The week before last was horrible. On preparation day I was almost about to log off from my email account when I saw that an email had come through from a dear family member. All that stood out to me was, “sounds like you’re struggling a bit”. I was taken aback. I started questioning whether my email to them sounded really negative or conveyed struggles of some sort. I admitted to myself that it more than likely did and identified in that moment that I was indeed struggling. Throughout the rest of preparation day I pondered and pondered on why I was struggling and why I felt so unhappy. I realised that it was because that whole week I had been so focused on myself. All I thought about was me, me, me. I was a little and a lot disgusted at this realisation. I knew that if I continued on in the path that I had been travelling my mission experience would never be as fulfilling as it is meant to be. I would never find true and lasting happiness in my service. I resolved immediately that I would change, choosing to turn outward rather than inward, as the Saviour did.
This past week I did just that! I prayed fervently for help to turn outward rather than inward. I also prayed to receive the gift of charity (which also includes patience and humility). There were many tests throughout the week. One in particular came quite frequently. Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I loved when the little kids would say “ematang” to me? Well, now I hate it. And over the past few weeks I was allowing myself to become impatient with them. I knew that this was something that I could work on, choosing to be more patient with children. Also, as we would bike to different appointments a lot of young adults would call out to us in mockery. Previously I would react to their taunts but this past week I chose to either ignore their comments or reply as politely and as genuinely as I could. Before focusing on the faults of my companion I would look within myself and remember that I too, am not perfect and she more than likely gets frustrated with me a lot but always treats with me kindness, patience and understanding. When ever I would feel homesick (it’s like a daily struggle because I’ve never been so far away from home and family for so long) or lazy, tired or unmotivated I would try my best to think about those we were teaching and focus on what more I could do in service of them. It was only through focusing on the needs of others (my companion, those we were teaching, ward members, fellow missionaries and also loved ones from home) that I was able to find true joy and lasting happiness in my service this week.
I know for certain that as I apply the principle of turning outward rather than inward throughout this entire experience as well as throughout my life as a full-time disciple of Jesus Christ, I will indeed find true and lasting happiness.