Training has to be the most trying part of my mission. It's trying me in so many ways: in my patience, in my charity, in my ability to follow the Spirit, you name it. In some ways I love it, but I've found myself getting extremely overwhelmed this last week. My greenie is great in the fact that she is willing to work, obedient, and wants to help. But then you throw in me -- you know, Hermana Porter who wants to be in charge of everything and be the best and have it done her way -- and it's a recipe for disaster. I've found myself down on my knees dozens of times this week praying for patience, charity, and willingness to let go. It's hard! It's hard being patient and getting down to the level of a new missionary when all you want to do is just make them figure it out and do what you've always done. But I'm learning every day that it doesn't work like that.
They were right when they said the mission is training for real life. This has to be my biggest obstacle in the mission, having patience that is. My greenie has so many personality traits that conflict with mine, but it's funny because they're all traits that I have in myself that I can't stand. So now I'm having to get over all of them, both in myself and in her. I feel like I've developed so many new traits and habits and learn so many lessons on the mission, but the one it keeps coming back to is having charity and patience. I've read tons of articles, talks, scriptures, stuff in Preach My Gospel, etc. about patience, humility, charity (Christlike Attributes, Ch. 6), and yet it all comes down to me. It's my choice whether or not I want to develop them.
And that where I'm failing! I can't figure out how to do it! I know it starts with me, but I'm also learning that I can't do it without the Savior and His Atonement. We were in a role play yesterday at Zone Conference where we were getting "interviewed" by our "Stake Presidents" at the end of our missions. As I was being interviewed, I was asked questions that I had never even thought of being asked at the end:
1. How have you changed?
2. What is your relationship with Heavenly Father like?
3. How have you used the Atonement?
As I answered those questions, it hit me: I'm trying to better. I'm terrible at it, I feel like, but that is what the Atonement is for. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know we are not perfect, and they know we will never be perfect in this life. But we succeed when we try. When we try to change and put forth an effort to be better, then the Lord can take over and do the rest. We have to keep trying OUR hardest, but in the end it all comes down to the Lord. He is the only one who can truly change us 100%. I still have so much changing and improving to go both on the mission and in life, but I'm getting there.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk "Forget Me Not" has been my focus this last week. The first "Forget Me Not" point is "Forget Not To Be Patient With Yourself." He said, "I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that youand I are not perfect.
Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.
And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. Thisdrives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because theyseem to be less than what someone else does.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It’s wonderful that you have strengths.
And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.
God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths,1 but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us tobecome perfect,2 and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it,but stop punishing yourself.
Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to becompassionate and patient with yourself.
In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, yourChurch participation and personal improvement. Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may gounnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him. If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose ordazzling orchid, you may miss some of life’s sweetest experiences."
That is what I've been trying to learn this week and what I will be continuing to learn throughout the rest of the mission and life. God knows we are not perfect nor will we ever be in this life. But He promises to make us perfect someday as we put forth our best effort every day from now on. Let the Atonement carry you. He is there.
P.S. We also had Craig A. Cardon come to tour the mission last week. It was great! If you want to see pictures, here is the mission blog: