I’m not sure what to say anymore. I’m somewhat inclined to just save a message on this computer that says “Missionary work is amazing, and I love it, and I hope it lasts a long time and doesn’t go by too fast.” That’s pretty much how I feel everyday. You can’t describe this any other way. And the only way to know what I’m to talking about is to actually experience it. You can receive hundreds of letters from brothers, cousins, other family members, friends, hear stories from tons of returned missionaries, all of which will tell you how amazing it is to serve the Lord for two years, and you will never understand what they’re saying until you go through it yourself. The opportunity to serve a mission is unlike any other in the world, and last night I had one of those moments where I thought “Whoa…I’m on a mission.” It’s a weird feeling. People talk about missions all the time, about what you do, and what the significance of this calling means. I’m there. Right now. It’s not in the future. I’m no longer preparing to serve mission…I’m already there. All those missionary songs in the world now apply to me. It’s crazy. I’m hoping it goes by slow, but I don’t think that wish will come true.
Anyway, the work is going well. We’re talking to people, teaching people, and having fun. There was one experience that I forgot to write last week. So this story happened two weeks ago today. We went over to Simone’s apartment to see how he was doing and he was very sick. Very, very sick, which is why he wasn’t at church the day before. We went in and talked to him a little bit and then we offered to give him a blessing. We explained what that meant and why we were able to do that. He accepted, and Elder Anderson looked at me and said, “K, you’ll give the blessing.” Yes, this is the story of my first blessing. You know when people tell this type of story they always say that they questioned themselves wondering if they were worthy enough to have the Priesthood power and then they worried about what to say. None of that happened to me. I accepted the fact that I was giving a blessing and (I’m saying this very humbly, not to be prideful) I had no question in my mind as to whether or not my hands were clean to perform this blessing. I didn’t worry about what to say…because it’s not me speaking, but the Spirit. I wasn’t nervous, I didn’t have any butterflies…everything just worked out. I gave a blessing for him to be healed according to his faith and then said other things that I felt impressed to say. And then it was over. We left him and came back the next day and…he had never felt better. He was not sick at all and he said that it was a miracle and that he felt like a totally different man than the day before. That was amazing to see. The transformation of health was unbelievable. This has strengthened me even more in my belief of the power of God and that as long as I’m worthy and obedient I will know His will and be able to help people in similar ways. It’s an amazing feeling.
There was one more thing that I wanted to mention before leaving to work hard for another week. I have noticed this with Simone and Kenesa, the other African that we teach. They are extremely grateful for us, that we are taking time to talk to everyone, not just the wealthy people. Coburg is a rich city and has a lot of money. But we go to the refugee camp where people have nothing. Every time we talk with Kenesa, he listens to us, and then gets us apple juice, kiwis, and yogurt. He says that in Ethiopa, people will see complete strangers and then invite them in to eat and they will feed them. His gratitude is amazing. He says that he doesn’t consider everyone a friend right off the bat, that it takes time to become friends. And then he looked at us and said that we were two of his best friends in this country. He wants to keep our friendship healthy and strong. It was so touching when he said this. His generosity, even with having virtually no money, shows that humility and kindness is something that we all need to work on. And then Simone. He thanks us many times for talking with him and helping him learn of Christ so that he can be happy. After we gave him a blessing, we sat down and he knelt down on the ground and touched his fingers to our shoes and then kissed his fingers. This symbol of gratitude is so profound and there is no other feeling that I have felt that compares to it. First, we must go and help others to the best of our ability because we never know how much good can come of it. And then, when receive such an act, we must convey our gratitude. We don’t need to by them a new car, or anything big, because sometimes the simplest thank-yous are the ones that mean the most. Elder Holland gave his thanks this past Conference, and President Monson also spoke on the attitude of gratitude. I would like to present a challenge to everyone who reads this. For the next month, I would like you to tell someone “thank-you” everyday. For anything. Tell it to someone you work with, or a professor, or maybe the people working at that fast-food restaurant you go to. Just go up to someone and say thank-you, for whatever little thing they did to make your life easier. That’s the first part. The second part is just as important. During this month of gratitude, I want you to write a letter every week doing the same thing. Thank someone for some effect or influence they have had on you. And by letter, I don’t mean a post-it note. I mean a full-page. Make it thoughtful. Tell them how grateful you are that you are their friend, and that they have changed you for the better. Tell them experiences that you have had with them that you will always remember and appreciate. By doing these two things, you will write four letters and say thank-you 31 times, and you will be blessed more than you think. That’s a promise.