My Anniversary

17 May

May 17, 2010

There are a lot of mile-markers to celebrate as a missionary. You’ve got your 6 months, 9 months, halfway point, yearmark, last transfer, etc. Today just happens to be the anniversary of the day that I arrived in New York! One year ago today, I went to the Sacred Grove for the first time and prayed, checking in with the Lord and dedicating the next year and a half to His service.

We had a missionary meeting last week in the Grove, the forest area where Joseph Smith had his first vision. About 40 missionaries met there, and we had some time to walk through and just ponder. The Sacred Grove is a quiet, beautiful place. Like a church building, it’s a place where we can receive revelation from God.┬áLast week was a unique opportunity for me to check in again with my Father, reflecting on my service so far, one year from the day I first arrived.

As we walked, I prayed in my heart, beginning with the simple address, “Heavenly Father…”. And as I spoke those words in my mind, a flood of warmth filled my heart and I knew that He was listening to my prayer.

I thought about that experience, and how it has happened before, and I realized that the thing that has changed the most about me on my mission is that I have come to know God so much better than I ever did. I have formed a relationship with my Father through nights and mornings spent in prayer and study, days spent seeking and teaching his children, and many attempts to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I’ve spent some time despairing that I will ever know Him, I’ve searched when it seemed in vain, I’ve cried when the heavens seemed silent. But last week, I looked back at my old self and I took a look at my new self and I suddenly saw it. It’s happened slowly and imperceptibly, and there is still a long way to go, but I have made so much progress and learned so much in my spiritual journey.

I feel a great sense of gratitude that I can say that I know God. I know what my relationship to Him is. I know how I can speak with Him and I know how He can speak with me. It gives me so much confidence and joy to know that. And that’s why I keep going. That’s why I keep praying and studying. That’s why I want to teach His children.

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