Monday, August 8, 2016

Keeping Life in Gear

This week has been a great time to reflect and think on the things of life. With the end of the Piso Tour that the Packs have done our work here in the office is about to take a huge jump. We are going to change out probably about 15 pisos in the next four months, along with a number of repairs and upgrades to the pisos that we have. Life is going to get exciting.

Amid the craziness we are going to experience, I have been thinking a lot about the basics of life. As you might know I´m driving a nine passenger manual van through the streets of Madrid and trying not to stall going up hills. As my companions and I have talked about driving stick and following the Spirit we came up with the following analogy. As you try to start out driving a stick shift you have to find the bite on the clutch, the point where the gears and the engine engage to form forward motion. If you don´t find that bite just right the clutch does not engage correctly and you stall. When you find the bite it feels good, you know that things are going to go well as you increase the gas. It is far easier to engage the gears going down a hill and more difficult going up a steep hill. The same thing happens in life. On the mission we are Spiritually driving down a hill we can fly and the Spirit comes into our lives easily because we are in a routine of studying every day and focused on Christ. When I came into the office that routine and focus shifted and starting off every day was a little bit more difficult because I now had other responsibilities and things to focus on. There might have been some days where I stalled, but I as with everything we can learn and improve and realize that the basics of reading praying and remembering our covenants are the center point of our lives, not how much work we have to do. This is the sweet spot when we are tuned into the Gospel, living it so that our lives mesh with God´s will and we don´t stall.

As we align our actions with God´s will we will feel that sweet spot and keep progressing. That doesn't mean that we won´t have obstacles in our path or traffic that make us change our gear and realign with God. We can be more prepared for those things as we keep our engines tuned through spiritual experiences such as going to the temple, fasting, and partaking of the sacrament every week. All that is great but does not replace the need of constant daily adjustments through scripture study, prayer, and keeping Christ as our priority. It all goes back to the basics. As we have a powerful experience with the Spirit every day we can feel comfortable that our lives are in gear and we can continue pressing forward. Let´s all keep our lives in gear with the Spirit.

I love you all
Elder Gustafson

P.S. I just wanted to share something that I found this week in the history of my maternal Grandfather and how it relates to me and the work that we are doing here. He wrote about his time with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and said, "The choir was my opportunity for expression. I looked forward to each rehearsal night as an experience which I needed and wanted. I would often still get a lump in my throat as we would begin ´Gently Raise the Sacred Strain, for the Sabbath´s Come again´. The choir is a great missionary tool for the church and I am proud and privileged to have been a part of it." When I was up in A Coruña there was a recent convert whose family we were teaching. They were golden and ready to receive the gospel because of the work of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This man had heard and loved listening to the recordings made by the Choir even though he speaks little English there was something that struck him on the inside. He was baptized and we were able to teach his family and help them progress towards baptism which should be happening in the next few months. I am grateful for my grandfather and the work that he has done. I feel privileged that I get to follow him and see some of the seeds that he planted here on the earth and reap some of his harvest.

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