my missionary journal

Missionary Journal – June 28, 1989

Day 29 of my full-time mission
Area: Afton, Wyoming

It’s 6:30 p.m. We had a 5:30 p.m. discussion, but the people weren’t home. So, we came back to the apartment.

I’m so upset. I need love. I’ve been praying for 20 minutes or so. I just went back and read in my journal about before my mission, and that made me cry even more because I miss my family. And then I read about the Missionary Training Center. I found that I didn’t write a lot about what happened and how I felt there. So, I’ll write some now. I have to have something to help me feel better.

I think the best thing about the MTC was the presence of the Holy Ghost. I experienced more joy, real joy, there than anywhere or any other time I can remember. I grew to love those five guys so much, and even the group, and sisters in our zone (the group that came into the MTC the same day as us and were in our branch). I am so thankful for good teachers while I was there that allowed us to learn the commitment pattern and allowed us to see them apply it.

I can’t think of much to write. It’s mostly feelings that are hard to put into words. All I know is that I can’t wait to see those guys again. At least I’ll get to see some of them Monday.

Let me tell you what we did today, and then I’ll describe why I feel so lousy.

I got up at 6:43 a.m. Yes, I was slothful and wasn’t able to get out of bed right on time (at 6:30 a.m.). Then, I studied for an hour. Half an hour in the Book of Mormon and half an hour using the gospel study program. I did learn a lot and felt great this morning. I guess that’s because I was learning about the gospel. I even wrote to the family just to tell them I was okay and really seeing “all the opportunities that await me through missionary work.” Boy, if nothing else, I’m going to learn what I’m made of.

Then we had companion study for an hour. That went well too. We worked on sections in the Missionary Guide so I can get my certification. After that, I spent another half hour on certification stuff. I feel pretty comfortable with it all, except knowing all the discussions. I was upset about that tonight… story to follow. I mentioned to Gatlin that I’d try to pass it off on Monday, July 3, and he said, “Wow, that’s quick.” Probably not anyone has done it in two weeks before. But I don’t know when I’ll see our district leader again. I want to prove to someone, maybe President Shumway, maybe Heavenly Father, that even though we may not be teaching a lot, I’m sure trying to learn and progress.

Anyway, after that, around 10 a.m., we went to check on an investigator, but we’ll have to go back because he was busy. Then, we went to the grocery store. I felt like I needed some more stuff. I hope I’m okay with finances. I’m trying to keep it to $275 per month, but my hang-up is the MTC because I paid about $200 in fees on the 31st, so that’s really last month, but if I count it for this month, I’d be at about $350, and that’s awful. I asked mom and dad about that in the letter today. I’m pretty sure they put in some extra.

Anyway, we came back, and I ended up working on certification stuff for another hour or so, until noon, when we ate lunch. Gatlin didn’t have anything planned, so I did some work.

After we ate, we took off to go tracting to Afton. Let me tell you, that’s frustrating. We ran into two nonmembers, and they just said, “Not interested. Thanks.” The rest of the time, we spent talking with members. Some of them are good member missionaries. Some aren’t. But all were nice. (Boy, Elders Crystal and Katich must have loved me when we were working with Gina!) Tracting is just aggravating when you feel like you’re accomplishing zilch!

Then, we taught Brendan again, at 4:30 p.m. I don’t know the discussions at all. I felt so stupid. I did okay, but I just really feel inadequate. Part of the problem was that I got so tired all of a sudden on the way over to his place. I fell asleep and was just kind of out of it. I’ll bet Christ never did that.

Then, like I said, we went to the Davis’, and they weren’t there, and boy was I happy because we were supposed to teach them the fourth discussion and I really don’t know that one. So I’ve made a goal, instead of getting mad and fed-up, I’ll spend half an hour or more each day on only the discussions. I’ve been putting it off because I’m afraid or just because I feel like it’s hard to teach them. It’s really not, and I’m sure I know the material, it’s just a matter of getting them organized in my head.

Well, I feel a little better now. I listened to that tape again this afternoon, “You’re Not Alone,” and I just started to cry because I missed home. I guess that music reminds me of family, and of being at home with my family. I’ve learned that I love my family so much — more each day! They’re in Vegas now having a great time in the sun, I’m sure. I wish I could see them, but then I don’t think I’d ever want to be separated from them again.

The mission APs (assistants to the president) left a message that they’ll be up here around 9 p.m. tonight to visit. Yes, civilization! I’ll probably have a long talk with one of them if they received my letter to the president and he told them about it. I’m really not super happy here, and I think it’s because I’m not sure if I like a mission — it’s rough. Now’s a stupid time to think of that. I must be doing something wrong.

I prayed that I might feel loved. Maybe if Elder Gatlin weren’t such a loner, I’d feel better. But maybe it’s my fault. He is much more closed than I am though. I just need a friend. All I’ve got now is Heavenly Father and right now, I’m not even so sure about that — well, that’s a lie. I know He does love me. But just now, when I prayed, I didn’t feel a burning in my bosom or anything.

Well, I need to make dinner now. I just pray for strength and faith in myself. I need help.

Well, it’s 9:50 p.m. now, and the APs haven’t shown up yet. Gatlin said that they told him and his other companion they were coming up once too but never made it. I guess we’ll see.

We went to the stake mission correlation meeting tonight. You know, missionary work really is great. I just get frustrated with people and situations. There could be a lot more organization around here. We really could be teaching a lot of people just from members’ friendshipping. It’s just a question of how to make that work?!

Anyway, I’m here, and I might as well make the best of it. The Lord knows I try, and I really do care. It’s just that I feel like I have no authority around here because I’m a junior companion and a greenie. But, I have made a few suggestions to Gatlin, and he’s followed some of them. Time to use the commitment pattern, huh?!

Well, I feel better. I love the Lord. I know that, and I also know that my salvation comes first, so that’s what I’ll continue to work on when others decide they don’t care.


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