Family & Friends,
A story for you...
Theo was going about his day the same way he had always done. It was New Year's Day when he answered his front door to see two funny looking twenty year old girls dressed in long skirts, name tags, big coats, scarves, beanies, the whole get up. They asked him how he was doing as he nonchalantly smoked a cigarette and answered,
Sister Schramm and I answered, “Why? It’s NEW YEARS DAY!” To which he responded by telling us he had already failed at accomplishing his New Years Resolution to quit smoking. He wasn't happy. He had relationship problems. His girlfriend just had a baby. And many more problems and
situations in which he felt he could no longer bear.
We attempted to explain that we had something that could help him. He was not incredibly interested at the time. Due to the weather being below freezing and his sheer disappointment with his goals. We left him with a Mormon.org card with our names, number and the church website on it. And… we went on with our day.
I have probably handed out thousands of Mormon.org cards. I have never expected much to come from them.
Ten months later. In late September I got an add on Facebook from a man named Theodore. Didn’t quite look like the man that I saw at the top of the year on his front porch in freezing cold Manassas Park. As I accepted the friend request I got a message from him asking if I served in Manassas with a Sister Schramm. The minute I replied yes he sent me another message. Which struck me. It made my heart almost stop.
He said, “Thank You. For changing my life.”
It took a split second before the whole story unfolded. I found out that THEO after we left his front porch that day decided that he was at a point in his life where he needed change. He had bad habits that he needed to break. His life was not going the way he wanted it to. In many aspects. So he decided to look this website up. He got on Mormon.org. He liked what he saw. So he referred himself online.
The Elders in Manassas dropped in, became his friend and began teaching
him. It was on and off for a while. But one day he realized what he needed to do. He understood the importance of the Gospel and over time the Gospel CHANGED him.
He quit smoking on the spot. It took ONE PRAYER and it was no longer
a far off New Years goal but a reality. There were many things in his life that he changed that are personal and for him to tell. Not only was he recognizing the change in his life, His girlfriend began to see this change in him and wanted to know more. As they took the missionary discussions they each began to change.
Last week Theo and Destiny were married in the Centerville Church building by the Manassas First Ward Bishop. The whole ward was there to show their support and love. The Elders were there to be His Best Men, because they truly became his best friends. This week Theo, his now wife, and their 11 year old daughter were able to be baptized. To enter into a covenant to follow Jesus Christ. To begin with a fresh start the rest of his life.
After Theo was baptized he bore a powerful testimony of his conviction
of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I would say the only testimony I have ever heard as powerfully spoken is the testimony of Alma the younger in Alma Chapter 36 in the Book of Mormon or from a Presidents of the church.
He told his story of change. How he went through a period of time where he hated himself. Not only himself but all those around him. No wonder he wasn't happy and no wonder his relationships were falling apart. He was sad, lonely and miserable.
That all changed with a knock on the door, two messengers from God and a simple card.
As Theo talked of his journey to strengthen his faith in Christ there was not a dry eye in the room. Including himself. But they were joyful tears. The kind that only come when the Spirit is overwhelmingly present. It was beyond what words can describe. And to MY astonishment, not only was Theo baptized but his beautiful now WIFE and 11 year old daughter were able to be baptized as well.
At the end of the ceremony we had the chance to talk to Theo. To reminisce on the day we met him on his front porch and the man he is now. The light he carries now. It was as different as day and night. Once a guy with bad habits, addictions, poor relationships and low self esteem. Now a man of God with a fresh start, a faith in Christ. A beautiful family all redirecting their paths towards God.
The thing that touched my heart and left me more excited than ever is that he said he, his wife and family are working towards being sealed in the temple. And he wants us to be there.
One year from today!
I don't have words to describe this one.
I think of my own goals and aspirations to be sealed to my future husband and children in the temple. The blessings of my own family who are sealed in the temple. How much happiness and peace of heart it has brought me. And now Theo and his beautiful family are working towards that same goal.
God is so good.
I can’t tell you the shock I felt when I realized the impact that ONE door approach. One quick lesson. One Mormon.org card. One smile. One pause. One act of compassion left on a man and his family and their entire life and posterity.
How great a change was made in the lives of many people in that small contact made on January first in the freezing weather in Manassas, Virginia. Just one simple act of living in the moment and grasping every available opportunity… made a difference.
Taking a step back and remembering the circumstance it could have simply slipped by. It was New Years Day. NOBODY wanted to talk to us. It was bitter cold. Drunk people were running around careless from the previous
nights festivities. It was an awful day to be a missionary trying to teach people about Christ’s Infinite Atonement.
