Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Light at the End of the Funnel

 Uessgay atwhay!? I earnedlay igpay atinlay isthay eekway!
(Guess what!? I learned pig Latin this week!)
My favorite redneck and friend Jaleta came out with us and taught us how. Hahaha we have way too much fun sometimes ;)
Actually, that same night we went to go see this really fun family with Jaleta and their puppy came up and peed all over my companion. We couldn't stop laughing! Luckily it was the end of the night though so after getting shakes at sonic we went straight home so she could shower and stuff.... If you can laugh through dog pee and Pig Latin, you know you've got yourself a rockin' companionship.

"Istersay ochstrasserhay, I ovelay outaya ooosay uchmay! Istersay Ohlerkay"
(Sister Hochstrasser, I love you sooo much! -Sister Kohler)  We also had a funny moment going to a recent converts house. We got there and I felt prompted to talk about the temple, so I did. Then I told them we had a mormon message to share with them (I actually didn't...yet) so I quickly typed "temple video" into my iPad and found some random video that looked like it would do the trick and clicked on it to show to them. As it began to play, a nice family came on the screen and started talking about the different faiths they belonged to and how one of the guys had lost his grandma, etc....Sister Kohler and I had to work really hard to not just bust up laughing. We somehow managed to tie the video into our lesson and make it look like it was intentional. "Do you show that to everyone??" The recent convert asked when it was over. "Nope, only special people!" We replied with a smile.... Hahaha ;)

So everyone here in the south has crosses and fishes everywhere to represent their Christianity. So I've been thinking a lot lately about what OUR symbol of our Christianity is. I turned to 3rd Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon and read about the resurrected Christ coming to the Americas and showing the people the prints in his hands and his feet. He chose for these to be the symbols of His Messianic mission. As a modern day apostle Jeffery R Holland put it: "He will carry on His hands, feet, and side the evidence that there is a sacrifice involved in serving God". As I reflected on that, I realized that our symbol in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is our sacrifice! Christ said he had "suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning" (3rd Nephi 11:11). Similarly, we should all be able to stand and say that. Whether it's at the pulpit during our mission homecoming, or before the judgement bar of God, we should all be able to say we suffered the will of our father. We sacrificed so that we could do what God needed us to do.
Being a member of this church IS a sacrifice. Many people don't want to join our church because unfortunately, it requires some effort. People look at the small end of the funnel and think "that's way too many restrictions I'm not going through that" but little do they realize what happens as you continue through. as you reach the end of the funnel, a much larger, much more liberating space draws near and the greatest amount of light shines through. We find that we are free and happy.
Granted the devil works opposite. He takes you through the big end of the funnel first saying "look at all these things you can do! You're free! No rules or commandments or any of that!" And then he takes you through until you find yourself getting more and more bogged down and restricted at the small end of the funnel and you're trapped there.
"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" Matthew 10: 22)
One of the things my Heavenly Father really opened my eyes to this week was the importance of enduring to the end. Getting through to that light at the end of the funnel. Preach my gospel has taught me that the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious is patience. 
"It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing.  When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully." (PMG chapter 6: Developing Christ Like Attributes)

You see, there was a good deal of drama between some of our favorite investigator couple as of late. And unfortunately I let it really affect me. For awhile, I didn't know what on earth to do about it.  I believe that if I had had greater patience, then the Lord would have granted me the peace I needed to know that things would be okay in the end.

In watching our investigators go through their trials, I saw how patience with others can be critical. I saw how patience in their relationship was going to play a big role in if things worked out or not. The part of your brain that can reason and use good judgement is slower than the part of your brain that gets angry. Turning away from the situation for a few minutes to give your rational brain time to engage is critical in arguments. Other wise little things will become big things and love will turn to hate.

It was also very hard for me to see a recent convert relapse into old habits. It hurt me. I began to feel like I just had overall failed as a missionary, between this and then the last incident I mentioned, I had lost a lot of patience in my confidence for them.  Then, something great happened. Heavenly Father told me to stop being frustrated and stop being anxious. He told me to trust HIM and have hope. This is when I was really taught the lesson of patience. And guess what? Things are working out :). The recent convert has been to church, taken the sacrament, and is on the addiction recovery program. The young couple is still struggling, but I know that Heavenly Father LOVES these people and he is working to help them, even more then I am! I know that things will work out in the end, we just have to be patient through the hard times. I had forgotten that I don't have to do this alone, His grace is there for me. His grace is there for them!

"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." (Mosiah 24:14-15)

The Grace of Christ is not a "booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source." It is not the light at the end of the funnel but the light that moves us through the funnel. It is what gives us the patience to endure, the peace to prevail, and the pleasure in doing so. "Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now." (His Grace Is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox)

So I know, this email was all over the place. Between the funny moments, the sacrifice, the patience, the grace, the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, this mission is exactly what I need- and hopefully somewhere along this journey it will help you find what you need, too! :).

I love you guys!
Sister Hochstrasser

Write to me!
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Suite #190
Brentwood, TN  37027

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