Around one a half months ago my companion, Elder Valencia was admitted to the hospital. Before we went to the hospital Elder Valencia had been fighting a nasty fever for a few days and it seemed to be getting better until it hit almost 104° F. This is when we didn't waste any more time and went straight to the hospital, which is fairly far away. After getting some lab work done, we found out he had so many different illnesses and he was promptly transferred to Tacloban to be admitted to a better hospital there. The main thing he had was Dengue Fever, which is a really nasty illness, but we were thankfully able to catch it in a relatively early stage. We spent the next week and a half in the hospital which was an interesting experience on its own. I navigated the hospital system in a different language and made sure the insurance went through properly. That is never something I thought would occur on my mission. After a long two weeks, Elder Valencia recovered, and we returned to our area.
However, a week before the transfer cycle ended, I went to Tacloban until the transfer cycle started. I was in a companionship with Elder Rawlings and it was just the two of us because his companion went to the office. We had a fantastic week and found so many new people to teach. The area had so many mountains in it and so we spent a good amount of time hiking through the jungle.
When the transfer cycle came around, I got transferred to Tunga, which is the smallest municipality on the island. It was so beautiful there and the people were so nice. Sadly, my companion was really sick since he had just gotten out of the hospital. Due to his illness, the mission president decided it would be better if his companion was one of the same language, so I transferred again. It was pretty sad because we were good friends and were fairly excited to be companions. My new area is in Capoocan where I am companions with Elder Phillips. Our area is humongous, and it has so many beautiful spots, including some white sandy beaches. Since our area is so big, we use every single form of transportation imaginable to traverse it.
The past few months have been interesting to say the least. One thing I learned more in depth about is forgiveness, not only for others, but for ourselves.
In the book of Mathew, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother and Jesus replies
22 "... I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
This commandment to forgive doesn't just mean to others but to ourselves as well. Sometimes it's really easy to doubt ourselves after making the same mistake over and over again. Satan can easily flood your thoughts with statements such as "you cannot change", "look how much you have failed", or "look at how much more they are improving than you". There may be times where these statements have some truth in them, but it is not the design of God to discourage his children. God knows you will mess up and He has provided a Savior just for that. It is written that
"7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered." (2 Nephi 3:7)
We must develop a contrite spirit within ourselves in order to do the will of God. That is, the work of charity. We must forgive ourselves in order to properly forgive those who have hurt us. We not only have to trust that the atonement will work for others, but that it will work for us. This is putting your faith in Him, "relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save." (2 Nephi 31:19)
There are times when it is hard for me to feel God's love for me. In those moments, however, it is imperative that I pray. When I pray and read the scriptures, I receive a witness of his love. I begin to understand that as long as I rely on the spirit, I will make the right choices. I know of the love of God because I've felt it. I know as we learn to love ourselves and have patience with our growth, we will be better follows of the commandment to 'love one another'. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.