Saturday, December 27, 2014

To Infinity...And Beyond!

"The perfect place to start is exactly where you are now."
Christmas is over and the new year is nearly upon us. The question is, what will you make of 2015?

Every year we leave the past behind us while keeping treasured memories and continue onward. Every year we have the chance to be better. Or, we can be content to stay where we are. I don't know about you, but I want to be constantly improving. That means staying stationary is not an option. And as ever-changing beings, it shouldn't be an option for you, either. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that if you aren't stepping forward, you're sliding backward (think of a treadmill).

So, what will you do to move forward? The best way to start is with a vision. Where do you want to be on December 31, 2015? Then, ask yourself, "What do I need to do during the year to reach that?" It's all in goal-setting. It sounds so cliche, but I've learned that it works. I've heard somewhere that "a goal not written down is only a wish." Fleeting and forgotten in just a few days. So write down your new year's resolutions! And keep them in a place where you will see them often so you will remember to work on them.

The key to all of this, though, isn't in our own effort (though that certainly is an important factor). The key is trusting in our Savior, whose birth we have just celebrated. Only through Him can we make permanent changes in our lives for the better. I've seen it happen in my life this last year. And so, I have a firm witness that change is possible. You don't have to stay where you are. Trust in Him and let Him fill the holes in your abilities (because none of us are perfect). And as you work hard and consistently, the change will come. Slowly at first, because these things don't just happen overnight. But it will come. And you can reach new heights. You can reach infinity, and beyond. Anything is possible with the help of our Savior.

So, I invite you all to act. Set a goal of personal improvement. Make a plan for how you will accomplish it. Ask your Father in Heaven for His help in achieving this goal. Then, work hard and trust Him. Don't ever give up. I know He will help you. But you have to take the first step.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

His Image

"Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received His image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14)

When you look in a mirror, who do you see? A boy or girl, a man or woman. Perhaps you resemble your father or mother more. Or perhaps you look like a sibling or grandparent. Or maybe you look past the physical to what's inside. Maybe you see more of your weaknesses than your strengths. Or maybe you see your strong points. But the big question is, is what you see in the mirror a reflection of who you really are? Who do you want to see when you look in the mirror?

The biggest thing to remember is that the physical features, whether you're skinny or plump, pretty or handsome or unremarkable, doesn't matter at all. It's what's on the inside that matters most. And what's on the inside shows through. It doesn't reflect in the features or body size, but rather the perception others have of you. If you see the positive in yourself, then others see that positive attitude on the outside. And, of course, the opposite is true. So, considering all this, what do you want to see? And how do you make that happen?

The key is change what's on the inside. If you want to see in yourself someone who just seems to glow with happiness, then you must turn inward to turn on the lamp. The way to do that is to remember who you really are. You're not just one person in a million, easily overlooked and unimportant. You are a child of God, the child of a Heavenly King. And once you realize that, you can start working to reflect that divine nature on the outside.

The way to reflect that is through coming unto Christ. He is the only way to truly change in order to reflect His light. And that is how we come to be born of God and receive the "mighty change" of heart. And upon receiving that light, it will shine through you and when you look in the mirror, you will see a true follower of Christ. And others will see it as well and want to know Him because they know you.

Change is possible. Starting right now, especially at the end of another year, you can change. All it takes is a desire, the willingness to work, and trust in the Savior. Then you will be able to answer the question above with a confident, "Yes!" So go change, then change the world!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The First Gift

It's Christmastime! A time for gift-giving, song-singing, tree-decorating, family-gathering, cookie-making. There are a lot of fun traditions and activities that go along with this festive time of year. But, how often do we stop and think about the reason behind all the festivities? What does Christmas really represent? It's hard to remember the why behind this time of year behind all the hustle and bustle of the season. But the why is the most important.

At Christmastime, we don't just celebrate family and presents. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. His birth wasn't like that of any other child. This birth was prophesied by countless ancient prophets for centuries before it happened. It was to be the birth of the Son of God, the prophesied Savior of the world. Christ speaks in his own words of his purpose for coming to the earth, standing before Pilate and the jeering crowd, having suffered for our sins and about to be delivered up to the crucifiers: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world" (John 18:37). The apostle John also testifies of the true meaning of Christmas: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

This Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer and remember the gifts He gave us. Christ gave us the hope of eternal life, an opportunity for forgiveness, a chance for peace amidst trial and affliction. And the Father gave us His Only Begotten Son. So Jesus Christ was the first gift of Christmas, the reason for the season. So, during this Christmas season, remember the very first gift, given out of pure and unconditional love that we might "not perish, but have everlasting life."

