"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." -Alma 26:12

Monday, July 24, 2017

7/18/2017 What if you hadn't gone?


This week was another busy one, never a dull moment when serving the Lord! I can't believe how fast time is flying, and how it's been almost two years since I first left home and entered into the MTC. A lot has happened since then, and even though I still have much to learn and many more things to experience as a missionary, I am so thankful for the experiences that I have had, for the people I have met, and especially for the relationship I have been developing with my Heavenly Father as well as with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I've seen that growth comes more often through small decisions made consistently and correctly over a long course of time, rather than in one large,
do-or-die type scenario.

This week was no different, and through efforts to help and teach others, as well as strengthen our own faith personally, we were blessed abundantly by the Lord. The highlight of the week came as we
had a "blitz" in Imabari on Friday, followed by interviews with our mission president the next day.
The "blitz" involved 8 missionaries from various areas getting together in one area for the day to visit each and every member while sharing a short message to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ, and along the way we tried to talk to as many people as possible to introduce them to the church and gospel of Jesus Christ. I won't bore you with too many details, but we met some awesome people and I felt a lot of excitement from all of the members and missionaries as well in sharing the teachings of Jesus Christ with friends and family. The next day's interviews were also really great, we were able
to meet President Smoot and his wife for the second time. President Smoot asked a lot of great questions that helped me to reflect on the things I have learned over the last two years, and shared some experiences that built upon and expounded the answers that I gave. He talked a lot about how missionaries often don't understand the impact they have had on many people's lives, even when we feel like we know the people we have met here pretty well. After sharing a story to illustrate his point, he asked a question that hit me pretty hard. He asked, "Elder Winegar, what would it have been like if you hadn't come on a mission?" I can't say I know the full impact of what I have done while in Japan, but I do know that I would be a much different person today if I had not decided to serve God for these two years. I know that God gives back much more in blessings than that which He requires of us in effort and sacrifice. While I have times where I wish I had been more devoted to the cause I am involved in now, I have never had a single regret for the choice I made to come on a mission, nor for the time that has been spent here. There is nowhere better than to be on the Lord's errand in helping bring happiness to other children of His.
While we all have different families, circumstances, opportunities and choices, we can all ask ourselves a similar question, "what if we had not done...?" If you find your answer to be one of gratitude and joy in the things you have been involved in, continue doing those things! If you find that your time could have been spent elsewhere on a more productive and meaningful activity, I invite you to change even just one thing NOW and do the best thing for you, or your family, at this time. If you have any question about where your priorities should lie, I would like to share one more word
of advice given by President Smoot. "Put God first. When you do so, all things will either fall into place, or they will fall out of your life."
I can promise that what he taught was true, and that when we put God first, the unimportant things in our lives will fall out of place, giving us an increased ability to do those things that really matter.

That's all for this week! Love from Japan,
Elder Winegar

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