It is hard for me to summarize all the things I wish to tell you about my experience and the feelings of my heart but I want you to know it has been a great week for so many reasons. I only hope that you all know of my love and the source which it comes freely from. I get the sense that my efforts here in East Cleveland are teaching me patience more than any other principle. Our two most solid investigators dropped us this week and I noticed that this time around being dropped didn't hurt nearly as much as I reflected upon how I tried to love each one in a way that I thought the Savior would. Early in my mission I have had to deal with the feelings of rejection and dissapointment alot. These feelings harrow me up to a similiar way of how I used to feel when I did not follow the Gospel. It has been interesting to me as I have combatted these feelings through honest work and sincere prayer the way that the Lord has comforted me. The lie in my head says that I am failing, unsuccessful, unprofitable,uncharitable, slothful, and headed for regret and disappointment; all the words of destruction. Then the voice of the Spirit comes to me. It visits me on my knees at my bedside. It visits me as I catch the sunset over the skyline of Downtown Cleveland after a long day's work. It visits me as I sing my Hymns, when I ponder my subjects in early morning study. And it always whispers the words of peace to my soul. This week the voice has told me to "surrender", "to be patient", "to love fearlessly" and above all to be grateful. This is the same Spirit that can change all of our lives. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis that I had the privilage of reading this week, it goes as follows----
‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’ ---
So powerful, and so just what we need. I think for one who is just learning to come unto Christ, or come back unto Christ this may seem daunting. We must start small. Something as simple as kneeling in prayer tonight and asking for courage and direction for 24 hours can change the course of our entire lives. I testify that that it is truth, it happened to me. I feel more and more that I am entering a new stage of my development, and my perosnal persuit of truth and happiness, that is to completley give up all these things that I think I want and totally rely upon the words of the Lord and trust his path, it is the only intelligent thing to do. I want to share something with you all that I hope will strengthen you and draw you closer to our God this week. I was studying the beautiful concept of "Hope" one morning this week and I loved what read in the Book of Romans, 8th Chapter, 26th and 28th verses. Verse 26 reads:
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered".
I cant tell you how much this verse caused me to wonder. I looked in the footnote as there was a greek translation for the word "groanings", the translation was the word "sighings". I thought about how powerful the Spirit is when it searches our hearts and minds and knows that we don't have the words to say often times to explain away our desperate situations. In our finite understanding we ofetn pray for these that we "ought not", still God knows the heart, he knows the sighs that we realease as we truly hope to feel his love, to be assured of the future, to be lead on to success. This is what I am experiencing in Cleveland. I am sighing. Sighing for sadness, sighing for relief and sighing as I am again and again comforted and strengthened by a loving Heavenly Father who sustains me despite my many weaknesses. I sense that we are all doing this in our lives, my loving advice is that we direct our feelings to the Lord and no other source, that he make intercession for His children. I testify that this is truth, it happened to me. If I seem more distant in the coming months I want you to find peace and assurance that I am not forgetting you but seeking to lose myself in Cleveland. I dont want any part of my old costume. I want to re-introduce myself to all of you when I get home as my true-self. I love you all and want to leave you with the assurance of a very truthful passage of scripture. Romans, Chapter 8, verse 28:
" And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called accoring to his purpose"
We are ALL called to His purpose, that is what being a child of God is. A very loving member from India shared with me that changed my weak. He said "in India everyone is taught that we are all God. If you touch a cobra, it will bite you. We all have a cobra inside of us, so... we don't go there with people. All people have a hidden-side that is not good" but he said "we don't look at that side of them, we look at the side of them that is perfection, that is light and pure, that is God. Approach everyone with honor and look for the things that are perfect about them". Because we are all children of God we all have something perfect about us. This changed my week as I went about talking to strangers. I hope it helps you as it did me. I love and and know that God lives and Jesus is our loving Savior, in his sacred name, Amen.
--- Love Always, Elder Prince