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

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week 65: Gratitude in All Things

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been full of tender mercies! I have been learning a lot as well. First off, long time best friend since I was in elementary school, Elder Isobe, has a companion who is friends with my companion. Small world... Even smaller, My trainer met with my family, and my x-mission president went through the temple with my cousin and family. Man the world gets smaller every day!!!!

Anyway, like I was saying, lots of tender mercies. Though I wanted to say that nothing brings more sadness than having an investigator send us a text saying that she did some research and found from previous Mormons that the spirit revealed to them that the Book of Mormon was from the devil. Yeah, that happened to us and it was pretty sad. I don't like those experiences at all! HAHA Though nonetheless, we can learn from them. :)

This past Sunday, well I guess yesterday, there was a family who had been on assignment to the branch for three years who got released from that assignment and gave their farewell talks. Sister Jowers, shared with us a talk based off the topic of "Gratefulness in all things." Previously this week I was pondering on what I could do to come closer to Christ and be a better disciple. Sunday morning came around and I prayed for something that I could work on this week. I asked myself, "What lack I yet?" Well let me tell you, I've never received a more powerful, faster answer to any other question. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

As I listened to the talk, thought about what was said, and studied a little more and thought a little harder, I came to the conclusion that I really needed to be more grateful and less prideful. I tend to reflect back on previous weeks when studying a specific topic and this week I found a lot of unnecessary negativity and a lack of thankfulness. It hurt to know that I was choosing to be less happier than I could be just because I wasn't expressing my thanks for EVERYTHING I have been given. 

A great example of this comes from one of my favorite people ever. Ana, our investigator who will be getting baptized in November. I am forgetful of what exactly I have shared about her situation, but just to help you all remember, she comes from a hard background. She has been completely shut out and robbed from family, hated by friends and put down in any way possible. She has gone through depression and a part of her life has been full of hurt. Some of you may be able to relate to her situation, though what I find interesting about her is her attitude about her life. The first thing she says when she is blessed with a blessing or confronted with greif is, "Thank you Lord." 

I also turned to the Prophet Joseph Smith, probably one of the most thankful people I can think of:

"And ye must give thanks unto god in the spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with" (Doctrine and Covenants 46:32).

"Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things" (Doctrine and Covenants 59:7).

"Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;" (Doctrine and Covenants 98:1).

"Thanks be to thy name, O Lord God of Israel, who keepest covenant and showest mercy unto thy servants who walk uprightly before thee, with all their hearts-" (Doctrine and Covenants 109:1)

I couldn't help but ask myself if I was expressing my thanks to the Savior for all my blessings, trials, hardships and joys. After all, He did provide me a way to return to live with the Father and with my family. But it all starts with the little growths here. Our trials, tribulations, hardships, joys, excitements make us who we are. And I would rather look at myself going through life happy about them and grateful for them all instead of miserable. I am so grateful for the blessings that I have. Especially for the Atonement that I can give thanks for the most every day as I strive to become like my Savior. I love Him very much.

I love you all more than you probably know. :) I am grateful for those around me whom support and uplift each other. And I hope that this week, this year, and forevermore we express our thanks to those around us and even deeper, for the blessing and trials we receive from our Father in Heaven. Thank you so much for all your love!

Elder Stonely, 

and the lovely heart of Sister Bouton :)

P.S. Sometimes you just have to take a funny face picture. Which I just do ALL the time!