I could write volumes on what the Lord taught me about patience this week! The insight that seems to have had the biggest effect on me was this: indifference is not patience. Too often when I don't get something I want now, I convince myself that I don't care. (for example: an investigator doesn't come to church, or an investigator doesn't read the Book of Mormon, or an investigator falls back into bad habits, or an investigator drops us...my problems seem to all have the same ring) I avoid irritation, anxiety and anger by not really putting my heart into it. On the outside that looks like patience, but inside you are losing the growth that comes from continual yearning and the power of faith. Patience is painful, but as James E. Talmage said, "In mercy, the Father sometimes delays the granting that the asking may be more fervent."
Patience is not simply waiting, either. As Elder Uchtdoft said, "Patience requires actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results don't appear instangtly or without effort." We must not get discouraged or lose faith as we continue to work toward our goals with delayed results. Easier said than done, of course : ) but isn't everything about the Gospel?
We have the most amazing new investigator! Sister Snell and I stopped James McKenzie in the street in the evening last week. He opened by saying that he didn't want to talk and he'd just really had a bad day. (This is why it's good to be persistent!) I don't remember how we kept the conversation going, but he agreed to have us over. Neither of us knew what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised. He is a twenty-year-old scaffolder and one of the most humble people I've met. The lesson went smoothly. He really felt the Spirit as we spoke of Joseph Smith and he offered to be baptised before we even invited him! We were explaining how in the Book of Mormon we learn to have faith, repent, be baptised by-- and he cut us off. "Yeah! My cousin was christened last week and I've been thinking I should get baptised. Where can I do that?" We were amazed. He is so willing. Last night in our lesson we discovered that he works for his uncle who is very, very demanding. He calls James in at odd hours and doesn't give him the time off that he promises. James is exhausted and we felt prompted to share with him about keeping the Sabbath holy. Rachel, an amazing twenty-something in the ward, was with us and she pulled out Mosiah 4:27. When he heard, "...it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he have strength..." his jaw dropped. He told us that answered all of his stress. It was so amazing to see him feel the peace that Heavenly Father wants him to take a break! It taught me how practical the Gospel and the commandments really are. In his prayer, James told Heavenly Father that he was "definitely going to start reading this book properly." That was his third lesson and he thanked us for always cheering him up when we come. He says he just can't help but smile when he sees us smiling! What a joy. The Lord is blessing us.