Sunday, January 8, 2017

Be Grateful for what Matters Most

November 21st, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had our transfer calls this week and sister Kitahara and I are both staying in Mountain House together. I was pretty surprised about not having any change, but I feel a lot of peace. I know I am needed here still. And I am really happy to spend the holidays with this ward, they feel like family to me. I will be taken care of very well here! This week it started to get pretty cold here (well...CA like 50's and 60's) but I have definitely acclimated to the weather here so now I am freezing along with all the other california people. It has been rainy too this week. It is nice to have the weather change, it finally feels like fall a little more. 

On sunday I got to perform in a violin duet at church. We played one of my favorite songs, Come Thou Font Of Every Blessing, and it went really well. We played through it maybe only two or three times together before performing it, but it really sounded beautiful. The arrangement of the piece was very nice. It felt good to play again. I think they want me to play again for Christmas since now I know I will be here for it.

This week was full of small miracles, good things are continuing to happen here. The biggest being Lesley. Our lessons with Lesley went so well this week. We really saw a change in her, and a desire to really commit to trying. We thought for sure she was coming to church, but she never showed up. That was sad because she would have been so strengthened by the messages shared. She still has some things holding her back, but she said she wanted to set the goal of December 17th for her baptism. The spirit was so strong as we talked about it, and I was able to bear my testimony that when we set goals with God, He always prepares the way for us if we are willing to keep walking. 

Another blessing to our week was that we got involved doing service in the community here. There is a senior living center in town that we got in contact with and they are always begging for volunteers to do a variety of different things. They warmly accepted our invitation to serve. On tuesday we got to do a little worship service for the memory care facility, along with one of our ward members. We talked about and sang songs about Jesus Christ. It was very basic, all about Jesus and how He loves us and cares for us. The residents in the memory care facility are not fully aware of what is going on most the time, but you could feel the spirit in the room and see it in their faces. Residents who never talk or participate started to do so and all of the workers were amazed. It is a great place to do service because we get to help the residents, but also work with and make a good impact on all the workers and families of the residents who are around. We went back thursday and visited with the memory care facility for a little. The spirit I feel as I serve there is so sweet and touching to me, it brings me to tears a lot. We are so excited to keep serving there. And I am excited for this new transfer here in Mountain House, I know this where the Lord needs me right now.

I love this thanksgiving season. I have been pondering what matter most to me, my Heavenly Father who knows and loves me perfectly, His son Jesus Christ who is my literal Savior and best friend in all times, my family and those I love who I get to be with forever because of Heavenly Father's loving plan. And I am so grateful for the words of Christ that allow me to follow that plan. The words of Christ, if we let them and live them, will "carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise" (Alma 37/44-47). Earlier in the Book of Mormon, the word of God is compared to an iron rod that we need to hold onto as we walk the path back to Christ. In sorrow or sin or trial or any challenge, our view of life can get pretty dark, like a vale over our eyes. But if we hold onto the words of Christ, we will be led to safety, even if we can't see the path ahead. If we cling to it with all our might, and hand over hand, as we walk never let go, we can not fail. We can not fall. We can not be lead astray. It is when we let go and try to navigate the darkness ourselves, we get lost and disoriented. And yet even still when that happens, Christ comes to us where we are and personally walks us back if allow Him to. The words of Christ are my source of hope and light. It can get dark, but I won't get lost if I always hold onto Him and His word.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and get to take time to ponder what matters most to you this week.

all my love,
Sister Eleanor Neeley

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