Before I begin, Sorry to all of you that wanted to see the video of a lion yawning, it was about 1mb too large to send, and I don't know how to compress the files on these computers, and they have no editing software (I zipped the file and it was still the same size).
And now onto something completely different. *SCHBLOOM!!!!*
Well hello there family and friends,
I hope you are all doing well, because I am right now =P (except for my finger, that kind of hurts. . . sticking it in a fan in the middle of the night while half asleep does that to your finger. . . Don't worry, we found the cover for the fan. . . won't happen again) But on the bright side. . . of the earth, the sun is shining. Well, the point is. . . the end of the needle. However, despite these truths, transfer calls came this Friday. Elder Nyoni got moved to Harare, and my new companion is Elder Nzimande. This last week was pretty fun and chaotic. We had general conference on saturday and sunday (we watch all sessions in a row, 4 hours saturday, 6 on sunday with priesthood session) so, might I say, that was excruciating; it was, however, still a great experience.
On the subject of teaching, this week was mostly drab. Nothing really special or interesting comes to mind other than my first experience teaching a non-Christian. I had a lesson with a muslim and that was interesting, but not anything out of the ordinary. We have 1 person preparing to be baptized next week (a young teenager) and then two more (a mother and daughter) the week after that. All three came to at least 1 session of conference and enjoyed it, so that was also good. My new companion got here about 15 minutes before I came to email, so I will talk about him next week.
In what way has your heart felt the biggest growth?
Probably in the amount that I read the scriptures, I am learning even more to look for the hand of God in my life. It is helping me, especially as a missionary, to allow myself to yield to the spirit more often. I have also had the opportunity to give quite a few blessings (even last night I gave a blessing which was the first a Ward missionary ever participated in, and that was cool!). I feel that I have really been learning to allow myself to be God's hands, rather than my own. I still have work to do in that area though! =P
What have you already gained that is making you more then you had previously thought of yourself?
Honestly, the best way to describe what being on a mission does for you is to relate it to Dungeons and Dragons. (Bear with me)
In life, just as in DnD, you are constantly gaining experience and 'growing levels', surpassing obstacles that at one time are very challenging and eventually become typical experiences which are easy to overcome (remember Elder Eyrings talk about mountains to climb on Saturday morning session). As life goes on, we continuously develop skills and attributes, gain feats (or abilities) and truly become who WE are. As life begins, we grow levels very quickly (low experience req between levels) we advance fast, but in comparison to later levels, the things we know are still very basic.
Going on mission gives you, in my opinion (from the added strength from God), a large chunk of temporary experience. For a time (2 years) you are in essence a lvl 4 with the capabilities and knowledge of lvl 12. While on mission, you continuously obtain new knowledge, experience, abilities, etc. You may, hypothetically speaking, grow from level 12 to lvl 13 or 14 while on your mission. You are doing challenges, dealing with stresses and strains, and coping with things that a lvl 12 character would do, while you are still technically a much lower level. (try doing what a missionary does every day without being set apart. It is like a lvl 4 character trying to do a CR:10 or CR:12 quest; frankly it is not possible)
When you are released, that extra chunk of experience and abilities (such as strength of testimony and other benefits of being a set-apart missionary) leave. You no longer have the added Umph of being a full time servant of God (you always hear people talking about the things that they had on mission that they lost after being released such as the indomitable testimony a missionary has, or the conviction behind what they say with the additional strength the Spirit gives his/her words). However, the amount of experience you acquired between levels 12 and 14 while on mission, is worth far more than an increase of two levels for a level 4 character. After mission, you retain the things you increased on (experience gained, skills acquired, knowledge of things etc). So you may now be a level 10 or 11, where someone at your present age would normally be maybe a lvl 6 or 7 (quite a difference in experience and capabilities). As you can see, even on mission, you get out what you put in.
As a missionary, if you do what you are supposed to do, you learn things everyday. You learn at an accelerated rate things that normally wouldn't be learned until later in life. You find out more about yourself and find out your weaknesses and ways to fix them, again, only if you focus on that. As time goes on in DnD your character sharpens their abilities and patches in weaknesses that weren't apparent at early levels. As I have tried to apply this same principle in real life, I have been working on the things I need the most. I will pray about the things I should study that day or week, do so, and find out it is perfectly applicable to what I need to work on or improve the most at that time.
To more directly answer the question, I feel that the thing I have improved on the most thus far is humility. As I have learned more about it and improved, I have made jumps back and forth to thinking I understand it. I am constantly learning, and constantly growing. I can't wait to see what I come out like after mission, I feel for sure that I will be much more than I was before in every way.
Well, I love you all so much, and hope to hear from more of you soon.
~Elder Taggart Williams