Merry Christmas! And don't forget to #sharethegift and allow others to experience the joy that comes with the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Transfers Again: An Experiment, Part 2

As this transfer draws to a close, I decided a follow-up was needed. I've been working on the goals mentioned in the previous post, and here is my progress report. With each goal I've set I've seen personal improvement, and I know it is only through my faith and my reliance on the Savior that I have been able to become better in each area.

First, charity, the pure love of Christ. It has been my focus for a long time and as such I've been consistently working on it. I came into this area having heard many good things about it, so I was already hopeful. Also I made the determination before I even got here to love the members of the branch as well as the individuals and families we work with as quickly and as sincerely as possible. And I'm amazed at how that mindset has impacted my experience here. From the very start, I already loved each person I met, and that love has only grown as I've learned their names and who they are, and most importantly as I've served them and worked with them. I also love more sincerely the missionaries I've worked with my entire mission. I can testify that a positive mindset and an honest effort can and will result in miracles, like those I've seen here.

Second, diligence--working hard and taking advantage of every moment. I can honestly say that I've worked harder in the last several weeks than I have my entire mission. We always had a goal, a destination, in mind, and a plan to reach it. We never stopped nor did we waste a single moment. I personally could be better at initiating the work, if I'm honest with myself, but I didn't mind being pulled along; in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it. I only hope I can keep it up, and make things happen because I'm working hard, not just because my companion is leading me along. A result of our diligence is that those families with whom we have been working are progressing more in the gospel, and they have a growing desire to be faithful to it. Of course, none of that is due to my efforts or those of my companion. None of the miracles I've seen I can attribute to anyone but God. He is the worker of miracles; we are just the instruments.

Lastly, following the guidance of the Spirit. I admit I didn't focus on this one as much as I should have, but I've already made a commitment to do better. I have noticed that with extra preparation, the Spirit was more likely to be present, and I feel as though I have become a better and more effective teacher. The successful lessons we have had are completely the result of the Spirit guiding me and my companion and testifying to the individual of the truthfulness of our words. I have an experience to share about one experience where we followed the Spirit.

One night we both had the feeling that we should visit a sister in our ward who hasn't been to church in some time and has been having some struggles. We'd never previously talked very openly with her about spiritual matters, but we did let her know of our love for her through service. When we arrived at her house, it was late but she was awake, which was unusual. We talked a little about the trivial things, then she opened up and confided in us her struggles. She said she feels that she has to do everything by herself and must take care of everyone else, and she felt as if no one knew her inner struggle. We listened with love, both of us wondering and praying to know what we could possibly say to help her. Then my companion began to testify of the love of the Savior, how perfectly he knows each one of us individually, and how much he longs to reach out to help us. Right in line with my own thoughts. I added my testimony to hers. I could feel as I spoke and testified that my words were being guided by something beyond myself. I couldn't have spoken so simply yet so powerfully if it weren't for the Spirit. The Spirit was palpable and it was clear she could feel it. She was crying and we could all feel the Savior's love for her.

There are still two weeks left of this transfer (I just don't know when I'll next have a chance to post because it's going to be busy). I intend to keep working on these goals and continue improving. And I know for a surety that as long as I remember to rely on my Savior, instead of trying to do everything myself, I will be able to accomplish my goals. And each one of us can do the same, as long as we rely on Him.

"When you have already done everything possible, let God do the impossible."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Month of Gratitude, and Beyond

Happy November! We all know what that means--Thanksgiving! Lots of good food, family, fun. But how often do we forget the reason behind it? Thanksgiving started as a celebration and a gesture of gratitude from the Pilgrims to the Indians for helping them survive a difficult winter. Now most of us have more than enough to celebrate. Perhaps a lot of you have a tradition of listing things on Thanksgiving that you are grateful for. But what about the rest of the year?

