Charity Never #FAIL(eth)


Mission Christmas Dinner

I ran into all my Manassas Friends at the Washington DC Temple Visitors

Sunday afternoon:
We waited in the parking lot for another set of missionaries we needed to take home. As I sat in the car I watched out the window as the YSA Ward was beginning to gather together for their Sunday meetings. Lots of people, from lots of different places all walking into the church building. And then I saw F.  In church pants with a button up shirt, a sweater, and a tie around his neck. Happy as ever. Chatting along with other YSA members, with new found
friends. He had his phone out, as always. Same old F. But here. I nearly jumped out of my seat.

We greeted, just small talk. I couldn't help but think only a year ago we were shoveling snow out of a dreary winter blizzard hit apartment complex. Digging F's car out of the snow. When he asked us who we were he had no idea what we were about. Months and months of
lessons and cookies and knocking on his door after his graveyard shift to wake him up for church. Teaching him how to tie a tie. Devotionals, Conferences. Teaching him what Cafe Rio was. General conference at the B's House. The day we sat in the clubhouse behind the VRE train and he told us he wanted to be baptized.

...And almost a year later, we just run into each other at the YSA Ward church building. And we have a nice conversation, cut short because he had to "get to church on time."  
But what better reason to cut a conversation short?

Tuesday evening:
At the Temple Lights walking through a room full of Nativity's. I turned around and saw a familiar face. A youth member from my very first ward and area in Manassas. Only to be followed by another familiar Manassas face. And then another's.  Soon I realized the entire youth group from my first ward family was piling into the Washington, D.C. Temple visitors center.  Bundled up in winter coats. It only took seconds before the hugs exploded. Families who took us in during Christmas, Valentines and New Year's Eve. Countless hours of service, and church and Preparation day activities. Lessons and exchanges. Smiles and tears. All these wonderful memories of my first five months in the mission field came flooding into the room. "Hello Sister Stucki's!" Followed by pictures and hand shakes and hugs and high fives.

And then Sister Schramm. Who taught me so much. How to be a missionary. How to be confident.  She showed me the ropes and set the bar high. So many laughs and learning experiences. 
All came rushing back.

I logged onto Facebook and received a message from D. My ASL friend. Several silly pictures of the new deaf branch ward president and his son goofing around at the church in Silver Springs. D. finally began attending the ASL branch and blessing the lives there after his baptism a few short months ago. I couldn't hold a smile back as I saw him there at church learning and growing and fellow shipping. Even without the missionaries texting him MEOWS! (Inside joke sorry) to come to church. It is just a lifestyle now. 
It is part of him. And he loves it.

We visited Cafe Rio Wednesday evening with a lady and introduced her to K.  Who works at Cafe Rio. Who this past summer ran up to the missionaries asking "How do I become a missionary? You're all so happy!" Months later, she was baptized. As she found truth and answers to her questions and concerns. Nothing better than seeing her smiling face + delicious sweet pork salads. Getting to converse about Christmas festivities and celebrating the birth of Christ. 
Seeing a glow in her eyes and she told us about simply... Life.:)

Friday evening:
I got a phone call... some sisters in Arlington ran into N. & N. two girls I was great friends with in Manassas. They asked to have the lessons again. They were living with there mom again and wanted to be baptized. They remembered vividly all the many lessons Sister Schramm and I had taught them nearly a year ago. I remember when they knew very little about the love that God had for them individually.  
Their worth as a Daughter of God, and Christ's for them.

Yesterday D. messaged me on Facebook telling me he set a baptism date for this month. Almost six months ago we started chatting on Facebook. Then Skyping. Talking about the goodness of God in our lives. I remember him taking notes, his pencil flying at hundred mile speeds trying to take in all the inspiration he was receiving. Months later missionaries in his area down south were able to begin teaching him the discussions. What a joy it was to see not only his face via Skype but two elders in white shirts and ties sitting on his couch. 
And now here he is.

These are the rewards of our service as missionaries.

