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Monday, May 25, 2015

Week #48: Transfers...

The Zone of San Pedro

 A little later email today as went as a zone to a place called Chicabal - a volcanic lake.  With transfers imminent, for some, it was a nice excursion for all.

       It has been a week of reflection, knowing that you are in an area where your days are numbered and it will probably be one of your last is simply sad, I can only imagine how those who are about to finish the mission are feeling.  It is hard to put into words, how you grow to love those that serve, and a special place they have in your heart and soul.
        As of Today I have completed 11 months in the mission and 6 months and 2 weeks of that time has been living here in Rio Blanco.  As much as I don't like the constant bus rides and a few other negatives this is going to be one of my favorite areas.  Throughout the week I have mixed in the goodbyes as we passed from one part to the next in this huge area of Rio Blanco. You know you have been in an area for a long time when the little children of the area know your name. Not just as Elder, but Elder Wilcox, as hard and strange as it is for the people here to pronounce this name. I don't think anyone really likes goodbyes. But we sure get a lot of practice here in the mission.
     This week I was thinking about the story of "Pushing Against The Rock" (Author Unknown)

"There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture - placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as ``Why kill yourself over this?, you're never going to move it!'' or ``Boy, you've been at it a long time and you haven't even scratched the surface!'' etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn't moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. ``Why kill myself?'' he thought. ``I'll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.'' And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

``Lord,'' he said, ``I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?''

To this the Lord responded compassionately, ``My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven't succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.''

The time I have had in Rio Blanco has been very hard. I have probably had many more pains than joys here. I have had to fight and fight against the weariness in my stride, against the attacks in my resolve, and against the trails of my faith. Though through it all I honestly believe that this in one part or another has been the reason I have been here. Not for me to move the rock but for me to be changed. I have seen many changes in this area. Many things that are now different here, but none of them compare to how I have changed. I love the part in here as it explains "long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted. I told you to push against the rock with all of your strength...but never once did I excpect you to move it." "through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have." Sometimes I guess I forget I am being changed, as much as I am being used as a tool to change the lives of others.
       But in the same way as it is sad to be working in a field in which you know you will never see the harvest working, it still brings some good joy. This week I had the chance to go and work with the progressing investigators of Rio Blanco in divisions. One of these lessons was simply awesome! There was a family a while back that Rio Blanco received as a reference from none other than a drunken individual. This town drunk ended up taking them down some long road deep deep down into a part relatively close to the center of Rio blanco. There they came to know Don Mira and Alexandra as well as the rest of their family. After a few weeks of teaching them we all knew that they were extremely positive. As Elder Saxton and I started to teach them this night we knew it was time to put a date for them to be baptised and after a beautiful lesson they accepted.  There is no better feeling than this. Besides of course when they are baptised. Moments like these make the mission special and make all that we do worth it.  It is such a blessing to see people changed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     Well changes are here this week. I guess we will just have to see what they have in store.

The Thinker
One of the functions of missionaries at times is nursery leader...

Bacon and Eggs a rare treat...bacon that is.

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