Diligence, Perseverance, Persistance?

If I were to make a motivational poster, it would be on one of those three words.  I’m just not sure which one.  Let me explain.
Every morning, Sister Abbott and I get up at six.  We sing our hymn, say our prayers, and throw on some work out clothes.  We usually stumble outside to the high school across the street by about 6:20.  There is a “delightful” dirt/sand field there.  We then jog for half an houf before going back home and starting the rest of our morning activities. 
Every day without fail, there before us and leaving after us is this old woman.  She has to be about 85.  She is so cute and adorable.  Like a lot of older Korean women, her back is severely hunched.  She walks with her back at about a 45 degree angle.  Yet every morning there she is.  She walks around the track.  She uses this big wooden cane.  Sometimes she uses it as a cane and other times she threads it through her arms so that it supports her back and she can stand up a little straighter.  She walks laps.  She sits and rests at a few strategic points (on benches), but she just goes round and round.  So adorable.
And every morning without fail, I have the same conversation the first time that we pass her.  It goes something like this:
“Good morning, grandma.”
“Good morning.  We have to exercise very dilligently this morning, don’t we?’
“Yes, grandma.”
And then she gives her little cacklish laugh.  I have no idea what her name is or what her story is, but she is so inspiring.  Exercizing on that sand field every morning with her cane and her hunched back and her very slow steps. 
So were I to make a motivational poster, I would have a picture of her on it–hunched back, cane, and all–and the title “Diligence.”  Or “Perseverance.”  Or “Persistance.”    And the caption would read, “The only failure for the righteous is in giving up.”–Elder Robert D. Hales (I think.  And I think I also paraphrased.)  Not sure which word best describes her, but she is such a great example.  Seeing her brightens my morning every day (except Sunday, when we don’t exercise).

Moving on to other random things…

This Saturday we are supposed to have a baptism.  It is not going to happen.  Our investigator still doesn’t have permission and has missed church the past two weeks–apparently she has been really sick–due to stress.  It is a very Korean thing to make yourself quite physically ill because of stress.  I have faith that there could be a baptism and that we could miraculously get permission and Sister Abbott and I are working towards that end, but right now, we want her to partake of the blessings of the gospel more than she does.  Which is sad.  She wants to get baptized, but she is young (mid-teens) and can’t see the full importance of this decision.  I wish that all my wanting it for her could help her want it more.  Want it enough that she would study harder at school in order to get that permission.  Enough that she would stand up to her parents more.  But wishing the gospel on others never does anything for anyone, does it?  We’ll just keep praying and do our best and maybe someday she will want it enough.
Sometimes I wish that I wanted the blessings of the gospel “enough.”  Enough not to be beset by so many sins and weaknesses everyday.  Enough to share it bolder and better.  Enough to love my Savior and my fellowman the way I should.  Enough to change everything about who I am and what I do that I might enjoy those blessings constantly.  I know what I need to do to get all of those blessings–we all do.  Yet how often do I, and perhaps you, too, take the lower road, the path of least resistance; giving in to the natural man and choosing to be lazy?  Ahhhh.  I am such a slothful and unprofitable servant.  But I can change today and be better than I was yesterday.  It may not be a lot, but it can be enough for thousands of todays in the future to make me so much better than I was yesterday.
I want to close this week’s blog by quoting an email that I got from my dad.  If you don’t know my dad, you are really missing out.  He is such a remarkable man.  He always makes me think.  Intellectually, as well as spiritually.  Here is what he sent (after relating a story from his mission that I’d never heard before):
“I also learned to respect the opportunity given to make an impression on another soul for Christ.  Make it count, Jenessa, whenever you get the chance to express your love for the gospel and for the Lord and for others, make it count.  Be focused and intentional, be sincere, be unashamed, even be bold.  If you are placed in a position to make a profound and even eternal difference in the life of another, don’t take that moment for granted.  Do the deed that will make a difference, in the way that will make the biggest difference.  That is the very reason the Lord gives you those opportunities.  Open your eyes, open your heart, open your mouth—and make miracles happen.”
I pray that today, you and I will “make it count.”



About gwenogjones

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving for 18 months in the Korea Busan Mission (as of September 7, 2011). I have a fanatical obsession with Snape and the Harry Potter series (in that order), I recently graduated from university majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Arabic). Prior to this major, I was working towards a degree in Jazz Saxophone performance; ergo, I love music. I also love reading, writing, painting, spending time with my friends, playing soccer, watching movies...the usual types of things early 20-somethings enjoy.
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