This week has been hard. Not because anything has really changed to make it harder--we still have the same amount of disappointments and successes--but it's our attitude towards everything.
As missionaries in upper Nevada you see a lot of crap--abuse crap, drug crap-- we are around it. There are so many people who want to change and want out but they don't necessarily actually want help or want out. They want all their problems to be fixed without any work, without any change. It can be frustrating and annoying. It's sad. You want to help, but they don't want to be helped. They don't want to forgive because that would mean losing their identity as the victim and part of them wants to be the victim. They want to be broken. They can't loose that. It's part of their identity, part of who they are.
At almost every dinner appointment we've been to we have been leaving a message of Faith. It's the most basic principle to teach and the hardest to master. Perhaps we left it because it was what we needed--faith that people can change, faith that miracles can happen, faith that we can make a difference. One of the ladies we ate with is a recent convert and we asked how faith has played a role in her life. In her cute little spanish accent she told us the following story:
When we first moved here from Mexico, we had no money. There is a Mexican dish you can make that's super cheap--an onion and tomato and you make a paste. But I look in the fridge and freezer--no tomato. So I say a prayer (She folds her arms) "Please god, I have no money. Please let there be a tomato". She opens the fridge and freezer--no tomato. She moves everything around in the fridge and freezer--still no tomato. So she goes--oh, well. I'll try again. I'll give you another shot. She prayed again. She opens the fridge and right in the front and center of the first self she looks at is a tomato.
What she said after that has stuck with me all week. She said, "With faith in God, there is always a tomato. When you rely on the Lord, he will always make sure you have a tomato."
Perhaps I'm still waiting for my tomato. I've been given plenty of tomatoes in my lifetime and I know that the Lord will provide and He will work miracles if we are patient and persistent and rely on his timing.
What started all of this was a scripture in Matthew 17. It's a story of a man who has little faith and exclaims "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief" to which the Savior replies
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
I use to think that mustard seed was actually a great amount of faith. I can't move mountains. Then I was reading Jeffery R Holland's talk on this same scripture he said
"The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know."
It truly doesn't matter the size of faith, but whether you act upon the faith you have no matter how small. The result is miracles. I've been referring to a General conference talk "Faith--the choice is yours", because it explains so perfectly what these mountains are and what faith can do for us. He says
"I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed."
I have seen many mountains removed. I have been the recipient of many tomatoes. I'm so glad to have faith in my life and the hope that things will get better.
Hope everyone has a great week!
If you want the full sources of the talks I'm referring to they are here
So multiple people have told me the pictures didn't load. I don't feel like going through my camera again. But here are pictures from this week!
This is why we were late for a dinner appointment. Yes. Those are horses.