But we did it anyway.
There were so many excuses to go home. To give up. To wait for a better circumstance. To dwell on the past. But for some reason or the other we didn’t. We took what we had to work with that awful New Year's Day and we made the best of it.
We lived in the moment, and a miracle occurred.
We were led to Theo. Now almost a year later we find out his entire life has changed. Not only him but all those who have witnessed this change in him. And all the people he will influence for the rest of the eternities.
How important is it that we are living in the moment?
How important is it that we grasp every available opportunity presented to us?
If Sister Schramm and I had not been living in THAT moment. Thinking of
the good we could do IN THAT INSTANCE (though it seemed nearly
impossible to make a difference on a day such as that) that man may
have been simply passed by.
From this experience I have learned that if we live in the moment, if we use what we have to work with, whether that be great or small, miracles can occur and great joy can be brought about.
Sometimes blessings don’t come right away. But as we make the best of
what we have been given we will find joy. We will find more opportunities
and great miracles can take place over time!
How important is it to live RIGHT NOW?
To bless and change lives by using our time and talents RIGHT NOW.
To influence people RIGHT NOW.
Not waiting for the excuse of
a better atmosphere,
When I move,
When I have a better job,
When I finish school,
When I lose weight,
When I have different friends or family.
The grass is not really greener on the other side.
In fact, we are always going to have imperfect circumstances.
So what ARE we waiting for?
Continually this transfer I have learned why living in the moment is so
Important. It is crucial to living a happy and most fulfilling life.
Being a missionary (or a human, but for the purposes of my experience
being a missionary) we don’t always have ideal circumstances. We don’t
get to CHOOSE who we live with. We are assigned to a companion who we are expected to work with and love despite our differences, interests or personalities. We are placed in an area which we don’t choose and we are expected to work with the people there and the circumstances. Whatever they may be. And we have these circumstances for a reason. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe God knows my weaknesses. He knows where I need to improve. He places ME (and everyone else) in environments and
situations where they can learn, grow and progress.
In life, it is the same way. You don’t choose your family. But you are expected to love them. You don’t pick and choose your trials but you are expected to endure them. You don’t choose MOST things in your life. However you CAN choose whether or not to make the best of what you’ve got. To live in the moment. Don‘t wait for your circumstances to change.
You may also choose not to. You can choose to wait around for your circumstances to change. You can choose to be unhappy and miserable.
But… when YOU CHOOSE to have a bad attitude about your situation who is to blame?
I think this is what Theo finally realized. That he didn't have ideal circumstances. That he was miserable. But the only way to get out of
it was ACTING himself. So he did! Was it easy? I doubt it. Was it worth it?
Well seeing who he was a year ago and who he is today? I would bet he
wouldn't change a single decision he made in changing little by little over the course of time. Living in the moment and grasping every available opportunity. Not waiting for his life to change for him. Not clinging to his past. Simply moving on.
In Matthew chapter six verse thirty four it says,
“take no thought for tomorrow”
The Gospel teaches us to live right now and leave the rest to The Lord. Trusting in Him and His eternal plan for each of us. How blessed we are to know that we can trust our eternal creator. He knows better than us what we need to progress.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT
Has two different roadblocks.
1. The Future: as I have mentioned several times...
Don’t wait for your circumstances to change to find happiness.
The future is in Gods hands. Yes it is important to set goals. To have a vision and to strive for excellence. But if we are constantly yearning or waiting for something else, for change, for a difference. If we are constantly finding ourselves thinking "I’ll be happy when…?” “I’ll be happy when I lose ten lbs.,” “I’ll be happy when I graduate," "I’ll be happy when my companion gets transferred," "I’ll be happy when I’m married" (? guilty)
THEN WE WILL MISS THE BEAUTIFUL OPPORTUNITIES OF TODAY.
Notice that I said WILL not "might"
You WILL miss the beautiful opportunities of today. THINK ABOUT IT. Rather than scrolling through social media wishing for a better life or comparing yourself to other peoples best qualities and "perfect circumstances" that you perceive they have....
Find joy in the journey of YOUR LIFE today!
YOU GET ONE LIFE. One shot…
YOU ONLY GET ONE SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
What are you going to do with it?
Find joy in the beautiful family that you have raised.
In the accomplishments and successes you have had.
In the beautiful world you live in.
Look for the good in those around you.
Seek to serve one another.
