This has been probably one of the most exhausting and Spiritually uplifting weeks in my mission thus far, as well as a week of trial. Some events that I'm sure you've at least heard about being the Cultural Celebration for and Rededication of the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple. We were participants in the Celebrations on Saturday night, singing Called to Serve with gusto amid the youth participating there as well. The three Buenos Aires missions participated, so there were about 600 missionaries in addition to about as many or more youth. It was pretty stirring! As a side note, I was just looking back and saw the word gusto and I just saw an interesting language connection that I don't know if others have noticed. The verb "gustar" in Spanish means to please, and often when a person meets another they say "un gusto conocerlo," which is, being interpreted, "A pleasure to meet you." So when connected back to the English, singing with gusto isn't necessarily singing loudly and fully as much as singing with pleasure. Interesting language bit there...
The rededication itself was amazing! I wish I could remember all of it, but my head just doesn't want to function properly for me right now. Elder Mervyn J. Arnold of the Seventy spoke of hope an progress, which seemed to be a theme with the majority of the general authorities during this time. I'll admit I kept getting lost during the dedicatory prayer because of the translation taking place. I heard both languages and occasionally got lost in the change, thinking that certain things had already been said before remembering that they were just now being said in a different language. It was an interesting experience being able to understand almost perfectly both of the languages, to the point of recognizing the exact same meaning of both.
Friday night we had a special missionary conference with President Eyring, Elder Ballard, and Elder Christofferson. The Spirit felt there was almost palpable. Elder Christofferson gave his address in Spanish himself, since he served his own mission in Argentina. I wish I had brought my notes to share some of the things that they all spoke, but one of the things that sticks out in particular with me was an experience that President Eyring shared. He talked about two main things, actually that stuck out. The first has to do with the process of calling young men and women (and the senior couples and sisters I imagine) to specific missions. He talked about how the first time he, as an Apostle, sat with Richard G. Scott to send them out. He described how he sat in a room with Elder Scott in front of two computer screens; one showing a picture of the prospective missionary, the other a little bit of information about that missionary. From there, while pondering about where this person would go, he said he would get the slightest of feelings of where the prospective missionary should go and would say to the mission offices "show me all of the missions in ___________ area." Once the information appeared, he told us that the name of one of those missions would shine just a smidgeon brighter (not a direct quote). He would click on that name, and the missionary would receive his call. After several minutes of doing this for several missionaries, he told us he turned to Elder Scott and asked, "Is that small feeling all I'm going to get? That small little push?" to which Elder Scott replied in the affirmative. The telling of this experience led into the second thing that stuck out.
Following the sharing of this experience, he told us that that little push is what we as missionaries need to acquaint ourselves with and that it leads to really knowing that God knows and loves each one of those people (refering both to prospective missionaries and our investigators) so profoundly and so intimately that we need to trust perfectly in him and follow each little push we receive. He said, quote, "When we know that God loves us...we will not fear."
Fear is something that I have often succumbed to and given as a reason for not talking to such and such on the street. "Oh, I don't know if they'll understand me," "I don't know if they'll accept me," "I don't want to get rejected," etc. Something that I have learned (and will undoubtedly continue learning for the rest of my life) is that something like this has nothing to do with me. In each question, my fear was a selfish one and one that exhibits a lack of trust in my Father, who already knows each of His children with a perfect love, one that breaches all bounds we can conceive of. I have for years said that I know that God loves me, but by fearing in the manner that I was, I was in effect denying the claim of my own knowledge. This is because if I know that He loves me, I should also know and trust in the fact that His love is perfect and that He will share with us a portion of that love for another person enough to help them to recognize that love for them, giving me the words to say to them in the moment that they are needed, trusting in God more than in the "arm of flesh."
Fear is the antithesis of Faith. "Neither can live while the other servives." (Props to the one who can tell me where that comes from) They cannot coexist in the same instant in the same person. Faith drives away fear and leads to love, trust, and happiness. Fear, when allowed to enter the heart, covers our faith and leads to hate, mistrust, and misery, leaving us with an empty feeling. Faith is love. Faith is Hope. Faith is belief, and it leads us to act.
I apologize for using this time to organize my own thoughts on this subject, but this has been just as edifying a time for me as I hope it has been for you. Our investigators continue to progress and we right now have seven people actively preparing to be baptized in the next few weeks.
Thank you for your prayers. I feel their effect. I love you and pray for you as well.
P.S. I haven't as yet read your emails to me. We were trying to get on quick to get the writing done, because we have other things to do, but we'll be trying to get on again later. I've printed the messages and will be reading them soon. I'll reply if I can. LOVES!!