This month of November, I want to invite each of you to think of something you're grateful for every single day of the month, not just on Thanksgiving. And perhaps write it down somewhere. Maybe start a gratitude journal. The act of doing so will help you realize that there is a lot to be grateful for every single day, and it doesn't have to wait until that one Thursday each year, surrounded by food, to be expressed. As you develop an attitude of gratitude for everything you have, even the little things, you will be happier. I promise. And I'll do it, too.

Good luck! Happy Gratitude Month!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Transfers Again: An Experiment

The time for transfers has come again. And I have high hopes for it. So, I'll be working on various things I've learned over my mission and applying them all at once, and we'll see where it goes!

The first thing I'll be applying is what I've learned about charity. I intend to keep up with it. As you've seen in previous posts, charity is the pure love of Christ. It involves feeling sincere love and concern for others, even those you don't know, and showing
that love through service, through truly listening to others, through kind words. The list could go on. This transfer, I'm being moved into a new area with a companion I haven't really worked with before, so I'll be surrounded by strangers in the ward at first. And so it is a perfect opportunity to really put to the test what I've learned these last two months and see if I've truly learned it or if it's only words.

Second I will be working effectively and consistently--diligently. For me diligence means giving it your all and being consistent and driven by a strong motivation to do your best. And so that's what I intend to do. My current companion has taught me a lot about using every spare moment and not letting a second go to waste. So I plan to do just that. I'm going to study a bit more about what diligence really means, and then apply as I learn.

Third will be the value of listening to the Spirit. I've had a number of experiences where I knew the Lord was speaking through me as His representative, and I want to make that a more regular occurrence because the message I carry is always more powerful when carried by the Spirit into the hearts of the people. As a missionary I'm not here to convince people that this gospel is true, but to help them learn for themselves, through that Spirit, what path the Lord wants for them. And that can only happen if I am that instrument through which the Lord can touch their hearts.

These will be my three main focuses this transfer, over the next six weeks. The most important thing I've learned, though, is that without help from God, I can do nothing. So this next transfer I will be relying a lot on my Heavenly Father and my Savior to help me overcome my weaknesses and help me become strong. Tomorrow I go into the unknown, but with the Savior by my side. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Being Charitable Brings Blessings

The last few months, I've been working on developing charity. And I've seen changes. I've seen blessings. And not only in my life, but in the lives of others.

As I've worked to develop charity, I've found my love for the people I work with grow, little by little. Before, it was sometimes difficult for me to pay attention when other people talked for a long period of time. I also often found myself wanting to give my two cents, not considering that what the other was saying might be important to know. It was also sometimes difficult to get along with people because we had different ways of doing things and, I'm rather chagrined to admit it, I wanted things to go my way. But as I've concentrated on being "long-suffering" and "patient," and really listening to the other person rather than just wanting to say what I had to say, I've come to know each person better. I feel like I have a greater understanding of their needs and how help them understand, so they get what they need and what they're looking for. And my relationships have improved a lot since I first set this goal for myself.

But that's not the only change I've noticed. As I focus more on them rather than on myself, the Spirit speaks to me more easily and I can be inspired to say what the investigator needs to hear. The other day we taught a lesson with an investigator and a member, and we were teaching a longer lesson and only had an hour to get through it. And I felt myself getting impatient because I wanted to get through the lesson and move on. But I realized before long that I was being selfish and I wasn't feeling charity for either of those people. So I made a conscious decision to listen and try to love them both.

Almost instantly I noticed a difference. The story the investigator was telling was an important one from his youth that made it easier to understand why he was the way he was, and the member was teaching well, just not in the way I would have taught it. And it didn't matter if I wasn't the one doing the majority of the teaching, because true doctrine was being taught and the Spirit was there. By the end of the lesson, the investigator had understood the doctrine well and was excited to keep learning, and the member had made a valuable contribution. And I know that lesson would not have turned out as well had I not made the effort to have charity for each person in the room.

Truly the quest for charity is worth it. I've seen not only with this particular investigator, but with all of them. My love has grown and my desire to serve and help them has increased. And even with strangers on the street, I have more desire to serve them and help them come to the knowledge of their Savior. And this is only after a few weeks. I'm going to keep working on developing this divine attribute so I can experience and then share the pure love that Jesus Christ has for each and every person on the planet. I know that with His help it is not only possible, but probable.

