As some of you might have known from reading earlier on in my blog I went through a very dark time in my life. Nothing seemed of much interest to me any more, my opinions lost their edge and my likes and dislikes really didn't matter to me anymore. Nothing did. Life had lost it's taste, be it bitter or sweet and had just turned a dull and colorless nothing. I really didn't have much of a desire to change or doing anything about it, sure i didn't like the feeling but I didn't feel the motivation or see the point in doing anything differently. Anyway time passed and I would get better some and then worse some and it was just an up and down hill thing. Finally my mom sent me to this camp, it was a service camp called BBY (Be the Best You Camp founded by Barbara Barrington Jones). At the camp we had activities and really good food, we had a movie night and a silly night and it was really fun, but what turned my life around completely was the talks and the service. Ever since my first visit to this camp I have seen that my growing and learning has just gone up and my understanding of things has skyrocketed! It was that year, my first year at this camp that I realized what made me happy. Service. Being able to brighten someones day or help out, being able to interact with different people, young and old, gave me new perspective. To be able to see the world through their eyes and be able to make them smile or just be with them made me so incredibly happy like I hadn't known for a long time. Not only did we help them and spend time with them, they spent time with us, making us smile and laugh and happy. Being able to interact with young children and elderly and special needs girls was a PRIVILEGE given from God. You see, service is two sided, not only does it help the person who it is being done/given to it is also benefiting the person giving so really service is self fulfilling which is why I think it was such a big turning point in my life. Sure we had done service before in our family, it was some what of a family tradition to do things for people on holidays and go visit people etc. but I didn't really understand why we were doing it, I think I was too young to fully grasp why my parents had us go buy things and leave them on people's door steps or visit a widow, sure I felt good after I did it and it was fun but that was it I didn't really now why, it was just something we did. Now I look at it so differently. That year in BBY was a turning point for me because I gained understanding, I gained a purpose, I gained experience, I gained purpose and reason. Life was no longer flavorless or black and white, things didn't seem so dull, because I could make someone happy and by doing it make myself happy AND gain the spirit.
In our mission or any mission, you see very often missionaries that are so eager to serve, to help out, to help others and to share what they have with others. Missionaries get here and it is sometimes not exactly what they expect but as you watch them you can see them start to gain that understanding and meaning and feeling of purpose for their mission. The missionaries that truly has grasped the concept of the pure love of Christ and service don't feel as strongly the need for technology or earthly things but instead are so focused and excited about their work and what more they can do to serve, teach and further move along the work of the lord. A mission, like regular plain out service, is a blessing in and of itself, it's self fulfilling. When an investigator understands something or comes to church or starts really understanding and getting into the gospel the missionaries get really excited and you can tell just by looking at them that they have joy because they have brought joy to someone else and blessed a life. A couple weeks ago at a stake conference in one of the zones I was sitting with the sister missionaries and one of the nurses was waiting on some investigators to get there and they looked and looked for them but they couldn't find them and you could just see they were kind of sad but they were also hopeful. After the meeting they found out their investigator had been sitting a few rows in front of us and we just hadn't seen them but the joy! They were so happy and so excited that they had come that they were able to hear all the speakers had said and share in this conference. The same thing with my brother, every time he has a new investigator he is so excited and so happy for them and is always talking about what they've been able to do for them and what the gospel has done for them and how their lives are changing! It's amazing to see and so inspiring (Yes, I cannot wait to serve a mission).
As you can see, Service is one of God's greatest blessings to us (or at least in my opinion it is). He has given us this easily accessible gift that if we use it we can have this pure, fulfilling happiness. I think sometimes people get confused with temporary happiness and true happiness. I don't think money is true happiness unless you are doing great things with it, helping people, changing the world, making a difference, that kind of thing that is making a difference in generations where as buying yourself all this stuff may bring temporary happiness but not long lasting. True happiness is not having the perfect outfit or driving the nicest car or even being in the most popular group of friends, it's making a change, acting and not being acted upon, having a purpose, being of use, using our talents, being around people that enrich your life, loving and being loved, changing lives, growing, learning and finding true joy in our day to day lives. Happiness is so much more than what can be bought in a store or hours spent on the computer. Yeah, I'm not perfect. Yeah , I like material things too. I like nice clothes and shoes and all that just as much as the next person does, It is only natural, but the difference is, I am not consumed by it, that is not what my life is all about. Some people don't even know what life is for, some don't care, some can't fathom why they feel so empty but maybe that's because they haven't found something worth living for. When you round your life around something as meaningful as the gospel or service, the reason for living is never a question, it's never an unknown, your purpose is clear and you don't have to feel alone or that life is tasteless because it's not, not unless you make it that way. You have control of what flavor your life is. If your flavor is gross and bitter spit out whatever you're chewing and stick something in sweet, DO SOMETHING. NOTHING IS EVER GOING TO CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO GET UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! I believe service is something that adds sweetness to life, adds flavor and color, adds meaning and I only discovered that because I got up (more like got pushed up but I kept standing I didn't sit back down I did it!) and did something! I opened my head to the world and I learned something! For example I have a goal right now to read the whole Book of Mormon in Spanish and work on speaking some everyday so that maybe by the end of this year I can be fluent. I've decided to get up and do something. So, do something. Decide to serve someone, be kinder to someone (Yes, that is service too), make someone smile or laugh, offer to help someone out with their homework or watch someones kids, go visit the elderly or shovel your neighbors snow. DO SOMETHING. It feels so good. I promise. I swear by it. Besides becoming happy, service humbles you it makes you more aware of others and their needs, it pushes away pride and anger and is replaced by love, understanding and compassion. Service thought a sacrifice, really, is no sacrifice at all. In this poem below, all the things of the world fade out but what still stands is the sacrifice, which in our case is service and the heart of the person that has been changed for the better because of the "sacrifice".
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart.
Still stands thine ancient sacrifiece,
An humble and a contrite heart.
-Rudyard Kipling, (from a talk A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit By Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy)
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye might learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." - Mosiah 2: 17 The Book of Mormon. Last, when we serve others we are serving God. Why? How? Because we all are his children and by helping his children we are helping him. Who knows, what if something you do is an answer to someone else's prayer or hearts plea? What if someone had been praying for help and heavenly father sent you to see it out? Basically, you are running errands for the lord and being blessed and blessing at the same time. There is a story somewhere, I can't remember where I heard it but, in a place there was this statue of God that they had in the town square or something like that. Anyway, during the war there were bombs and things like that and the statues hands were blown off, but by the time the war ended and after the people did not repair or replace his hands but instead began to say "We are his hands." (I'm sure there's more of the story but that's all I remember and what I wanted to show) In life, and in service, WE are God's hands, we are his instruments, he uses us for good and changes our lives at the same time when we allow him too. He brings joy to others life all the time but sometimes he needs us, his field ops, to take care of some things for him.
I hope you all realize how important service is and how much it really does impact lives, I know it has mine, I may not even be alive today if it wasn't for service and the blessings it and the gospel brings. Don't hesitate to involve yourself in service it is WONDERFUL. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday afternoon and do something for someone else. Besides my testimony of service when I do it, here is something for those who have done service for me. Thank-you to all the people who have showed service and charity to me in my life and done things for me, it doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated and it definitely has made an impact on me and my life, to see that somebody cares is a very great gift and it has helped me through a lot tough times in my life. Thank-you.
"What Kind of world do you want
let's start at the start
build a masterpiece
be careful what you wish for
history starts now."
-World by Five for Fighting