Monday, June 13, 2016

6-13-16 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Sorry to sound trunky, but I am beginning to understand what it feels like to be going home soon. For the last couple of weeks, each time I do something, I can’t help thinking it will be the last time I will do it as a mission president. Recently, as I was on the HSR, I found myself gazing out the window, as opposed to looking down at my computer screen reading emails. I was in awe at the beauty of the rice fields. The plants are fully-grown and have a light green and yellow hue. The fields are uniform yet distinct, with narrow earthen borders hedging them in. Sometimes they are surprisingly close to urban areas, adding even more splendor to the landscape. I love the rice fields of Taiwan!
As a young missionary, I remember riding my bike along pathways among the rice fields. There was always standing water in the fields. We could not go off the path!  There were also lots of mosquitoes so we couldn’t stop and rest too long or they would make a feast of us! The humidity always seemed a bit worse in the fields.  On misty mornings, there was so much water in the air that it felt like it was raining as I pedaled along.

Actually, the rice fields can be a metaphor for many things in life. They are attractive and essential, but at the same time have their downside. We need to look for, and focus on, the good that is all around us. We need to see the beauty and taste of the fullness. At the same time, we must avoid getting off the path and getting bogged down in the mud. We must stay focused and keep moving so as to avoid the bites and stings that can be uncomfortable and annoying. Sometimes we just have to block out the negative things, like heat and humidity. There isn’t much we can do about them, and we certainly can’t let them get to us and weaken our faith or our resolve to accomplish our purpose. “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the words of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2Ne.31: 20).  Every day of our mission, we too must press forward.

Here are some quotes from a few favorite emails this past week:

“Something I've learned that I've always known but was just really apparent this week was that if we are doing our best, being obedient and doing the things we're suppose to be doing we will see miracles. [My companion] and I work hard but it's interesting to see how most of our new investigators don't come during our scheduled contacting time but they come by some other means. It applies both in missionary life and outside of missionary work if we are doing what Lord would have us do we will witness miracles take place and we will find pure joy.”

“Last night we made a plan and used a lot of faith as we tried super hard to hit mission standards for new investigators, because we were only one off! So we tried our best, and although we didn't get a new investigator, we got adds for this week and for next week. So although we didn't hit the goal, we still received many blessings from at least trying.”

And finally, “Although this week was hard, we pushed through it all. I remember at one point, I really felt tired of talking to people. I just vaguely recall praying for the will to smile at the next person before contacting the guy at the light, who ended up adding after he pulled over. Prayers really are answered.”

Elders and sisters, let us continually press forward. Look for the good. Count your many blessings. Keep moving and don’t get distracted or give up. God knows each of us and what we need. Let us trust in Him and we will see miracles.

President Blickenstaff

Mentor of Champions

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