After a very long and grueling week of missionary work with several lessons falling through and a lot of things working against us I witnessed one of the most rewarding sights of my life this past Sunday that made every hard day here in Ascoli worth it. Not sure if any of you remember, but my first Sunday church meeting here in Ascoli there were 4 people that came. After coming from big bustling Napoli with a pretty large church membership and a lot going on with the missionary work, I was slightly more than shell shocked after my first 3 days in Ascoli, especially Sunday. I think people misunderstand the term long suffering. It is in fact not suffering in any way. It is patiently bearing the challenges that come our way without questioning, without complaining, and without resistance. When we long suffer we demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t expect everything to work out in our way and in our time, we trust His way and His time.
Some may wonder why Christlike attributes seem to always come to us in long lists. That is because they are all truly interconnected in such profound ways. Where does long suffering come from? Patience. And patience? Faith. And faith? Hope. All go from one to another building upon the preceding and giving us greater opportunity for improvement.
All we must do is be committed to working hard. There is a quote from the prophet Ezra Taft Benson that is quoted in Preach My Gospel, but originates from Teachings:
“One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people, and he will be happy . . . Work, work, work – there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”
When we work hard, blessings come. I am witness of this. Sunday we had 25 people present in church excluding us two missionaries. We were completely out of chairs. People were even sitting on the couch. I never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. No matter how hard some days may be we must push forward. Any and all hard days are the greatest gifts we can receive because they promise rewards in the end.
I love you all so much,