Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Love is Action

Hey! So updates... last week we had our last Zone Conference together with President Clark. Zone Conference is so inspiring... it's like EFY for missionaries.  I have very bittersweet feelings about President Clark going home at the end of June... we probably won't see him again before he goes home, because our mission is so big (he has to take an airplane to go to each Zone Conference).  He is such an amazing mission President.  I trust him and love him a lot--he does literally ALL he possibly can for us and for this mission.  He has the Spirit of God with him.  He gave an inspiring conference about how to receive revelation/inspiration.  He bore his last testimony to us that he knows there is a living God, and that truth is eternal.  Truth stands unchanged no matter what we do, or how other people respond.  It strengthened my faith. 

Also a number of other very strong young missionaries are going home in June as well. Some of our very strongest Elders are leaving us.  The mission is becoming full of green/new missionaries... I forget the number but soon, something like like 75% missionaries here (including me) will have been here for less than a year (or something like that).  We are hoping for miracles, hoping to do things this area has never seen before. 

I finally got a nametag in English!  It's really exciting to be wearing "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" after wearing "Gereja Yesus Kristus Orang Suci Zaman Akhir" for 9 months.  They're the same, of course, but I grew up knowing the English name :) And now more people will be able to read and understand my nametag.  Yes!

I have been sick for the last 3 days, and have had to stay home for a lot of it so there's not actually a ton of news.  I will update you about Anton (from Nigeria), though. 

Anton, like I mentioned, has been reading the Book of Mormon.  As we've met with him, we've realized and really seen that he has changed.  The way he carries himself has changed.  The way he talks to us has changed. The questions he has have changed, as well as the answers to questions we ask him.  He has become more open, loving, trusting, kind, receptive... a lot of things I can really describe in words.  He is amazing. I asked him if he himself has felt a difference in his life lately, and he said that yes he has.  He said he feels like God is all around him.  We taught him about faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost the other night, and he said on his own that he feels like these things would complete change a person.  He talked about a change of heart, and linked it to the feelings he's been experiencing lately.  He connects all these "dots" on his own, and I know it's the Spirit of God.  He's awesome... he can/is preparing well to be baptized at the end of the month.

That's the biggest thing going on lately... we are trying to help people like Devi and Kripala to stop their smoking.  They are both doing well.  Kripala didn't smoke for almost 3 days, which is more progress than he maybe has ever done.  Going from 2 packs of strong cigarettes a day to zero for three days... it's amazing.  He is finally finding the motivation and strength to change. 

I read somewhere the other day that "love is not in possession, but in participation."  That really stuck with me for some reason.  That just because I am "a missionary" doesn't mean I am automatically filled with love for all people, or just because I hold the position of being someone's older sister doesn't mean that I don't need to show my love.  The virtue is not in standing in the role.  That is the thing--showing love by participating, by ACTING in that role as a loving sister, as a loving representative of Jesus Christ/missionary, as a loving friend, daughter, or whatever else I am to someone.  It is by actions, service, participation in others' lives, reaching out--not respected labels alone--that I experience that love.  As we take action by prayerfully serving and reaching out those who need us, we are filled with the love of Christ.  I've felt that in my life; it's something I am working on every day.

Sister Gopinath

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