Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 90

Hello hello family!

I can definitely relate to what you are saying about time speeding up.  I still remember clearly driving up to Salt Lake with you and the girls, having a small tour of the old Tabernacle and the Conference Center, hanging out with Brother Mahelona and his wife (I wonder how they are doing...), and saying our goodbyes right before I entered the MTC.  Wow.  It feels like yesterday that that happened, I can't believe that that was almost two years ago!  Looking back over the course of my mission, I am so proud with the work that I have rendered.  I truly believe that I have given all the effort that I could every single day - and that is not going to stop!  I have seen daily miracles happen as I serve faithfully, obediently, and diligently.  These last couple of months are truly my time to shine!  I have learned SOOOO much, and am eternally grateful for it.  After my mission, I am going to continue to grow with my relationship with Jesus Christ, and I know that I can do that as I apply the principles I have learned while I have been serving Him and those around me.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I never joined the church, decided to serve a mission, etc.  Before I joined the church, I was a person who struggled with depression, didn't have a close relationship with my family, no sense of belonging, no true reason to live - matter of fact. I always wondered "Why me?", "Why does God put me through such hardships?", etc.  I had the great privilege to be invited to attend a special mission conference this past week, where I had the opportunity to listen to Sister Bonham's brother - President Shawn D. Moon.  He is the Stake President over one of the YSA stakes in Utah and works for Franklin Covey.  He is a great motivational speaker and spoke to us about having an eternal mindset and developing a mission for my mission.  It was incredible!  We first talked about the power of paradigms and the influence it has in the long run.  Depending on one of our paradigms (or viewpoints), it will determine the outcome.  For example, if my paradigm of missionary work is "I will never baptize," then, chances are, I won't be motivated or inspired to work as hard as I could.  Something I really reflected on was when I joined this church, I had a paradigm shift - a new view.  I saw everything in a different light and looked at things not in the "here and now," but in an eternal perspective.  I am happy, hopeful, and know that Heavenly Father sees in me what I do not - and wants me to live up to my fullest capacity.  At the beginning of my mission, I set a goal to be the best missionary, son, future father, Priesthood holder, etc. that I can be.  I think I am starting to finally understand why living up to your potential is so important - a part of Moses 1:35 says, "There are many that now stand (talking about the worlds which have been created), and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them."  God knows me personally.  I am important and special to Him - just as much as you are.  A great portion of His love is loyalty.  Loyalty should be a way that we show love as well.  As I am loyal to those around me, I am blessed beyond measure.  I learn more about them, learn about my personal worth, and receive a greater knowledge of the eternities.  It is so amazing what life brings.

I was reading in the recent Ensign and read a quote that really impacted me this past week on how we can bring the Lord's healing into our lives.  It is given from his talk "The Hope of God's Light" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:  "First, start where you are...  We don't have to wait to cross the finish line to receive God's blessings.  In fact, the heavens begin to part and the blessings of heaven begin to distill upon us with the very first steps we take toward the light... Second, turn your heart toward the Lord.  Lift up your soul in prayer and explain to your Heavenly Father what you are feeling.  Acknowledge your shortcomings.  Pour out your heart and express your gratitude.  Let Him know of the trials you are facing.  Plead with Him in Christ's name for strength and support...  Third, walk in the light...  [Heavenly Father] sent His Son to this earth to illuminate the way and show us how to safely cross the stumbling blocks placed in our path.  He has given us the gospel, which teaches the way of the disciple.  It teaches us the things we must know, do, and be to walk in His light, following in the footsteps of His Beloved Son."  I feel that is exactly how the Lord helped me get back up on my feet in my darkest hour.

I love you all so much.  :)  Be safe this week and enjoy your Spring break!  Don't get too crazy!


Elder Alexander J Annand

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