Thursday, 28 May 2015

Fake Plastic Trees

Something that we are all enticed by is the success that we can see, success that we can gain instantly. Sometimes, that's doing well on a test in school, getting a promotion at a job, or being able to buy something we really, really want. Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, sings a little about that kind of success, but in a rather meloncholy way. He almost seems to describe it as being a sad thing to constantly depend on, always finding worldy success. This would lead to suggest that if we want to find happiness, or true succuess in life, we need to find it in places other than those things we can hold in our hands, whether they're fake or not.
Again, I ask for your patience, as it has been rather difficult to come up with a song title for this week, but I really hope this all makes sense.
Naturally, as a missionary, I want to find my success in the numbers I get; I wanna teach a heck ton of lessons, I wanna find new investigators all the time, I wanna have investigators at church, I wanna baptize the whole island of Maio, and use THAT to determine my success. In reality, though, that isn't going to happen ANY time soon, as much as I may want it and work for it. Something I'm working on learning is that isn't what success really is. In all honesty, this week wasn't one where we taught a whole lot; we didn't find a lot of new people, didn't really find much progression with our investigators, or have anyone at church, and the natural man wants to tell me that, because of that, I'm not a successful missionary. I learned a pretty cool lesson this week That I thought shows what we NEED to do to find that success, though.
In 3rd Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, there's a story where Jesus Christ appears to the Nephites, and he walks with them and teaches them and does a whole lot of awesome stuff, but it starts to get dark, and so Christ tells them, (paraphrasing) 'okay, I've gotta head up into heaven, but I'll come back tomorrow at this same place, I promise.' So, after he leaves, what do the Nephites do? Well, they go out, and 'did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.' I really love how it talks about how they gave it their all to get their families, friends, and really anybody, to be at the place where they knew Jesus would be. I thought about how that applies to our work, because it never says exactly how many people they got, just how hard they worked. I figured, that if I had a book written about my mission, I'd want it to be written talking about how hard I worked, not how many people I found or baptized or taught or whatever. I don't want my book to talk about all the Fake Plastic Trees I worried about, but how much I served my Heavenly Father and His Cape Verdean children.
Speaking of Cape Verdeans, they're pretty darn funny sometimes, and even though it's funny, sometimes it's frustrating too. Our branch mission leader, Joao, continues to be a character. We had a Branch Council Meeting on Friday where we wanted to talk about how the branch can help our investigators, and he spent the whole time arguing and complaining about 'why we don't have activities like the Nazarene's do', even though he hardly ever shows up the activites we have anyways! Also, on Sunday, we asked him to pass by an investigator and invite him to church (because people are more readily gunna listen to someone like them rather than two white guys from across the ocean), and Joao shows up at the door of this guy and says, 'Hi, the missionaries sent me here to get you to come to church.' After explaining to Joao that he had a headache and a 'sore arm' (Cape Verde excuses for ya), our investigator did NOT end up coming to church.
As for investigators, I think we really only had one that we taught more than once this week, and it's this older guy named Ne, who pretty well stays at his house all the time, because he suffers from pains pretty well all over his body, and doesn't walk very well. He's told us he's been all over the world, including Canada and the States, all around South America, Europe, Russia, Japan, China, Australia (you name it, he's been there), and with him, he's very very willing to listen and try out what we invite him to do, which is very nice, because so many people just like to hear the 'good word of God'. In teaching him this week, we had a very cool moment where he told us about how he felt while reading the Book of Mormon, which had to be my favorite moment all week. It might not have been a whole lot, but it was just a little way we were able to see how the Holy Ghost can work inside of others when they let it in!
Sooooo basically that's been my week, it wasn't a crazy week or exciting week, but I definitely learned something this week. I love y'all, and hope that you all have an incredible week!
Goodnight, and Good Luck
Elder Massey

Workout - Maio style!

Elder Martinez buffing up in preparation for returning home....soon!

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