November 17, 2014
Okay so this week has been a good one here in Juan Lacaze! We had so many adventures...a mission-wide conference in Montevideo, a fun outing for Via Lapanche (I’m not sure if I spelled this right, but it’s the area of the elders), and an AWESOME Sunday in our sweet little branch! But before I get started, I’d love to share what I learned this past week. As I was reading in the October Liahona, I found a little story about a missionary who visited the Jadeite Cabbage one P-Day. Apparently there’s a famous cabbage in Taipei that is carved out of jadeite! Usually jadeite sculptures are only valuable if they are carved out of jadeite that is one pure color...but this Jadeite Cabbage was special. It was carved out of a piece of cracked jade that had BOTH green and white parts. Most sculptors probably passed this piece of jade by because it had flaws. BUT one sculptor saw what the jade could BECOME and used the jade’s flaws to carve cabbage. The cracks and different colors made the cabbage more life-like, making the sculpture more valuable than if it had been carved with a perfect piece of jade. What a cool metaphor for life, no? We have a sculptor above who realizes we are not perfect. He could easily toss us aside because we have flaws and weaknesses, but He actually uses our imperfections to make us into the people He wants us to become! At the end of the Jadeite Cabbage article, the author (Ellen C. Jensen) referenced Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness....[M]y grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
I love this scripture and it has taken on a whole new meaning as a missionary. I make so many mistakes every day and living halfway around the world and not having all the same resources I had in my old life has really exposed my weaknesses. I am a missionary who at times is not as patient as I should be. I am a missionary who at times hasn’t treated my companions as kindly as I should’ve. I am a missionary who gets easily stressed. I am a missionary who is slow of speech. I am a missionary who is teaching other people although I’m not even close to knowing everything about the gospel. I am a missionary who gets tired and who dreams about dulce de leche sometimes during weekly planning sessions. But you know what? Little by little, I can feel the Lord using these weaknesses of mine and shaping me into the missionary He wants me to become. Never before have I been so grateful for the atonement, because through this sacrifice, the Lord can truly understand our weaknesses and see them as something that can HELP us.
As I think about this little cabbage, I also think about sweet little Juan Lacaze. As an area, it has its weaknesses. Our branch is small and the members live far away from each other. At times, there is some branch drama. But you know what? Even though this area has its problems, little by little, La Rama Juan Lacaze is progressing! It was so fun for me to see little miracles this week. Miracles like hearing how Hugo and Marisol (a fun couple in our branch) sang hymns together and read all of 3 Nefi together for FUN one night! Like hearing awesome talks from Presidente y Hermana Smith, the other mission president in Uruguay and his wife, and Elder y Hermana Christensen (I think Elder Christensen is a seventy) in our mission-wide conference and feeling so pumped to be a missionary in URUGUAY! Like seeing our branch president drive all around Juan Lacaze Sunday morning to pick up people who aren’t able to walk to church. Like looking around and seeing a chapel full of happy Uruguayans! This little place is gradually being sculpted as well!
I am grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary and for the chance I have to work on my weaknesses every day. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is here so that we can BECOME the jadeite sculptures the Lord wants us to be. I love you all, and thank you for telling me about your lives. I am grateful for you guys every day!