Today is my birthday. I thought you would probably want to know this. Letters and packages, though late, will not be turned away. Don't be shy; I'm an excellent pen pal.
The rain has officially ended and now we are into the real summer heat. It's great. I'm not exactly sure why I still insist on getting ready every morning because by the time we leave our apartment I am already a hot mess, and if you know my hair, I mean mess. However, I will persevere!
This week we put on a musical fireside for our branch and investigators, which was fun. Since our branch is small, and there are just the two of us missionaries in this area, it was basically a two-man show from my companion and I. Though we had help from the children. They sang “Follow the Prophet”, which was so cute. I have sung before in church with the choir, but I have never had to perform to such an extent in my entire life. But, someone had to do it... It actually turned out okay. Besides our few members we also had two investigators plus a less active member there, so we were pretty pleased with the end result.
During my personal scripture study I was reading the Bible in Mark and his account of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ had just come from administering the Last Supper where Peter had passionately proclaimed his allegiance and love for Christ by insisting that he would follow Christ to prison and even death if necessary. All of the twelve apostles had accompanied Christ to the Garden of Gethsemane, but He left eight at the entry gate and asked only Peter, James, and John to follow Him further in. Soon Christ was enveloped by deep sorrow. At this point, He told the three to wait there while He went further; “Saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me”. Soon all of the three apostles tired and fell asleep. Seeking a break from His agony, Christ returned and said to Peter; “Couldest not thou watch one hour?” He also added; “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” As I pondered over this profound incident, I kept rereading the words that Christ spoke to Peter after He finds him asleep, and the tenderness with which he acknowledged His apostle’s weakness. Reading on, we find that after reproving the three He left again to pray, and returned to find them sleeping again. When He woke them for the second time they were ashamed and didn’t know what to say. This time the apostles stayed awake a little longer while Christ prayed alone again. Peter overheard Him suffering in agony and probably realized how unprepared he was to do what he had promised, which was to follow Christ wherever He might go.
As I thought about Peter and his profession of allegiance, I began to see how we too are so quick to say that we will follow Christ and then find the road too long or too hard. When I pray I often promise my love and devotion to Christ and His gospel. I thank my Heavenly Father for my Savior’s Atonement, and I insist that I will prove my gratitude through obedience to the commandments and the covenants that I have made. The problem is that I am weak. Like Peter, I know that I fail my Savior often. As I liken myself to Peter, in the sense that I too have promised to follow the Lord during my time on earth, I realize that in the grand scheme of eternity, it is not all that long. It is in fact very short. And yet, how easy is it to stop working on our testimonies, to stop watching for ways to be the Saviors hands, and to believe that we are too tired to be so vigilant in keeping our covenants? In this life, enduring to the end is the real test. It seems like such a long time when viewed as a whole, and this makes our promises seem overwhelming at times. However, if we take one day at a time it seems manageable. We can recommit every single day to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can begin when we get up each morning, and then end when we go to bed. I think if we look at being diligent on a daily basis it seems possible.
One day, when I stand before Christ, after my trial is over, I do not want Him to say to me “couldest not thou watch one hour?" rather, I hope He says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
I love you all and hope you are well,