Monday, July 6, 2009

I am only one

Well, the 4th of July was a little bit on the wet side, but there were fireworks nonetheless. Too bad we couldn't see them because we had be in by 9 PM, but we heard them pretty easily. It's always humbling to think of how much was sacrificed by those early colonizers so that we might have freedom. Such an environment was necessary for the Lord to restore His Church to the earth, so there's no doubt the Founding Fathers were inspired of God. We talk to so many people each day that lament how the country is headed in the wrong direction and in my mind I'm thinking, "Our message can solve those problems." I then do my best to present the restored gospel in a positive way, which will leave no doubt in their mind of the peace and happiness that it offers. Far too many, however, are not yet ready for it.

Well, this was a rough week as teaching goes, only 7 lessons taught. I think a big part of the problem was that we didn't take advantage of every opportunity to teach. I wish that the seeds previous missionaries had planted were ready to grow and harvest, but obviously it isn't the Lord's will. I have to keep telling myself that I'm not in charge, I'm just called to be a servant in the Lord's name. This has not been easy by any stretch, but not a day goes by that I don't learn something, and for that I am grateful. We did have several great experiences that came from giving selfless service to others, something I felt we weren't doing enough of the past couple months. Most of the service was rendered to members, which is a "piece of cake" way to earn their trust and confidence. We all have tasks that only we can perform, and all the Lord asks is that we give everything we've got and then wait. This was illustrated very well by President Monson in the most recent issue of the Ensign:

"Remember that you are entitled to our Father's blessings in this work. He did not call you to your privileged post to walk alone, without guidance, trusting to luck. On the contrary, He knows your skill, He realizes your devotion, and He will convert your supposed inadequacies to recognized strengths............I encourage you to reach out to those you serve and to love them. When you really love those you serve, they will not find themselves in that dreaded "Never, Never Land"---never the object of concern, never the recipient of needed aid. It may not be your privilege to open gates of cities or doors of palaces, but true happiness and lasting joy will come to you and to each one you serve as you take a hand and reach a heart."

Preach My Gospel teaches us that the ultimate measure of success is not in achieving goals alone, but in the service you render and the progress that others make. For me, this has been a great source of comfort lately. I realize that many people have in some way been positively affected by the message I've been called to share, even if they don't get baptized. With that mindset, I am confident that we can move the work here to another level, and our focus will be on helping the members join that cause. We have nothing to be afraid of! This is the truth, and those who choose to listen to us will never regret it. Lastly, here is a short poem that I keep in my journal to help me maintain a positive outlook when times are tough. It's called "I Am Only One":

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But I still can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do

I am grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to serve the Lord in His vineyard for two years. If this Church is anything, it is service; for without charity we are nothing. It's time for the work to go where it has never gone before, and I intend to spend my remaining days in Cincinnati and elsewhere in life seeing that fulfilled. The elect will not only hear the voice of the Savior, they will follow it. People that choose not to listen are not yet the elect, so therefore WE CANNOT BE DISCOURAGED! It's wonderful to hear of the Lord's infinite blessings being poured out upon each of you, and humbling also to realize that some of them are coming simply because I chose to serve a mission. I am not deserving of all that the Lord continues to give me, but I simply plan to continue doing my best. As Steve Prefontaine, the famous Oregon track athlete once said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." The Lord has assured me repeatedly that those I love and pray for are likewise doing everything they can to give all to God. I will most definitely study those chapters in Alma that Dad suggested. Coincidentally, this is where I'm at in my personal study of the Book of Mormon, so the timing is definitely right. And congrats to Mike and Ashley on the newest addition to their family! The pictures are good! Sheesh, cousins are popping out of the ground like the corn fields out here!

This promises to be a great week, plus we've got our Sports Zone Conference on Tuesday and that will be awesome!! Amazingly, we have appointments w/members every day this week! We will help them develop FMP's with meaningful goals so they can boldly and lovingly invite others to Christ. In addition to that, our branch president has asked us to find out which members don't have Preach My Gospel, and then to help them learn to study it regularly! I know this will strengthen their understanding and testimonies of the gospel to the point where THEY will be finding and we can focus on teaching.

Great things are ahead in Wilmington, I'll keep you posted! God bless!


Amy said...

Elder Livingston,
Your positive attitude is inspiring.
We love you!

shawn rowley said...

mighty words. your shadow is growing.