This week was a difficult one, pretty much across the board. My companion got sick, so we spent a good amount of time passing in and out of the house so he could take little hour-long refresher naps. Sleep is not exactly the most abundant out here in the mission field, but somehow the Lord takes care of us.
As we continue to find new people to teach, we often have to let others go. We have one family that we have been teaching for some time. There’s the husband, Pedro, the wife, Leandra, and the kids, a boy and a girl who are 4 and 9 years old, respectively. Pedro and Leandra are heavy drinkers and smokers, and they’ve both come from interesting backgrounds. Pedro stopped the missionaries in the street before I came and they had taught him twice before I arrived. Both times he had been pretty much smashed which made teaching difficult. But this last transfer, we brought him to church and he fell in love. He says, though, that he wants to “jump in with two feet” and doesn’t feel the real desire to leave his old life behind and pick up the new one. That means that he’s resistant to the idea of even trying to stop smoking or drinking. It also means that our purpose as missionaries diminishes. When we came into his life, he said his family became more open to the idea of spirituality and making time for God. There was a spirit of peace and hope that descended over the house. They have invited us over to lunch twice, even though they aren’t even members, and they love whenever we stop by. But they don’t seem to progress. And so, as missionaries, sometimes we get stuck in this division between friends and workers. We make changes through friendship, but we’re not friends. We won’t be in an area for longer than a couple of months and our work doesn’t allow us to linger in “friends'” houses. So we have to drop them. We have to stop visiting those people that want us to visit but don’t want to change. Because there are others who will change – others who are actively looking for us but haven’t found us yet because we’re teaching people who simply aren’t progressing.
Perhaps the most heart-wrenching moment of the mission is letting go. To a certain sense, it almost seems like we lose hope in their future. That, of course, is not at all the case, and we believe strongly that they will progress in the future. It’s hard to recognize, and even harder to accept, that the future hasn’t come yet.
We, as missionaries, are both sowers and reapers. I have a lot to learn about seeing time through God’s eyes. But I’m working on it. I hope that I will gain the Godly perspective I need. I expect it will come. In God’s time.