I have some interesting, certainly unexpected, news. Due to an unforseen medical issue, I will be returning to Boise, Idaho on November 2nd. Once home, I will be temporarily released from my missionary service. As of now, my plan is to come home, get an operation, heal up, and come back to finish my mission here in Hungary. Of course, that's only the plan and the fact that I'm even typing these words just goes to show that things don't always go according to the plan.
I have complete confidence in the Lord and His plan for me and my life. It's certainly better and more thought out than anything I could ever come up with. I'm grateful to know that I am in good hands. As life takes us down unexpected paths, throws unpredictable obstacles in our way, and even at times sends us spinning through chaos and turmoil that we never could have planned for, the most important thing we can do is hang on tight and trust in the Lord with everything we have! As we live according to His commandments, He will guide us and lead us through the storms of life. We can always find comfort and peace in the knowledge of our Great Redeemer and His love for us.
About a year ago, I was driving home from Star, Idaho late at night. There was a dense fog in the air, which obstructed my view. It wasn't so bad, and I had driven to and from Star many times. I was pretty confident in my ability to get home. I could have driven home in my sleep if I had to, so what was a little fog? As I continued on my little journey, blasting my music and singing along, the thought never even crossed my mind that I might get lost. Little by little, without my noticing, or at least without my acknowledging it, the fog became more and more dense and my ability to see the road and obstacles around me more and more obstructed. Eventually I noticed the worsening conditions, but in my teenage naievity, I just kept on driving. Before I knew it, my surroundings became unfamiliar and I found myself in the middle of Garden City. I had missed my turn a few miles ago. I was quite honestly dumbfounded. How had I missed the turn? I didn't recall ever passing any of the major landmarks that usually dotted my path. I was blinded both by the dense fog and by my own self confidence. I ended up pulling out my phone and using the GPS to find my way home in order to prevent any further delays. Lucky for me, the navigation system in my phone works regardless of the weather. I made it home safe and sound, albeit later than expected, but safe and sound nonetheless.
Sometimes in life, we too may ignore the warning signs around us. We may think to ourselves, "A little fog won't hurt or inhibit me in any way. I can make it home on my own, can't I? I've done this plenty of times, I don't need to rely on anyone else." No matter how confident we are in our own abilities, we should always beware of becoming too independent, or we may find ourselves surrounded by a thick fog, headed knowingly or unknowingly in the wrong direction. Do not be like me on that foggy night! We have been given the tools to make it home safely. Like the GPS in my phone, we can receive guidance from the scriptures and our leaders. As we study the scriptures daily, we will know what we need to do, we will be more aware of the dangers and obstacles around us, and we will better know how to overcome and avoid them. We have the devil's playbook! We know his tricks! We can notice the fog and fortify and prepare ourselves against it before it becomes too thick. And trust me, it gets thick fast and it can be difficult to notice until it is too late. If you are on a path you don't want to be on, or if you are headed in the wrong direction it is never too late to recalculate your path. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is always waiting with outstretched arms, to guide us home to Him and our Father in Heaven.
On occasion, we have to navigate through thick fogs which come naturally. That's just how life is. Confusion, tribulation, stress, anxiety, and frustration are some of these unavoidable and natural fogs that we may find in our lives. When periods of struggle and difficulty come, hold fast to what you know to be true. No matter how hard it seems, no matter how thick the fog, and no matter how trapped or stuck you may feel, there is hope for a bright clear sky. All we need to do is have faith and press forward.
On my mission, I have occasionally found myself at different crossroads, facing an important decisions which need to be made. During these times, I have had to step into the darkness, not knowing what will happen, but having faith that I was making the right decision. We may never know with 100% surety that our decision is correct, but so long as we keep our covenants and strive to do our best, God will guide us on our journey home. I know this is true because I have experienced it. All things that we experience will be for our good and will refine us into better, more Christlike disciples.
One last point I would like to make is that we must never allow the fogs of life to cause us to lose sight of what is most important in this journey through mortality. I always wear a ring with a small tree in the center. On the inside, it says "The Tree of Life." In the scriptures, we read that the fruits of the tree of life are the most desirable blessings available to us. It helps me to remember the many amazing blessings which are promised to us as we live worthily and strive to be the best that we can be. It helps me to remember what is most important.
Sorry about the long email and the lack of information about my week. These things have been on my mind a lot lately as my life has been taking an unexpected turn, and I feel that what I have learned may be beneficial to someone else who could be having a similar experience.
Quick highlight reel of my last week in Hungary: We carved pumpkins, did service in a garden, met with some new investigators, and prepared for our transfers! It has been an incredible experience. I love Hungary, I love the Hungarians, and I love being a missionary! I look forward to returning home, though moreso I look forward to continuing my service, wherever and however the Lord has planned for me.
I know this was a novel, but thank you for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember that all God asks of us is to have faith, have hope, live like His Son, and help others on their way!
Next stop, Boise Idaho!
Hungarian word of the week: "Repülőgép" which means "airplane"