First off, it's December!!!! Wow, the month that we've all been waiting for, ever since one of the Mayans said thousands of years ago:
"Hey, Akish, I just got the best prank idea I think I've ever had......" (he was probably a Lamanite.....)
Anyway, Mayans aside, happy early birthday to my dear, sweet, wonderful Mother, on December 12th, as well as to my good friend Shannon, whose birthday is the same date (that's why it's so easy to remember!).
Also, things are going rather well here in Maranguape. The work's been a bit slow recently, but this week things started picking up. We are really focused on reactivating members, and especially families, and looking as well for part-member families. If all of the members in this area were active, we would seriously be close to having a stake here:) So, there's a lot....lots of work to do!
I can't believe how quickly the time passes! In less than 9 months, I will be home......wow, just the thought makes me want to get out and work harder while I still can!
So, recently, Heavenly Father has been guiding my thoughts to more healthy thoughts and ideas. I am realizing more and more every day how much I am so focused on things that aren't so important. Well, they're important, but they are definitely "beyond the mark". I realized that I am focused so much on results, and measuring my value and success on results, and things happening, and people being baptized, and this, and that, and etc, etc, etc. Yet, those things aren't the most important things. I seem to convince myself that something is wrong because things aren't running perfect, whereas, duh, things aren't going to run perfectly most of the time because I'm not perfect!
came across a quote that helped me, and continues to help me to refocus on the most important things. It's by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He said: "True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives - that is, our time and choices - to God's purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny." What a stress-reducing thought! I cannot force people to accept our message, and I don't need to over-worry if people don't. Not even Heavenly Father forces people, and He is perfect. So, instead of focusing on results and numbers and baptisms, I need to focus on doing my very best, and remember that my very best is good enough for Him. Because, that's really all I can do! My best! I can't give more than that, so there's no use in trying to force myself to give more than that!
It's also good to remember why I am really here on a mission, or even a member of the Church for that matter. Because it's true:) And that faith is not dependent on outcomes. Our faith is not dependent on miracles if that is not what the Lord sees fit for us. They will happen, but nearly always in a way that we don't anticipate or expect.
Another good thought: "Are you serving time, or are you serving the Lord?" Puts things into a better perspective, huh?
Another: "Are you striving for perfection, or are you allowing the Savior to perfect you?" I spent about two or three weeks thinking about that one:)
Anyway, I gotta go, but I love you all, and I am so grateful for this chance to learn and to grow, and to greater understand why I am here, not just in the mission, but here on the Earth! The Plan of Salvation truly is a comforting and an inspiring truth. Isn't it good to know that our perfect Father in Heaven has a perfect plan for us imperfect people?
I love you all so very much!
With all my heart,
Elder Reid Powell Empey