I invite each of you to make an effort to be more kind to those around you. Show your love and consideration for them, even in the little things, and I promise you will have a happier, more positive outlook on life, even when things are difficult.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How Do I Develop Charity?

As mentioned in my last post, charity is the pure love of Christ, the perfect way he loved others. And we have been commanded to develop it: "the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing" (2 Nephi 26:30). That's a rather difficult mandate, isn't it? But it's not impossible.

To start, it helps to understand a little more about what charity is and how it is showed. A good place to start is by studying Moroni 7 in the Book of Mormon or 1 Corinthians 13 in the New Testament. Moroni defines it this way: "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Now I'm going to substitute in some antonyms to reflect better what charity is rather than what is is not, along with a translation to modern English: "And charity suffers long, and is kind, and [tolerant], is [humble], [selfless], [patient], [virtuous], and...rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

That seems a little easier, right? It will still require effort, but at least you know now what it means to not be "puffed up." The next step is not to try to develop it all at once--that would be too overwhelming. So you start by picking one and working on it until you've gotten pretty good at it, then start on a new one. The root of it all is something very simple--service. As you start to focus on helping others, you will find that almost without noticing those other attributes will develop as well. The reason for that is because your love for them will grow.

"We can all come to be like the Savior as we serve God's children."
The best thing about developing charity is that we aren't alone in the process. Our Savior Jesus Christ is there to help us and strengthen us and allow us to go beyond our normal capacities and reach new heights. The most amazing thing about the gospel is that it always comes back to Christ and his Atonement, or his suffering and sacrifice for each one of us. As we pray for strength, little by little we will be able to develop those attributes of charity that will bring great blessings into our lives.

The next post will be about the blessings that come as we strive to develop charity, and I will also report on blessings I have personally received as I strive to develop this Christlike attribute. So stay tuned!

Monday, October 6, 2014

What is Charity?

No, not the charity where you donate all your old, unwanted, and broken things to the poor so you can get rid of it (and I have done that). I'm talking about charity, the love of Christ. What is it? A prophet from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, defines it this way:

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (Moroni 7:45)

Those are just a few aspects of charity, but it still doesn't really explain it, does it? It's true. There's a lot more to charity than just the outward expressions of it. The most basic explanation is also given by the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni: "charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever" (Moroni 7:47). In short, charity encompasses the type of love that Christ possesses, and that he showed to everyone while he was on the earth, culminated in his great atoning sacrifice for us, as well as the love he continues to extend to all of us who are imperfect, broken, conceited, sorrowful, lost, prideful, unsure, and everything in between. It is a perfect love that never ends.

Even more than that, though, it is more than just showing love for those around you, more than little acts of service and kind words. Properly interpreted, it is the love we feel for those around us which then motivates those little acts. We cannot in this life attain to the perfect love that Christ showed, but we can start. It might not be easy--in fact, I promise that it will not be easy--but it is possible and it will be worth it.

How do we develop charity? A possible solution will be given in my next post, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A New Beginning: Follow-Up

Okay, so I know it's been more than six months since the last post about this, and I've had three different companions since then, but here is my follow-up (the best I can remember).

The first week was a bit rough. I didn't know the area, I didn't know my companion, I didn't know the people. Basically, I had no idea what I'd been thrust into. Plus, my new companion was Mexican, and so her culture and simply her manner was very different than I was used to. I assumed as senior companion that I had to be the one in charge of everything and I was the one to teach, not be taught. And I thought my way was better, because I had more experience in the mission field than she did (though only by six weeks). And so we clashed several times, especially over planning. And it took a while to resolve those differences.

Finally, we went on exchanges. That means one companionship of sisters, known as sister training leaders, exchanges companions with another companionship in order to help each sister learn from watching the way others work and teach. So my companion went with another missionary named Sister Luna and I went with another named Sister Ricks (who, coincidentally, happens to be my current companion). I went to her area, and learned a ton from her. But the thing that stuck with me the most was what she said about senior companions--that titles like that don't matter at all, because we are all equal and learning together. All we need to be concerned about is the work and the people. I thought about that a lot, and decided to apply it.

