Note: For the duration of Riley's mission, this blog will be produced and edited by his parents, Daisy and Todd Stonely.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 26: "Service is the Key to Happiness"

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been all just adjusting. Adjusting to being a trainer and adjusting to having a new companion. It is all so great! Only thing is I hope I don't stress out my companion with too much new stuff. He is doing awesome and enjoying the mission! And I am super glad that he is my new companion.

This week I had a great birthday. It was spent serving others and enjoying time with members and helping them do missionary work. Some people would say that that is the worst way to spend your birthday, but I believe that it it the best way I could have spend my birthday! I enjoyed it so much! Its almost like every day is my birthday!

So this morning I was reading in the Book of Mormon and that is where my spiritual thought comes in today. I was reading in Alma 28. Chapter 27 is the story of Ammon leading the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi to safety which is the land of Jershon. They had established themselves and then came a period of time of war and hardship. And in chapter 28 it talks about how many souls were lost. There were people mourning the death of their family members, and then it went on to mention two important ideas. The people in this story were divided into two different groups.

"...yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo." -Verse 11

"while many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness." -Verse 12

While I was reading these verses, I read the last verse of the chapter:

"And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing-- sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life." -Verse 14

And these verses led me to think a lot. These are actually my "Ponderizing" verses. It made me think about first, the effect of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and two, How important missionaries are. There are many people in the world who are either sad, or happy. Those that are truly happy I have found to be the people who understand and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ. Homes that are centered on the Gospel and People who apply the Atonement. People who have faith in Jesus Christ, His atonement, and the Plan of Salvation. And I reflected a lot about this. And just how happy the Gospel of Jesus Christ can make people. It changes lives. And truly makes people happy.

I thought of little situations that could be found in daily life. For example, feelings of doubt or inadequacy. I thought of rough moments that I have experienced out here and moments of rejection. I thought of how I handled these situations and the outcome of each. And for me I noticed that when I was thinking about Jesus Christ and using his atonement and trying to serve others and be like him, none of the negativity seemed to bother me. Though When I started to dwell on the thoughts of doubt and inadequacy, I felt like the people who had "reason to fear."

Overall, because I am not sure just how clear the last couple paragraphs were, I have found through these scriptures, that if I wanted to be happy, it was only going to be through the "light of Christ." It is simply said in verse 14, as the reason for rejoicing. And I am glad that I have this opportunity to take this "light" to people in darkness.

I am grateful for all of those whom I have come in contact who have blessed my life in some way or another. There are many people who don't know the impact that they have had on who I am. I am grateful for my Savior who constantly is helping me become better. And I look forward to the day where I can great my Brother and Heavenly Father. I love you all! Enjoy this upcoming week :)

Elder Stonely