Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful 11/23/09

Thankful 11/23/09
Weather -- heavy overcast after yesterday's all-day snow
Temp 20 F Wind 3-5 mph

At this time of year, thoughtful Americans reflect on what things they are thankful for and generally about life and the meaning of things. I am no exception.

First, I am grateful to be allowed to serve God in Siberia. I never thought about Siberia as a place to be or to be grateful to be there; but I am. Mostly I am just grateful to be allowed to serve Heavenly Father anywhere. I have felt that way in each of the callings I have had from Scoutmaster to Bishop and back. Serving God is putting Him and your brothers and sisters ahead of yourself and as King Benjamin said, "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."

Who else would I want to serve? If I focus on serving myself, it ends there. When you serve God it is a message of your love for Him, it benefits others, and God blesses you for your service. Now that's getting good mileage out of what you do. Besides, I cannot pay Heavenly Father back for all that He has given me, both in my life here and before I came to the earth. No matter what I do to serve Him, I am always n His debt, but at least I can try to repay Him in my small way.

Second, I am grateful to be here with Sister Cindy. She is a great missionary; more than I imagined she would be. She has always been into "service" and she is the mother of the world, but her missionary service here goes beyond that. She truly wants the investigators who come to our home to feel the influence of the Light of Christ in our home and to have a witness that the Gospel is true, even though they know so little about it.

Third, I am grateful for my family. Each of them fills a place in my heart that would be empty if not for them. Each is unique, each is working out their own story, each is struggling with the same issues I struggled with (and sometimes still do), and each of them is precious to me.  I love to hear about their victories and even their defeats because they are alive and fighting for their own place in history. God must feel much the same way about his children; enjoying their victories and mourning their defeats.
Fourth, I am grateful for the people I have met here; the missionaries, the members, the neighbors, the strangers on the street. I have reflected a lot this past month on how I was taught to be afraid of the "mean, atheistic, aggressive Russians" who want to take over the world.  Now I see the ones I know as very much like myself; just wanting to be left alone to enjoy whatever gives them pleasure and to be free from fear. Governments and extremists of all stripes will make policies and take actions that make enemies and we must always be ready to defend ourselves, our friends, and our liberties, but the common people that I meet aren't interested in taking what I have and just want to get along.

Finally, I am grateful for my country. With all of its problems, with all of its conflicts within and without, I will be grateful to go home to the liberties and justice I have come to more fully appreciate. In spite of its flaws, people from all over the world are doing unspeakable things, suffering untold hardships and dangers, and paying an enormous price to get into the US of A. It is still the best place on earth to live. I only hope that the right-minded of us can find the energy and courage to reinstate moral values into ourselves and our government leaders or find some others who have them and throw the rascals out. When we as a people give up our duty to control our government in exchange for free bread, we will go the way of Rome and every other great world power.We cannot permit this.

I am looking forward to coming home to join in that struggle to take back my country, starting with my community and my state. Patriotism and service are not dead in America. They are just taking a nap. Well, Satan and his henchmen will soon wake up one morning in April and say, "Oh damn. They're back".

What a country


Bob Steed said...

Amen. Not much else can be said.

Mom/Cindy said...

Me, too. I'm thankful for God, family, and country and everything related to them.

Shannon said...

I love you dad and I love your writing. I am thankful for you and mom serving your mission and I agree that I need some dad time.