Hello all. It's been a week full of learning here in Benin. And I have absolutely loved it. My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His grace has been greatly strengthened.
Going throughout this past week has not exactly been easy. It wasn't discouraging, but it certainly wasn't easy. But as I have learned, these are the best moments of life. Yes, humility is required in great abundance, and it is very difficult for some of us to show this kind of humility. But I have better understood the Lord's grace as I meditated on how far I've come to see again where I need to go.
As I thought about my time here, I thought of all the mistakes I've made and how I thought, at the time, that I would regret all of these mistakes for the rest of my life. Then I realized that now, I do not regret a single one! Why? Because I gave it my all! I put in, at that time, everything that I had, even if it seemed nothing at all.
This past week, I have made several mistakes. Not that I'm a bad person or that I'm not trying, but I am an imperfect being. However, much different from earlier in my mission, I was not at all discouraged! Why? Because I have spent a lot more time studying and meditating on the Savior's Atonement. He has granted me a greater understanding of the hope and light of His gospel.
Pondering on all of these things yesterday, I was quite impressed with the mission experience. Yes, it's one great life lesson, and yes, we get to change people's lives, but there is something much, much more. The Lord has given us a very special place to learn and to make mistakes. That's when it hit me: I'm supposed to make mistakes! I'm supposed to give it everything I have and fall short! I'm supposed to push myself past my boundaries! Thinking upon this even in this very moment has brought a poem quoted by Elder Vinson last year (originally by Elder Holland):
"Come to the edge," He said, "Come to the edge."
"I can't," I said, "I can't"
"Come to the edge," He said, "Come to the edge"
He pushed me.
So if I have counsel to those young and old seeking to serve missions, don't be afraid to make mistakes! Put yourselves out on the line! Open your heart to everyone, without fear! Give it everything you've got even if you've got nothing! We're most likely never going to see these people again in our mortal lives. The Lord gives us this opportunity of trial and error to prepare us for our future lives when the stakes will be much higher. Yes, it might seem like we're falling at first when we come to the edge and He pushes us, but soon we will see His promise fulfilled that "He shall bear [us] up as on eagles' wings."
I have made the firm decision that as I finish my time here on my mission, I will put myself as far out there as I can. I will make as many mistakes as necessary so that I can grow, knowing that if I give it everything that I can, the Lord will make up the difference. I'm not saying that I won't try to improve; in fact, improvement is exactly what I'm seeking! But I have gained a firm testimony that the more we put ourselves on the line humbly, the more we will see the Lord's hand in our lives.
There is no limit to His power! There is no limit to His reach! There is no limit to how long or how much we are allowed to use! So why worry about our own lack of strength when His grace is sufficient. His Atonement is infinite! His grace is infinite!
In beginning to live in this manner, I have felt the peace in His gospel. Even when turmoil surrounds me, His grace and His peace are sufficient for me. Living this way is truly a joyous experience.
I testify that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ stands at each one of our personal doors. He knocks. He awaits for us to open the door and invite Him into our lives. And when we do, He will push us farther than we have ever gone, but with it, He will open us new beginnings and beautiful views on life. We will find true happiness and joy. We will gain spiritual confidence before God. We will change to become like Him. And I share this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
One of my all-time favorite African meals, foutou banane with peanut sauce!!! SOOOO GOOOD!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Wittig and I improvised to make an apple pie today. It was amazing!!! and it only cost 8 dollars (roughly)!!!!!