"Spirituality... is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite."
- President David O. McKay (from Teachings of David O. McKay)
So, if you don't already know, us missionaries move around a lot to different areas for exchanges. Let me explain, six weeks make up a transfer, and after every transfer there is a possibility of getting moved to a different area in the Michigan Detroit Mission (which makes up about a third or a fourth of Michigan, and I can be called to any part of it depending on what the Lord says). BUT! We also go one what is called "exchanges" a lot. So with in the Detroit Michigan Mission there are many "Zones" which split up the mission into different areas to serve in and then within the Zones there are "Districts" and with in the Districts there are "Areas". This helps the mission to stay organized and helps the Lord's work to be organized as well. So right now I am in the Detroit River South Area, but before I was in the Detroit River North Area. Detroit River North and South and East Areas make up one district. So depending on the choice of our District Leader (the missionary who guides the district) we can be switched around into different areas in the District (otherwise called an "Exchange" but we can only be exchanged for maximum time period of 24 hours.) and work in a companionship with a missionary from a different Area to help us learn from how different areas and missionaries do the work of the Lord. It helps me because I learn new ways of how to become a better teacher and missionary!
So, with that being said and explained to all those who may have not already known, I went on an exchange back to my previous area in Detroit River North. I thought I would have been a more effective missionary because I knew the people and I had worked so hard and shared many tears with those people. However, I learned that this was not so. I went back to North for a time and worked with a newer missionary than I, his name is Elder Mortenson. Because I was back in North I was ready to hit the home run and take off flying but that didn't happen. Out doing God's work requires that we do all we can to be guided by His spirit because this work CANNOT be done by man alone. It is impossible. Fortunately we all can have the Holy Ghost to guide us through Baptism by someone who has the Priesthood of God and Confirmation, but missionary work works a little differently. Where God calls you to serve is YOUR area and he trusts you with it and to take care of His children and to bring His love to them. However we desperately need his help, because HE KNOWS BETTER THAN US. I can receive revelation and guidance in Detroit River South that no one else can. God has literally trusted these souls into my and my companion's hands! What a calling! So being back into an area that even though I had served there previously, I am no longer called to that area and because of that can no longer receive that guidance that I used to have.
So you can only imagine what this would be like unless you've experienced this for yourself, here I was with streets and people I knew once again but I wasn't having the same guidance I used to. It was frustrating. Irritating. And most of all a shocking reality to me. Detroit River North no longer seemed to be my home and seemed very distant to me compared to what it used to. I had no idea what to do! Thankfully, even though Elder Mortenson is a younger missionary than I, he COULD receive that guidance that we so desperately need from God. I love the Lord and I know now more than ever that he strengthens me EVERY hour of the day. I can see the strength He gives me as I do what He asks of me and I know that I am nothing without Him. Praise the Lord God Almighty!
Though I couldn't receive the guidance I used to the experience as a whole was nothing but spiritual. I learned things from Elder Mortenson and from this exchange that I couldn't have anywhere else. Elder Mortenson was even kind enough to say, "has anyone ever told you that you speak with so much power and know exactly what to say at just the right time? There's just so much power in your voice and you're so direct!", I said "well my mom has called me a straight arrow before", and then he quickly said, "YES! Exactly like that!", I was flattered. However I also know that I am nothing without my God, I will not boast of my own strength, for all my strength and all I do and any praise I receive is God's for it is Him who gives me that power! All the praise be God's! Not mine.
I love you all so much I I know that I am truly happier where the Lord wants me to be, and that is where I can receive all His love and guidance! I ask that you find out for yourself where is God's path for you with real intent so you can know that you are exactly where God wants you to be so that you can receive all the love and guidance He so desperately wants to give to you. Be willing to do whatever He expects of you nor matter how hard or illogical it may be, He WILL guide you because He loves YOU and He NEVER lead you astray. He is your Father and mine. Praised be His name for all time and eternity for it is Him that strengthens me. Him and Him alone.
Until next week
-Elder Samuel Afton Alger
It's been four weeks since I've sent my graffiti pictures of the week so I'm going to catch up! (PLEASE ONCE AGAIN RECOGNIZE I COLLECT ALL THESE PICTURES AS I GO AND GIVE THEM OUT ONE AT A TIME SO DUE TO THAT THE CONDITIONS OF MICHIGAN WITH NOT EQUAL OUT TO THE SEASON AND ALSO I WILL PROBABLY NOT LOOK THE SAME AS WELL.)
So there's a whole lot of icicles out here, I've even seen some as long as a story and a half!
This is the Detroit Michigan Mission boundaries and I can be called to any place with in these boundaries after a transfer or I can simply stay where I am already called! Right now I serving specifically in Detroit.