The book I have been gleaning from of late is David A. Bednar's Increase in Learning. One of Elder Bednar's truths that has resonated with me is that "some lessons are better caught than taught"! Our mission is quickly coming to a close. Our scheduled date is 30 November 2016, although, we have told President and Sister Christensen that we will stay until our replacements are here. That may not be until January 2017. As November approaches it has made me reflect on everything that I have learned while in Cambodia.
Even though my understanding and sense of compassion has broadened my personal ideas of "need" has narrowed.
I have seen poverty that I thought was only privy to a National Geographic magazines. I have seen families of beggars because that is the "family profession" and has been for several generations. Little bitty children will sit on a sidewalk or weave in and out of cars that are stopped at a busy intersection going from window to window with their hands clasped asking for money. They do this all day every day. I truly have witnessed the physical and spiritual "poor part of the vineyard". I envision those scriptures in my head differently now.
The principle that I have taught in classrooms for years that "God knows who you are" has enlarged, yet I have watched my own comprehension shrink. I have met hundreds of more people that I love and adore. My friendships have definitely broadened. I don't mean that in the sense that just my number of friends has increased.... it is much more than that. There is a quality of friendship that I now see in those that I left at home. I see a "true" friendship based on their actions. I look around Phnom Penh and see all the people I DON'T know and in amazement, I wonder, how could He possibly know EVERYONE by name? I certainly still believe in that principle but now I have caught the enormity of that principle in awe! I understand that His love extends way beyond my meager mortal capacity.
I believe that faith does not come by chance but through righteous choices. It is that action of our works that ushers in the power of testimony that builds more faith to make more righteous choices. You can't have faith without works nor works without faith. Faith needs action. As Elder Bednar explained, "the power will follow your actions". The action could be opening a door, a smile, a kind word, opening those scriptures, or a positive nod of the head. It may be just getting up in the morning and going forward with a day that might look like it doesn't have much promise.
None of the buildings here have libraries in them. They can't keep them stocked because poverty has a tendency to challenge your integrity. I read the Doctrine and Covenants differently now that I have had a glimpse of a new and emerging Church. I have a greater understanding of some of the Prophet Joseph's difficulties of teaching a people how the church should be run when it is a new experience all together.
Being on the other side of the world has caused my geographic horizons to broaden. I know that there is lots more out there for me to see. I hope I get a chance to do that.
My most remarkable catch......
Now that I have experienced first hand a mission that seemed to be especially designed for me, I have a heightened awareness that God has a vested interest in me. He is concerned and cares about my mission in life and what I need to accomplish that mission. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he is my Savior. I can never "catch" that doctrine enough. Many lessons have been taught and caught these last 16 months, I have 2 more months to see what else is out there to catch! I am poised, ready with my net.......