I love Dunn Avenue. There is nowhere like it in the entire world, I bet. On the way to church, we have to pass by an old run down strip club & the Budweiser factory. We almost went there for a free tour (the latter, not the former) today, but then we took two hour naps instead. Time well spent. I haven’t been sleeping well lately so it was good to feel like I kind of caught up. Kind of, being the operative word.
I wish that I could bring all of you loved ones to church with me on Sunday to show them all the amazing, crazy, humble people I have in my life right now. This ward is very unique. I never understood why we have poverty in America & children dying of hunger out here in our own backyards because I was never around it & I never saw it. It’s right here in Jacksonville Florida, though. There’s a line in our missionary rule-book that says, “Be thoughtful by not eating too much if food is in short supply.” I am ashamed to admit that I used to think that only applied to missionaries in third world countries. Let me tell you, my friends. There is third world living in this first world country. But the people….the people are the KINDEST, most humble, loving, giving people you will ever meet. Yeah, the organization of the ward has much to be desired, but man are they trying. Maybe 60% of them don’t have teeth or an education of any kind, but their hearts & souls are so beautiful. If everyone in Utah could spend two months in this ward, their whole view about what the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is would make a 180. I know mine did. It’s not about having the funnest youth activities or the best talks in sacrament. It’s not about making sure our make up is perfect and our kids are well dressed and squeaky clean so everyone thinks our lives are perfect.
It is about charity.
It isn’t about you at all. It’s about your visiting teachee who, yes for the third time in the past six months, is once again out of food. It’s about recognizing needs & tackling them. It’s about ASSUMING BEST INTENTIONS. it’s about giving all…literally all. Our time, our talents, our money, our resources, our knowledge, our time, our time, our time, to the Lord (which mean God’s children). It’s about faithfully observing the laws of the gospel including & especially tithes & fast offerings. This ward has changed my vision as to where Christ would be spending His time & who he would be spending it with if he were here today. He wouldn’t be putting in a hefty tithe, but not take His time to help someone move in or out. He wouldn’t give the best talks in sacrament without sitting next to someone in the congregation that was alone & friendless. He wouldn’t pick & choose which commandments to follow & by glory, he sure wouldn’t skip out on the commandment to love one another.
We have seen many mighty miracles this week. I’ve had some amazing studies in the Book of Mormon & Preach My Gospel. I’ve had view altering & faith strengthening conversations with strangers & friends alike. There is literally nothing like serving a mission.
“More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.”