Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm Proud Of You

Hey everybody! 
     How'd your trick or treating go??? Here's how mine went... We'd ring the doorbell, they'd answer and we'd say, "We're the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." They'd give us some disgusted look and tell us, "No." We knocked two hundred doors this week without any success.... and no candy (; However, we're continuing to work hard and try to find those prepared. We have three investigators, but none are quite over the hump of truly committing to the gospel. We'll get there though! Hard work brings miracles! 
      Back in February, I was sitting on a bus traveling to Grand High School for our final game of the basketball season. It was a game that if we won, we'd be region champions. If we lost, we'd fall down to as low as fourth. Being a crucial game, in a basketball season that was full of stress, and so many ups and downs for me, I received a text message on my phone. It was from my dad. The text read, "Tys, I know that this has been a hard experience and situation for you to be in. However, I want you to know that no matter what happens tonight, me and your mom are so proud of you and are grateful to have you as our son."
      Those comforting words from a parent are the best thing a kid can hear. Although I knew how proud they were, in a time of hardship, stress, and worry, the one thing that relieved and calmed me down were the words, "I'm proud of you." 
      Life as a missionary is the one of the most joyful things I've ever done. However, it's one of the hardest, and most stressful things I've done. I've never been so happy, yet so lonely. So exhausted, but so alive. So surrounded by love, but never so alone. Service is difficult at times because as a missionary, although I'm living the most Christ-like life I ever have, I feel so inadequate. Maybe it's because of my overly "I wanna be perfect" attitude that I've always had. I've always strived for pure perfection, and like everywhere else, I fall short in the mission field. However, this week as I pondered and prayed for answers, I finally received it. 
      The essence of life is summed up in one word. That word is change. God has never worked with perfect people, and doesn't expect us to be perfect in any way, shape, or form. Instead, He simply asks us to follow Him and be perfected through His infinite and perfect atonement. In the times where I think I need to be perfect, I realize that all Christ is asking me is to keep trying. He accepts every effort we give. It may not be our best effort, or maybe it might be every single thing we have. No matter what it is, He accepts it, because it's always one more step in the right direction. Christ walked along the shores of Galilee and said to Peter, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." As I read that scripture this week, I decided to interpret it differently. I read, "Follow me, and I will make you." The only thing Christ asks is that we follow Him. Something so simple, yet sooo difficult. He'll always accept every effort we give. It's said that we are "human-beings", but in reality we're truly "human-becomings." Through His perfect atonement, we can all truly have a change of heart, and strive to exemplify Christ more fully in our lives. 
      I love my parents, and I'm so grateful for their constant love and support of everything that I've ever done. They have the most perfect Christ-like love I could ever ask for. They've accepted and loved me through success, hardship, and trial. I remember that feeling in February when I heard the words, "Tys, I'm proud of you." In the mission field, I long for the day when I can sit at the Savior's feet and hope to hear the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant." I know that my Savior will too, love me through all my success, trial, and hardships as well. How great will be the joy that I will feel if I continue the process of change each and every day. 
      I'm grateful to be a missionary. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I know my Savior personally and feel His love each and every day. I know He lives and guides me, and every single person in this work. I'm grateful that through the atonement we can truly be perfected. I love my mission so much. Despite the ups and downs I experience each and every day, I get to experience a true change in myself and those around me. I know that as we change, and "let Christ make us" we'll truly all hear those desperately desired words, "My child, I am proud of you." 
      Thanks everybody for all the love, and support. I love you guys and truly have the greatest support in the world. Thanks for everything. Talk to ya'll here next week!

Elder Roper


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