Hey everyone! We've been working hard getting ready for the new missionaries and transfers, so it's been busy. I hope you're all doing well! I could use your prayers cause I jammed my left middle finger playing basketball on Saturday and I really don't want it to be broken... ;)
[Stephen was asked to share why he is grateful for his mission and this is his response]...
It definitely is hard to be a missionary, but when I think about all that I am gaining from it, I realize it isn't really that much of a sacrifice, but more of a blessing. I've felt like before the mission I was kinda introverted, and I've been trying to change that my entire mission, but since coming to the Honbu I've felt like it's been a little harder, but it's just making me work that much harder to not be introverted. ;) Sometimes I've gotten companions who are super nice, but they don't quite understand what it's like to have super good friends who really have good relationships, so they are not willing to really work at it which is hard for me since I've done it so well with other companions... But I've just appreciated those companions more and more, and it's shown me how important that's going to be to have a relationship like that with my wife.
There are some tough things going on right now, but, at the same time, it's teaching me so much and helping me to realize what kind of person I want to be when I get back. It's definitely a blessing to have experiences like this, as well as the knowledge that all of these experiences will "be for our good".
Since being on a mission I have grown so much. I've found that I have been able to forget myself and focus more on other people. I've found that Christ's promise of "when we lose ourselves, we find ourselves" is we lose ourselves trying to help others and we find that we've become the person we've always wanted to be. I've learned so much more about the gospel and that through it, we can find true happiness even in our hardest times. A little while ago while I was finding, we found a man who asked us what makes us most happy. We answered that it is helping others. He then got in our faces saying that the most important thing is to make sure you're doing ok yourself. Then after that, if you still want to, then you can help others. Through that conversation I realized that most of the world will never realize that one truth of the gospel. When we help others, God helps us. I've seen so many miracles on my mission where God has helped me, and I feel like it's because I'm working on helping others.
A mission is a one of a kind opportunity that I wouldn't give up for the world, because on the mission we learn not how to win the world, but how to gain eternal life and worlds without number. A mission is hard, but it is the biggest blessing that you could ever ask for.
Love you tons!