Well, I forgot to include a detail in the last weekly email, so I suppose I will include it here: there was an emergency transfer on the 23rd of April. The reasons are irrelevant, but the consequence was that our district leader was transferred to a different area, which meant that the Mission President had to call an interim district leader to serve in his stead. I was called to take the spot. So, things have been a little bit more exciting in the life of Elder Fleming these last few weeks. As a district leader, I make phone calls to all of the areas in our district (we have four) every night to follow-up on how the day was, who they met, who they taught, who they’re preparing for baptism, etc., etc. Each phone call takes anywhere from 3 – 7 minutes, so normally the phone calls in total take about 15-25 minutes. From the start, I tried multi-tasking, filling out our area book every night (the little log where we record personally what we taught to whom, etc.) while making the calls, but I couldn’t manage to keep focus. So I’ve just resorted to compartmentalizing instead. As such, I’ve been really struggling to get to bed by 10:30pm, but I hope to find a way to fit everything in and still get 8 hours of sleep.
I also have to do the interviews of all the baptismal candidates in our district. Not this last weekend, but the one before it, every area but one in our zone baptized, so I was running around on the bus Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with my companion interviewing all of the baptismal candidates that had been prepared by the other pairs of Elders. Given that my directional senses are less that of a pigeon and more that of a naked mole rat, there was more than once when I found myself completely turned around. But, with time, it’ll come. I’m also responsible now for planning and running the district meetings that happen every week, which means calling on other elders to prepare little talks (3-5 minutes each) and preparing a 1-hour training myself. And then, on top of all that, the expectation is that we teach, contact, baptize, confirm, and in general convert more quantitatively and more qualitatively than any other area, so as to give an example and a standard of excellence in the district. Not to mention, our home should always be spick and span.
Needless to say, the work and the expectations of work have increased dramatically in my mission experience. I’ve always been driven by expectations. I do everything in my power to please those to whom I am responsible. Sometimes, my perspective of those to whom I ought to be responsible for have been skewed (i.e. misguided friends or those who do not have my well-being in mind). But, on the mission, I feel I’ve been blessed to really understand what it means to be accountable to God. Every day I fall short of my calling and potential, in great and humiliating ways, but I trust in the Lord’s promise that he will fill in the empty spaces.
I’m coming to recognize more and more just how dependent I am on Christ and his Infinite Atonement. Everybody has different ways of handling imperfection. Some to rejoice in it, proclaiming, “To make mistakes is to be human”, as if one has to make mistakes in order to fulfill our purpose in creation. Christ, being the Son of Man, showed us that perfection is attainable, though He (and our Heavenly Father) recognizes that only one would achieve it. Others seem to run from imperfection, trying to hide it or pretending it doesn’t exist. Others fight against, chastising and degrading the imperfect parts of themselves and others. Christ, however, offers a higher path. He asks that we come unto him, and he will make imperfections perfect. He asks that we recognize our imperfections and lean on Him and humbly correct our mistakes. Over time, with our will and obedience to Him, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He promises that He will mold us into the perfect beings we were intended to be. The refiner’s fire certainly isn’t comfortable, and even less so given that we have to willingly step into it, but every short minute is worth the eternities of happiness to follow.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, both as a general missionary and now as a district leader. I’m not perfect, but I will do my best and lean on the Lord for the rest.
May God Bless You,