This week we had some really great contacts with a number of people, including a few different friends of members in the area. There are so many people that could use the feeling of warmth and love that comes with attending church. We were scheduled to have a few more people come to church yesterday, but who ended up running into a road block one way or another. One thing I am gaining such an appreciation for is the strength we can draw from by going to church. The strength of the Spirit in the building from other members is very noticeable and this ward has so many strong members that love the Lord and everyone around them. Some of the life stories we hear are very sad, but also very mendable with the warmth of simply going to church. I pray specifically that those people will find the courage to come just once, because that is all it would take.
From my personalility that has developed over the past few years, I rarely find myself in a mad state of mind. Especially here on a mission when the work is so full of joy. However, I found one thing that gets me close. It breaks my heart to hear people that haven't been to church in decades or people who don't know much about the church refer to members who have turned them away from the Gospel. My mind is drawn to the joy which comes from introducing someone to the fullness of the truth. Compare that same joy to the guilt which would come from being the reason someone fell away from the arms of the Savior. I certainly do not want to have to answer for unkind words or actions that would be the reason for someone to miss out on the blessings that are available to us.
My heart aches for the Solomon family. What a sad experience to go through. I remember a line from the book True to the Faith - To take the sorrow out of death, you have to take the love out of life. Obviously love cannot be taken out of life, and sorrow cannot be taken out of death, because of the universal laws about opposition in all things. But having the sure knowledge of the potential to live in a family unit for eternity can cause those feelings of sorrow to diminish quicker than anything else in the world. That knowledge is a great motivation to try and do all we can to be worthy of that gift from God.
Also a bummer to read that Campo's streak ended. What a great run though. It was fun to get the weekly updates even though I am far away.
I still haven't heard anything about my visa. But I know there is more for me to learn and do here in Tennessee. I absolutely love Brother and Sister Carroll. He is the ward mission leader and does so much not only for us, but for anyone he comes in contact with. We will be at his house for Christmas afternoon and will call home from there. I will most likely wait until the late afternoon and we will have an hour to talk.
Today will be a first for me. I plan on entering a barbershop and paying someone for a haircut. I am not quite sure how to tell them what I want, but hopefully it goes well. A couple of the attachments on the hair trimmers we have in the apartment are broken and they happen to be the ones I need. Tomorrow we have a zone conference - a special one for Christmas. I was reminded this week of a quote from President Hinckley - Get on your knees and pray, get on your feet and work. As we are counseled to always have a prayer in our hearts, this provides insight on how to do so. We can pray and ask for help and guidance and what we might need. Then we get up and go to work trying to help God help us answer those prayers. Kind of like the saying that He can't drive a parked car. That is something I keep in mind as I go throughout my studies and work everyday.
Well thanks for the letters and I got some neat Christmas cards this last week. I won't have time to respond by letter to everyone, but thanks to the Severson's, Peirce's, Jex's, and Steven's. The thought goes very far.
With much love and charity