A Few of My Favorite Things

When each of my own boys went on missions, I gave them a small stone from home. I suggested that they keep it in their pocket so that every time they put their hand into their pocket they would feel the small stone. I asked that they use it as a reminder of how they are loved by family and how close we really are. I also asked that they see it as a reminder of the strength of the Savior and the love He has for them. 

We had been here about a month when we received a package from home. When we first arrived the mornings were a bit chilly (weird), and when we went for a walk, Reed felt like he needed a long sleeved shirt. We asked Ryan to send one. Included in the package was a small stone. No note about the stone, but none was needed. I was flooded with gratitude for the reminder that it presented me-love from home and from our Savior. I keep the stone in my very large purse. Often when I am digging for something I will come across it. I pull it out and let memories and love wash over me. I don't think it is a coincidence that I seem to find it on the very hardest of days. It has very quickly become one of my favorite things.

I was taught a significant lesson by one of our missionaries during our most recent zone conferences. He said, "Charity can only occur between people. We can't have charity towards other things. We may love food or our pets, but charity can only exist between people." While I probably have always known this, when he said it, I realized how right he was. It is the charity of others that brings us to a place of greater peace, understanding and clarity. 

I think there may be times in our lives when we miss seeing the charitable acts of others. We don't often think of family love as charity. But isn't that exactly what it is? There seems to be no better sphere to be charitable than within our own families. "And charity suffererth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."(Moroni 7:44)  Can you imagine what our homes and families would be like if this was our driving force?

The scripture continues: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all . . .." (Moroni 7:46) I have always evaluated my own charity against this standard. While that evaluation is important, I have come to understand it in a new way. I am nothing without the charity of others. I am nothing if their charity towards me fails. As I cleave unto others' charity for me I discover what is greatest of all. This little stone signifies charity and love; the kind of love that is the greatest of all. 

This past week, we had our Mission Leadership Council. This day has become my favorite of the entire month. We gather all of the mission leadership and counsel together. It is a time of exploration and discovery. These leaders represent the best of the mission. They bring great insight as we discuss issues and concerns. It is a time of renewal and recommitment for us all. We had some changes and had some new zone leaders this time. We see the wisdom in change; new ideas and perspective are important as we work to lift and move the mission forward. What powerful representatives of the Savior!

And finally, some of my very favorite people. This is Dallin and Fita Talataina and their darling son Liam. We met Dallin when we served here before teaching institute. He quickly became a friend and a great support to our efforts. Dallin embodies everything good about Samoa. He is true to his Samoan heritage, yet governs his life and his family based on gospel principles. Dallin and Fita were married in Salt Lake City a couple of years ago. We attended the wedding. As I embraced him following the ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple, I realized just how much I had missed him. I have learned much from Dallin about generosity and optimism. It is a tender mercy to be here again and spend moments of time with one of my favorite people and his new precious family.  

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