Monday, September 3, 2012

In Good Hands

Hello hello, beloved family and friends.

Thank you once again for all of your wonderful letters and words of love and encouragement. Every week they are a treasure to me.

Right now I'm writing from the mission office. My companion is on his way back from Santiago right now with two other Colombians taking care of his visa, so I spent the day with two of the Elders from the office in the zone of San Pedro. It was a great P-Day, we had an awesome activity, but now I'm pretty tired and ready to get back to my sector and get a workin'. (In answer to your question, Ashley, the temple of Chile is in Santiago, about 6 hours in bus from Concepción). I was kind of bummed at first that I wasn't going to be able to go with him to Santiago, but now I'm glad I didn't go. I would have lost a lot of sleep on the bus, and a great zone activity, for very little time being there.

Happy to hear that life is going well in good old Georgia. I find it so funny and charming that after a while everyone seems to make it back home to the peach state. I'm happy for all of you to be able to be together. And congrats, Heather, on the new calling! A nice surprise, I'll bet, but definitely an opportunity to learn and to bless many ears and hearts with the gift of music. Serve well, sis!

Things are going well enough here in Lota, we're still working with Yasna's family, although these last two weeks have been a little difficult for us in finding new investigators, and now our teaching pool is pretty shallow. But gotta keep moving forward. I know without a doubt that the Lord has prepared people in our sector. The goal now is focusing on being worthy of the companionship of the Holy Spirit in every moment and following it's guide.

One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately is what it means to be a servant of the Lord (and this applies not only to missionaries, but to all people, as we must all serve God). I've decided that being a worthy servant means being a worthy vessel. This goes back a little bit to the email I wrote a while back about putting off the natural man and doing what God wants, and not what we want. It's the same principle, but I thought of an example:

A lot of times we ask God to guide us, or we want him to use us as an instrument in His hands, but then we either aren't obedient enough or humble enough for him to be able to do so. I think of a remote control (realizing, of course, God's infinite love for us, and that we are not simply robots to Him, but stick with me). When we want to control the TV, we expect the remote control to do exactly as it is commanded. If we want to increase the volume, we expect the volume up button to do it. If we want the movie to play, we expect the play button to function. This is the purpose of a remote control, and it must work according to our desires. Now what would happen if there were a short in the wiring of the control or something, and all of the sudden the buttons we expect to do one thing, do something completely different. Wouldn't it be frustrating? We press mute, and the channel changes. At this point, the remote control ceases to serve its purpose. It no longer helps us in fulfilling our desires and must be repaired.

How often we are so much like that remote control gone haywire. We as humans are rebellious people. God gives us commandments, and we break them, because we seek not His will, but rather our own. And in the process we lose so many of the precious blessings that He can give us. As a missionary, this example helped me to realize that in order to be led by the Spirit, I must be obedient. I cannot rebel against God even in the smallest way and expect Him to use me as an instrument in His hands for the salvation of His children. It is impossible. When I teach, my words must be his words, given to me through His Holy Spirit. My thoughts must be towards Him, and my actions must be His actions. As a representative of Jesus Christ, that is my responsibility, to do what He would do if He were in my place, because - forgive the trite comparison - Jesus Christ was the perfect remote control. He carried out perfectly the will of the Father and did nothing save it were correct and in harmony with God's desires. He was perfect in love, in charity, in example, in obedience, in humility, and His greatest desire was to carry out faithfully His role as Savior of the world for the glory of the Father. And indeed, Glory be to the Father for the indescribable miracle that is the life, death, and resurrection of His son.

That's the kind of person I want to be. And the kind of missionary I want to be. I want to be like Christ. And while I know I'm far from reaching that goal, and will never reach it in this life time, every time I think about Him, I can't help but be grateful for His example and think, "He did that for me." And I am comforted by His promise in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 28:9-10, that if I desire to bring souls unto Him, then my joy will be full, and that in time I will be just like He is.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. It's so hard. At times I'm tempted to think it's too hard, but I know all things are possible for God. And like a stone in the river, tossed and turned, I am shaped by Him until all the edges are gone. I've got a lot of rough spots, but I'm in good hands. The best hands.

God bless you all this week. Keep praying, keep striving, be believing, and everything will turn out okay in the end.

Much love,
Elder Wilcox

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