Serving in the Mexico Mérida Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

People aren't like jaguars. They can change their spots.


Pues OTRA VEZ va a ver cambios (Well, ONCE AGAIN it is transfer time)... I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be a traveling capacitadora the next transfer. I can’t tell you exactly what the cambios (transfers) are because they are not official yet and I don’t want anything to leak. But Presidente let us help make the companionships and I think I will have an area again! Yay! And I’m super excited about my companion if everything goes as planned...

A lo largo de mi (Throughout my) mission, I’ve learned a lot about refraining judgment about people and judging really, really slooooow. And not just about judging the eternal worth of someone by their physical appearance or apparent intelligence (which is very easy to do in Mexico), but with the missionaries, too. Lots of times I like to think that people are like fabric by the bolt-- that you can see one little piece and know how the rest is (a quote I heard somewhere). And like a phrase I heard from a Guatemalan elder, "People aren’t like jaguars. They can change their spots.” (A great talk about this principle here.) People change very frequently, and the environments in which you see them only show a part of the whole package. 

So I have to make judgments about their character VERY open-mindedly, looking for LOTS of evidence before making conclusions or just not making conclusions if I can help it. We should allow people the opportunity to change. People are much easier to love when you just assume you don’t know all of the person yet.

I like how the evaluations in Preach My Gospel and in the training materials are not rated based on immeasurable qualities, but by FREQUENCIES. I think that is a much more accurate judge of character. The question is not “How charitable are you?”
5- Very Charitable 3- Somewhat Charitable,etc.
But instead, the phrase is “I am Charitable…”
5--Always, 4--Almost always, 3—Often, 2--Sometimes.
I think I have seen almost everyone I know do something wonderful or admirable and lovable. Everyone has that potential. The question is, how OFTEN are you in that condition? 

Other thoughts about love: I don’t know why, but I have a really hard time feeling lovable or feeling the love of Heavenly Father for me. But a way of thinking that came to me while I was praying the other day was that Heavenly Father loves me like a DAUGHTER. My mind can’t really wrap my mind around the idea that a perfectly intelligent, capable, beautiful marvelous person like Heavenly Father could look down at us extremely and deeply flawed little people and find something about us to love. But I can wrap my head around what a parent feels when they look down on their own child. Sure, the child is flawed and nowhere near the capability of the parent but the parent sees the potential in the child even if that potential is far away and feels deep and very real love.

When I think of Heavenly Father thinking about me as His daughter, I can understand Him loving me. And then I realized a child is not all that distant from a parent. It’s like 'PARENT' and then 'CHILD' with no intermediaries in between-- we are very VERY closely related and connected with a divine Being. So that makes me feel better. Aw… I love Him a lot.

I had a cool 'Open-Your-Mouth' experience this week. I was on intercambios (exchanges) in Progreso (the BEACH) with an investigator who needed to get married with her less-active husband who did NOT want to get married and had been visited by missionaries for forever and never been even influenced to change. He goes on about how his situation is an exception and how everyone tells him what to do, but it doesn’t matter and he prays everyday to God to forgive him so he is okay and how this was HIS personal affair. I asked him, “Hermano, do you know WHY Heavenly Father wants you to get married? Why do you think a piece of paper makes a difference to Him?” And he said “Yeah, I actually don’t know.”  I thought, “Uh-oh” because I didn’t really know how to explain it. But the thought came to me “Just open your mouth” so I did, and the words started coming out. And the drawings started coming out (including my drawings of little cows...) and for a good two minutes I just felt like a little fiber-optic cable with light coming out and I felt all clear inside like... those sugar crystals that we made for my science experiment, Dad. 

At the end I asked. “And so, Hermano, what is it that God does to make sure all of that is protected?” And he leans back, all put out, and rubs the back of his head and says, “Una firma...” (a signature) And I was like “Yeah.” He didn’t commit to get married, but he did commit to honestly pray about it, together with his wife. And that hadn’t happened before. I hope the Hermanas dan el seguimiento...(follow up with him).

Pues les amo mucho y que tenga una semana llena de oportunidades misionales (I love you all a lot and hope you have a week full of missionary opportunities).  Open your mouths! And I was serious about making friends. If nobody comes to your mind of who to share the gospel with, go make friends.

Hermana Ludlam

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