We just got back from a ward council meeting in which we said goodbye to one of the missionaries serving in the Blackburn Ward who goes home in two days. The stark reminder that we aren't far behind him came for us with a call from the mission president telling us he has assigned our replacements and they will be living in our apartment! It is a comfort to know someone will be watching over "our" wonderful young single adults and helping support the Blackburn Ward. Having the senior couple move in to our place will certainly make packing up and leaving a lot easier in one aspect, but it doesn't make leaving the people any easier.
Tonight, I am reflecting on how we missionaries go home and report how much we love the people and how hard it is to leave a ward we've served in. It is difficult to leave those in whom you have invested much effort, time, prayers and concern. Our whole life for the time we are on our mission is focused on helping others receive the gospel. Each week is consumed with interactions with the ward members, inviting them to go on teaching appointments or bring investigators and less active members to church, teaching in their home, helping them set up family mission plans, or working to bring them closer to God. In these ways, a missionary becomes a part of the ward family.
As we sit around the table at missionary correlation meeting and ward council meetings, we discuss individuals and how to help them come to church to feel the Spirit and gain or regain a testimony of the gospel so they can have blessings in their lives. Everything missionaries and leaders of the wards do is focused on "the one." Our love for each ward member and investigator grows the more we serve and sacrifice to fulfill their needs.
One person at a time is considered in the meetings. To see the care and concern for members in the wards is marvelous. The members work so hard to get people out. Every one is sorely needed. Many positions are not filled due to lack of active members or too many members whose health is not good enough to be able to serve in a weekly position or responsibility. Some creative positions are tailor made for those who cannot take regular church callings. Each one is looked after by many different shepherds in the flock. Love grows and increases based on how much service is rendered.
It is the way Jesus Christ loves us--individually. It is the way Heavenly Father answers our prayers--specifically according to what we have asked for and what he knows we need. It is no wonder the God, The Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, love us so much! Think of all they have given us! Our Lord and Redeemer performed the ultimate service for us by giving his life so we might all live again forever.
My heart is full of gratitude for the organization of Jesus Christ's Church. It teaches us to look after each one as He does. We are grateful for the dear and humble people we meet while serving our missions.
King Benjamin taught when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God ( Mosiah 2:7). I know this is true.
Yes, it is indeed going to be hard to leave.
* * * * *A city crew probably planted these flowers, but we know someone in our last area who is a city gardener and he regards his work as a labor of love that makes the world more beautiful for others' enjoyment.
|We saw this in Accrington when we went to do our grocery shopping for YSA Family Home Evening last night. I couldn't believe the colors were so vibrant. Thank you to all the cities in England that make the towns and villages so beautiful.|
|Most the cars are small here and it feels fine driving a little car around. How will we adjust to our monster truck when we get home?|