I stopped worrying about being senior companion and started worrying about simply being a better missionary and a good example. During this time I spent quite a few nights on my knees, asking sincerely for help from on high. I studied hard about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the instrument of change. I tried to improve my teaching skills. I applied the things I learned--that the Spirit told me what I needed to improve on. I worked for the people, trying to have sincere love and concern for them and really trying to do what was best for them. I set goals to improve and made plans to do it. As I studied and worked, I strengthened my testimony. And as my understanding of the gospel increased, I found myself changing. Little by little, and it was hard, but it was happening, slowly but surely.

I was with this companion for just about three months, or two 6-week periods, and I grew the most I ever have on my mission to this date in such a short amount of time. I feel so blessed for that challenging time in my mission, because I have come out the better and learned to be good friends with someone who at first seemed completely different from me. It was completely worth it, and I'm so glad I still have time on my mission to become better every day.

A Different Perspective

Have you ever looked outside and felt that the weather reflects your mood? I have. It's really an interesting thing, how our mindset seems to reflect on the world around us. And it's completely true. We see the world differently depending on how we're feeling any particular day. People seem ruder or nicer depending on whether we are discouraged or happy. But that's only our perception. The people don't change; only the way we see them does.

It seems odd, but I know from personal experience that it's true. So, if the world seems to be against you, it means you're not feeling too good about yourself or you're focusing too much on what's wrong with your life. I'm sure most of you would like that to change. So, you change your outlook. Because "the world we look out upon only reflects the world we nurture within."

Now the big question is, how can you do that? It seems hard, especially if you may not realize it's a problem at first. You can start by realizing that whatever negative emotion you're feeling is only temporary and doesn't have to last forever. It's only a passing moment. To counter it, you can then try looking for the things that are going right. Count your blessings instead of what you lack or what keeps going wrong. And after doing that, there's one thing that is a cure-all for any kind of blues. At first it may seem contradictory, and for sure it is contrary to human nature, but I've learned through experience that it works! That cure-all is simply this: unselfishness. Service. And at the root of it all is charity.

I'm currently working on developing charity for those around me, and so the next few posts you see will be explanations of charity and experiences I've had. So keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Endings Don't Exist

The decision to serve a mission has literally been the very best I've ever made. I may not be a greenie (a brand-new missionary) anymore, but I remember what it was like. A whole new beginning, a whole other world. Confusion, insecurity, new people, new rules, new everything! It was like starting my life over from the beginning, just because of all the changes I was experiencing. I did a lot of learning in my first six months as a missionary, just like a child does the most learning in the first few years of his life. Everything was brand-new and admittedly scary, because I had no idea what I was doing and what I was expected to do seemed impossible. But I took everything in stride, though not without difficulty, and I learned. I let myself have a new beginning, a chance to start my life over. And all that is thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Thanks to the sacrifice that our Savior Jesus Christ made for us, we can all have new beginnings. We don't have to live with all our past mistakes and imperfections. Believe me, I had many. I still have many, and for that I am so grateful that because of Him, I can erase those imperfections and weaknesses and have them become strengths for me. And you can, too. All that is required is a sincere desire to change, a belief--even just a "desire to believe," and a heartfelt prayer to our Father in heaven. And if you make room in our hearts for your Savior to come and do his work within you, you can begin to see the new beginnings in your life, just like I have in mine. It's not easy, but it's possible. I know it's possible, because I have seen it work in my own life.

The best thing about new beginnings like this is that you can have one every single day. You don't have to wait until "you feel ready" or until someone says it's okay. You can start now. And start again tomorrow. And the next day. That's what Christ offers--a new start every time you mess up. And with a bit of patience and continued belief--faith--"weak things [will] become strong unto [you]." I may not be a greenie anymore, but I still begin anew every day. The things I have learned and the people I've met have all changed me for the better. But most of all, the reason I can begin anew every day is because of my Savior. And you can, too!

Find out what else is possible #BecauseofHim!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Transfers: A New Beginning

Every 6 weeks, we missionaries have something called transfers. It means you either move to a completely new area to work among a different group of God's children, or you stay in the same place and try to be better than you were before. There's also the chance you get put with a completely new person you may become best friends with or take the entire next 6 weeks learning to tolerate them. All told, transfers are a time of new beginnings. And it's up to you to make the best of it.