We don't get paid, or ranked higher or glorified. It's not about the activities or the decorations or the clothes or the name tag. It's not even the "east coast experience" or the games or the sights I get to see. The reward doesn't lie in the adventures of traveling the east coast and Virginia. 

The reward is so much greater 
than any worldly form of payment or recognition.

It's the friendships built, the lives changed.

This blog doesn't do the work any justice at all. You see the fun pictures and read the silly stories. But I can't clearly relate to you the experiences I've had as a missionary. Not even a percentage of them. I don't want any young Sister, or soon to be Elder, or Missionary Mom, or any other reader to be fooled that this is a butterflies and rainbows experience where we come and we enjoy 1.5-2 years having a "Good Time" because it's not that at all
If that's the impression this blog leaves I've failed to explain my call correctly. I suppose service as a missionary isn't something I can describe in a blogpost. Or any post. Or speech. Or journal entry of any magnitude.

I think it's one of those, "you have to feel it to explain it" types of things.

But... the reward of serving as a missionary is so great.

Growing to love people so much they become family.
In such a short amount of time. People who I would never have known. People who I never may have crossed paths with. Become friends. Laugh together, cry together. 
We grow together, we change together.

I can't say I'll miss the cold or the snow, or even the trees. I won't miss the traffic or the big city or the lights or the smells. There are lots of things that don't particularly interest me about the east coast, or things I don't quite fit into. My home will always be home and Virginia doesn't even begin to compare the home I have waiting for me in six months.

But a piece of my heart is already stuck here.

A part of who I am, and who I've become.

It's stuck with the people here. The experiences here. The memories here.

Home is Who I am.
But this is where I've truly become...
Someone a little bit better
Something a little more

When I look back on this year, I think Virginia will be a bit more difficult to let go of then I originally anticipated.

I read a book once that said something to the effect of how giving your whole heart, truly loving, only sets you at risk for becoming broken hearted.

But that's the risk we take when we love. We take the risk of a broken heart. 

But if we don't take the risk we will never love. And what's a life without loving?

I wish I could remember the reference. Probably The Great Gatsby. Or Farewell to Arms. Some classic novel I read at some point. Anyway. I think that's the Ultimate Reward.
Learning to love, so much.

So that's what I wanna tell y'all today.
I wanna spread some love.


Is the highest, noblest and strongest kind of LOVE.

Charity never faileth.
If we have ALL other characteristics, but not charity, we are nothing.
Charity is the MOTIVE BEHIND good
Charity is the pure love of Christ.

This is something we each need to be constantly striving to improve,
acquire and understand. Charity.

"Charity suffereth long,

and is kind,
and envieth not,
and is not puffed up,
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil,
and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth,
beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are
nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity,
which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; 
and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, 
it shall be well with him."
Moroni 7:45-47

After reading that verse of scripture and rating myself on a one to
ten scale at how good I am of showing charity, I realized...

I fail.

It's come to my attention that I'm the least loving person on the planet.
K. maybe not on the planet.
But considering the fact I need a New goal for 2015....
I took this //constructive// criticism as a challenge.

Now hear me out!
Everyone's gotta struggle with something.
So there ya go
I struggle with Christlike love towards all people
It's easy to love those that love you
But not everyone.
Or those who annoy you
Or antagonize you
Or are rude and obnoxious or don't have social skills
It's my biggest downfall sometimes.
Something I want to improve on

Now don't get all giddy like you're the best at Christlike love and charity and you just one upped me on this one, because chances are you probably (fail) "aren't perfect" at it too my friend. JUST SAYING. #humilitycheck

The pure love of Christ literally is the definition of Charity. Christ showed charity and love toward all men, no matter the circumstance. And he meant it too, he really loved the people, all people. He didn't just put up a front, that's who he was.

No matter what front we put up on the outside people respond to what we are feeling. Are we really charitable people? Are we REALLY full of Christlike love, towards everyone?

