Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 160

Tjena tjena mina vänner!

I hope you all had a great week! This week flew by super quick. It feels like I was just barely sitting at the computer typing last week's email. I had a pretty good week! I would say a little better than last! We still didn't do too well with lessons. All the lessons we had set up just kept falling through. We did have a lot of lessons with members which was good for us to practice teaching and practice the language. I am getting more confident with the language than before. It is just hard to learn because anyone you talk to usually switches to english the second they hear you're American. I usually just keep talking to them in Swedish anyway haha. The members are usually really good about talking to us in swedish. I love the members in this ward! I think there might be a possibility of me leaving Malmö next week which is sad, but at the same time I think it will be good for me. 

Tuesday, we went with the sisters to teach one of their new investigators, Muhammad. It was a really cool experience. It wasn't the most spiritual lesson, but it was interesting. He was really interested in our church and our beliefs and he just wanted to hear our view on things like God and Jesus and Muslims and stuff. He started asking questions like "how big is God? where does he live?" When we told him about how he has a body of flesh and bone, it was hard for him to accept. He believed that God was within all of us. We told him that that is the job of the Holy Ghost. Then he thought that the Holy Ghost had more power than God. It just got pretty confusing. We also taught him about the Book of Mormon. That was the cool part. Even though the calm feeling of the spirit wasn't totally there, as we started teaching and testifying about the Book of Mormon, you could feel that peace in the room. And I think that is the power of the Book of Mormon. It can bring a spiritual environment no matter what the situation. Muhammad is willing to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. We are going to meet him this week and we will see how it goes with him. 

On Wednesday, we had district meeting. It was a great meeting and Elder Beck shared a short story that really hit me hard and that I would like to share with all of you. It's called "The Room". Sorry it's a little long but I promise it's worth it. 

"In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written."

I dont know if you have heard this story before, but it really hit me hard when he read it to the district. I don't know if I have ever pictured the Atonement and Christ paying the price for our sins in that way. I think it is a really good metaphor to show how the Savior willingly and lovingly paid the price for each one of our sins, no matter who we are. It made me look back to the things I have done and the things I have thought. It made me wonder what the Savior would think of them if he were to read them like cards. I don't want to cause the Savior anymore suffering than He already went through. But most importantly, I am eternally grateful that he did perform the Atonement for me. That no matter what I have done in my life, I can be made clean again through my Redeemer Jesus Christ. I love Him with all my heart for what He did for me. I try to be more like him each day. I hope this little story helped you better understand what the Savior did for each one of us. 

On Friday I had an experience where I experienced the gift of tongues, haha. We were visiting Elisabeth, one of the hardest members to understand, and she wanted help programming her new house phone she bought. I had no idea how to do that but for some reason she thought that I would know how to do it. So I looked at the phone and then at the instructions, I didn't really understand them that well. But as I started talking to her, I found that I was saying everything I needed to clearly, and I could understand her clearly. I also found that I could understand the instructions! I was able to communicate clearly with Elisabeth for like the first time ever! hahaha it was the best! I was able to fix her phone for her and I knew that I had the Spirit's help. She was very appreciative of the help we were able to give her. We also gave her a blessing. Elder Sahlin was there on splits with the other Elders. He is one of the AP's and he is one of the missionaries I look up to most in this whole mission. I want to be just like him one day. He gave the blessing and it was a beautiful blessing and the spirit was so strong. I am thankful for the priesthood I bear and that I can use it to bless the lives of those around me. 

Saturday night, we got to play a little basketball before we taught Su. Su brought a few of his friends which was awesome! They were pretty good! It was probably the hardest ball I have played on my mission! (hence the picture) The guy on the very left was a quick little guy. But nothin I couldnt handle ;) It was really fun! One of Su's friends, Jaden, the one next to Su, is currently looking for a church to go to. He seems really interested in ours! He lives in a different city, so we will have to get his info to the missionaries there, but he comes with Su to sports night and will be there next week as well! 

Oh, and we also got locked out of our apartment and we had to break in, haha.

Well I am out of time. I hope you all have another amazing week! Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers! I love you all and pray for you all every day! I absolutely love being a missionary and for the experiences I get to have every day. I love this gospel and I am learning and understanding it more than ever before. Serving a mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life. Jag älskar er! Kämpa på!

Äldste Bailey

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was really powerful. I love tha atonement and the sacrifice Jesus did for me. I think its good to stand tall and bare witness to that.