So. Here we are. Let me take a minute to describe what's going on.
I've been on the same 1-sq mile plot of land for the past 8 weeks. It definitely has the potential to make you a little crazy. But other than that, there is no better place on Earth to be right now. But that's all about to change!! I leave in 7 days for the Philippines. After 22ish hours in the air, a few date-lines to cross, and plenty of good ol' trying to sleep on a plane, I will arrive in the Philippines on Wednesday, February 9. 11:15 local time. SO stoked!
Here's a recap of my journey so far:
1. Get yourself on a mission if you have the opportunity. There is abosolutely no better thing to do with these precious years of life. There is no where you will learn more about the beautiful plan our Father has for us.
2. Be prepared. The past 8 weeks have been the hardest of my life, but I have grown more than I thought possible as a result of that. Be worthy, and the Spirit will do the rest. Give it your all, wherever you are in life.
3. Stephen B. Allen taught last week that we go through 4 phases every time we have a drastic change in life. These changes can include anything from starting a new school year to getting married to having a new companion (the latter applied to me). The phases are:
a. Honeymoon - everything is good, you're stoked about the change.
b. Hostile - everything is bad! you think that everything is going against you, you think you are being treated unfairly, etc. The secret is that it is only you that thinks that way. Because only you can control your attitude, the only way to get out of this is to serve.
c. Grin and Bear It - you have made that shift in your mind. You have decided to serve, put a smile on (however forged), and get through the day.
d. Endure To the End - Your efforts have paid off. By serving, you have developed a deep love for whatever it is you are going through. Not only do you continue to serve, but you do so with a genuine smile. All is well.
4. My Branch President's wife, Sister Taylor, taught one thing this Sunday. "Remember your covenants, never lose sight of your goals." President Taylor expounded by telling a story. His brother was going through a very difficult marraige, and when he asked why his brother didn't just divorce her, his brother replied, "Because I made a covenant." If we can all just keep that mindset, we will be eternally blessed. When faced with opposition, remember that you have made a covenant with your Father to be obedient, to do whatever is it that you covenanted to do. He will always bless you more than you earn for being obedient. I know that is true.
5. I've been thinking a lot lately. I just want you to know, whoever you are, wherever you are, that I love you. I really do. But more importantly, your Father, your literal father who created your spirit and this earth, loves you. If that is the only thing I learned here in the last 8 weeks, in the next 2 years even, it was worth it. I know that He lives. I know that His son, Jesus Christ, our eldest brother, loves you. Because of that love, He has provided a way for you to be cleansed. I don't know what is going on in your life, but He does. He experienced every type, every level, of pain and sorrow and suffering for you. He knows EXACTLY what you are going through. Please, for yourself, accept that wonderful gift. Becuase of His love for you, all He wants is for you to be happy. He gives us commandments, He gives us everything so that we can be happy. Turn to Christ, turn to your savior, turn to our brother. Turn to your Father. Turn to my Father. Turn to your God. He is always, no matter what, ready to accept you back into his loving arms.
I know this Church is true. There is absolutely no doubt. I tell you these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.