We had a fun trip to Ternopil this week! We took a train and ended up getting there at around 11 o'clock. It was a lot warmer than I expected. Our weather has been kind of like yours. You are never really sure what is is going to be. Little side note: we had a sports day planned, but the weather forecast said it was going to be cold so it got canceled and it ended up being a really nice day. Back to Ternopil. There used to be a member there who worked for the peace core, but she was evacuated about a month ago. So we missed her at sacrament. There was seven of us there around a small conference table and the spirit was as strong as ever. It was a blessing to be there. It was a bit of a challenge getting back to L'viv because there were no train tickets available so we went to the bus station. Sadly they only had one spot to L'viv for the rest of the day, so obviously that was not an option either. We ended up sitting on a taxi back to L'viv. The car was really small and I felt really cramped the whole way, but we made it back.
On Saturday we had a big church cleaning activity. We cleaned the church and the grounds to get ready for the spring time. There is a big hill by there church where people like to gather to smoke and drink (ironic right?), so all over the hill we had to clean up empty cigarette packs, empty alcohol bottles and cans, cups, and other trash. We filled up so many bags. There is a brother in the branch who has three little boys. He brought two of them with him to church cleaning (the other one is still an infant so he stayed at home with mom). These two little boys were so full of energy and just wanted to help. It was fun to watch them run around and help out. After the cleaning (it lasted about two and a half hours) we had a little branch picnic with sandwiches and kiwi.
In our district this week we set a goal to give out 20 Books of Mormon. We have until Tuesday but as of now we are at 16 I think! I am very thankful for the Book of Mormon in my life and I am glad to be able to share it with other people. As I read and apply the principals that I find there I have true peace in my life which is a very valuable commodity these days. I started to read the Book of Mormon from the beginning again. This week I read the sermon that King Benjamin gave to his people before he passed away and I was very touched by his words:
"For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another."
That "substance" that king Benjamin is talking about is not only material possessions. How many times has someone came to us "begging for our forgiveness?" Have we given it? How many times has someone came to us begging for our love or for comfort when they were in need or when they were going through a hard time? Did we give it to them? Think about your own life. Think about all the times you have prayed and pleaded with God to comfort you in the midst of trials. I know in my life that occurs often. Does He comfort you? YES! He has given me comfort and peace. Not always in the way we might think it will come, but as we pray, the comfort comes. I would have us think of those experiences as we see others in dire need. Do we withhold our "substance" (our forgiveness, our comfort, or our love) from those, our brothers and sisters who are around us? If we do we are in danger for the next verse reads:
"And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth;"
Let us be free with our substance, whatever form it make take, so that we can bless God's children, so they will know that He cares. They will be grateful to God that He has placed loving people like you in their lives. I know this is something that I can work on. Maybe it is something you can work on as well! Pay it forward!
Have a good week.