Hello all -
I wanted to write a long email this week, but unfortunately I've run out of time so I thought that I would include a picture with one of my favorite scriptures:
I share this scripture almost every time I make a new friend here in Romania. It's been inspiring to see the little bit of light that appears in people's eyes when you help them remember, even for a moment, that they are a child of God. Every single one of us has divinity within us, but sometimes we don't always acknowledge it. This past week has been full of ups and downs as one of the recent converts under my stewardship as a missionary decided to no longer be a member of the church. It has been heartbreaking to watch them leave everything behind. It probably sounds ridiculous - after all, why should the choices of others have such a profound effect on us? For some reason, this is a lesson that I am being taught over and over and over again on my mission: you cannot control the choices of others. You cannot will them or force them or make them decide to do things that you want. Even when what you want is for them to be happy and to have joy. Even when your most righteous desire is completely selfless...sometimes it just doesn't happen. Why? Because there needs to be opposition in all things and we thrive on resistance.
I have to be honest: My mission has not given me all the answers to life. I don't know why bad things happen to good people. I don't know why sometimes it seems like faith fails us. I was hoping that coming here and serving a mission would somehow open the windows of Heaven and all of the questions that Theologians and Psychologists and Philosophers had asked for centuries would somehow be answered in my year and a half, but they haven't been. And that's okay. I don't know everything, but here's what I do know: I know that God loves His children. I know that Jesus Christ is real, that He lives, and that He will not leave us alone or unloved. He will always search for us and He will never stop until He finds us. It will always be okay in the end, and, if it's not okay, then it's not the end. If we can simply believe in that and say with all honesty Thy Will Be Done, then everything will work out exactly as it should, could, and will.
I love all of you and hope that all of you have an amazing week!