Count the blessings you have been given.
Try to be a little kinder to the world than it was to you.
Create your own beautiful opportunities and love them.
Don’t wait for your circumstances to change.
Because if you do,
You will be waiting all your life.
2. The Past:
Don’t dwell on the past.
As a missionary a realization has struck me that things how I left them at home... ARE NOT HOW I LEFT THEM ANYMORE. Unfortunately, time didn’t freeze once I stepped foot into the mission field.
Things change. Things won’t always stay the same.
LIFE CHANGES. The past is the past. We are not going back to that anymore. Whether your past is a good or bad one. Learn from it. Pick up and move on. The past is to be learned from but not yearned for and dwelt upon. If we are stuck in our past we are again missing the beautiful opportunities today holds for us.
For example: If you're 42 and unhappy and you're still referencing back to when you were voted best bod in high school... We have found your problem. But also your solution!
Live in the present.
In the moment.
Yesterday is over. Make today better. Even if it was the best day of your life. There's room for constant improvement. So take the opportunity right now.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take
thought for the things of itself."
By no means am I suggesting we all become free spirits and don’t plan for our future. Or entirely forgetting our pasts. No, no, no! None of that. I am suggesting however…
That there are wonderful things we can find the joy in all around us. Every second that goes by we will never get back. We should be grasping every available moment we have to live and make the best of it. Not wasting our time away letting so many opportunities to change our life, and the lives of others, slip away.
Today has beautiful opportunities laid in front of you right ahead. Even if it doesn’t look beautiful. Even if you look outside and there is a snowstorm and a bunch of crazy drunk people running around and you know that your shoes will be sopping wet within five minutes and your bones will be frozen solid and the trees are dead and the birds are not singing. Who knows when you will run into a guy like Theo and help him change his life.
Don’t convince yourself that you need to wait for the sun to shine,
the birds to sing or for somebody to come and knock on your door and personally extend an invitation to you, for you to go outside and find the beauty and opportunities that the world has to offer. Don’t convince yourself that yesterday was better, and there will never be another day like it. Convince yourself that today will be a great day full of wonder and accomplishments and thrill. That there are opportunities that lie ahead of you. If you simply go out and recognize them.
Who knows when you will smile at a stranger and maybe it was the first smile they have seen in weeks. Who knows when you will see a car broken down that needs your help. Who knows when your son or daughter is struggling with drama at school and they just need to talk. Who knows when your best friend just got dumped and needs a fro-yo (frozen yogurt) date. Who knows when your companion had a family friend that passed away and just needs a shoulder to cry. Or who knows when somebody just failed at there New Years Resolution and feels he has no reason to go on with his life. Who knows when you will run into him and help him understand God’s Eternal plan and divine potential for him and the rest of his posterity.
You never know.
If you are so caught up in waiting for the future or dwelling on the past you will miss opportunities God puts into your life everyday to be better. To be happy. To be changed.
I have learned that if we live in the moment, if we use what we have to work with, whether that be great or small, miracles can occur and great joy can be brought about.
Sometimes blessings don’t come right away. But as we make the best of what we have been given we will find joy. We will find more opportunities and great miracles can take place over time.
And if this Blog post was the most confusing thing in the world to you, and you don’t have any idea what I just said here is a quick summary, and probably my favorite life hack:
Because it’s happening."
*see also inspirational photo I sent via email*
Love you guys.
Share the blog.
Send me questions & ideas for the future posts.
Have a GRAND week!
Oh and PS
Remember the Theo story because next week I think it would be appropriate to expound on what CHANGED him. (And everyone else) And if you are guessing "the Mormon.org card" SORRY, your wrong ;)
(study up on Brad Wilcox CIS BYU devotionals if you want a head start on my thought process) talk to you next Monday!
Happy Birthday this weekend to my Mom who runs this wonderful blog!
I LOVE YOU!
Make sure you all watch LDS General Conference this weekend! Think of some questions you want answered before you start watching it and tell me about what answers you find!
(Post link to website here)
Transfers are coming up on the 9th. (I'll probably stay here)
Spencer turns TWENTY ON THE 9th
SO TELL HIM HAPPY BIRTHDAY FAMILY
Also if Madi’s around for the holidays tell her to send me a PFPV update.
& Tell Eli I show all the CHILLINS here his music video
(the can one, they like him)
As well as on your own personal Blogs (:
Just Copy/Paste the link!
....I think I'm done now. Thanks for reading!
Sent from my iPad
(September 29, 2014)