Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Home sickness is killer."

Hi family!!

 Thank you so much for sending me those photos of Emily's baptism!!
 Special message to Emily: Congratulations Emily!! I'm so happy and so proud of you for the decision that you made!!! I know that our Heavenly Father is especially happy for this is the first step required for each and every one of us needs to take in order to return to live in His presence after this life (John 3:1-5, Mosiah 27:25-26). I really hope that the baptismal service went out wonderfully and that you have an amazing experience!! I'm sorry that I wasn't able to be there for your baptism; I wish that I could've been there to see it. Whether I was there or not, it doesn't change the fact that you chose to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized and then confirmed by one holding the appropriate authority of the Priesthood of God. That was one of the most important choices that you could have possibly made at your age. You chose to be obedient to the Lord's commandments, and for doing so, the Lord has given to you a promised blessing -- the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost along with the remission of your sins. This is a very precious gift that will be with you for all time and eternity on the condition that you remain worthy of His presence by respecting the covenants or sacred promises that you've contracted with our Heavenly Father during your baptism (Mosiah 18:8-10). I would encourage you now to do the very best that you can to choose the right, to be a great example, to learn about the Gospel as much as you possibly can, to read the scriptures, and to pray every day. I know that if you do these things that the Spirit of the Lord will guide in everything that you do, will help you to overcome any challenge that you will have to overcome, and will protect you from the evil influences of the world. Well, Emily, I love you so much and I hope you have a most wonderful week (the rest of the siblings included)!! 

  Being diligent, staying motivated, and working as hard as I possibly can has been the perfect recipe for the most extreme fatigue I've ever experience in my entire life. I'm grateful to have seen Emily's baptismal photos for they filled me up with a lot of hope, peace, happiness, joy and strength. I would really appreciate it if you could keep keeping me in your prayers so that I can successfully make it through this last stretch of the race at full speed.

 I'll be straight up without holding back when I say that this mission only seems to be getting tougher to handle the closer I get to the finish. Even though I only have seven months left, it's not getting any easier. I'm still diligent and do everything that is expected of me to do, but never in my entire life have I been so completely and utterly exhausted.  This is getting really hard. I've been struggling for the past little while, but despite the fact that it's getting harder, it seems that things have been starting to get easier all at the same time.

 I've had a few recent changes take place, one of which is that I've thankfully overcome my physical fatigue and I've been getting up earlier to start my studies sooner which has been great. At times when I get back home I'm utterly wasted, but it has been much better than it was a few weeks ago, especially when I started working with my new guy Elder Ndibu. I'm still motivated and make sure to take care of myself spiritually so that I can more effectively see to the needs of my investigators. I strive to remain as diligent as I can by continuing to do everything that I know that I need to do. My testimony has taken a few recent hits, but I'm too tired to doubt and due to everything that I'm about to tell you, there's no way my testimony can falter now.

 This mission has been extremely eye-opening. I've witnessed and learned what I feel to be the true meaning of apostasy, pride, prejudice, arrogance, manipulation, inconsideration, selfishness, and many more undesirable traits, all of which have been used against me in many different ways and occasions.

 I'm no longer physically or spiritually tired as I used to be, but I've been getting tired of something that has been draining me in a way I didn't know possible: problems. The problems that I have to deal with from those whom I live and work with have been the most terrible and difficult things that I've had to overcome in my entire life. I've gotten so tired of it that whenever they happen, I just sit back, listen but not pay too much attention (or take it too personally), take the verbal hits along with the chastisements, fix what I can, apologize even when I didn't do anything that I would consider to be rude or inconsiderate, not dwell on what happened and try to move on as if nothing ever happened.

 Here's an example of my most recent struggle (which no longer bothers me because I'm too tired to care): My companion and I have been getting along just fine for the past five or so weeks and haven't had any problems whatsoever. From time to time we'd get a little angry with each other, but nothing worth getting offended over. I told my guy from the very start that if he ever had any problems with me that he only had to tell me that he didn't appreciate what I was doing and to politely ask me to stop and I would enforce myself to change and to become better (I'm more or less easy to work with that way). Every week, during our weekly planning, there's one part during which we discuss if there's anything that we can do as a companionship to improve on anything. I would always ask him if there was anything that he wanted to change or if there was something that I was doing that I could improve. He would usually say no and that he was still observing (my behavior, I'd imagine) before he would say anything. I took it that if that were the case, there were no problems to resolve. My ignorance to the feelings that he was apparently harboring against me ended up in him retaliating (thankfully in not too much of a crazy way) last week. Due to a suggestion that I had given him after an appointment about what I felt we should've done during the lesson just as an innocent evaluation, he told me that we're no longer doing companionship study because I'm too smart for him and that he needed more time to study PMG the way I did so he could teach "according to the book" as I did.

 Turns out that trying to be as diligent as I possibly can and encouraging others to do the same makes me a hypocrite and a show off in that I only do what I do to be seen of others, which has never once came to my mind. I didn't fight back and I tried not to take what he said too personally (advice given to me by E. Joseph who has had much experience with Congolese missionaries) and now we don't do comp. study. I don't mind though, I just want there to be peace and happiness and no problems.

 I'll be honest though when I say that all this has been making me really want to come home. It's not too much of a bad thing because it doesn't hinder abilities to accomplish my work too much and I know I can get through this, but man, home sickness is killer.

 Well, ever since we stopped doing comp. study, I have noticed that an improvement has taken place in our relationship which has been nice. I suppose that more personal space due to cultural differences doesn't hurt too much. Whatever needs to happen to keep the peace works with me.

 Well, my family, its time for me to go. Don't worry about me, I'll be just fine. Like I said, despite the hardships, things have been getting easier the more I've been relaxing and only worrying about myself. I love you all so very much and I thank you for you love, support and prayers. Take care of yourselves and have a most wonderful week.

Oh yeah!! We also had a baptism yesterday!! I can't explain the details because I have to leave, but I'll send pictures next time and I describe all that has taken place next week.

Sincerely, Elder Gonzales

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