With My Five Weeks of Experience, I Received a Lesson in Patience and Humility


I think I’ve said this about every week here, but this week was one of the hardest in my life. At the beginning of the week, I was really frustrated with my companion and our companionship. I hadn’t really said anything up to that point, but I wanted some things to change.  So naturally, me being me, I wanted to go and yell at him until he listened. There were a few problems with that plan, one being I can’t do that in Spanish yet, and two, I should always love my companion and be humble.  Being humble was the key, and I was missing part of it.

I approached my companion and was thinking about all the things he was doing wrong and what I was going to say to make him change, and I hadn’t given a thought about what I needed to change. I was humble enough to not yell at him, which was good. So the conversation began, and he just sat and listened and agreed that there were a few things that needed to change. And then, with my five weeks of experience, I received a lesson in patience and humility.  My companion explained to me that I needed to accept the fact that sometimes we don’t do everything on our schedule and that things change according to circumstances out of our control. Just like the fact that we can do nothing if people don’t want to listen to our message, we can do nothing when our schedule needs to be changed.  

My idea of mission work had been working hard by walking rapidly to each appointment and moving as fast as possible, just working like mad all the time.  Now I guess that’s not a bad plan, but as I really thought about it, I realized that if I try to work like that and follow the schedule exactly, I will continually be disappointed because we will never be able to keep a fixed schedule.  It’s impossible.  I will always strive to follow the study schedule exactly, but when we are out on the streets, things will always change. My companion, with his 18 months of practice in this kind of patience, really taught me something.  

I had been wondering how to fit everything a missionary needs to do into one day. And you can’t do that.  That is why we are here for two years. We have to take things day by day and plan what needs to be accomplished for each new day. If it changes, it changes.  Now I can still work as hard as possible and I’m planning on it, but I know now that I can’t try and pack everything into one day.  Sometimes we can’t do something one day, and sometimes an appointment doesn’t work out, but we can’t change that. But thank goodness I have 600 plus more days to accomplish that one thing we didn’t have time to do one day because our lesson went long, or to return to those people who weren’t home when we went to talk to them.  Basically, I learned that forcing a schedule on missionary work is like biting off your own hand.  Its impossible and it only hurts you (or your missionary work).  

If we are truly striving to be missionaries that always have the spirit as a guide, as we should, then we would know that if the spirit says to do something not on the schedule, that you follow that prompting immediately and with no doubts whatsoever. You follow the guidance of the spirit in the lesson so that you can help your investigators.  And if the spirit says go for forty minutes when you planned for twenty then you better listen.  That is why we can’t have a “schedule” for missionary work.  We can have a plan, and we should have one each day.  But it is only a rough sketch of how our day might go.  

So, after that things really started improving this week.  I wasn’t anxious to always be moving like before, and me and my companion are really starting to work together. Our lessons are continually improving. This week I really tried to listen and feel the promptings of the spirit during lessons, and on the streets, and I was able to recognize those promptings a little better.  That is something that I need to always improve on. My companion and I (that’s for Grandpa Ron) have really tried to plan more for our investigators’ needs in our daily and weekly planning.  And I’ve seen things improve as we’ve done that.  We got another investigator to commit to a baptism date, which really surprised me honestly, and things were improving.

Then on Friday night we were walking to an appointment, and all of the sudden my body just got really tired. I stopped for a second and I remember saying to my companion that I felt just exhausted, like when you have a cold.  It was really weird. I felt myself start to get sick.  Then three hours later, I had a fever of almost 103 and my head felt like it was being run over by a truck. Now I don’t really know if that’s bad for a fever, but I felt terrible so I think its bad. That night was rough.  I asked for a blessing from my companion and I was able to sleep through most of the night. The next day, my temperature kept jumping between 99 and 102 or so all day, and every time I moved my head it felt like my head was in a trash compactor.  So we rested for most of the day and then went and invited most of our investigators to church.  That was brutal.  My body was completely wasted and I honestly didn’t know if I could walk back to our house at the end of the day……So again I asked for a blessing and prayed very hard….Sunday rolled along and I was able to make it church. 

And the highlight of my week- 8 investigators at church!  I was so happy, mainly because one of our investigators, the one we committed to baptism who hadn’t attended yet, had come and he stayed for the whole meeting. After church we went home and rested again and my fever broke.  We went and visited some of the members who gave me some soup and some medicine. The members are awesome here. They have taken good care of me.  They got mad at my companion for bringing me to church.  But how can I miss church when I teach people they should go to church every week.

But anyway, the conclusion was this.  The past week, we had no power in our area.  When we went to the member’s house that was to feed us lunch, she couldn’t cook anything.  So our lunch was bread and butter.  I ate all my lunch, and was absolutely starving still, so I bought a bag of bread and a bag of butter and ate almost all the bread for lunch.  Apparently that has clogged up my intestines somehow and that’s what made me sick. Its not constipation, just trust me I do not have that problem.  So all this because I’m always hungry and I eat too much.  Serves me right.  So that was the diagnosis of one of the members we talked to, who is a nurse.  I feel like it’s probably true since I feel like I have a giant brick in my lower stomach. So right now my stomach is a little unstable, and I can’t really eat anything solid. Basically I can’t eat really much of anything until this plug in my plumbing gets unstuck. Only liquids or soft foods, like soup and oatmeal.  I had been worried about if I was gaining weight here. Problem solved. 

Things were hard this week, but I’m so glad for the things that I have learned and the things that are improving. I’m thankful to be here in Honduras. There’s no snow, but I can deal with that because there are more important things to do. This gospel is true and I have seen it change people’s countenances and lives. I’m so glad I was raised in it and that I have the opportunity to provide the chance for people to accept it….Mom, I love it here. It’s so hard, but this is so awesome. I’m so glad I’m on a mission.   That is my short testimony for this week. Love you all, miss you all.
Elder Ollis


  1. There's a young man who's figuring it out! So great to read this update and see him make the turn. Keep going, Elder…in every sense of the word!

  2. I have to say that he is figuring out the "bread and butter" of missionary work!