There are going to be a lot of changes in my district this week. I'm still staying, and Elder Lovelace too, but pretty much all the other missionaries are changing. The other set of Elders is being completely changed out (whitewashed), and two of the sisters are leaving and only one is coming in their place, so the two sister pairs will become a threesome.
Part of being a missionary is about overcoming fear, simply because you talk to strangers all the time and you don't know how they'll react. And that's just the natural fact of the matter. One of the most common fears of people, at least in Germany, is public speaking, so it's not anything new that it's hard. I started identifying that in myself a couple weeks ago, that I was afraid of rejection and afraid of talking to a lot of people on trains, in buses, in parks, and on the street, which is weird, because I didn't think that was a fear I had ever before. Starting Friday, however, I've been taking steps to exercise courage and overcome that fear. Courage isn't the absence of fear, it's taking action despite fear. As funny and odd as it sounds, I would tell myself before I'd talk to someone, nothing bad will happen, nothing bad will happen, nothing bad will happen. Then afterwards I evaluate how it went and think: did anything bad happen?... Nope. And then I did it again, and decided the same thing. Just like learning to walk, you talk a few little successful, albeit shaky steps and then you can take a little bit bigger steps until you're walking just fine.
I also sent off my Christmas package today, Mom, so hopefully it gets home sometime this year.
Hope everything is going well with everyone, especially with the holiday season right now. I know what I'm doing here helps people to improve the quality of their lives and live it to fuller degree. I know that Jesus Christ's triumphs allow us to overcome and hold through what we cannot over come or hold through by ourselves. I know he did it out of love for us and for God. And that's the same reason I'm here, because I love God, and I know that He loves His children. I can't do much to help people, but because I can do some things to help, I won't hesitate to do one thing I can do. I've read the Book of Mormon and asked God about it, and I know it is good. I know it is true. The church that Christ established long ago was restored through Joseph Smith with a living Prophet, 12 apostles, and a living God who still reaches out to His children in love.
~Elder Mark Standring