say I'd be required to burn my arms for a Halloween Party.
We had the opportunity to teach multiple lessons this week. We also are now teaching some guys who moved to Arizona a month ago from China and randomely showed up to church two weeks ago. They came to America because they are helicoptor pilots and their program sent them here for more training. They're airport is a mile from our chapel and every day they fly over our chapel and as they come back in, it's a location point they use as they come in to land. After a month of flying over it they wanted to check it out so they just showed up!
Thus far on my mission I've spent the majority of my letters writting about all of the positive aspects of serving a mission. It's seriously the greatest experience I've had in my life! I have not written very much about the difficulties or challenges that come while serving a mission and I'd like to talk about a few of those this week.
The most difficult challenge I've had as a missionary has been waking up at 6:30am. Especially because we're supposed to work out from 6:30 to 7. I LOVE working out. But not when I'm tired. The other challenge is that especially when you feel discouraged you really don't want to wake up and face another day with the exact same challenges.
Talking to strangers in the street is hard. Just because you have a name badge on doesn't mean it makes it magically easy or even easier. Rich people are also pretty rude and and are usually comfortable where they're at. We get looked at funny, yelled at, "anti'd", ignored, and accused.
Another challenge can be a companion you don't like/relate to/or get along with. You are with them 24/7 and especially if you're like me and really enjoy alone time now and then, it can be almost clastrophobic.
These are some of the biggest challenges of serving a mission. They are universal challenges every missionary faces. On top of these there are personal challenges unique to every missionary. There are also happy missionaries and depressed missionaries. Everyone goes through the same experience. So why does one missionary come home saying it was the best two years of his or her life while another comes home feeling like they wasted 2 years? We cannot control the experience. But we can control our attitude. Wether it's a mission, a calling, a particularly difficult semester, an unexpected medical emergency, or whatever, YOU control your attitude and with that control you also control wether you learn and grow or sink and fail. I believe you can be happy and successful regardless of your circumstances. How is that possible? Listening to and following the enticings of the spirit of God. The Holy Ghost teaches a man to be happy, to be grateful, to pray, to serve, to think of others instead of self, to build and create, to be obedient, to accomplish, to succeed regardless of the obstacle. As a missionary, if I am listening to and following the spirit, I am happy.
Family and friends, brothers and sisters, I testify that you can find greater happiness in life by following the spirit. Do those things that are right and true. Point your life towards God. I testify that Christ fulfilled His purpose in life and because He did, you can too. Some problems we can fix. Other problems we cannot fix here in this life. But I testify that because of Jesus Christ, we all can ENDURE the challenges we can't fix until we leave this life for an inconceivably better one.
Love Elder Taylor Janis