Thanksgiving.Fall has officially fallen, leaves on the ground, and the crisp smell of Pumpkin Pie wafts from the oven and taints the air with the warmth that mutual gratitude brings. The United States of America was the very first country in the entire world to dedicate an entire holiday to the practice of Giving Thanks, to praising god for his wonders and bounty.
The Scriptures show many instances of Prophets and people worshiping God...even in times of trial. When Nephi was tied to the mast of the ship he had constructed with his own hands and tossed upon the ocean's tempest he says, "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." (1 Nephi 18:16)
"An Attitude of Gratitude brings Joy"
That was really the biggest lesson of the week, how to be grateful.
At the beginning of the week we started by playing basketball, and it was really fun, we played a game with our Zone pitted against Mariscal (Elder Vieira's Zone) and we had a grand time. I have developed a newfound love for the sport of Basketball...whereas two weeks ago I was being pushed around the court...I'm like Lebron James or Michael Jordan over here!
Or somewhere around that level....
On Tuesday we held our District Meeting, where I talked about the Faith to be able to see miracles in our daily lives. Everyone has been a little bit down after last week's trials...so we had a discussion where everyone talked about experiences and miracles that they had seen during their missions. I talked about the miracle of Minor and Veronica and how they progressed in the gospel (I have been told that they are just on fire right now at church!). It was a great meeting, because then we talked about "why can't we see more miracles like that in our current areas?"
And the truth is...there is no reason why we can't!
So, ready and excited I got back to my area that afternoon, on divisions with my good buddy Elder Kunde. We had a very successful day, and found three new investigators, Oscar, Illiana and Carlos. They all had a lot of questions for us about the gospel and what we believe as members of the Church.
"What is the Book of Mormon?"
"Who is Joseph Smith?"
"How can I know that what you are saying is true?"
We had a very spiritual day and got home exhausted and ready to continue through the week.
But for some reason....little by little, after we had seen so many miracles on Tuesday...Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday just kept getting harder and harder. A lot of appointments fell, investigators weren't home (or hid from us) and Elder Simoni and I were left to go and knock on doors in a desperate struggle to find a new investigator or two....
With very limited results.
I was no longer being rejected the way I had been before....the people here weren't as polite these times, as they slammed the doors and laughed in my face. By the end of the week I wasn't exactly sure if I even believed the words that I had said only a few days before, that miracles CAN and DO happen and that we just have to look for them!
Call me dramatic, but I was discouraged.
But then I read an article in the Liahona of October last year, about a Sister Missionary who what facing a lot of trials in her mission and there was a quote that really impacted me, "We set goals to demonstrate our faith, and we follow up on them to be able to count our blessings."
It really changed my perspective. We shouldn't get down on ourselves because we don't think that we are receiving ENOUGH blessings, that we need the windows of heaven to be opened even wider...no! We need to count our blessings as the hymn says...name them one by one...and it will surprise us what the Lord has truly done for us.
"That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." (Alma 34:38).
"To Live with Gratitude ever in our Hearts is to Touch Heaven," President Thomas S. Monson
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!