Sunday, December 9, 2018

People are Good

I am surrounded by good people here. I can't believe how kind and good some people here are. The world is not that dark after all. There is light all around us, but sometimes it is hard to see.

Last week we went to a humanitarian center. People there volunteer their time and money all the time. The person in charge actually said that they require reservations because they have so many people wanting to volunteer. They make quilts, toys, clothes, ...etc. and donate them to the poor and needy all over the area. We got to work on a quilt which was not necessarily my favorite thing to do, but it was nice to be able to help in a little way.

These are jump rope handles that people make out of wood and paint them. Then they braid fabric (I think) to make the ropes.

Here are some of the quilts we worked on:

There were even little children volunteering to color wooden toys that were going to poor families.

Yesterday, I tried to go to Walmart early before it starts to get busy. Sadly, it was already busy...but it was good because I got to watch the 'shop with a cop' program. This is where kids from families who are poor are given a chance to go to breakfast with a police officer then go with them and shop for Christmas gifts. All of the money for the gifts are donated. The children can choose anything they want. There were bikes that were bought, dolls, toys...

I also heard from my friend the other day that there is someone who donates 250 thousand dollars every year. This money is split up and $10,000 donations are given to families who need it. Last time they gave it to a family who took in 4 orphans after their parents committed suicide.

Americans are busy, they fill their lives with many things and end up with so much to do. Sometimes more than they can handle. But, as I see all the good that is being done around me, I am filled with gratitude. I'm grateful I live in such a place where there are good people who serve and give of their time and money to help those that are less fortunate. 

I always complain that the temple is busy when I go...but the other day I sat down and just looked around me and was again filled with amazement. People who are SO busy would take time to come to the temple to serve even those that are dead. 

Today our ward was split. It is always sad and exciting at the same time. We got a new bishop (but he's amazing) and we will probably have a bunch of new callings. I will miss many of our Young Women who will end up in the other ward. I am hoping I will get to stay in my YW calling. I do love serving with these amazing young women. I guess we will see what happens in the next few weeks.

The temperature finally dropped to the negatives (-3 F or -19.5 C). I feel it is too soon for that, but winter is here...And it is here to stay.  It did get warmer this week and the snow was even melting today.

Last week they had a live nativity in the center of town. They had a donkey, camels and people to do the Christmas scene. Sorry it was dark and there were so many people in front of us that it was hard to get a shot without having people's heads in it. I loved how in the end Santa came up to the manger and took off his hat and knelt.

I struggled with my Christmas tree this year. I was not too fond of my tree nor the decorations. I did my best this year to make it look better without spending too much money. I bought every possible decoration from the stores and kept trying them until I found something I sort of liked. I am glad I can return things here because nothing would quite match what I had already. I finally ended up making my own bow and doing my best to make it look nice.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Make a Difference

I got busy yesterday decorating my Christmas tree and I did not have time to write a blog post. I'm still not sure what to do with my tree to make it look good. I am so bad at this decorating thing. I am trying ribbon this year and am going to see if that makes a difference. I did not like what my tree looked like last year. I don't want to buy a new tree. I think I will buy one when they are on sale AFTER Christmas. But, for now I am going to make the one I have work.

I am writing a short post today to encourage you all to try to 'Light the world' this month. Sometimes I only do service to others during December, but it is better than nothing. I think what you do does not have to be organized, you just have to do something for others. Our church suggested the following order, but so far I have done only one thing to 'Light the World' and quite a few for "lighting my community".  Sometimes what you do is as small as sitting and listening to someone share their problems. Or giving a hug to someone and telling them they matter. Or giving a Christmas gift to someone you just met who really needs to be lifted.

Week 1: Light the World.
Week 2: Light your community.
Week 3: Light your family.
Week 4: Light your faith.
I have noticed that little things we do make a big difference. I guess this African proverb makes you understand what I mean: "If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent a night with a mosquito." 

Last week, I got up and was late for work, but found out I have a few inches of snow on my driveway.  My snowblower would not work, no matter how hard I tried to get it running. So, I tried to shovel enough space to get my car out. Since I was trying to do it fast so that I am not late for work, I got really tired and my back started hurting. I left for work and had a really long busy tiring day. And all day I kept thinking about all the snow that I had to shovel when I returned home from work and how I was going to get my snowblower fixed.

I got home to find that Don Romrell (my friend's father) had come from Sugar City and shoveled all the snow from my driveway. Then after that he spent two hours trying to get my snowblower working. When he couldn't, he took it to his shop and fixed it and brought it back! I was speechless! There were a few times when someone's service has brought me to tears, but this one did because I was just so tired after a long day at work.

I have learned that things we say can also make a difference. They can prevent someone from ending their life, or giving them hope. One of my students who was trying to take his own life told me that a friend told him something that made a difference and made him change his mind about committing suicide. We don't know what people are going through. They could be THAT depressed and we would have no idea.

I gave a talk the other day, and one of the women in the audience came up to me and with tears in her eyes told me that what I said seemed to speak to her heart and that she really enjoyed my talk. I get people that say that sometimes and that really makes a difference to me.  But, this was the only time I have seen someone actually make a change in their life because of what I said. That is why what she said the following week touched me.

The same lady I mentioned came to my office the next week, and this is what she said:

"After your talk, I went and bought your book and was reading it all day. I could not put it down. My 6-year old daughter asked me what I was reading and asked me to read the book to her. I told her it was too difficult for her to understand, and I started just telling her about it. She said: 'No mommy, just read it.' So, I read to her the part where it talks about how you knelt down to pray to know the Church is true. My daughter looked at me and said: 'Mommy, I never prayed to know if the church was true, can we pray?' They both knelt down and prayed. After that they decided that before they ask, they should read the book of Mormon. So, they have been reading the Book of Mormon together every day." 

I am grateful for her and for her faith and for taking the time to come to my office to tell me that. It really meant a lot to me.

As I mentioned, the little things you do for others don't have to be big. Just let your light shine. That light within you does not come from you. It comes from the Savior who is the light of the world. The more you follow Him and are obedient to His commandments, the brighter that light becomes.