I too must give¨…(This song rings in my mind).
Being a missionary in Guatemala is a special privilege and I have learned to love this people, the simplicity, the gentle climate, learning to speak the Spanish language, and serving the Missionaries of Central America as AMHA. Area Mental Health Advisor.
Every time I am asked to call and speak with a missionary, I am humbled by their faith, their testimonies, their love for our Savior, and most of all for their desire to be obedient, to do their best at following the Commandments, reading their scriptures, and seeking out those who are ready to listen, and being worthy to receive ¨El Espiritu Santo¨, to assist in knowing what to say, to share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these Latter Days..
Recently I was asked to speak with an elder from Guatemala who spoke little English, but with my limited Spanish, and my Iphone translation, we got along fine, and shared a special hour together. He told me of his struggles as a child, being raised basically without parents, or a stable home life, being passed around into at least 7 different homes, often without much food or comforts. He was not asking for sympathy, he had been told he had bipolar disorder, and he wanted to understand why he was having disagreements, and bad feelings/interactions with others and lived in continuous fear. After speaking with him, I doubted that he was bipolar, .. rather, I found that many of his angry reactions came from feeling defensive and devalued. He had learned to survive the only way he knew how, did not bond well, and had difficulty trusting that anyone was truly there in his life to love and accept him unconditionally. I think he has a lot of PTSD left from life experiences. He finally had found the gospel through a good friend, saw something that gave him hope, (Esperanza) and developed great faith, to learn to work, and not get into trouble, not steal, but be self sufficient, which there are not as many opportunities to do, when you are an unskilled disadvantaged worker here in Central America. For this young man, going on an LDS mission is a huge step and his life will be blessed as well as him helping many others.
I empathized with him, but also shared with him Ether 12:27 from the Book of Mormon.
And if men come unto me, i will show unto them their weakness, God gives man weakness that he may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
As a therapist of many years, I know personally that this is true. We all have weaknesses to overcome. When we take a habit, or personality trait, a weakness and work on it, we become strong in that area, and can later use it to help strengthen others, and it helps our confidence in ourselves.
What are each of us doing with our many gifts and talents? We were born with so many and have lived where we could develop others.. Are we using them to assist others, friends, or even strangers? Do we hide our light under a bushel? I have to admit, I was guilty of that for many years, being self-centered and not giving even a small percentage of what I could- to share with others. I am not proud of that..
Often we may compare ourselves to others, and of course we come up on the short end because we see others gifts, and our shortcomings. In speaking with one elder who had low self esteem, he said to me one day.. ¨Who am I that I can be telling these people what will make their lives happier?¨ I replied, indeed Elder, WHO are YOU? You represent Christ and His restored gospel upon the earth today.. If but, not for you many of the people you speak to on the road, or streets of a small city, would never hear of the restored gospel. YOU hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, restored to the earth by Peter, James and John, the apostles upon whom Christ conferred this Priesthood, in His day before it was taken from the earth, then was restored for our use and to assist building up the kingdom of God, prior to His second coming.
We have been given the power for personal revelation and promptings by the Holy Ghost, after baptism, to guide our lives and testify to us individually the path to follow, right or wrong decisions, as long as we keep ourselves worthy to receive it.. It is a privilege, and a blessing! and is called the Comforter, in times of loss, or pain.
I have had to cling to the Comforter many times throughout my life, through divorce, loss, disappointments, my husband passing, and many other times when I did not know what decision to make.. It has always strengthened me, and helped me get up again..
So, my message is, my friends, my brothers and sisters, We live in America, and have so many freedoms not even imagined by other peoples of the world. (For instance, I can´t wait to be able to drink again, from my water tap, without buying water, to feel the safety in our communities that most of us enjoy, to walk freely without an armed guard, even at McDonald´s, to feel that our tax dollars do often count, to have a voice to vote, to choose our education and religious beliefs).
Those of us who already have the gospel in our lives, also share other blessings of the Temple, etc. that we take for granted..having our families be sealed for Eternity, and doing the Sealing ordinances for our ancestors, that is a privilege indeed.
I share my love for you, and pray the Lord´s blessing be with you.
Hermana George in Guatemala.