So, you know that commercial for Sour patch Kids (the candy, in case you didn't know) where it says "First they're sour.... then they're sweet." Yeah, agency is a lot like that.
I like to think I'm a patient person. Especially coming out into the field. The only person I've been frustrated with was me and my problems. Until a couple days ago. A couple days ago, we tried to teach a Spanish gentleman (who refused the Spanish Elders we brought) lesson 3. He didn't want to talk about faith, repentance, baptism by immersion and enduring to the end. He wanted to argue. We'd testify-- very strongly, by the way-- of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon, Christ's Atonement, Joseph Smith's validity and calling. He would come back with "Well, you know, like I was saying, there's been a lot of scandals with the Catholic church..." or "Well, you know, like I was saying, a lot of people don't believe in Mormons..." yes, I know a lot of people don't believe in the Mormon faith, I know that there were a lot of wars started over religious beliefs and I don't want to know about the catholic fathers going off the deep end. But dag-nabbit, the church is true! I told him "People may reject us, but that doesn't mean we're not true. People rejected Christ."
Agency, you're such a headache.
The mission is such a high-stress job. We had several heart-attacks getting Delores and her daughter Samaria into the baptismal font and confirmation chair. I felt like a rubber band being stretched out, inch by inch. The other elders in my ward kept teasing me as I paced the hallways, waiting for them to walk into the church. Although they had made it to their baptism, we weren't sure if they would come back the next day to be confirmed. I'm pacing back and forth during the opening hymn and Elder Kaelin says "huh. Sister Gunson. You look kinda stressed." I almost decked an elder. Sarcasm is funny and all, but not in these situations.
I felt like an umpire. They sat back in the pew after being confirmed and I felt like standing up, looking over at Satan (who was probably moping outside the door) and yelling "SAFE! SAFE. SAFEY SAFE SAFETY SAAAAAAAFE!"
Obviously they're not. Because agency is such a pill. But it's nice to know that we have a ward whose Texan hospitality knows no limits. They flocked to this duo like Mormons to General Conference. Within an hour of being confirmed, they had been given much-needed clothes and dinner invitations. Texas. You should try it some time.
In my personal studies, I read (for the thousandth time) Jacob 5:75. For those of you who don't know how I ended up in Texas for a year and a half, lemme explain.... no, there is too much, lemme sum up.
5 years ago at EFY, I read this scripture and I heard the smallest of whispers say "You're going on a mission." The spirit has the remarkable ability to whisper, but pierce the heart to its core. Over the next 5 wild years, I have never forgotten that impression. I knew that somewhere up there, it had been decided a long time ago that I was to serve a mission. I find myself in the heart of a ghetto in Hurst, Texas, signed up for 18 months, and while others might think: how... did I get here?" I know exactly how I got here.
Agency. Freaking agency. I CHOSE to sign up, I flippin' ASKED for this, I practically BEGGED. Despite the next roller coaster I went through-- where I wasn't always a bright and shining example of the believers-- I have been found worthy to lift where I stand. And I get the wonderful privilege of watching others make good choices. I watched Delores and Samaria go down into the water and come back up; I watched them be blessed; I watched them take discussions; I watched them accept what their souls knew was true. I get to watch Alvin (yes, ALVIN) be baptized on Saturday. From May to August, we've toiled and trialed over how to help Alvin gain the unshakable resolve that he's now enjoying. The man that wouldn't come to church, that wouldn't give up drinking, that couldn't decide to be baptized now goes through Ensigns in a day. You wanna know how that happened?
Agency, you Sour Patch Kid.