Sorry it’s been so long again! I'm always falling asleep on p-days, but I will try to do better in the future. Thank you so much for all those who reached out since last email, your kind words are truly a blessing. The past few weeks have been fairly fun and challenging.
One day we were walking to a more remote neighborhood to visit a family. It was a pretty long walk and sadly, her whole family had pink eyes and so we decided to let them rest and come back some other time. When we turned to walk away, however, we were swarmed by children. Now being swarmed is not unusual for a young foreigner so far in the mountains, so I started giving out fist bumps and talking with the children. Slowly, however, I realized that every single kid had pink eyes. After passing through the children in an attempt to avoid contamination, every single person we saw had very bad pink eyes. I don't know how we didn't notice walking in, but we had just walked straight into a pandemic of pink eyes. Our usual slow walk turned into a slight jog as we cleared the area before any more gangs of children could surround us. It was like a zombie apocalypse, but for a slightly irritating infection. What made it worse is that the sweat from my forehead was making its way into my eyes. My blonde, poor excuse for eyebrows were of no help, and I could not rub them, for fear of pink eyes.
I luckily didn't get pink eyes, but I did get pretty sick, so you win some, you lose some. I have slowly been recovering the past week and today I tried doing something I have wanted to try for a long time. Making tortillas. Tortillas are so expensive here, and I miss burritos a lot, so I had to at least attempt it. I got a recipe from my Mom who in turn acquired it from a sister in my home ward. (Thank you so much Sister Black, you are the best!) I had all the necessary ingredients, and I successfully made the dough. Alas, I did not have a rolling pin. I ended up using a cylindrical ketchup bottle instead, but it did not work very well, and the tortillas were very misshapen. The taste, however, was sublime. I made shredded chicken and cheese quesadillas, and it was so wonderful. Thank you again Sister Black, that recipe is amazing.
Making those tortillas taught me two important lessons. Number one, making tortillas is harder than I thought, and Number two, simple things are often more profound than trying to do something complex. The tortilla is such a simple combination of flour and water and yet it is so delicious. It lays the ground work to many complex dishes and yet it is so simple. This is an important principle to remember in our lives. Sometimes we are caught up in trying to have that perfect service project, perfect personal study, the best advice for our friend, or the best dish. I found that this anxiety of not being the best causes many to give up trying. One would think, "How could I make a difference, my effort is so small? I am so unskilled and unimportant." The Lord, however, has shown us the reality of the world.
Remember what is written in Alma 37:
6 "...but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
7 "And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."
The fact that by insignificant acts, great things shall come to pass is a wonderful token of truth. We all feel a little small sometimes. This, however, should not keep us from trying. In my mission I have seen the effect on someone from a small instance of kindness. A well taught gospel principle can never measure up to it. Actions really do speak louder than words and the best speech cannot mimic a kind deed. I used to be obsessed with the lexicon in which I spoke to people. What words should I use? What will touch their hearts? I had forgotten the teachings of Paul. In his letter to the Corinthians he wrote,
8 "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."
(1 Corinthians 13: 8)
Do not forget that small acts of charity will confound the wise. I implore you to be kind, it truly is the power of the meek. Do not be scared if you feel that your small action will not measure up, it will. I could not put it better than one of my favorite authors,
"Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." (Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings)
Don't forget to be kind. It doesn't have to be grand; it can be as simple as a tortilla. The importance lies in its power. That it is charity, the pure love of Christ. He is the example of ministering to the one. May we follow Him, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.