April 23, 2018


Bila Tserkva


Elder Ethan Hamilton

Week 24

This last week started off pretty difficult. I had a really difficult day on Sunday because people were trying to ask me to do a hundred different things for them, and they were asking me in 4 different languages, and I was getting my butt kicked by all of those languages--even English--because my brain was just getting fried. That whole day, I had a big wave of hopelessness hit me in regards to the language, and it carried into Monday and even the beginning of Tuesday.

My whole life, I've been able to do something as long as I tried. There have not been many times where I've actually tried my hardest, 100%, and still failed. Even the times I have failed in something, I could honestly say it's because I just didn't care enough to try my best, and I probably would've been able to do it, had I tried my best. But now, here I was, trying my absolute best at something for almost 6 months straight now, and STILL I was getting my butt handed to me.

This realization that I'd worked so hard, for so long, with fewer results than I wanted, is what invited this wave of hopelessness I was talking about. I, of course, didn't want to feel hopeless all day, so I prayed mightily to God to help give me some hope or to just help me be comforted so I wouldn't feel so awful. But after a few days, there was no change. I felt the same.

It wasn't until the Zone Leaders came for exchange that I started to get better. During one of our opening meetings, an elder shared a verse from the Book of Mormon, Alma 26:27, which reads, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

In this verse, a man named Ammon (who had recently returned from a 14-year-long mission to another kingdom) is telling others about his experience. Those who have read the Book of Mormon know that Ammon was one of the greatest missionaries of all time and converted entire cities of people who, at first, wanted to kill him. To see that such an amazing missionary had moments when his heart was depressed and he wanted to turn back, but was then comforted by the Lord, ended up comforting me. I almost cried during the meeting when this verse was shared. Remember how I had prayed to God to help me get out of my hopeless state? He answered me--just not in the way I expected.

Often, God answers our prayers by sending someone else to help us. This is what happened here. An elder who had no idea what I was going through felt prompted to share a scripture during that meeting, a meeting which is supposed to be a purely planning/logistical meeting. This scripture helped me begin to shake off the cloud over my head and get back to normal, and I'm very thankful for it.

So now, I would like to ask you all, how are you going to be the answer to someone's prayers this week? There are people right next to you who may be suffering, and you can help. If you get a thought or feeling to help someone or to say something kind or to do a good deed, just do it. I know that this thought or feeling is from God, and, if you listen to it, you can be the instrument through which he answers some one else's prayers.

I love you all!

The photos are: the view from one window in our apartment; after this guy cut down a few trees, we rolled the logs a few hundred meters to the fire pit so we'd have wood for the fire; the venue of a Shashleek (Russian barbecue/shish kabob) party we went to with our members and a few potential investigators; and Elder Hamilton and I at Stan's farm.


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