We can do hard things. I was reminded of that while reading about the passing of a mission presidents wife in Africa last week. She went to a hospital for a minor procedure and passed away while there. She taught her missionaries the magnificent principle that they could do hard things. I naturally contrasted the experience we and our young missionaries are having serving in Utah with the experience of those that serve in Africa. Certainly not having running water, sleeping in huts, traveling everywhere by foot, not seeing other missionaries for weeks is hard work in Africa. Our missionaries certainly don't have those challenges.
The challenges of our missionaries are very different. Serving in the heart of Zion is a privilege. But with that privilege comes the responsibility of living the standards of the gospel in word and deed on a different level. Each week a general authority visits a different stake conference in our mission. Frequently the young missionaries are asked to spontaneously share their testimonies or a first discussion in front of 1500 people. How is that for pressure?
The missionaries have a saying..."every member a mission president." Everywhere they go, they are being watched. At least 3 times a week I receive an email or a phone call about various and sundry mistakes the missionaries make. Examples of some of these... "they were riding their bikes too close to the traffic and they didn't have any lights." "I saw them at the bowling alley on Tuesday. What are they doing there on Tuesday?" (It's their pday) "The missionaries hung out at the family history center all afternoon." (I ask them to do family history for their investigators and less actives every week). 387 Bishops and ward councils expect a deep spiritual thought and advice to hasten the work in ward councils weekly. The missionaries are expected to teach 21 lessons a week, baptize every month and take recent converts or recently activated members to the temple every month. They are expected to smile and be happy everywhere they go. (Even in the snow and rain) They enter smoke-filled rooms and work with disaffected members daily. The local members have the best intentions in mind, but consider the scrutiny the missionaries face. I love these missionaries. I love their commitment. I love them in all of their 18 and 19 year old weakness. I love that they can do hard things.
As Gods children we can all do hard things. Why? Because our greatest exemplar and Savior did hard things and set the example of how to endure difficulties.
He endured and "drunk out of the bitter cup which the father hath given..." What was in the bitter cup? Isaiah called it the "cup of fury." What was in the cup? All that is painful, all that is harmful, all that isn't perfect. He made all that wasn't right, right.
Consider the following scriptures in D&C 19:15-19
15 "...how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
If Jesus can give glory to His Father after doing the hardest of ALL things, so can we give thanks in doing our own hard things.
We thank you for your love, support and prayers. We need it and feel it!
Love, Jeremy, Amy and Family