This week has been an incredible opportunity to step back and take it all in. I can’t believe that 2010 is over and that the New Year has begun. I have been thinking a lot this week about everything. I thought about this year and how much I have grown. I said a simple prayer the other night thanking the Lord for another year of life and experiences. Life is wonderful!
A year ago I was tread the high, dusty roads of Matagalpa with my first junior companion. We spent our days working hard to raise the attendance in a struggling branch and the branch’s worries and problems became ours. I learned the lesson of faith. I learned that I depended completely upon the Lord for everything in my life. I learned that with him all things were possible.
From there I went to Las Palmas. There my companions and I experienced new trials in combating gossip and member struggles while trying to raise the faith of the missionaries in the zone. My experience as Zone Leader proved to be rewarding because I saw the Ward change completely. Many joined the church and many came back who were lost.
Six months ago I returned to Monserrat to finish the job that I couldn’t do before. We have spent the little time after office hours finding, teaching, baptizing and retaining the members and the Lord’s principle of grace has come into play. We have little time but it is blessed time. I couldn’t have expected anything better than what has happened to the ward. I have learned how to love church leaders and challenge the recent converts to think beyond the normal.
Besides the transfers of areas, there have been monumental changes in me and in my character that will shape my eternities. I feel happier and I feel like for the first time in my life I am living the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I should. I am thankful that this change has come over me.
God guides our steps from day to day. He puts in our path the people, the places, the things that will most benefit us and help us to be more like Him. Many times they are trials. In other times He gives us the blessings. I know that God lives and that He works among His children daily. He knows each and everyone. He wants the best for us.
This year I expect greater things. I look forward with faith in Christ for He is my redeemer. I know that in his strength I can do all things. I plan on taking things seriously this year. There is no room for mistakes. I am going to challenge myself in ways I never thought I would before. I now am putting goals for myself that I wouldn’t have considered last year. The gospel of Jesus Christ is progress and we have to make the first step.
May this year 2011 be the best year of our life because we accomplish what the Lord wants with His help.
Elder Grant Russell