Good morning everyone! (at least its my morning as I write this)
I hope everyone had a great Halloween. Sadly, I had to miss out on my favorite holiday next to Christmas, but I celebrated in my heart. I might have to dress up next year, even though I will get home after Halloween.
Moving on. I actually never thought that I would be one of those missionaries who said that time just flew by, however I have had to change my mind on that. This transfer has gone incredibly fast. Today is the halfway point in the transfer and I feel as though it has barely begun. My father said that I shouldn’t be concerned with the passing of time because it is not productive. However, that is how I have always structured the way to reach goals. I have tried to devise a different goal setting strategy, but nothing else works for me. So at the beginning of every transfer I set new goals for my own growth, for my companionship, and for my area. I check my progress at the beginning of each week and either thank my Father in Heaven for helping me reach my goals, or, reassess and restructure my goals to be more productive. So even though it may seem like I am counting days, that is not how it feels. Instead, it gives me a sense of accomplishment, and reminds me that my time is limited and I better use it wisely. So as I took stock of the last few weeks I felt that it was a little bit tough, because we really didn't have anything that was defined. That is always hard for me, because I do better with a strict schedule. However, in hindsight I decided that not being handed a schedule and needing to structure one yourself builds character. And for my companion and me it has fostered creativity.
Because we had nothing laid out for us we had to really look at our work, and ourselves. We had to examine what we were doing to teach of Christ, and what more we could do to share the gospel. In the end we began thinking about talents, about all of the many talents that our Heavenly Father has given us. As my companion and I discussed this we realized that we had been blessed with more than we realized and that we had not tapped everything that the Lord had blessed us with. It was through this reassessment that I began to see that I had more to give to the work. My companion plays instruments very well, and even brought her guitar with her. Additionally, we both studied French in school (I am working for a minor in French Language Teaching). So from our discussion we decided to start offering a French class and a guitar class in addition to our English class. I need to explain that in some missions, missionaries teach English as a second language as a community service. We teach these classes at the church, and while we do not preach the gospel directly, it serves as an introduction to our Church. We decided that if we used these talents wisely we would be blessed for our efforts.
We only started this week, but from the community interest we have received so far it appears to be successful. Now I could be quite self-satisfied with this success, but my time as a missionary for the Lord has taught me to look beyond the obvious and immediate outcome. It was while we were discussing our brilliant idea to offer classes that we began to see the many miracles that have surrounded us. Not just in the classes, but in every part of our lives as missionaries. I believe this is because we really looked at what we were giving to the work and decided to make an effort to give more, and we were determined to find a way to really try and give our all. I know that it is when we loose ourselves in the Lord that we are showered with miracles. I also believe that we have to look for miracles to see them.
This past week, after seeing so many miracles around me, I started to think about all of the many miracles in my life that perhaps I didn’t or haven’t recognized. God is a God of miracles and until now I know I didn’t always remember to look for the miracles in my life. We are taught that miracles are wrought by faith, but it also takes faith to see the miracles that happen around you. I believe that miracles are intensely and uniquely personal. They are meant for our benefit and spiritual growth. Because of this, I do not think that they should necessarily be shared with others routinely. Rather, they may be shared when you feel like they would help build the testimony of the one that it is shared with. Usually, that means someone very close to you. I know that miracles attend all of us. They come as often as we look for them, and they stop when we stop looking for them. I also know that the more you recognize the miracles in your life, the more you will see them. When we stop and look at the miracles around us, not only in our lives, but the lives of those around us, I believe that we will be able to see many many incredible blessings that surround us. A basic law of the natural world is that if our eyes are closed we cannot see. This is true for the basic law of the spiritual world too. If our spiritual eyes are closed we cannot see the miracles that attend us.
Especially as we approach Thanksgiving, I hope we can all take time to look for the miracles in our lives and be thankful for all the gifts and talents that our Heavenly Father has given us.
Lots of love!