You asked me, "Has the reason for my missionary work changed from beginning to now? Have my feelings changed for the reasons I came on a mission since I first left? How do my feelings about why I do missionary work affect the way I do it?"
So my original reasons for coming on a mission were because I'd always wanted to serve a mission and when the time came it felt right. I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do. So I set out with the intentions of helping others experience the happiness I feel knowing they have divine worth and potential as children of a loving Heavenly Father and of bringing families together forever. I was pretty confident that I would be successful, and why not? I've pretty much always been able to get what I want by aiming high and working hard.
The MTC quickly and thankfully humbled me into accepting the Lord's help in these endeavors, which duh, of course I can't do His work without His help, but for some reason I forgot Him in the original equation at so I kept coming up with the wrong results. The MTC gave me some much needed perspective that I clung to when I first entered in the field. Missionary work, turns out, was not at all what I expected. Neither was my trainer. Neither was the language, country, people, weather, bicycling, etc. Luckily (?) one of my greatest weaknesses is pride (...) so despite my discouragement, immense stress and sadness, and strong desire to go home, I stayed knowing that if I gave up it would be the biggest regret of my life. I'd always wonder, "what if?" Plus, there were people at home looking to my example and I couldn't let them down and I refuse to do anything that someone else could use as justification to give up, so I stayed. But not because it was something I really wanted any more.
After a few months I adjusted and began to find joy in missionary work, not the joy I imagined I'd have when I first set out, but not the misery I felt when I first arrived. Then slowly I began to fall in love with the bicycling, weather (it was spring), the people, country, and language. It became easier to love my companions. And it turns out I LOVED BEING A MISSIONARY!
At this point of my mission, the mission I imagined when I first came is becoming a living reality. Not because the conditions are any different or easier, but because I am. My reasons for being here now are pretty much the same as when I first came, I want to help others experience the happiness I feel by knowing they have divine worth and potential as children of a loving Heavenly Father and I want to bring families together forever. The difference is that now I know that to accomplish that I have to rely on the Lord rather than myself. I have to strive to fulfill the missionary purpose of "inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." As I do that, the rest falls into place. My ability to be successful is dependant on my faith, diligence, obedience, etc. and I've finally come to a point on my mission where I want to do and be these things.
So, yes, haha my feelings about why I do missionary work definitely have an affect on the way I do it. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had that have turned me from a Jonah who tries to impose her own will and run and hide from the Lord's, into a Job who humbly and gratefully accepts what the Lord gives her and does what she can to accomplish His designs. Not that anything I've experienced can ever really be compared to Job, but you get what I mean. Mom, I agree with your conclusion, "through these things we can feel the light of God."
I'm super grateful to be a missionary in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to feel the love and approval of God in what I do. I hope that's something that you all are able to feel this week, the love and approval of God. Don't be discouraged if you don't feel it right away, I promise it's there, we just have to humble ourselves enough to feel it...I'm speaking from experience here :)
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff
PS I have not yet gotten the Valentines box, I am pretty much 99% sure the office received it, but for whatever reason they didn't give it to me yet...I think they are really distracted trying to find new apartments for all the new sisters that are coming. I can never remember the new numbers, but I know that in May there are 13 or so coming and then in June some more and in July even more....like that's descriptive. Basically what's going on is that all the sisters currently in the field are going to have to train even those who just got here a few months ago. Then one transfer later we'll be put into threesomes with another greenie. The mission currently doesn't have enough apartments for all the new ones coming in and the office couple in charge of our housing is going home in a few weeks...haha they're going crazy over there I think and that's why they haven't thought to give me the package yet. I should be getting it this Friday though at our Zone Conference. It's in Antwerpen, I get to go back to my city!!!!