And 2014 has arrived. Like all New Year’s Eves, I took the time to reflect on and evaluate my life the past year – the things that I had accomplished, the lessons that I learnt, the blessings that I had received and the journey that I had taken. It is incredible to see how the year is a culmination of many different choices. Every choice leads to a consequence, and a thread of consistently good choices leads to great success. My life this past year found me in very different situations, starting the year with Winter Quarter of my Junior year at Stanford, where I spent countless hours with the other 15 Chemical Engineer students studying through sleepless nights, worrying about our midterms (which never seemed to end), and finding ourselves in study parties every satuday, a far cry from the parties that were going on outside. At the same time, I was submitting my mission papers, acting on the impressions that I received that it was finally time to head on a mission. I soon received my call to the Paris France mission speaking mandarin, enjoying the thrill of the wait while still being the typical Stanford university student. June saw me ending my junior year on a high, and with the newfound comfort that I could return after 2 years and pick up where I left off without worrying too much about the transition into the final undergraduate year. And then came the Missionary Training Center, and before I knew hit, here I am, typing up another weekly letter to my friends and family in a cybercafé in a ville, Evry; south of Paris, on a computer with a french keyboard, recounting my year. I have truly seen Heavenly Father’s hand in my life each step of the way and the blessings and experiences I have gained this past year will bless my life for years to come. Life is truly a journey.
Unfortunately, this past new year’s week was spent quite solemnly in the missionary apartment. I contracted a viral infection, being down with the Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, which left me with tiny rashes all over my hands and feet, accompanied with a very sore throat. What does a missionary do when he is stuck in the apartment, unable to do anything but read the scriptures, use the Area Book to set up appointments, or call the investigators that he has and ensure that they are progressing well? He reflects on his missionary life a little more deeply than usual, trying to grasp the lessons that can be drawn from the experiences that he has had.
So for this week’s spiritual thought, here are a few principles that I have come to learn as a missionary:
1. Always seek ways to lengthen your stride and improve. Complacency usually sees you standing in the same spot for a while.
2. When it becomes hard to stand, kneel and pray
3. Listening helps you go a long way. So listen first, think, and then speak.
4. Obedience brings blessings; Perfect Obedience brings miracles.
5. Have the courage to act on the impressions you receive. Acting on spiritual promptings shows our Heavenly Father that you are ready to receive more guidance.
6. Have faith in the things you pray for and then Expect the Miracles after doing all you can do
7. Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you
8. Remember that Heavenly Father always has a better plan for you. So don’t be sad for too long when disappointments come.
9. Keep a journal. It is like your personal scriptures
10. Practice what you preach. It gives your words greater power.
I hope you will be able to benefit somehow from the lessons that I have learnt and find courage to reach your divine potential this coming year.
I know that Heavenly Father will answer your prayers because He loves all his children, and especially you.
Happy New Year!