The other morning I was so tired. And I was asking myself. “What’s wrong with me? I’ve been doing this for a year. I didn’t do anything particularly strenuous yesterday. I slept fine. I prayed to have energy. Why am I so exhausted this morning?” I was frustrated and confused. But then it came to me. It doesn’t get any easier to get up at 6:30 am. And it probably won’t. Because I think if it did, I’d forget to pray to Heavenly Father for the energy to roll out of bed in the morning. I’d forget to rely on him from the very beginning of my day. And that’s something I can’t afford to do.
It is so easy for us, as humans, to forget. We forget what we did yesterday. What we ate for breakfast. We forget our first grade teacher’s name, even though we saw that woman every day for a year. We can’t remember lyrics to songs that used to be our anthem, let alone the artist who wrote it. And despite the promise we make every week as we partake of the sacrament, we seem to consistently fall short of always remembering our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the things He did for us. I think the closest I’ve ever come is out here on my mission, and even now I am so easily distracted by the worries, annoyances, joys, and busyness of everyday life that I tend to simply forget Him.
That’s one thing I’ve appreciated about being able to serve among the Hispanic culture. They are pretty focused on God. They haven’t become so lost as to forget that it is God who gives us everything in the first place. Their prayers are full of gratitude. For work, family, health, and a roof over their head. Such basic things that I take for granted too often. They aren’t so caught up in the day-to-day things; they see the big picture. And even if their situation is hopeless, they walk on fearlessly, knowing everything is in the hands of God.
We met someone like that on Saturday. We received a text Saturday morning that referred us to a lady named Esperanza. (Esperanza means hope, for you gringos.) The text explained that she had just been diagnosed with cancer…they found a large tumor in the right side of her brain…and it’s inoperable. Basically, she’s terminal. Her friend wanted us to go give her a blessing. We’ve been taught in missionary work that member referrals are golden and all referrals must be contacted within 24 hours. So we made the necessary arrangements and at 7 o clock that night, we met Esperanza and her daughter, Yesenia. Alberto and Maximino gave her a priesthood blessing, and it was powerful. Turns out she knows a few members in the ward and she told us, “Mormon is the church I want to be part of. Your ideas are beautiful and your people are so nice.” Next morning, she’s right there at church. In Relief Society, she shared her story, “I know I’m going to die. I’m okay with that. I just want enough time to know my grandson. My only son’s wife is pregnant.” She loved church and promised to keep coming. The Relief Society fell in love with her. We did too. We’re seeing her again tomorrow. But it’s amazing how much I have been able to learn from these people. They are so special. Esperanza doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months. But, she holds on to her faith and refuses to forget who gave her life in the first place.
I have learned so much from these people. Even the sisters I’ve served around. We found out this morning that one of our sisters is going home because of health problems. We helped her pack earlier today. It’s really hard, but after our exchange I know it’s God’s will. He prepared her for what was coming…she’s felt she is going home early for awhile now. And even though she doesn’t know what will happen or if they’ll be able to fix what’s going on, she has a smile on her face and a hopeful heart. She gives me strength. And looking back on the past few months she’s had, it’s been incredible to see how Heavenly Father just makes everything line up. Even down to her trainee, who just happens to be a CNA. The Lord is so conscious of us and all things denote he exists…”yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44)
And so I begin another week of forgetting. But this time with a little more remorse. And a little stronger resolve to keep Christ at the front of my mind. He is my strength. He rejoices with me and feels my sorrow. He loves me unconditionally. He is my best friend. And if I keep my promise to always remember Him, it’s a lot harder to fall short in other ways.
I love this work and I’m so grateful for it!
Love you all!