I must begin this week’s address by first addressing how good of a friend a camera can be. In our limited sphere of human observation, with all our physical, mental, and spiritual flaws, two little fluid filled orbs sit content in the front most region of our cranium, capturing snapshots of pictoral information and transferring them to the brain for processing in a period of time so short, it’s more than we can comprehend. They have oft times been referred to as the windows to one’s soul, and many have claimed to recognize a light about someone when their eyes connected. They attract us, comfort us, and leak when emotions of any kind run high. They are our greatest tool in perceiving the world around us. We can recognize an individual’s sincerity, witness signs of danger, and even communicate without words. However brilliant these two little orbs may be, there are many things they are incapable of.
I return to speak of my camera. A simplistic device of technological beauty, a camera blesses us with the gift of retained memories, intensified resolution, mood-setting effects, and clarity beyond reason. They allow us to see things from angles we never thought existed, in colors our eyes fail to capture and so on. I am grateful for my little visionary friend who allows me to see the world from so many different perspectives.
There are, however, things that both our eyes and cameras are incapable of seeing. These things I speak of require something that is not physical or tangible in nature. No, what is needed to see these things is rather immaterial and difficult to attain. This device I speak of is faith. Faith allows us to see without seeing. To know with unwavering certainty of the reality of truths not visually seen. It is our greatest guide and teacher, and we must work to attain it. I would encourage all who are able to to read Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon. In my recent studies, I’ve come to an awesome realization. Alma, the name of a prophet in the ancient Americas, is also a word in the Spanish language that means “soul”. Faith brings peace to our souls. Alma taught this better than many with a beautiful discourse given in the above mentioned chapter. I would encourage all to read it, whether or not we are of the same faith.
To move on to less serious matters of my rather mundane, yet enlightening, routine life, the work is progressing. My District is close but starting to develop a few areas of difficulty. Imagine the scenario. 12 kids in one tiny, stuffy room sitting shoulder to shoulder for nearly fourteen hours every day. You would be a fool to expect things to go perfectly smooth. I was unreasonable in the early weeks as I thought it would stay tension-free for our whole time here, but I’m working on bringing everything back together.
It feels like things have gotten smoother with my companion, but every now and then he’ll snap and tell me all of my flaws and what I need to do to improve them. It slows us down, but I thank the Lord for blessing me with the patience and love I need to work with him. I have yet to get frustrated and I almost always work things out for us, at least on my side. He still has some growing to do, but hopefully he knows I love him and I’m here for him.
The other day at Missionary Conference (held every Fast Sunday), the Mission President spoke to us about the importance of a name and the legacy we leave with it. He asked us to look at our nametags and see the name with whom we shared the tag. I did. On the top, it says in bold letters, “ELDER WALKER”. Below, just as bold, yet in a font more elegant, it says “JESUCRISTO”. I am his servant and my legacy will reflect his name. Needless to say, that resonated within me.
I love our mission president. Many times he’s come up to me simply to have conversation. I think my district gets a bit jealous, because it tends to always be when their around, but what I perceive to be jealousy and indefference quite frankly embasasses me. It puts me in a somewhat lonely position. In my interviews with teachers and branch presidency members, I’ve told them of my concerns about coming across as prideful, because that’s the last thing I want to do. They’ve tried to comfort me by telling me that it’s the pride or lack of humility of others that is the issue and that I am not to blame. I dearly hope that is the case, but at the same time I hate making anyone else be the one at fault. It hurts me to point out flaws in others. I really struggle with it. It’s hurt me before in the past. You’d think it’s be awesome to only see the good in people… I mentioned that to my companion and he just thinks I’m bragging about my righteousness or what not. I don’t mean to complain. Forgive me. We all have our different struggles and I’ve definitely found mine.
I’m low on time, but I love all of you. I know this gospel in the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I will testify of it as long as I live. May God be with you all continually.
Till we meet again,
Elder Steven Reid Walker