Monday, February 22, 2016

Things that don't change, Stay the same.



We have been having a lot of graduations from Self-Reliance Groups lately.  The work of the past 9 months is being reflected in the smiles of members as they receive certificates of completion from LDS Business college.  They are so proud of themselves, and rightfully so.  They have worked hard to complete one of three paths of study.  Education for Better Work, My Job Search or Starting and Growing My Business.  They have also completed My Foundation, Principles Skills and Habits.  They have changed!  


3 Nephi 27:27 What manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto you, Even as I am.

The key word here is "be".  Be Like Jesus.  This should be our goal.  This is the goal of Self-Reliance.

Elder Packer said, "things that don¹t change, stay the same" he also said, "When we are through changing, we are through" Self-Reliance is about change.  We continue to change as we strive to be like Jesus.  If you want to be better today than you were yesterday you need to change.  You need to keep working.  You need to do something.  If what are you doing is not making your better each day then you need to change and do something different, something more.  You cannot sit and do the same things and expect to receive a different result.  This is true in everything in our lives.


Our mission in the Philippines is also a time of change for Cathy and I.  We miss our family, especially our grandchildren.  We miss seeing them swim and dance and play ball and sing and a hundred other things they do every day.  I miss sitting with them, reading a book together or listening to them tell of books they are reading or adventures in learning at school.  I miss family dinners and outings together, but the things that I am learning here, the changes that I am making will make me a better Dad, a better Grandpa, a better home teacher and a little more like Jesus.  I also hope, that in some small way, it helps others to also be a little bit better. If that happens also, as Elder Bednar says, it will be enough. 

Patience is the goal word for me.  Everyday, in most everything I do and say, I find the need for this virtue in my life.  Heavenly Father knows me personally and knows that I need to increase my patience in so many ways.   And so it begins with an awareness that this is something to work on.   And then it grows into an awareness that Patience is something that needs to become who I am.  It doesn¹t happen at one time and it certainly is not complete now.  Nor will it be complete in 9 more months.  It is just one trait to improve in the eternal pursuit of trying to be like Jesus. 

On Monday we had our Mayor visit with Rosales.  This is where we live, this should have been the easiest to get an appointment but it was not.  Finally it was here.  Brother Costales made the appointment for us and agreed to come with us and President & Sister Deyro.  President Deyro is never late for anything but this morning the Mayor was early and President had a pressing matter that delayed him.  Sister Deyro suggested we go on without them and for once in my life, I found patience and said, "no, we will wait". 

When President and Sister Deyro arrived, we had our best Mayors visit.  One of the council members attended our meeting and sat by me and we talked about Self-Reliance.   He wants to bring it to all the businesses in the market.  He said, "They need it!"  I told him if he would provide the venue and the facilitators we would train them.  We talked with the Mayor about Self-Reliance and about families and wanting to be part of the city and to participate in any activities that promote the family or any interfaith activities.  She told us that on the 25th they are having a group wedding.  There will be 137 couples married.  The Mayors office will provide all the wedding rings and cake and other things for the wedding.  They will have drawings and give away a honeymoon and other gifts.  Then she told us that there is a requirement of the government, for the couple to have 1 hour of counseling from clergy before they are married.  She asked President Deyro if he would come on the 24th and talk to them for 1 hour about marriage and family and fulfill that requirement.

What if we had not been patient and had gone ahead without him.  Cathy is normally the patient one but she was worried about us keeping the Mayor waiting.  I was as calm, and said it will be alright and just kept patiently waiting.  It was as though I had been given a gift of patience as that very moment when I needed it.  Later that day was I patient with drivers on the road, probably not, but I did receive that gift when I needed it, when we needed it Monday morning.

So I learned that just because we receive a blessing by the laying on of hands, does not mean that we have that gift at every moment and that we are instantly changed.  It means that we have the power from that blessing the gift from that blessing and if we listen it will be there when we need it, to make us a little be better today than yesterday, and that is enough.

It is the same for all the graduates of Self-Reliance.  Are they through changing?  Certainly Not.  Are they to where they want to end up or just beginning this new journey of Self-Reliance.  Everyday for the rest of our lives we need to try to improve.

2 Nephi 31:20  Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and enduring to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

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