My dear beloved friends and loved ones,
How grateful I am to be here as one of the Lord’s missionaries. This week we had a beautiful experience, as we were blessed to see a family attend church for the first time. As I listened to the first talk which extolled motherhood and honored mothers, I was so grateful to have this single mother of three children there. To know how much it meant to her to be honored for her sacrifice and hard work, I was just so happy. As the talks started, I saw her ten year old daughter begin to look around the room. I said a silent prayer asking for help to help her listen to the talks. The idea came quickly, and I pulled out a pen and a pad. I wrote down “Jesus”, “Christ”, “Savior”, “Lord”, and “God”, and invited her to tally up each time the speakers said each word. After a while her mother joined in pointing out the ones she missed. It was a great time.
The second speaker spoke on gratitude. He talked about looking at the same beautiful scene and having three different reactions. The first, to see the negative. The second, to miss it entirely. The third, to see the good, and appreciate the beauty of it. I realized that I had forgotten one of the most important elemnents of the beautiful prayers of faith that I mentioned last week. When I started this last year, it began as a sacrifice of asking for things in prayer–I wanted my prayers to be prayers of gratitude. In those prayers, my heart swelled. I found joy in some of the smallest and easily-missed blessings. I wanted to do it for a month, and it quickly became clear that I needed to ask for things as well. The scriptures teach us to! But I wanted to stay true to my promise, and so I thought of ways to ask for blessings without asking. But the central purpose was that I wanted to be more grateful and show more gratitude to my God, my Heavenly Father. Without that element in the prayer, a whole lot of really incredible blessings would be missed. =)
I hope that you are all enjoying your holiday season as much as I am. I hope you are feeling the love that God has for you. I hope that you find purpose and peace even in the difficult moments. I find that when I take a second to pause and turn my thoughts heavenward in those moments, God is there with me, always, and he always tells me so. So don’t do it on your own. You don’t ever, ever have to. I promise.
I love you. I love my God. I love my Savior, “my Jesus”, Nephi says. =) I love my family, and I miss you, but I am so happy to be missing you right now, because I know that I am right where God wants me to be. Please pray for me to find strength in this journey to focus my thoughts and heart always on this work and my calling. I have such a short time here, and then it’s over. Please pray for me to have that strength. And I invite you to join me the remainder of November in these Prayers of Gratitude and Faith for “No-Ask November”. 6 more days. =)
Happy birthday brother. I pray for you often. I have thought of you so often these past 2 transfers! I met a man who reminds me so much of you, and it was awesome to have him in my company for a while. I hope your birthday is a hopeful looking to the future. You have a lot of hope and good desires for your life and your future, and I love that about you. I’d welcome an email from you so I can write to you directly, but either way, just know that I love and look up to you. Miss you brother! I’ll see you soon too. =)
Love you all. Thank you.