En-Durian to the End

Dear world,

This week was tough. I’m always not sure what to say when the weeks don’t go too well.

The Lord truly is testing me and trying to teach me and I don’t have too much to say about the work again. We received a bunch of referrals, we contacted them and not too much happened. We dropped investigators and lessons fell through. Lots of tracting. Not lots of finding.

However, Pamela is still progressing! We had another zone blitz and I worked with Elder Apostolos again. We had exchanges with the Tagalog-speaking Elders again. Those were all good!

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Also, Elder Baniago is always cooking something crazy.

When I was working with Elder Perandos (my district leader) on exchanges, we dropped by a potential investigator whom we had set up an appointment with, but he was not home. On our way back to the car, one guy stopped us and asked us who we were and what we were up to. We explained who we are and asked if he had five minutes for us to share the message of the Restoration with him, and he happily agreed. We taught him and he was very interested.

We were able to find someone that the Lord had put in our path. The Lord truly does put us where we need to be so that His gospel can go forth! I saw that this week and it was a great experience. We turned him over to the Elders in the Spanish Ward here since Spanish is his primary language, but it was a blessing to be a part of the experience regardless.

In other interesting news, the Tagalog Elders bought me a durian. A durian is supposed to be the most delicious fruit in the world and is often called the “king of fruits”. However, they also smell…very bad. They’re illegal on public transportation in China because they smell so bad. Anyway, it’s an exotic Asian fruit, and they bought me one in Daly City, the local piece of Asia out here.

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This is a durian.

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They do not smell good.

It’s an interesting fruit. It smells bad. So. Very. Bad. I can’t compare it to anything I’ve smelt before. It’s just bad. The flavor is different, too. Sadly, I’m not a fan. The smell mixes with the sweet flavor and ruins it if you ask me…

Aside from that pointless story, this week has been a major test of enduring to the end for me. The work is pushing me to my limits and I’m doing my best, but I feel my best isn’t enough. It’s a bit discouraging at times. I find it helpful, though, to remember that the Lord’s work will move forward despite anything. He is in control of this work and nothing can change that.

Although I know that I am doing what I can and that the Lord is pleased with my work because I’m doing my best, I’ve been a little anxious and depressed because of it. I still want to serve a mission, and I am glad to be here, but the work has brought me down a bit.

And on the topic of depression and anxiety, I want to direct you to the talk by Elder Holland called “Like a Broken Vessel”. There’s a new Mormon message on it on lds.org. This talk is about the reality of depression and other mental illness and how it really should be handled.

Sometimes the world has a perception that those who struggle need to just “suck it up” or “stop worrying”. In the talk, Elder Holland stated it best in the talk by saying that people who struggle with these problems can’t get over it just by squaring their shoulders and thinking positively. It’s not that easy. Depression and anxiety are very real conditions with very real and debilitating symptoms. You don’t need to reach very far to find someone who struggles with these, and if you do, my invitation to you is to reach out to these people. Love them and let them know you care.

I invite you all to watch this video. It’s powerful. I’m trying to pull up the link now, but I’ve got a poor internet connection. You can find it on the main page for the church: lds.org. Please watch it.

Hopefully this week will be better. Know that I love all of you and hope you recognize the Lord’s hand in your life.

Have a great week!
~Elder Pike

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