Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009 -- Service and Virtue

As always, my list of things to write about is much longer than time allows . . .

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This has been a great week.

Last Tuesday we were talking to Isabel, who was baptized with her daughter, Flor, about three months ago. She had to take out a loan to fix a leak in her roof, and is having to make payments of 50 pesos (less than five dollars) to feed her family for the week. Nevertheless she is grateful that she always has something to give her children, even if it is always beans.

Talking with her, I felt so grateful for the blessings that I have received, and how I have never had to worry about having food to eat. I also thought about how I have sometimes been wasteful or ungrateful with what I have.

That night I got an idea. In the house we have lots of food that past missionaries have left behind--canned vegetables and the like--that nobody wants. It is just sitting there, going to waste. So Wednesday morning we changed form our normal exercise routine and decided to go for a bike ride. We loaded ourselves with bags of food and a card saying, "Para la familia Torres Casique--Dios les ama." We rode past their house, left the food on their doorstep, and quickly rode away.

A few days later we visited her. She told us how they had found food and a card on their doorstep on Wednesday morning. My heart swelled as she told me about how excited little Flor was, and how good it felt to be able to eat something other than beans and rice. She asked us if we knew who it was, but we denied everything.

It's amazing how grateful she was for things that we likely would have thrown away. It makes me sad to think about how many times I have wasted things that could have given food to a hungry child. It is also amazing how good I felt to see her joy and gratitude. Service feels good.

This week as a mission we have been studying virtue. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Being virtuous doesn't mean that we never make mistakes or that a bad thought never enters our mind. But Preach My Gospel teaches that a virtuous person immediately repents and eliminates inappropriate thoughts. Virtue is speed--speed to repent and to chase away bad thoughts.
  • How we act and what we think when we think no one is watching is a clear indication of our virtue.
  • Our mind always has to be thinking. The best way to keep our thoughts pure is to be always focused on good thoughts.
  • As Nephi taught in 1 Nephi 19, what some men esteem of great value, others trample under their feet. We as members of the Church esteem virtue to be of great worth, and we seek for everything virtuous. Yet the world, though its language, music, dress, movies, etc. daily tramples virtue.

Time flies when you're having fun--and when you're a missionary writing to your family. I must go now.

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