This past Thanksgiving I’ve had so much to be grateful for. I’ve been blessed with some of the very greatest friends and family on this planet! All of the letters and packages and emails you’ve all sent my way have made me feel so loved and so looked after. Thank you for thinking of me and for keeping me in your prayers. It’s humbling to know that I’ve got an army of such genuine good people in my corner.
I love being a missionary. The MTC has been great. I’ve had countless wonderful experiences and I’ve met a lot of incredible people here. However, I’ve also never felt so exhausted in my whole entire life. “Yo quiero dormir,” which means “I want to sleep” in Spanish, has become somewhat of a mantra among the Spanish missionaries here. It’s pretty commonplace to see one of us doze off during class or choir practice or even at dinner (I guess a mushy pile of peas can make for a good pillow). Sometimes in the corners of the gym you can find missionaries fast asleep on workout mats during our exercise time.
A little while back, I was having a rough go of it and feeling like I was just no longer capable of keeping my eyes opened and my head focused. It’s hard to study nothing but Spanish and the scriptures for so many hours a day. At that point all I really wanted in life was a nap. Later that day when workout time rolled around, the exercise mats looked real tempting. It was a tough decision, but instead of napping I opted to stretch and then do a few laps around the track.
While I was running I just started to practice bearing my testimony to myself in Spanish (I guess a mission starts to do things like that to your head after a while). I thought about our Heavenly Father and Christ and the Atonement. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been learning a lot about the Atonement, the great suffering that Jesus Christ endured on our behalf. As I ran lap after lap on the track that afternoon, I thought about the prayer that our Savior offered in the Garden of Gethsemane. He took on every pain and sin of the world in that prayer. The pressure of every sorrow, every guilt, every illness, and every heartache that has ever been felt by anyone who has ever lived- that extreme pressure caused Him to bleed from every pore of His body. During this prayer He suffered all alone. The disciples, His friends, had come along and waited outside the garden, but they fell asleep while all of this occurred. When the Savior of the world, their redeemer and their friend, very most needed them to be there for Him, they slept.
In account of this in Matthew 26:38-45 it says,
“38) Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39) And he went a little further and fell on his face and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.
40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, what, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42) He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43) And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.”
I can definitely relate to those sleepy disciples that went with Christ to Gethsemane. Being here in the MTC learning how to be a better missionary and trying to get better at communicating in Spanish, I feel like my “spirit is willing” but my “flesh is weak” (like it says in those verses in Matthew). I want to give it my all and do my best, but sometimes my eyes just get so heavy. I know we aren’t perfect people and I know sleep is great and that it’s necessary to function healthily (I love a good nap just as much as the next guy), but really there are just somethings that are more important than sleep.
A disciple is defined as “a follower of Christ.” That describes a whole lot of you guys reading this right now. You’re good people, with willing spirits, out there trying to do what Christ would have you do, out there trying to share His Gospel and practice His teachings. I commend you for all of your efforts and I thank you each of you for being such great examples to me. Seriously, you guys are awesome.
I think it’s safe to say that in our attempts to be better disciples of Christ, we all get a little tired from time to time. Sometimes we get stuck in a sleepy rut. When I reached what felt like my exhaustion breaking point, I turned to the Book of Mormon. I was reading in one of my favorite chapters, second Nephi chapter 4, and even though I’ve read them many times before, verses 28 and 30 stood out to me: “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin… Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” I felt a resurgence of dedication to discipleship after reading this. I don’t want to be remembered as a disciple that fell asleep on Christ. I want to be someone that He can trust. I know that with Him all things are possible and that He will give us help if only we ask for it. He lives. He is our Savior and Redeemer and because of Him we can be forgiven of our shortcomings and strengthened in our times of need.
This coming Christmas season the LDS Church is launching the #LightTheWorld campaign, and I think it is fantastic. It’s all about becoming better disciples of Christ by doing as He would and serving others in 25 ways over 25 days. Below is a link to the page where you can watch some awesome videos and learn more about it! You can also access the link by clicking on the “Light the World” tab located on my site’s main menu. I highly recommend checking it out. Remember what it’s really all about and take the opportunity this holiday season to do some Christ-like service. Write me and send pictures of how you #LightTheWorld this Christmas!
(Only a matter of hours left here in the MTC! Come Monday morning, I’ll be in New Mexico!) New Mexico Mailing Address:
Sister Sydney Mariah Metcalf
New Mexico Albuquerque Mission
4400 Presidential Dr NE Ste E
Albuquerque, NE 87109