It won't always be like this: Those were the words that President Riggs started off our Zone Conference with. And this week, they've rung so true to me.
Monday was the first example of this being true. Last Monday, one year to the day from when I first pulled my hamstring, I was finally able to play a full game of basketball without limping off the court. I remember so many times in the past year thinking I was just going to have to settle with always having a limp, but the Lord has come through and I'm experiencing a full recovery. :) I definitely wasn't at the top of my game though.... :P
Tuesday, we had a zone training with... well, the zone. Elder C is in our zone now, which is way fun! I've hardly seen him since I finished training him, and it's awesome to see him doing so well.
Wednesday was Zone Conference, which President opened with those words: "It won't always be like this." The only thing you can count on, he said, was change. There are few things in this mortal world that are absolute, but one is change. Things will not always be like this. If things are good, that's great! But, they won't always be. If things are tough, stay strong, because things won't always be like that either.
Zone Conference was also fun because I got to see a ton of people I used to know! Or... still do know actually, but haven't seen in a while. Elder R, who was one of my trainers, is on his last transfer and was there. some other Elders I've come to love who you wouldn't recognize names of... haha And my MTC companion, Elder R was there, too! I'm pretty sure it was the first non-transfer meeting I've seen him at! He has some new developments as well! One of the Mt. Vernon Zone Leaders injured his knee and is home on sick leave, and Elder R was called to be a Zone Leader by ET ( emergency transfer) ! He was crazy nervous, but is leading his zone very well. He's always been one to accept any challenge the Lord throws his way with a smile.. It's getting harder and harder for the Lord to challenge him... haha
One other thing President Riggs said at zone conference that stood out to me. He spoke about how the Lord gives us what we really want. One of the examples he used was: "if you really want to find new investigators, you will find new investigators." Finding has always been something that I am just not able to do. I get out, I work hard, I talk to people about the gospel, I teach many people about our church…but I have not found someone…someone who wants to hear what we believe and wants to change their lives. . So, I concluded that I simply don't want to find enough... That I was happy working hard, serving, and teaching people others had found. Well, that certainly wasn’t for me! So, I spent the next day or two recommitting myself to finding, and sure enough, when I want it more, it happens!!! Thursday evening, we went out and hit the ground running with a firmer desire to find, and we came back that evening with Friday, Saturday and Sunday all FILLED with return appointments!! It was amazing!
Oh! At the Zone Conference, I also won the ironman award!!! It's the award given to the missionary who has been the longest consecutively on bike :) It is an honor J
So, Friday, we received some sad news. I got a phone call from President Riggs letting me know that Heidi Greenwood had passed away. It was very sad news, and I just want to let the Greenwood family and all of Heidi's friends know that they're in my prayers. Incredibly enough, I had chosen Friday to wear a purple tie... The world will miss that amazing young lady.
So, I decided after the loss of a friend, the best thing to do was go work hard... so, after dedicating my missionary day to Heidi, we went out, and in the next 3 hours we found 2 new investigators, contacted a referral, sent a referral and put someone on date for baptism. It was amazing! I know she is the ultimate missionary now and I must work hard to make her proud.
The coolest finding story was Ambrose. We were riding to an apartment complex we often spend time in. On our way there, a random man asked for a pen. He starting writing a note, and by some miracle, he read it aloud as he wrote it. He wrote (and said) his address, and, miracle number 2, I recognized it by memory as the address of an investigator who we haven't been able to contact in a while. I asked him about her, and found out more than I wanted to know, but definitely what I needed to know. After stories of armed muggings, missing apartment keys, etc. We decided it is not safe to continue trying to contact this woman. So, we went our separate ways, and a little bit down the road, I felt like we should follow the man. I brushed the thought aside, but then it returned stronger. "Elder, there are children at the park down the street and I want them safe from that man." Pivoting on one foot, I simply said to Elder Porter: "We're going this way." Picking up our paces, He said "yes we are" and we hurried up and over a hill into view of the park. At the top of the hill, we were by a new road we hadn't been by. We did not see the man but hung around for awhile and made our presence known. We stood searching for him for a bit, then deciding the children in the park were all safe, we turned to return. "Elders!" We suddenly hear as a car pulls up. Ambrose leaned out the window and asked if Elder Church was around. Elder Church has been home for months and hasn't served here in Annandale in over a year. We told him he'd be stuck with us now, and he said that was great and invited himself to church!! Then he just drove off. Elder Porter and I just looked at each other and said "I'll never understand how God works. I'm just gonna hang on and enjoy the ride." It was incredible, how we were brought to where we needed to be in the park with the children and by that road to meet Ambrose when he needed us.
Anyways, long story short, it won't always be like this. Just tell yourself that whenever things are good as a reminder or whenever things are bad as a comfort. Until this week, I was the missionary who couldn't find. It won't always be like that. It's snowing today. It won't always be like that. The work is going well in the mission field. And I love my companion….. It won't always be like that. But the most comforting of all, is though we trudge through the ups and downs of mortality, suffering pains and losses - like our sweet Heidi - we can always find comfort in this frightening world we live in with this simple phrase: It won't always be like this.
- With love, Elder Hodgson