There were a few spiritual thoughts that came to me in the latest zone conference…..In the dictionary, there are 3 definitions of the noun “miracle”.
The first definition is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.” A good example is Jesus Christ and Peter walking on the water in Matt 14. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and when he bid that Peter should come to him, Peter got out of the ship and started walking on the water. When the wind started blowing, Peter became afraid, lost his focus on the Savior and began to doubt that he could continue and began to sink. I believe we can all do “inexplicable” things like this if our focus is on the Savior, the divine, and do not doubt ourselves. We may not be walking on water but we can do hard things, maybe even seemingly impossible things. We see medical miracles, incredible things, physical feats that saves ourselves or others, miracles in nature and so forth.
The second definition is “a highly improbable to extraordinary event, development or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.” A while ago, some missionaries were in an automobile accident and their car caught on fire and the vehicle destroyed and they escaped unscathed. Someone was looking after them. A guardian angel?
The third definition is; “an amazing product or achievement, or outstanding example of something.” This is more common. These are the little miracles I see almost daily in my missionary experience…..young missionaries having had no prior knowledge of english, studying diligently and learning in a relatively short period of time, passing an english proficiency exam that would be a challenge for a native english speaker and getting accepted to universities; My companion and I have been on our mission for 5 1/2 months and have not been sick with even a cold- a litttle miracle for two “young” women in their late 60s. :). We see young people and older people routinely sacrificing their seats on the train for someone standing..amazing! We see hearts softening in families who have been contentious with one another. We see acts of love abounding, small acts of service and lives changed for the better. Little miracles every day. I love it!
We went into the bush last weekend to give a talk to a small branch of about 25 – 30 people in the congregation, 10 of which were missionaries. Our talks were on forgiveness. Since none of us are perfect, it is a good topic for all of us no matter our age, our life circumstance or our religious conviction. It was good to have the opportunity to reflect on the need for forgiveness and for forgiving others. It brought to mind a talk given by Dale G Renlund. He referred to Nelson Mandela who had been imprisoned for 27 years for his role in the anti apartheid struggle. “His forgiveness of those who had imprisoned him was remarkable. He received widespread acclaim and praise. Mandela frequently deflected accolades by saying, “I’m no saint – that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying”. For me, I have certainly made mistakes in life but have learned how important it is to keep on trying and to be patient with others who keep on trying in their own way.
While we were in the bush we were shown around the town of Benalla. There were many buildings that were covered with paintings they call “building art”. Well known artists in and around Melbourne come and paint on the buildings (see collage below). They like to paint aboriginal faces. There were also snakes and some weird art that I didn’t really like so I didn’t take pictures of those.
As you can see in one of the pictures below, we encountered a Huntsman spider in one of the church buildings where we were meeting some missionaries. The missionary told me that it was just a baby. I hope I don’t run into the mamma or papa!
Well, we are trying to keep warm but none of the churches seem to have the heat on. When we were in the bush, we went into the Relief Society room and they had blankets for those who wanted. I wanted!! :). I think I need some boots. It probably wouldn’t be missionary appropriate but in my dreams I take socks and my warm slippers to church with me. Ha!
I love you all. Happy 4th of July. Seems strange not celebrating it and seeing all the fireworks… 💥 💥 💥 💥
New senior couple(relatives of good friends in San Diego); Zone Conference photo; Huntsman spider – eek!; and me,
“Building art” in Benalla
Hugs to you all,