Posted by: elderleach | March 29, 2011

Parable of the Push Ups‏

1. Never trust the Elders to paint your home!

2. Me and my pet turtle! Ok, not really my pet but Elder Nkala and I found it while tracting. Look! It’s on a leash!

3. Some lightning photos of one of Port Elizabeth’s crasiest storms!

**Just as an explanation for those not familiar with the church, in every ward in the church there is someone called to be a ward mission leader who helps the missionaries serving in that ward relay information to the Bishop and other ward leaders. We meet with the ward mission leader every week and give him our reports on the people we are teaching. In the Kwa Magxaki Ward, there are 6 missionaries.**
Molweni, family and friends! Unjani? (How are you?) Ndiphilile, enkosi (I’m fine, thank you!) This week has been a fairly good one. I had the privilege of experiencing something this week that I decided to transform into a parable. This past Wednesday evening, Elder Nkala and I arrived at our mission correlation meeting on time, but the 4 other elders were not there yet. What I then observed was something parabolic:
“There was a certain ward mission leader who was called upon by revelation to counsel with and preside over many young missionaries. This equally-as-young ward mission leader began to notice a trend of tardiness amongst these elders and thus proclaimed, ‘We must be on time. To help enforce this rule, for every minute you are late to this meeting, that is the amount of push ups each elder will do’. Unanimously, the rambunctious group agreed.
“The following week, the ward mission leader arrived right on time; not a moment too soon or too late. But as each minute passed and wasted away, the leader counted the amount of push ups each elder would have to do. His countenance changed from a grateful smile when he first entered the room to a disappointed frown as now 13 minutes passed away from the appointed time.
“Finally, the elders arrived, rushing into the room with great speed, accompanied by a series of apologies and excuses for such tardiness. The pitiful words did little in the end for their cause, as justice had to be served. ‘You know what you must do now,’ the mission leader firmly asserted. The first elder stopped what he was doing and immediately took position. With humble regard for his authority, he preformed 13 push ups as consequence for his tardiness. He modestly finished his duties and took a seat.
“The second elder dribbled small complaints and made known his negative feelings concerning push ups. After seeing the first elder and realizing the impossible could very well be possible, he trotted over to the back of the room and preformed his push ups.
“The third elder desperately pleaded for mercy, proclaiming he was unfit for such strenuous activities. Through much persuasion, he was convinced mercy could not rob justice and, reluctantly, proceeded to do a few small push ups.
“The fourth elder vehemently protested the idea of any push ups and insisted on a waiver. When denied, he yet retorted, as unqualified as he was, and continued in defiance, with utter disregard for the ticking clock. After much struggle and stubbornness, he took his position on the floor and proceeded to preform push ups on his knees. When called out on his incorrect and unfair posture, he exclaimed that such technicalities were not outlined when the agreement was made the week previous. He begrudgingly finished a few push ups and hastily took a seat.
“In disappointment, yet genuine concern for his band of elders, the ward mission leader said, ‘Brethren, at this moment you look worse than I feel’ and proceeded with the meeting, notably less spiritual, less enthusiastic and less inspired than all other meetings previous.”
From this experience, I learned there are 4 types of missionaries (or people): 1) Those who do what they’re told, no questions asked (1 Nephi 3:7), 2) Those who need direct leadership to build their confidence and ability, even if initially the task seemed impossible (Alma 14: 12+13), 3) Those who complain and doubt until finally persuaded to honor their duty (1 Nephi 3:21) and 4) Those who harden themselves against the truth and never reap the full blessings of this service (1 Nephi 8:36+37)
Now, this isn’t to say if someone is a 4, they will remain that way forever! 4’s can become 1’s and if 1’s are not careful, they too can become 4’s.
Our Heavenly Father sent us to Earth with a work to do. We do not call the consequences, we must only obey and do what we are told with the consequences in mind. Who knew that missionary correlation could have such a profound effect on me! And who knew it could have such a deep meaning to life.

Well, that’s all folks! Have a great day,

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission

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