There's a few lucky people who really understand how missionaries live. I don't think it helps any of my friends progress toward baptism, so I don't like to tell them much. But I can tell you guys!
I like to start at nighttime. From 9:00 PM on it's almost like a new day. We plan out every single hour of the next day. Isn't that the weirdest thing? Then we wake up at 6:30, exercise and have an hour to eat, shower, and be ready for the day. From then until 11:00 we study. After that, we have one hour for lunch and one hour for dinner. The rest of the time we're out in under the blistering sun, or being pummeled with heavy rain, or under the wrath of lashing wind. Then, once a week, you're allowed to email your mom and tell her you're okay.
But the thing is folks, I signed up for this. This isn't a sacrifice, this was an agreement. I volunteered, signed my name on that dotted line and agreed to this.
So what's a sacrifice? I still don't know.
There is a recently returned missionary in the ward I'm serving in. He said in his mission, the mission president held a mission wide sacrifice. Everyone was to give up something. Sisters with long hair cut their hair short. Elders that loved chocolate gave it up. This returned missionary testified that he saw miracles in his mission because they practiced this as a mission. I didn't understand it, seemed a little unrelated, but I wanted to try it.
Two weeks ago I gave up ice cream. Now, family, there is nothing wrong about ice cream! Nothing is written in the missionary handbook about how one should avoid ice cream as to keep themselves further unspotted from the world. Buying ice cream on the day assigned for grocery shopping is completely fine. But I gave it up.
Last week I wore my hair in a bun all week. My hair is perfectly fine swinging against my shoulder blades, but I gave that up too.
What was the result? We made a lot more friends this week. We had five friends come to church yesterday and the week before. I felt happier. It was easier to love people. It was easier to be courageous.
I know what you're thinking: Nice try, Sister Goldsberry but those things are unrelated. What does this have to do with anything! You're crazy! You're suffering for no good reason.
Here's what I learned this week: When we put Christ first in our lives, when we forget about the petty little things, we are blessed. Right now, my priority is to do what God wants me to do, His way, and by His power. And He blesses me so much when I make any extra effort to follow His Son Jesus Christ. I don't know how my hairstyle and church attendance are related, but I do know that God has blessed me for my minuscule sacrifice. The days of burnt offerings and animal sacrifices are over, God wants us to sacrifice our beating hearts.
President Ezra Taft Benson said once:"Do you know one reason why righteous mothers love their children so much? Because they sacrifice so much for them. We love what we sacrifice for and we sacrifice for what we love."
I am happy to sacrifice anything I have to the Lord! I am grateful for all the sacrifices my parents made for me. From money, to a bite of their meal, to a seat on the train. I still don't really understand a lot about sacrifice, but I know that any small sacrifice qualifies one for the blessings of God. I know that God loves my friend K, who after working until 3:00 AM still woke up to catch a train at 8:00 AM so she could get to church at 9:00 AM. I know God loves the members of the church who haven't even been to church for months or years or decades. I know God loves the people who haven't ever been to church or ever even thought about God. I love you all too!
See you soon,