Ladies and gentlmen…New York has finally reached springtime!
My first sunburn of the year goes to spending all day on Thursday at the McNeeses doing yard work. They’ve got a huge backyard, and needed a bunch of trees down in preparation for their son’s graduation party coming up. All six of us missionaries went to town busing sticks and logs to the bottom of the yard for a huge bonfire that night. (Unfortunately, the wood was still too wet…it wasn’t that exciting.) But…as we were working, it was one of the most opportune times to remember and ponder what I studied in personal study that morning. My mission president said something a while back that forever changed my thinking habits, and affected my work that day. He said when he has thoughts that he doesn’t want to have or that are mindless, he presses a mental button in his head to go back to what he studied that morning, and ponder it some more. While pushing the wheelbarrow up the hill, I got to think of how I was a literal child of my Father in Heaven, and He did not want me anywhere else in the entire world but throwing logs on the pile, wearing my name tag, serving other people. Before my mission, doing what I used to call “mindless” work, I’d usually think about what I needed to do for school or my job, or even what I was going to do that weekend. But not anymore. If my mission changed anything in me, it changed how my thoughts should always be centered around the Savior in the act of serving. If they’re not, I better get to a place quick where I can do something for someone, so my mind will get back on track. I always need to be thinking, “does what I’m doing forward His work?” If the answer is no, change your attitude. Because most of the time, you can’t really get out of the task ahead. Positive thoughts put anybody on top.
I woke up Friday morning really wanting to be in the Salt Lake temple. Before I was fully concious, I was trying to figure out how I could get there, who I needed to take with me to make it legal…etc. Not after too long, I realized I was still on my mission in New York. Then, came the most important realization. I realized that a year ago that day was the day I went through the temple for the first time–in Salt Lake. It was a pretty cool thought Heavenly Father placed in my mind to start me out in the morning. Just having that memory in the background of my mind throughout the day helped it be a great one. That night, we helped cleaned the church with McNeeses again. We also have this coming Tuesday and Thursday planned for yard work as well with other members. We just can’t help it if this weather will cooperate with us! It’s nice to finally have a day in about six months that we can actually spend more than an hour or two outside without freezing to death.
Which reminds me of another thought I had. Remember how Joseph Smith had the First Vision in the early spring of 1820? Well, I would consider this time of year the “early spring.” It’s not exactly that warm, yet. We had one day that went into the 80’s, then a couple hours later it was down into the 50’s again. The lake effect doesn’t help either–so yeah, it’s really cold. Anyway, obviously this question was pressing on Joseph’s mind for a while now, because I’m sure he took the first chance he could to get outside to be alone. It tells me first-hand how dedicated Joseph really was to this, and how it really wasn’t all singing birds and flowers during this world-changing event. It was real–it really happened, and it changed the way I think about things forever.
That’s all I really have for this week. We did get two new investigators, and then dropped to one. I was pretty bummed, because the woman that dropped us only spoke Spanish. She shared the most beautiful testimony about Jesus Christ I’ve ever heard, but then texted us and said her husband won’t allow us to come over again. Oh well, it comes with the job. I’ll leave you with a quote that has been ringing through my mind every so often the past couple weeks: “We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.” -Elder Boyd K. Packer
p.s. Hill Cumorah Pageant training starts in 2 WEEKS!