"Don't limit yourself and don't let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can." -President Thomas S. Monson
One of the Elders in the ward called me this week and asked me to share my testimony on Sunday about the blessings of keeping the Sabbath day holy. I spent several days pondering on blessings I have received over the years from being obedient to this commandment. I realized it is because I have kept the Sabbath day holy that my family was able to grow so close together. We spent every Sunday going to church, taking the Sacrament, spending time with each other at home, and having Sunday dinner together. It was a day set aside to reflect on the Gospel and the Savior. It was a day where we could enjoy each others company in an environment that was filled with the Spirit and filled with love. I believe that is why my family members are my best friends! I am SO grateful my parents encouraged us to keep the Sabbath Day holy! I also believe that the Sabbath day is a gift to us from the Lord. It is a day where we can rest from our worries and stresses from every day life and refocus on what matters most... the Savior and His Gospel. It is His Gospel that will lead us to live with Him again, which will be the greatest blessing of all. When we keep the Sabbath Day holy we are able to center our thoughts back onto Him without the distractions of the world. I learned on my mission that the Lord gives us commandments for our benefit. They are to give us happiness. When we stop looking at commandments as tasks and view them as gifts from the Lord, our lives change. We become so much happier and we see how much He blesses us as we obey. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to reflect on that and see just how much the commandment of keeping the Sabbath Day holy really has blessed me in my life.
At the end of church I wanted to thank our Relief Society President for her lesson. All I knew how to say was "thank you". It seemed like so little. I wanted her to understand how grateful I am for her and for the time she puts into her lessons each week. When she walked by me I said thank you! She hugged me tightly and kissed my cheek. It made me so happy that perhaps she understood my gratitude for her despite my lack of Romanian. One of the elders told me how to say "thank you from the bottom of my soul" and I spent the next ten minutes trying to memorize it. Before leaving the church I saw the sweet lady again. I repeated the phrase to her and she looked touched. She hugged me again and said something back to me in Romanian. The lady next to her translated and said "She wants to thank you. You have helped her." It was simple but it was all I needed to know. I needed her to know how much I love her and appreciate her service to the branch and to me personally. I feel so connected with these beautiful people. I am going to miss this branch!
Our branch received a new branch president last week. He is 23 or 24 years old! He served his mission in Scotland. Today at church I asked him about Scotland. He never got to go to Fife, Scotland, where St. Andrews is located. However, his mission president is from the area around Dundee. He said he has many connections to the members there and he can connect me with them. How amazing! I asked him about the church in Dundee, as that will become my home ward very soon. He said it is pretty big there. There are two big wards in Dundee alone. Ah... that makes me SOO happy!! I cannot wait for that adventure.
The orphanage was great this week! Unfortunately, my kids were sick for part of the week. Chicken Pox is going around. One boy had it really bad. He was so uncomfortable in his bed. He kept crying. I didn't know how to help him. His whole body was white with lotion. I didn't want to touch him and make his pain worse. So I said a prayer with him and I sang to him. It seemed to help. It made me emotional to think about the life some of these children live and will continue to live on this earth. I wish there was more I could do to help... I hope that in some small way, my love is enough to make their burdens a little bit easier. I think my prayers will be the most beneficial thing I can give to them. Baby S was sick at the beginning of the week too. I was sitting by him and he began to throw up. I felt so bad for him. So the workers took him and laid him in his bed. The next day he seemed to be feeling a little bit better. I took my phone out and turned on some music for him. He will shake his head yes or no to let me know if he likes the song. It is SO cute! So I put my music on shuffle and kept pressing next until I finally came to a song that he wanted to listen to and dance to. It was "One Tribe" by Black Eyed Peas. As soon as he started shaking his head yes and moving his feet I busted up laughing. I couldn't believe this was Baby S's jam! haha So I started dancing to it and being goofy. Then I grabbed his arms and moved them around. I had him dancing with me and he loved it! He was laughing so hard. It is one of my favorite memories so far! I love these children so much. My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for each one of them!
I am very blessed and I am very grateful for my experiences here. I feel so much strength from the Lord and each day I feel inspired to do or say something to help lift another. I love, love, love when the Lord can work through me to help someone else. I love getting to be His hands. It is one of the best feelings I have ever felt! I cannot believe I am about to start my 3rd month here. It doesn't feel like I have been here that long... I guess time flies when you are having fun. haha or so they say! This weekend we are going to Ireland and I will celebrate my birthday there. I cannot wait! My life is a dream and I don't want to wake up! Every direction I look I see blessings from the Lord. I cannot even begin to count them. Each day is another blessing and another miracle. I am SOOO grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for His Atonement, and for the ability I have to change each day and become a better version of myself. I am strengthened through the Lord as I continually turn to Him and find ways to become more like Him!