Finding Meaning in Hard Times

Things have been so strange since I have returned home to San Bernardino for this surgery/recovery.  As a missionary, during down-time, the conversation would invariably at one point or another turn to topics such as music, movies, sports, or girls.  It was just natural.  Each of my companions and I would get to know each other’s tastes in music, favorite movies, sports teams they rooted for…the like.  Sometimes, we would talk about how much we were looking forward to enjoying the radio or a good football game when all was said and done.  We would never have changed our situations for the world, but we looked forward to being able to enjoy these things after our missions.

Now, I’m home and have full access to all of these things…but they all mean nothing to me.  None of it excites me anymore.  There’s no draw.  Music has become noise.  Movies?  Boring.  Food has lost its taste.  Even sports have become a waste of time in my eyes.  (Shocker!)

This may sound overly-dramatic, but I don’t know what else to say.  It’s true.  Life in general just seems gray to me.

Yet, despite all of this, He is here.  And I have to have confidence and faith in that.

One of the things that you learn quickly in the mission field is that the Lord’s plans often differ widely from that of your own.  As a missionary, you wish that everyone was willing to listen to your message, willing to pray about it, and willing to act upon it.  A vast majority of the time, this does not happen.  No, on the contrary, missionary work involves a lot of slammed doors, dropped appointments, and empty seats on Sunday morning.  You learn that things have to happen in the Lord’s timing, as well as in His own way.  You also learn that His way is a lot better than your own.

I thought that this was the greatest change that had come over my mindset while I had been away.  However, the Lord has a funny way of testing both your weaknesses and your supposed strengths (sometimes one and the same).

Yesterday, our family was blessed to have Elder Higham of the Quorum of the Seventy in our home.  He spoke with me a great deal about the mission and the struggle of being temporarily separated from it.  He shared a scripture with me that has become one of my new favorite scriptures.  It is Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.

” Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

He then gave me one of the most beautiful blessings that I have ever received in which the Spirit manifested to me that indeed, my work is not done.  I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit, for righteous priesthood holders that I can look up to, and for challenges that cause us to grow and become.  I still am not sure why I am home.  Surely, there is something other than the medical issues that is keeping me from the mission for this period of time.  But I have full confidence and faith that as I give my best to those around me and to my Father above, I will serve my purpose here.

I look forward to the day that I will return to Iowa.  I begin treatment for the BPPV (vertigo) on Wednesday and am still recovering from the surgery on my sinuses/nose.  As of right now, the doctors are telling me that I should be able to return mid-late November.  I pray that it is sooner.

Faith and Honor,
Elder Eastwood


About Koko's Mom

The mom of Koko "Puff", a Doberman pup, who has destroyed a lot of things...
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