Good Morning or Afternoon or Evening (whichever specific time you happen to find yourself in whilst reading this entry),
So, this entry is going to be a little bit different. Instead of focusing on what events transpired this week, I'm going to try to focus on the things that I have felt and the things that the Spirit has confirmed to me. It might sound like I'm venting a little bit, but I've honestly grown so much this week it's kinda bonkers. Without anymore frivolity or introduction, this is it.
This week was not good. Honestly it was probably one of the most difficult times in my mission or even in my life, for that matter. It was the kind of week that makes you really rethink some of the things that are core and central to your life; why I'm out on a mission, why we go through the things we do, and the feelings of just giving it all up. What caused this valley in the sign wave of missionary work and of life? I'm not quite sure. I feel like there were several things that may have added up; a weeklong cold, frustration with myself and others, preexisting medical conditions causing all sorts of hullabaloo, things from my past nagging at my brain, stresses of accountability for myself and the Zone, and you name it . . . it was there.
Elder Cho and I went about the week doing the same type of things; teaching, finding, planning, the whole nine yards. But, I wasn't finding any joy in it. Any thoughts of accomplishment or success were dashed by feelings of guilt, anger or thoughts of "this doesn't really matter" I was reaching a crossroads. I could either continue to feel like this and waste my time out here (at least that's how I was thinking) or I needed to fix the situation.
Now, I don't recount this experience trying to get people to feel bad for me, I don't want that. What I do want is to share my testimony of the things that this week helped me learn. Albeit this week was rough, I am truly grateful for the experiences that I've had.
I learned that our trials are here to make us humble. "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me" I know that without the grief I was feeling, there would be no way that I would truly come unto Heavenly Father with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I didn't want to feel like this anymore. I literally could not keep living like this.
I learned that God truly does answer prayers. I plead to know what I should do, and I got my answer. I read Alma 5 and within those pages I found insights and comfort that I had never felt before.
I learned that Heavenly Father truly does love every one of His children. No. Matter. What. I felt a peace during my study that I can't deny. I felt the desire to change; to become what God has asked me to be. I asked for a Priesthood blessing and immediately after Elder Cho's hands were off my head, it was gone. Those thoughts and feelings of helplessness, depression and confusion were gone.
I feel I truly learned that the atonement is real and that it WORKS. One of the things predominately occupying my mind was thoughts of regret and guilt for the person I was before I left. I didn't like him, the things he said, the things he did. I felt minuscule under the calling that I was in. I felt hypocritical teaching others the gospel when I myself wasn't living it the way I knew I could be. But this week, I learned to forgive myself. I learned that true repentance is more than just a check and balance for mistakes that we've made. Repentance is our way of showing Christ we love Him, truly showing Him and our Father in Heaven that we're willing to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and the harm we may have caused others, and to turn to them. To become something better than we are.
I'm very grateful for this Gospel and for the church that represents it. I don't know everything and I know that trials and pains will still come, but without them life wouldn't mean anything. Christ's atonement wasn't Him being free from pain or anguish, but instead Him overcoming ALL things for us. For me. For you. I'm so grateful for Him, for the example that He set, showing us that all things are possible, that we truly have someone there who has felt our griefs and sorrows, or in this case - our horrible weeks. Again, I don't understand everything but I know that God is there and sent His son to become our Savior so we can become more like Him. I know they love us and because of that, we can keep moving forward.
Here's to better weeks for all of us, and to the blessings that come through trials. I'm so grateful for all of your love and support. I can't do this without you. Love you all so much!
This is Elder Jensen signing off for this week. Until next time, make sure to floss thoroughly and be nice to the grumpy cashiers (they're just having bad day).