This is a difficult task. I realize. In order to gain charity we must constantly be striving for it. Praying for it. Practicing patience, forgiveness, service and love. Being selfless... We have to get out of our box. To not see ourselves as the victim. To not see others problems or needs less significant than our own. To Regard people as a person with feelings, cares, dreams,
desires, struggles. Not just an object. Regarding people as problems or objects is distorted. We truly have to get out of our box.

We can't change other people.  We can only change ourselves.
By getting out of our box.

This isn't particularly easy. Maybe it's easy to talk about. Or to do in specific circumstances. Like when you actually enjoy the person you're being charitable towards. But we weren't commanded to pick and choose when we will show charity and who we will show charity towards. Rather we were asked to be so full of charity and Christlike love that it flows out upon all who we meet. Even those who may have caused conflict in our life, or those we are not particularly fond of. This is definitely something I'm still learning.

But learning is the key right?

The more I learn about Charity the more I realize I have to work on. This entire past year my goal was to become DISCIPLINED. I worked really hard on being more disciplined. In 2015 my word, or my goal is CHARITY. My goal is to gain a more Christlike love for those around me. To become a person full of charity and love. And believe me this is a task! But it's all about that constant improvement right?

Christ was constantly teaching us to love more fully. And I thought I did pretty good at that. I mean I loved my family. I loved (some of) my friends. I loved my car.. .. ......... But hold up. Charity isn't just about picking and choosing what or whom you love.

"Charity suffereth long,

and is kind,
and envieth not,
and is not puffed up,
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil,
and rejoiceth not in iniquity 
but rejoiceth in the truth,
beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things."

For starters, 
I'm the most easily provoked human on the planet. 
You could say
to me and I will find a way to argue it. 
My goodness, that's not charity. 
Or love.
*not to mention all else on that list*

You know quite frankly, I believe we all have some sort of charity item to work on. But this New Year my word and my goal is CHARITY. To learn to love more fully. I think this is something we can each work on.  I personally challenge each of you to find a way to be more
charitable. Especially this Christmas Season where we are being constantly reminded of Christ's love. And especially in situations where it's most difficult to show charity towards someone / something.

One of my favorite examples of this is the Good Samaritan.

 Who was he?

"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, 
and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, 
and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he

saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on

him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when

he saw him, he had compassion on him,

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and

set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave

them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever
thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that

fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him,

Go, and do thou likewise." -Luke 10:30-37

The good Samaritan had zero obligation to help the man lying on the roadside.
He had a life and needs too.
He put someone else's needs above his own,
It's our choice to act this way
Who needs you?

Each of us in our journey through mortality will travel our own Jericho road. 
What will be your experience? 
What will be mine? 
Will I fail to notice him who has fallen and requires my help? 
Will you? 
Will I be the one who sees the injured, hears his plea yet crosses to the other side? 
Will you? 
Or will I be the one who sees, hears, pauses and helps?.....
Will you?" 
-Thomas S Monson

This story is a parable.
It's not directly referring to helping people who have been mugged and are laying on the dirty roadside, beaten and bruised. Rather metaphorically speaking... Who do you know that is in need of help? Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Who is struggling? Who
needs a friend? How many times have you passed by the lonely kid between the lockers in middle school? How many times have you seen the kid being laughed at and made fun of at high school? How many times have you seen someone drop there 30 lbs of text books while running late to college? How many times have you passed the lady with two toddlers running around the parking lot and a screaming baby at the grocery store?

Everyone is walking down there own "Jericho Road"
As we travel, what kind of person are we? A charitable one?

No excuses. We are ALL busy. We ALL have needs. We ALL have somewhere else do be, something "better" to do.

The Good Samaritan had zero obligation to help the man lying on the roadside.
He had a life and needs too.
He put someone else's needs above his own,
It's our choice to act this way
Who needs you?

We each have a reason or a purpose everyday of our lives.
What purpose does God need us for today?
Who needs us, today?

Each of us in our journey through mortality will travel our own
Jericho road. What will be your experience? What will be mine?

How will you show Charity to those around you this month? This year?

Who needs you?
Get out of the box.


try it.

I love you guys!

Lets talk

(December 15, 2014)
Sent from my iPad

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