Sunday, April 22, 2012

Patience, hope, and faith.

Dear Mom,
It's been a really fast week, and the hottest that I have for sure ever experienced on my mission and probably in my whole life. I've spent each day looking like an idiot under my umbrella wiping sweat out of my face with my bandanna and then squeezing it out every few minutes. The cold sting of Provo never sounded so good. Showering in ice doesn't even cure this heat.

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. I've kind of avoided taking pictures a bit because I look like a monster right now because I haven't gotten my haircut since I was in Mapayapa. I was able to get a couple pictures of the area though to kind of give you an idea of what it looks like. Green, green, green. The most green I think I've lived in my whole life. If there's anything I've learned though, it's that allergies are the only reward that the green gives you here in the province versus the cement jungle of the city.

Funny aside real quick. My companion thought it would be funny to scare a dog yesterday and then ended up paying for it by getting chased and almost being bitten. I've never seen such a big, muscular guy scream so high or loud. It was definitely one for the books. I have no idea what's with missionaries and dogs.

How we wash dishes in the Philippines.
Brother DeJesus just watering his plants - not need for grocery shopping here.

We've literally been fighting everything here in the work and I feel like a lot of it has to do with the way people get stirred in the heat. We were able to have zone interviews last Wednesday which was really nice, especially seeing the office faces from not being there on a regular basis anymore. President Sperry came and talked to each of us about a Christ-like attribute that we were working on. According to Sperry Statistics, patience was voted number one.

President challenged me to study it out, especially in it's relation to faith. Of course, a challenge from your mission president is like a triple-dog-dare from you childhood best friend, you can't turn it down. So my search began. 

I started in Preach My Gospel and noticed that it added just one more element to the mix - hope. From there I searched the missionary library and the scriptures for days. This is what I've come up with - remember this is the Gospel according to Elder Corpuz.

For understanding purposes, I've compared it all to a cross country race since I do have that written down in my past and is something that I understand pretty well. From my research, we can put patience, hope, and faith into other terms to better understand - endurance, trust, and confidence respectively. In relating this to a race this is how it can be done. 

When a runner enters a race they prepare first. They practice everyday to increase their capacity to endure through the physical struggles they will encounter on the race - whether it be hills, terrain, or even just plain old breathing. They try their selves daily to increase their capacity to endure. Similarly, in our race of life, we have trials that we must endure through. Each of us has a capacity to endure - some reach the breaking point faster than others, but the beauty of it is that we can increase that capacity if we choose to through our daily trials. Being patient is being able to endure without question or complaint.

The runner gains strength to endure and lengthen his patience from trusting that the race will end and that as long as he finishes and does his best, his coach will reward him at the finish because a real coach knows that his athlete can only do his or her best. This is where hope comes into the picture. Hope means that we trust in God's promises for us that he will give us if we endure well to the end. It sustains us as we are patient. We endure because we can trust that someday we will rest from our afflictions.

And now finally, this is where the race of this life differs from a cross country race. Now, we're going to make the race just a little easier for the runner, and we're going to take this runner's big brother, who happens to be the number one cross country in the world, and we're going to let his brother run with him. This runner's brother has actually ran the same race before so he knows the ups and downs and ins and outs. Big brothers also know their little brother's ability and this particular big brother is confident that his little brother can make it through. He is confident that his little brother can make it through and assures him of that, and of course, his little brother trusts him. This confidence acts as faith does in our lives. Confidence in this older brother works just as faith in Jesus Christ. It's knowing that whatever hill you take, your big brother has been there and he's going to run right beside you and help you to not give up. He knows how much it hurts and how much you have to push, but he will never leave your side. He helps you to be patient and reminds you to be hopeful. He is the only sure thing that will keep you through the race.

Patience, hope, and faith are all things that take a lifetime to exercise and perfect. These are attributes that we can't just put on a list and check off when we've acquired them, they come as gifts if we work towards trying to actually have them. Patience is definitely the theme of missionary work - whether it be with people you teach, your companion, or yourself. I'd say I'm still really far from being able to say that I am patient and don't know if I'll ever be able to say that, but I'm going to keep trying. Happy races.

Elder Corpuz
 P.S. Attached some pictures from our Stake Conference with Elder Nielson who is in the Area Presidency of the Philippines. I made sure my afro-thunder wasn't included in these pictures.