Cool word this week huh :-)
For those who do not know what amelioration means, since I didn't until I was told, it means to grow or accelerate. The area still has not grown very much but because of some events that have transpired this week I have personally grown about as much as I have any other week of my mission, if not more. It is amazing how trials and tribulations can be such a wonderful thing, and I am beginning to be thankful for them (not that I want too much more or anything). I will go ahead and give a quick run down of last week and then hopefully explain what I mean a little better.
As most of you who read this know, my second transfer with my trainer was spent inside for a large majority of the time because of his ankle injury which resulted in extensive surgery after his return home a couple weeks after. That transfer was not the most productive in the normal missionary sense, however I was blessed to grow in patience and gospel knowledge during this time, and then the following transfer the area exploded and we were blessed with many people who accepted the covenant of baptism. It looks like that may be the case for some of this transfer as well.
On Tuesday of last week my companion was injured. There is no cool story to explain how it happened though, he was just getting ready for the day and hit the ball of his foot on some weights as he was trying to step over them. When I came out a few minutes later he was sitting reclined in a chair and it looked like a golf ball was glued to the bottom of his foot because the swelling had already gotten so bad. He got up to go get a mirror to see it better and as soon as he put pressure on that foot he tumbled and cringed, so he got back on the chair and elevated his foot while he tried to deal with the constant pain. We were sure it was broken so we called some other missionaries over to help with a blessing, and they were positive it was broken as well. The worst part about a broken foot for him is that since he is so close to going home anyway, 21 months, they will just send him home early to have it taken care of and he wouldn't be able to come back.
We gathered around him to perform the blessing and were amazed to be part of a modern day miracle. I performed the blessing and in the middle of it I felt prompted to tell him that he would not be going home because there are still people in this mission who need him. I didn't want to say it though because I knew it was broken and was afraid it was my own mind trying to tell him he would stay and not the spirit, so I continued the blessing trying to get around it. The spirit gave me the same prompting several times though so finally I spoke the words I knew were needed and ended the blessing in the name of Jesus Christ. I didn't know what it meant but we all knew he would not be going home early. When we finally got him to the emergency room both doctors told him it was pretty bad and most likely broken so we were not sure how the blessing was going to come into affect. Then the x-ray came in and it turns out there are no visible breaks or fractures and that he will just need to be in a wheel chair or crutches for 10 days to 3 weeks. Later when we were discussing it we came to the firm belief that his foot had been broken but was healed through the power of the priesthood.
So he is not going home :-) But, our work is still very limited because of his injury since even with me pushing him in a wheelchair there is only so much he can do before the throbbing pain causes him to need a break at our apartment. After a couple days of very little work and being stuck in doors for so long I began to get a little down. Thoughts of 'why' began creeping into my mind. Why do my companions get hurt so often to the point of not being able to work? Why am I usually put with missionaries who are at the end of their mission and enjoy talking about their home plans so much? Why am I stuck in a completely dead area where there have been minimal baptisms since it opened 10 years ago? Why is my family having financial struggles while I am serving as a missionary? Why, why, why so many times over.
Then I was blessed to read exactly what I needed. In my personal study I randomly decided to open up in the bible dictionary and read about King David. There was a small part that told how all his trials in his youth, which dwarf my own trials, prepared him for the throne later in life. When I read this all of the scriptures and talks I have read about trials came flooding into my mind and my heart was changed through this experience. Each of us are preparing for a throne in the Celestial Kingdom which should be our top goal in life, and that is not possible without trials. Joseph Smith said that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things will never build the faith needed to reach exaltation, and he also counselled to be thankful for any trials we are "blessed with". What I am going through now is not only preparing me for the rest of my mission but also for everything after. How can I expect to be a righteous husband, father, and friend when I get back if I do not accept every trial out here with thanks and vigor? According to Bruce R. McConkie we cannot receive exaltation if we are not able to abide by the laws of consecration and sacrifice, so if I shurk any callings I have right now and do not devote myself completely, despite anything else, how can I honestly say I am willing to live those two laws? Realizing all of this and understanding it had a huge impact on me and I feel very grateful that my Father in Heaven has trusted me enough to give me these trials right now, because he will never give me anything I cannot handle. Greater trials means that I am growing and am prepared for greater blessings as well.
Of course there is so much more I want to say but my time is running short and this entry is already really long . Before I get off there is just one quick story I wanted to tell you about the converting power of the Book of Mormon. Our elders quorum president, Brother Hawkins, told this to us yesterday. He said that someone he is working with had some questions about the church so he decided to give him a Book of Mormon to answer those questions (such an incredible member missionary). His friend has been reading it every morning with breakfast for some time now, and has continued to come to him with questions. A couple weeks ago he came up to Brother Hawkins and told him that the Book of Mormon is 'ruining his life, or at least changing it'. He said that since he has been of age he has had a subscription to Playboy, but when it came time to renew it he just couldn't do it and now has a closet full of those magazines he needs to get trash. He also said that he loves going to baseball games and every time he does he grabs a score card and a beer, but this last time he couldn't force himself to buy the beer. He is not a member of the church, and is not even meeting with the missionaries, but the Book of Mormon is changing his life because he continues to study it and pray about it. That can and will happen to anyone who is willing to read from its powerful pages, and I promise it will bring joy to anyone that takes that sacred challenge.