This week on Thursday we went to good old San Pablo to meet with all the new trainers. Traveling ALL DAY is definitely not the most fun thing to do. As soon as I left that meeting I felt an extreme amount of weight/mantle on my shoulders to be perfect. Becoming a trainer isn't easy one bit... and my trainee isn't even here. I JUST finished the 12 week training program and now I have to train? WHY. President told all the new trainers in the meeting how this church is a church of callings that we don't always ask for. But we take them and magnify them as much as possible, and do our best never looking back but looking forward at all the things we can do. He also told us how much he prayed and fasted for revelation to who would train. That made me feel a little better to know that it wasn't just any calling, but something that truly was thought out. And then he told us how trainers set the course for the trainee's entire mission. And then I felt that mantle get just a little bit heavier. Sometimes when President talks I just slump in my chair because I know he is always right, and I quickly change the way I think because I know I am always wrong. Most of the time.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY:Too many times on this mission do I always ask, "Why?"
"Why do I have to do this?""Why is this so hard?"
"Why am I getting a new companion at Christmas?"
"WHY AM I TRAINING WHEN I'M NOT EVEN READY?"
Christ never asked why. He just did. He did ALL that the Father asked with a willing and loving heart. His sacrifice was the supreme expression of love. And so maybe I should tweak this question a leeeetle bit and stop asking "Why?" and instead ask "What?"
"What can I learn from this?""What can I do to help my new companion feel happy even though she just said goodbye to her country and everything she knew?"
"What can I do to become more like my Savior?"
How about we always ask the "What" instead of the "Why." Just change the one worded question that we always ask when we receive something hard. I promise it will change your entire outlook on your trials, hardships, challenges, good times, etc., and just on life in general.
It does not even FEEL like Christmas to me, maybe because it doesn't even look like Christmas when you're living on some islands with palm trees. And you can't disregard the fact that I just sweat. Everywhere, everyday, ALL THE TIME. I'm pretty sure Christmas is supposed to be WHITE. And cold. I would definitely have to say that is a tender mercy from the Lord--mostly cause I think if I saw snow, I would just die and want to go home. Heavenly Father knows us WELL. Especially the details.
We went and watched the Christmas devotional at Lipa on Sunday. It was awesome. Honestly the talks were sublime.
Nothing can ever top the Christmas Devotional with the Prophet. I especially liked Elder Nelson's talk about Christ.
Christmas really is different here on a mission. Not for the obvious reasons, but for the reasons that most people like Christmas for: Stuff. I think it's because on your misson, you have no stuff. You just have your companion, and the people around you to make you happy. I realized how much we emphasize stuff at Christmas, but what happens when Christmas is over, and the anticipation has died down? What do we have left? These people have nothing all year round, and yet they have shown me what true happiness is and it surely does not come from stuff. Happiness comes from the Savior. Our true and lasting peace will ALWAYS come from Him and His gospel. So instead of being a Grinch this Christmas about being away from home, becoming a new trainer who doesn't know anything, and having a brand new companion that I'm not used to, (because there are many things I could say that are hard right now at this point in my mission), what if I listed all the things I was grateful for? What if I gave the gift of compassion and most importantly, the Gospel? What if I helped someone give their heart to Christ this Christmas? These things are the REAL meaning of Christmas. Not letting another year go to waste, on stuff. (Although I do miss some of my stuff.)
But stuff will ALWAYS be there. Our relationship with our Savior might not always be there.
I'm so grateful for this Christmas season that we have to strengthen our testimonies of Christ and give our hearts more fully to Him to heal us, just like He wants to if we will let Him. Here's to a new companion this Thursday and Christmas with palm trees and hot sunny days.
xoxo, Sister Seastrand