Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28th, 2016: Easter?....Nah, It's Still All About Christmas!

Hahaha, my subject probably doesn't make any sense, but I'll explain
it later...

This week was way good! I have been having a really fun time lately
here in Ogaki! We are starting to see success coming from our
obedience and diligence! It is a way cool thing to see first hand.

We got to meet with our investigator family, the Ohashi's yesterday!
It was way cool! We taught about a lot of different things, and
eventually invited them to be baptized! Sadly, they didn't accept
because they don't feel prepared right now, but we are going to
continue working with them! They are an amazing family that consists
of the two parents and their way adorable one year old daughter! They
are amazing and want to do what's best for their family and their
daughter, and they absolutely love the idea of eternal families, so we
are trying to build off of that.

This week, I went on another cleaning spree of our apartment! It was
astonishing to see just how uncleanly missionaries can be! But, amidst
all the dust and garbage we found a miracle! While I was cleaning out
an old cabinet that hadn't been used in literally years (I later
confirmed that), I found another record book of past investigators!
I'm talking like hundreds of records at we didn't even know we had! I
felt like the people who found the records of the Jaredites! Hahaha
woah, I must be a missionary. 😂😂😂 But yeah, I started reading
through all of them as well as calling those that seemed like they
might still have interest! Already we have found one new investigator
and we have another potential that we are calling soon! It was way
cool! I'm grateful for a mother that taught me how to clean! Haha,
love you mom!

Ok, now to explain my subject. So in the down time at the end of the
day, I have been studying a lot of old ensign articles and talks and
one in particular has been on my mind lately. It is called May We So
Live by President Thomas S. Monson. Here is a part that I'd like to share and sorry that it is so long.

Doing Something Today

How fragile life, how certain death. We do not know when we will be
required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask, “What are we
doing with today?” If we live only for tomorrow, we’ll eventually have
a lot of empty yesterdays. Have we been guilty of declaring, “I’ve
been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan
to take the first step--tomorrow”? With such thinking, tomorrow is
forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them
today. As the familiar hymn teaches:

There are chances for work all around just now,

Opportunities right in our way.

Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”

But go and do something today.

Let us ask ourselves the questions: “Have I done any good in the world
today? Have I helped anyone in need?” What a formula for happiness!
What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace--to have inspired
gratitude in another human being.

Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they
are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words
to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There
are souls to be saved.

As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings
ye are only in the service of your God,” we will not find ourselves in
the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer
Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal Christmas Carol. Marley spoke
sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: “Not to know that any Christian
spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will
find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not
to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s
opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

Marley added: “Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my
eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led
the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its
light would have conducted me!”

Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the
better. I love his line, “I am not the man I was.”

Why is Dickens’s Christmas Carol so popular? Why is it ever new? I
personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within
human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the
paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow
a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our
courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly
the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping.
We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we
lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one
struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can--by showing the
way--become a guiding star for some lost mariner.

Fill Others’ Hearts

Because life is fragile and death inevitable, we must make the most of each day.

There are many ways in which we can misuse our opportunities. Some
time ago I read a tender story written by Louise Dickinson Rich which
vividly illustrates this truth. She wrote:

“My grandmother had an enemy named Mrs. Wilcox. Grandma and Mrs.
Wilcox moved, as brides, into next-door houses on the main street of
the tiny town in which they were to live out their lives. I don’t know
what started the war between them--and I don’t think that by the time
I came along, over thirty years later, they remembered themselves what
started it. This was no polite sparring match; this was total war. …

“Nothing in town escaped repercussion. The 300-year-old church, which
had lived through the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Spanish War,
almost went down when Grandma and Mrs. Wilcox fought the Battle of the
Ladies’ Aid. Grandma won that engagement, but it was a hollow victory.
Mrs. Wilcox, since she couldn’t be president, resigned [from the Aid]
in a huff. What’s the fun of running a thing if you can’t force your
enemy to eat crow? Mrs. Wilcox won the Battle of the Public Library,
getting her niece, Gertrude, appointed librarian instead of Aunt
Phyllis. The day Gertrude took over was the day Grandma stopped
reading library books. They became ‘filthy germy things’ overnight.
The Battle of the High School was a draw. The principal got a better
job and left before Mrs. Wilcox succeeded in having him ousted or
Grandma in having him given life tenure of office.

“When as children we visited my grandmother, part of the fun was
making faces at Mrs. Wilcox’s grandchildren. One banner day we put a
snake into the Wilcox rain barrel. My grandmother made token protests,
but we sensed tacit sympathy.

“Don’t think for a minute that this was a one-sided campaign. Mrs.
Wilcox had grandchildren, too. Grandma didn’t get off scot free. Never
a windy washday went by that the clothesline didn’t mysteriously
break, with the clothes falling in the dirt.

“I don’t know how Grandma could have borne her troubles so long if it
hadn’t been for the household page of her daily Boston newspaper. This
household page was a wonderful institution. Besides the usual cooking
hints and cleaning advice, it had a department composed of letters
from readers to each other. The idea was that if you had a problem--or
even only some steam to blow off--you wrote a letter to the paper,
signing some fancy name like Arbutus. That was Grandma’s pen name.
Then some of the other ladies who had the same problem wrote back and
told you what they had done about it, signing themselves One Who Knows
or Xanthippe or whatever. Very often, the problem disposed of, you
kept on for years writing to each other through the column of the
paper, telling each other about your children and your canning and
your new dining-room suite. That’s what happened to Grandma. She and a
woman called Sea Gull corresponded for a quarter of a century. Sea
Gull was Grandma’s true friend.

“When I was about sixteen, Mrs. Wilcox died. In a small town, no
matter how much you have hated your next-door neighbor, it is only
common decency to run over and see what practical service you can do
the bereaved. Grandma, neat in a percale apron to show that she meant
what she said about being put to work, crossed the lawn to the Wilcox
house, where the Wilcox daughters set her to cleaning the
already-immaculate front parlor for the funeral. And there on the
parlor table in the place of honor was a huge scrapbook; and in the
scrapbook, pasted neatly in parallel columns were Grandma’s letters to
Sea Gull over the years and Sea Gull’s letters to her. Though neither
woman had known it, Grandma’s worst enemy had been her best friend.
That was the only time I remember seeing my grandmother cry. I didn’t
know then exactly what she was crying about, but I do now. She was
crying for all the wasted years which could never be salvaged.”

May we resolve from this day forward to fill our hearts with love. May
we go the extra mile to include in our lives any who are lonely or
downhearted or who are suffering in any way. May we “[cheer] up the
sad and [make] someone feel glad.” May we live so that when that final
summons is heard, we may have no serious regrets, no unfinished
business, but will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the

I hope you can all live every moment to its fullest! I love this
gospel and all of you! Thanks so much!



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