Guest Testimonies

Monday, July 7, 2014

"I realized then just how important gratitude like that really is!"

June 30, 2014
     Today is the Omer’s last day in Africa and the Dunn’s first day as the presiding mission “parents” over the South Africa Johannesburg Mission!!!  We welcome you President and Sister Dunn!
      It’s weird to think that President and Sister Omer fly home today and it brings many feelings over all of us. We will always remember the love that they had for all of us individually and collectively and we will miss them greatly! The cool thing is that now this mission and us missionaries have been prepared for and are now ready for the guidance of President Dunn. The Lord knows who he is placing where and knows that His work can be accomplished best as he gives us callings to His work. We made a district goal on top of our personal goals to sustain pres. Dunn in EVERYTHING that he does. This stuck out to me as I was reading in the Book of Mormon last night and read about Nephi. In 1 Nephi 3:6 we find that if we just obey and not complain, we shall be favoured (and blessed) of the Lord! So whatever guidance any of our leaders give to us, whether it be here in SA or back home or wherever, It IS from the Lord and if we don’t complain, it WILL bless our lives :)
                But this week has been a good week! Not too fast but not too slow! We were able to celebrate ½ Christmas on June 25th so now I wish everyone back home MERRY ½ CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!! We all need more Christmas cheer and to remember the real reason of the season! Hahaha I was a goofball and put in our Christmas hymns and Raffi CD in the car so the whole day we were driving around listening to Christmas music  :) We also got another replacement car to drive around in while our petrol card situation gets sorted out. We may have kinda misplaced it so we had to get a replacement card until a new petrol card is sorted out for us. It’s nice tho cause we get to drive around in the new Nissan Almeras that the mission just got! Posh, posh travelling life for me! ;) #namethatmovie
                Those are just a couple of the events that occurred that stuck out during the week but what I wanted to post about this week is something that I found very profound in my studies and in lessons. That is of the topic and principle of Gratitude. In 1 Nephi 2:6-7, we read that as Lehi took his family out of Jerusalem, they travelled about 12-14 days in the desert. Then, when they had pitched their tents, the first thing that it says they did was build “an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.” As I read these two verses, it hit me. Their family had just been travelling 2 weeks in the harsh desert and finally set up camp for a bit and the first thing they DIDN’T do was take a nap haha yeah that’s what first came to my mind. I envisioned myself just travelling like that and after I had set up my bed, I fell down on it and took a nice snooze. I think for me (and possibly most people) the last thing I would have wanted to hear was my dad calling me to come and gather some heavy stones in the middle of nowhere and stack them up in the heat of the day in the desert. Am I the only one who feels that way? Haha I know there is room for improvement in all of us, especially myself. I realized then just how important gratitude like that really is! I know the Lord is happy whenever we give thanks but think of how much more happy he is when we are grateful immediately following a blessing!? Or, as Pres. Uchtdorf taught in Conference, when we are not only grateful FOR things but IN things. I have pondered on those things and realized how much gratitude is around me. Many of the people we get to visit with go day to day not knowing where the money for their next meal is going to come but they are sure thankful for the roof over their head and the clothes on their bodies. They go through ridiculous trials and still have a smile on their face when we are able to talk about the gospel! What an inspiration! I know that it all stems from their knowledge that God blesses us and that we should indeed be thankful! So I’ve started being more thankful! I realized that there are people who bless my life everyday and so I started writing a section in my journal called just that: “people who blessed my life today”. And it’s not much, but when I reflect on the day, I just smile and say thanks for all the people who made my day just a bit better :) it’s made me smile a lot more that’s for sure! I know that as we are all grateful to the Lord in and immediately after our experiences and trials, we will receive a deeper testimony of the principle of gratitude and we will be able to smile a lot more. :) That is what I experienced this week and wanted to share it with all of you guys back home  :)
                Oh and I’ve finally found time to start replying to many of your letters! Haha I know, I know, it’s about time ne? Well, they should be on their way very soon!
Love y’all!
-Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith