This week's e-mail may be really short compared to what you're used to because today is kind of hectic because of all the stuff we have to do. Given that I'm leaving in a week we're trying to get on top of everything so we don't have to worry too much next week and we can just pack up and go.
Well, the theme of the week has been faith. Actually, Elder Weaver and I have been big on faith in general lately. Elder Weaver and I talk with people about it a lot, and because of such discussion, we now have 3 people on date! Yay! But really, faith is an interesting principle. We like to describe faith as the hardest easy thing to do. Most people can give a brief definition of faith: "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)," "A hope for things which are not seen which are true (Alma 32)," or basically a belief in something that we've never seen, but we believe is there. Well, let me say a little about faith.
President Packer describes faith as "taking a few steps beyond the edge of the light (what we know) and into the darkness (or what we don't know)." President Uchtdorf has a similar sermon that "faith is sometimes having to take steps into the darkness with confidence that God will place solid ground under our feet" which is something we have to do frequently especially as missionaries. I have always enjoyed being the man with the plan. I like knowing exactly what is going to happen when it is going to happen so I can prepare for all contingencies. Well, as a missionary, sometimes that just doesn't happen. We made a plan for yesterday and headed to Harper after church to carry out said plan. As we got there, something just felt off. As we were walking we felt directed to visit Bro. Slaughter, so we did. As we were walking away I mentioned to Elder Weaver that I just felt like we were hitting a brick wall over and over again while visiting people. Elder Weaver said "well, maybe we're not supposed to be in Harper" and as soon as he said that the Spirit indicated it was the case. So, we packed up and headed 9 miles down the road to Anthony. As soon as we got to Anthony we felt we should go visit the Trotters, so we did. They invited us over for dinner this next week and we had a nice chat and visit with them. After we left we didn't have any particular plans for the night, but we hadn't seen an investigator in Anthony for a while so we started in that direction. Shortly after turning towards their house Elder Weaver and I both felt the impression to return home. Though we didn't know why, we turned and headed back home. We had dinner and the thought came to share a message with the Brundages, so we did. As we were sharing the message with the Brundages I felt we should visit our friend Troy with another member here in Argonia. So we did.
Why did this require faith? Well, I didn't know if God would illuminate the next step. I had to wait upon Him to give us the next step in His timing. Though God did illuminate my steps last night, He doesn't always work in that way. Much of the time, God will cause us to test our faith and see if we're willing to follow what he presents even if it isn't what may be comfortable. Every day Elder Weaver and I ask people to exercise faith by reading the Book of Mormon, by praying, and by attending church because as they do these things they will be blessed. I know that sometimes, the path ahead is dark, but it's in those moments that we must trust that God will place solid ground under us. I know that God lives and that He isalways watching over us. I've felt His guiding hand in my life consistently and especially as a missionary. Most of my experiences as a missionary were not like the one from yesterday. Often times, I've had to just act, and hope and pray that that was the solution that God wanted. I know that in all hours of darkness, with trust in God, we will never stumble on the unseen path in front of us.
I don't know what will happen in Brazil. I don't know how I can ever truly leave Kansas behind. I don't know how I'll be able to communicate in Portuguese, and I have no idea what my purpose is in Brazil. What I do know is that I'm on the Lord's errand and He will not let me fail. I know that I'm a representative of Jesus Christ, and I will serve him fully through to the end.