There were a lot of valuable life lessons to be learned this week.
The first being that hard work, diligent prayer, and pleading with the Lord pays off. We prayed and prayed and prayed to find new people to teach to replenish all of our investigators who either dropped us or dropped off the face of the earth and wound up accumulating 8 new people to teach, which is miraculous in and of itself. Out faith has been supplemented, and we are incredibly grateful.
But there was also a lot of revelation received and connections made that strengthened my faith and made me grateful.
This week I've been reading about the people of Limhi in Mosiah, and how in order to avoid contention they agreed to give one half of everything they had to the Lamanites. And that the people of Limhi were obedient and righteous to do so, even though it was unfair.And they lived peacefully for years. Then some wicked men came and stole the Lamanites' daughters. And the Lamanites completely overreacted. Before they tried to investigate the situation, they sought to attack the people of Limhi.
This made me think, how do we master ourselves? How can we control our anger or fear and react in calm and loving manners, always? That's not easy to do! I have a tendency to snap on people. Never yell, but just get kind of passive-aggressive, or sarcastic. And it's never very nice. So how do we overcome that?
We need to learn to be, as Jorg Klebingat says, really, really good at forgiving others quickly. Including ourselves! Limhi responds in a pretty perfect way. Limhi's people find the king of the Lamanites and request to kill him, which would have been incredibly easy, but Limhi refuses and has him brought into him to voice his side. The king explains that they were upset because some of his people had stolen their daughters. And instead of getting defensive and exploding, going to blame it on anyone else, Limhi first points the finger at himself...
"And now Limhi had heard nothing concerning this matter; therefore he said: I will search among my people and whosoever has done this thing shall perish. Therefore he caused a search to be made among his people."
We need to be willing to look inside of ourselves and see if it is actually us that is at fault instead of those that we are judging/exploding on. Because it almost always is. Whenever we are struggling or annoyed, it is always because we are being impatient, or aren't doing everything that we can to develop love and charity instead of annoyance and vengeance. But when we resolve issues within ourselves before we seek to destroy others it is a process of bettering ourselves instead of tearing down others.
Yesterday in Sacrament, one of the members gave a talk on how there are a lot of things we can do in life that are "Spiritual Fruit Loops," so to speak. They may taste good, and not actually harm us, but they gives us no nutritional value. I thought that analogy was so wise. Because it's true. It's east to fill out lives with things that have no value. Maybe they're not harming us, but they're not necessarily helping us either.
We ought to fill our lives with things that make us happy both temporally and spiritually. Family is a really, really good example of this. The more time with spend with our family and those we love, the more satisfaction we get, and there is growth in the process. Anything that does not allow us to grow, we ought to evaluate whether or not it is worth our time.
I apologize if this is incredibly preachy. I think I've forgetting how to be anything else in a setting like this. Yet I have no problem making jokes when I probably ought now to. In any case, I just know how much the Gospel blesses us to reach our potential. And it allows us to find joy in the day to day instead of waiting and waiting for our lives to be better. We master ourselves. And if we want something to be better, we need to change our attitude, and then change our course of action.
And I also know that I love all y'all. And am incredibly grateful for you.
Oh! Here's a story. So a couple months ago we stopped at a gas station to get something to drink and I talked to the cashier and gave him a Pass-Along card. It was a very surface approach and I felt bad as we walked out of the store that I hadn't been more specific or really went into too much depth by way of teaching restored truths.
A few weeks later, the Elders gave us a referral for a guy named James. He lives in an apartment complex that we don't make it out to often because it's quite far away, but every time we were in that area we tried him. Including the time we went to the gas station. When he wasn't there that time, we wound up leaving a Book of Mormon on his porch. Last week, we finally met James and set a return appointment.
Then this week we went back and knocked. No one came to the door until we knocked a third time. Finally someone opens the door wrapped in a comforter, looking like he just woke up (mind you, it's 4 in the afternoon....). He smiles really big and welcomes us inside. We're a little confused because this guy is definitely NOT James. But he tells us to sit down and we all look around awkwardly until finally I say, "Um...do we know you?" Turns out it was Matthew! The cashier from the Conoco. And what are the stinking odds that he was James' roommate?! He said he thought we were stalking him because the day we met him was the same day we left a Book of Mormon on his porch. It was pretty awesome. He let us sit down with him and teach him the Restoration and we're planning on going back next week.
That night we wanted to knock one more door at 8:55 PM so we went into a random neighborhood we'd never really been to before and knocked the only house with lights on. When he opened the door, once again, I said "do we know you?" and he said, "yeah, I'm the cashier at the gas station up there. You gave me a book a few weeks ago." Dang. We need to frequent the gas stations more often.
The Lord has a sense of humor. I believe it.
Anyway, I love you guys. Say your prayers. ;)
If anyone's looking for a way to help, pray at 7:00 pm every night for a guy named Myron German. We're trying to help him stop swearing. He's 86 years old and my best friend. He signed this contract, so it's pretty legitimate.