This time around, I'm the one moving, to a new area I've never been in before and with a companion I only just barely met three days ago by something I no longer believe is a coincidence. Also, I change my status from junior companion to senior companion, which means I'll be the one in charge...something that could be good or very, very bad. Hopefully it will be the first one.

As transfers approach I've been thinking what things I will change and how I will become an even better missionary over the course of the next six weeks. Especially since I'll be senior companion, I will have to be an example and someone she can look up to and learn from. I've set a few goals, but the most important is learn to rely even more fully on my Savior. Because I'm not sure how well I can do this alone. But I know with His help, so long as I trust in Him, I can do anything.

Follow-up Pending :)

Tender Mercy: I had my last lesson with an investigator in this area last night, and I was given the privilege to see him receive his answer to whether the things we were teaching were true. It was such a tender moment, and I know that, not just because he needed an answer, but because my Heavenly Father knew I was worried about him, especially after he brought up his doubt about the need to be baptized a second time (he was baptized as a child in the Catholic Church). So, my Heavenly Father gave me the privilege to see this man realize the love of his Heavenly Father and the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Look Not Behind Thee"

"The perfect place to start is exactly where you are now."
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your Christmas went well and you've made a good head start on some of those New Year's Resolutions!

This new year gives us a chance to reflect on what happened last year and make goals for how we want to improve this year. But just because we reflect on the past doesn't mean we dwell on it. If you had a crappy year, don't focus on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what went right and how you can make this year even better!

Whether you have a good year, however, depends entirely on YOU. Everything depends on your attitude and choices. You chose whether you're going to be happy or not, whether you're successful or not, whether you're going to be better or stay the same. You can't sit back and wait for happiness to fall into your lap just because you expect it. You have to make some effort first. Just a little bit every day will help you in the long run.

This new year I have a new companion and lots of great advice about how I can make this next 6 weeks, and this year, the very best of my life. I'm following my own advice. I'm not going to let the things that held me back before my mission or even during my first two transfers continue to impede my growth. I'm starting this year with a fresh and strong determination to make this next six weeks, and this entire year, better than ever.

I'm not only going to be trying to teach more effectively, but I will do my best to completely overcome my character flaws--or at least turn them over to the Lord so he can make up for what I can't. Don't get me wrong--I don't plan to be perfect, nor can I be because I am mortal. Because I'm mortal, I can't reach perfection in this life. But I can be perfect at trying. I want to be perfect and using the Atonement in my life to  improve every day. I want to be perfect at being a little better every day. And I know that is possible with the help of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

In the last two weeks since New Year's, I've begun already my journey toward perfect trying. And what a change I've already seen! Before January 1, I was too afraid to go out of my comfort zone and talk to everyone we saw on the streets. I didn't have the confidence in my ability to get people initially interested in the gospel. But my new companion has been pushing me and leading me by example, and I've been doing what she asks me to to step outside my box, and we have seen so many miracles! I'd have to do an entirely separate post to describe them all! And I still have so much room for improvement!

I know that the success and the changes I've seen in myself aren't the result of my own abilities. There is no way I could have changes so quickly without the help of Divinity. I have seen these changes because I have prayed for my Heavenly Father to strengthen me and give me the confidence to do His work, and I am willing to surrender my will and my comfort zone in order to be an instrument in His hands to bring His children back to Him. And I know also that anyone can have these experiences and see these changes in their lives. All you have to do is pray for strength from Heavenly Father and Christ will grant it if you are sincere.

So, I invite you all to do this simple thing: Set a goal to improve yourself (or really any goal), make a plan to accomplish it, and then ask your Father in Heaven for His help in achieving this goal. I know He will help you. But you have to take the first step.

Tender Mercy: Where do I start? I've seen so many since my last post, most of them in the last 10 days. But in short, every time my companion and I have been having a hard time with our investigators, with appointments falling through and people deciding not to listen to us, Heavenly Father has given us just one person who kept their appointment or led us to just one person ready to hear the gospel, and blessed us with spiritual experience after spiritual experience. And each one I know is my Heavenly Father telling me, and my companion, that He is proud of us and He appreciates our efforts, so He gives us little successes.