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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

March 27, 2011 - Reflections

You know those moments where you take a look at yourself and say "What's my deal?  I should be a lot better than I am at basically everything!"  I've kind of been having one of those lately.  It's a weird time for my mission because a lot of the Elders who were just new when I first got to the country are on their way out the door.  At the end of next transfer Elders Waltman, Jones, and Die-maru (no one knows how to spell his name) will be on a plane home.  It's kind of crazy to think about.  Then it's just one after another until it comes to our group.  I was talking to President Pratt this week about how much more I wish I had grown and how I would like to be so much better of a missionary than I feel like I am.  He helped me put things in perspective a little bit and gave great support, but I feel like the next six months are going to be что-то с чем-то.  (I hate that I can't remember how to say things well in English.)  will sure be something!  I remembered.  :D  That happens to me more and more now...not being able to express things in English.  You'll all make fun of me when I get home, and I'll just get on Skype and complain to my Russian friends and then I'll feel ok again.  That's kind of how I see things going.  The moral of the story is that I feel like I have so much work to do, and suddenly I don't have a full two years to do it anymore. 

 I think that it was one of those self-review moments that distracted Enos from hunting one trip.  Being alone in the woods gave him the opportunity to reflect and dig deep, and realize that he wasn't headed exactly where he needed to be.  His change was phenomenal.  Our hearts change as we do the work of the Lord, and seek for His blessing on those around us.  Sometimes it takes a lot to get past that breaking point, but once you do there is no turning back.  I read Enos' short record this morning.  Do you know the kind of change it made in his life?  Take a look over it again sometime.  It's kind of like the change that Peter made.  I watched a little bit of a talk Elder Holland gave at the MTC about Peter's big change, lots of cool insights. 

When Christ was crucified, and three days later the tomb found empty, all eyes turned to Peter, the new leader of Christ's Church, the head Apostle.  They were all new converts, none had been a member for more than 36 months at the very most, you have to give them a little bit of credit for that.  When they turned to Peter, asking what to do, he did the thing that he knew how to do.  It had been a great run, but now Jesus was gone, and Peter returned to Galilee, got the boat ready, and went fishing.  After fishing all night without a single catch, they see a figure on the shore, who had lighted a small fire.  He called out "How's the fishing?"  "Lousy!  We haven't caught a thing all night!"  "Try drawing on the right side of the boat."  Can you picture it a little bit more now?  I know how I'd feel when some wise guy, sitting on the beach tried to tell me how to fish after I, a professional, had been at it all night.  They tried it anyway, and a miracle followed. 

As soon as Peter realized who it was on the beach, he leaped from the boat and swam to his Master.  How comforting it must have been to be back at the feet of the one who did know all the answers.  As the morning continued Christ helps Peter make the change that would make him the great Apostle.  The one who people would lay their beds out on the streets with the hopes that the shadow of Peter would fall on them and they would be healed.  The trial came in the form of a question.  "Peter, do you love me more than these fish?"  Three times he asked, and three times came the solemn answer "Lord, thou knowest I love thee."  and the response, "Feed my sheep." 

From that moment Peter changed.  He gave his entire self to feeding the Lord's sheep.  For more than thirty years after that day he tirelessly served the Master, and boldly faced martyrdom in Rome, giving his life to the Kingdom of God. 

What question would the Savior ask us?  "Do you love me more than...?"  Can we honestly answer "Yes?"  To Peter "yes" became much more than a word, it became a dedicated, consecrated life of love and service.  He proved his answer.  Enos did too.  So did Alma, Nephi, Abraham, Joseph Smith, Esther, Thomas Monson.... Can we answer the way they did?  Are we ready to give up the fish, and the nets, and the boats, and do what the Lord asks of us? 

Kind of a deep letter/message this week, but there is a little glimpse of what is going on inside Elder Fife right now.  Hopefully it will be of some kind of value to one of you too.  I love you and I pray for your well being.  I pray that the Lord will soften the hearts of those who know not God, and I know that he will bless them.  May God also bless you. 

Elder Fife

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