“I Am So Happy!” — December 18, 2014

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We were scheduled do training at 9 am for the Primary Presidency in Aloguinsan. There were missionary district meetings in Toledo and Pinamungajan at 10 am. There was a baptism scheduled for 3 pm in the Toledo 1 Branch. Baptisms were scheduled for 5 pm in the Toledo 1 Branch and in the Lutopan Branch. We had committed to teach a temple preparation class at 7 pm.

That was the working plan. The actual activities were, as usual, somewhat different.

The sisters in Aloguinsan had conflicts and the training was cancelled. We found that that we needed to make a trip to Casoy. The trip took most of the day, and the baptisms happened without us. The sister that we were supposed to teach in the evening had conflicts and cancelled.

It was a wonderful day.

On Sunday we went to church in Aloguinsan and left as soon as possible after the meetings to make the hour and a half drive to Toledo and then with the missionaries to church in Casoy. We got back to Toledo just in time for the broadcast of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. But there were problems with the internet transmission and the broadcast was rescheduled for the next week.

But again, it was a wonderful day.

Though we schedule and plan and write things on the calendar, schedules change, plans don’t work out, and the calendar is rewritten. But as the Lord guides us through the day, somehow the most important things are the ones that do get done.

Every day is a wonderful day.

*****

On December 18, we left Toledo at 7 am to travel to Cebu for the Cebu Island Missionary Christmas Conference. The morning was filled with inspirational talks, video presentations and music centered on Jesus Christ. Some of the missionaries were asked to express their feelings about the Savior through a favorite song. Then the audience would sing the first verse of the song.

A sister missionary stepped up to the microphone. She looked at the audience, then looked down at the hymn book. She glanced up again and then down as she struggled to control her emotions.

Finally, though her voice trembled, she was able to speak.

This hymn has changed my life. Early in my mission, while I was in training, I copied the words of this hymn. I wanted to memorize the words, but it seemed that there was no time during the day that was not completely filled. So I hung the copy of the song on the bathroom wall to study while I was there.  As I learned the words, I repeated the them to myself during the day.

Then the sister, with gratitude and love and tears, read the words of the hymn.

Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

(Text: Orson F. Whitney, 1855-1931)

The sister looked up with a radiant smile, and with tears glistening in her eyes.

 I love my Savior so much! I am so happy that I am serving a mission.

I remembered another sister missionary. When she first came into the mission, like most of us, she was in culture shock. She was overwhelmed. She was stressed.

Her companion loved her and encouraged her. The zone Leaders gave her Priesthood blessings. We took her peanut butter, honey, bread, and some homemade soup.

Every day she got out of bed and resolved to do her best.

When transfers came, she went to Cebu City. We saw her at the Temple Complex a while later.  She positively glowed.

Sister, you look so happy!

I am happy!

What made the difference?

When I first came to this mission, I worried about what I did not have. I did not have my piano. I was not completing my college courses. I was not with my family and friends.

Then I began thinking about what I do have. I know what it is like to have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. I have come to know my Savior. I feel His overwhelming love for me and for the people I teach. Now I am so happy! I am so glad I am here!

After the inspirational conference, the missionaries seemed reluctant to leave. They hugged and shook hands. They said good-by to those who would leave at the next transfer. There were lots of smiles, and not a few tears.

A member watched the missionaries and smiled.

This reminds me of when I was on my mission. When our mission president went home, we had a day of activities. Then next day was talks and a program. And after that it was crying time.

I am so happy to remember my mission. I am so happy that I was able to serve.

One of the best things about serving a mission is being around such happy people.

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