It was wonderful to talk to you guys. I was absolutely delighted to have Shelly and Natalie join us. I was sorry that it still was fairly hectic, but I wouldn´t have traded it for anything in the world. Seeing the nieces and nephews was too awesome. The “Mugged” joke was priceless. I´m only sorry that Joe didn´t participate as much, but I guess that was because of work. Speaking of work, we have had some setbacks (mostly because everybody is traveling or doesn´t want to disrupt their precious family time with intrudors). However, we still managed to mark 2 baptisms for the 12th. We also received a new Gospel Pricinples teacher, who is a dear older brother who spent years as a temple sealer. I find in his prescence the sweet spirit I feel around the older members of the Church (especially around Papa-Dee), that of the satisfaction of being involved in the Lord´s service. I so want that same spirit around me when I reach my 70´s.
I have been fairly dilligent in reading the books (always waiting until my work for the day is done, of course), and I have finished the Disciple book by Maxwell and have just started the Apostle section of President Monson´s biography. Like I said before, President Monson truly is a prophet of God and we could all learn a thing or two from him, especially in reaching out to others within our faith and without. Yeah, we´ll have a few scattered slideshows of where I went and what I did here. I´m thinking one or two transfers a day or so when I get back. I´ve felt a longing for the temple recently, and although it´s not part of our calling, I still miss the opportunities to go to the temple at will. Sometimes, I feel like I need the gudiance and blessings of the temple, but the Lord has been kind enough to not require it for the work here. That´s a tall order, especially when you consider that the majority of us are under 21 and have to keep our minds focused on the work. I would say: the time that you spend away from a blessing makes you appreciate it that much more. Perhaps that´s why some of the strongest people in the church are converts and some of the most-resistant less actives are people born into the church. That is not to say that this is a unversially true thing, or even a generally true thing. It´s just a thought.
I´ve been struck recently by a scripture in 2 Corinthians where Paul says: “For God loves a cheerful giver.” We have been assigned a list of “Faith-building” scriptures by President Matrins that we are to read twice a day. I decided that for language study that I would find out some words from the scriptures that I didn´t know, and the best place to do this is looking in the English Bible. It´s talking about those who sow the most, reap the most as well. But we must do it with cheerfulness, otherwise it will seem like an unecessary burden.
Another thought I had was a section of obedience in Preach My Gospel that describes the commandments as “instructions for a happy life.” I was reminded of a rabbi who once said:
“Some people think that God, being allpowerful and the creator of worlds, wouldn´t care that you don´t eat ham. Some people think that God doesn´t care if your lungs are black. ‘With the cares of the universe at hand, how could God possibly have time or concern for the specifics of life, like what you eat, who you meet, or what concerns you this day?’ These people forget that God is our Father. A true father always has time and concern for His children. I don´t believe that making the universe work is God´s priority. I believe that His children, scattered on a sinful Earth, would be the one thing that God always has time for. Or else, why do we pray if God doesn´t take time to listen? I consider it a blessing and a wonder that God cares enough about what I put into my body to issue a commandment telling me it´s a bad thing.” (I did a lot of paraphrasing here)
I believe this as well. God doesn´t forget or abandon us. On the contrary, His continuing commandments and the fact that He listens to our prayers that He always has his eyes on us and our happiness. “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Everything He does is for us and our benefit. He wouldn´t do the things He does if it didn´t have some eternal purpose to it. I hope we never forget that. For this, we must tell our friends and neighbors about it. Many believe in God only because it is their tradition. People tend not to like to do things that is contrary to what they have been doing for a long time. Those who truly seek Father will come to have that “hope for a better world” because they will have faith in the promise that He never forsakes us. It will be “an anchor for the soul” for the stormy waves of life. But remember through these trials of life and the storms of the adversary: you are in the safety of the Master, the God who once said in a small fishing bost: “Peace, be still.”
Eu amo vocês!