Friday, February 19, 2016

Meditation and Laughter

Just a few of the Catholic churches in Talavera. There's one on every corner!

February 15, 2016

When they say that laughter is the best medicine, they speak truth. Laughter has been a great blessing this week. I went on exchanges with Elder Brady from Toledo and he gave me two pieces of advice, laugh more and meditate. As we have looked for moments to laugh together, we have seen real growth in the strength of our unity. From 2 Nephi 2:25 we learn, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." We are here on earth to find joy. While true and lasting joy may not be found in an inside joke or a funny moment, the love that is built together in those moments will create everlasting joy.

Second, meditation. Meditation does not necessarily mean sitting with your legs crossed, controlling your breathing, and trying to find your inner self but it does mean taking the necessary time to stop and think. Stress sometimes builds up in our lives as we focus on tasks and lists trying to run through them as fast as we can without stopping to think. Stress starts to build because we aren't seeing the results we want from the steps that we are taking, and so we think "I must work harder I must go faster because then I will see more results." But really a simple math law tells us that if we are not getting any results and we multiply that by any quantity no matter how great we will still get nothing. Sometimes we go out and bang our heads against the wall and hope that we will see a different result then a headache and then we go out and do it again the next day but harder and faster eventually we're going to get to a point where we need to change ourselves and what we are doing because the wall isn't going anywhere. That is why meditation, taking the time to think is so important, to make sure that we aren't going out and just smacking our heads against a wall. In 1 Nephi 18:3 we learn the principle of seeking the Lord's guidance in our work, "And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things." Do we go into our mount oft to seek the Lord's guidance, to meditate, to ponder? This is something that I am working to do better at, go up into my mountain everyday to present plans and petition the help of the Lord.

Our investigator, Jose Luis, took off one day and moved to one of the Islands off of the coast of Barcelona, where there are no missionaries. It was kind of abrupt and there are no missionaries on those islands because the atmosphere is not very conducive to the Spirit, but one day he'll be back and he'll have the chance to accept the gospel.

Manuel continues to make small steps forward. This Sunday we had Stake Conference and the Stake President gave a talk that was practically written for Manuel. He talked about the reason why God gives us the commandment of tithing. He said, "God does not need or want our money, but he does want contrite and humble hearts." It was perfect, Manuel looked over at me and gave me a look like "Wow, I get it!". It was a small but powerful step forward. 

Life in Talavera is great! I love the things that I am learning and am grateful for this time I have to learn and grow, and see what it is that I need to do to improve to become more like Christ. I love being a missionary!

Elder Gustafson

Old Tavern

Sidewalk of Talavera
Streets of Old Town
Famous Talavera ceramic work on a fountain

Ceramic work benches in Talavera.

Scenic pictures from Castilla La Mancha
Fighting giants Don Quixote style...


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