Andrew's message home this week was entirely spiritual. He's completely immersed in missionary work and it shows in everything he says:
- It Will Help Me
Something I'm doing is giving up one thing about myself every day. (Little things like allowing my companions to shower before me or planning to do my laundry so it doesn't interfere with studies)
Sacrifice Brings Blessings
Giving up things is stretching me from the circle I created for myself - the little bubble I formed for myself - and I see myself pushing farther and farther away from it. It's like a little bird that hops farther and farther away from the nest and it's father says, "If you spread your wings you can fly." (It's cheesy but I know you love it, Mom.) I've been in the nest but by me leaving, I can be like the Father.
Sacrifice Brings Perspective
Giving up things gives me perspective. I think "What am I gonna do when I get home? What am I gonna do today? What am I gonna do tomorrow? Who am I gonna marry one day? How are my parents doing at home?" but I don't have to answer the questions because the Lord is preparing for it all to happen. What links my faith is the hope that He'll make it perfect (even things I haven't dreamed of.)
Spirituality is Most Important
I love this gospel so much. I know personal prayer is essential to conversion. As a missionary, this is my life: study the scriptures (they're my iPhone), think about doctrine, and consider uplifting spiritual things. (If you think about it, spirituality is what this life is all about - we're spiritual beings living in a temporal world.) Our spirits will all have immortality because of Christ coming to earth and sacrificing his life for us. He gave us the ability to live forever, but its up to us to choose to have more than immortality - to have eternal life and live in the presence of God. To me, that makes so much sense and I want people to know that.
Why would I want people to know that? Why would I want them to read The Book of Mormon? Why would I want them to pray? Because from the bottom of my heart I know it's all from God. God is literally putting His arm out and saying, "I am right here. This is all for you (Christ, His atonement.) You're all my children and I love you all very much. I want you all to come to me."
Change Brings So Much More
This is why I'm here being a missionary. I know I've been called to Irvine because there are people here who need to hear this - there are things in their lives they don't like. There were things in my life that I didn't like before I came out on my mission, and I've seen my life change (my self-control, my willingness, my happiness, how much I smile, and how interactive I am with people.) It's not the mission that did it but Christ. God reached His hand out and I humbled myself before Him. I came to him with a broken heart and contrite spirit (humble), gave up the things dearest to my heart, and said, "Paint me as who you want me to be." I've experienced many blessings because of it and I think "Wow! I'm becoming so much more than I was."
|Candid shot of Elder Lovgren playing ping-pong|