Tag Archive for: friends

Friendly Rivalry

I don’t know how exactly, but somehow, I was 1-0 up.
The last time Dofna and I sat around the chess board, I’d managed to snatch a surprising victory!
I hadn’t played for a very long time.
Teasingly, I enjoyed ribbing him about that triumph for the last 9 months or so. 😊
It’s my experience that a strong rival inspires the protagonist to become better and does so for the rival as well; in other words, we both fed off (and had a few laughs) of being competitive with one another for a good while.
Our return match was long overdue.
And for the last several weeks, we’d planned to get back together.
Yesterday, Missionary Preparation Day (P-day), visitors arrived at the mission home.
I discovered they’d already been practicing and honing their chess skills, playing a few games that morning already.
On the other hand, I’d never looked at a chess board for 9 months!
On a very sunny morning yesterday, in Leidschendam, we geared up to let the battle for dominion commence – and off we went.
The energy created in our friendly rivalry helped us to focus our efforts for sure.
It was a chance for each of us to shine!
The quiet intensity of the battle was all consuming.
The first game went by all too quickly.
He’d obviously been fine tuning his skills.
It was 1-1.
I used a well-rehearsed opening in match 2.
Somehow though, quickly he seized my Queen.
Incredibly, a few moves later, I captured his Queen.
Our concentration levels were at fever pitch as the ferociousness of the battle reached its climax.
You could feel the mental energy!
Sadly, for me, the end came swiftly and painfully, he was victorious.
I told him to keep the hat!
I’m sure too, he’ll enjoy ribbing me for the next few years that he’s 2-1 up!
“We learn little from victory, much from defeat” – Japanese Proverb.
And the moral of the story?
𝑷𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈!

The Best Ships are Friendships

These last three years we have formed so many of the most incredible new and enduring, fun filled, love inspired, collective friendships of our life’s.
I consider these friendships to be among the sweetest and most valuable of my entire life.
I love these words from Music and the Spoken Word from March 2019…
“There are wooden ships, there are sailing ships, there are ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”
How else can we possibly expect to make it across life’s rough seas?
Friendships make the voyage not only possible but also enjoyable.
Among life’s richest blessings is friendship.
And while the waves and winds may separate good friends for a time—even years—when they reunite, the time and distance fade almost instantly.
Perhaps you’ve had an experience similar to that of two dear friends who lost contact with each other.
Many years and many miles later, one of them remembered and missed their bond of friendship, so he decided to take the initiative to find his friend.
After decades apart, the friends reconnected, and the joyous reunion melted the years away. Their hearts filled with happiness and fond memories as they laughed together and shared tender feelings. It was as if they had never parted—as if they still lived in the same town and shared the same experiences.
Most of us can remember friends who have touched our lives for good over the years. Some of those friends may now be gone, but the memory of their love, example, and goodness can still lift and inspire us. The love and trust, the listening and caring, the shared time and experiences never really leave us, because they have made us who we are.
Although we may sometimes appear to be independently strong, no one crosses life’s waters alone. We need to have—and need to be—true friends. A meditation by the poet John Donne inspired these lyrics that capture an enduring truth:
No man is an island;
No man stands alone.
Each man’s joy is joy to me;
Each man’s grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.”
Perhaps the lesson for all of us is to consider again the importance of each of our friendships and nurture them with tender love and care, having some fun along the way.”
We need deep, satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.
How do you build and maintain your friendships?

My Finest Friend

Forty years ago this week, my missionary companion trainer (Kelley Gray) and I were serving together in Shepherd’s Bush in London.
We’d moved there in the first week of December 1983.
We were two bright eyed and bushy tailed young missionaries resolute on finding success.
Christmas was fast approaching, and we were determined to find new ways to share our message of Jesus Christ.
A couple of years earlier, the church had produced a new Movie, “Mr Krueger’s Christmas”.
Video recorders were still new, and not too many people had them in their homes yet.
We decided that we’d borrow a huge reel to reel projector (we’re talking massive) from the mission office in our Hyde Park Chapel, transport it to our area, and then use it to go door to door, offering everyone we met a wonderful at home Christmas movie experience!
Whacky idea – Yes! Creative – Yes! Successful – Yes!
We transported the projector by tenaciously balancing it on the centre bar of our bicycles and vividly remember my companion nearly crashing and burning on a couple of occasions!
We also ingeniously, used an OAP’s shopping trolley to pull the projector from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and door to door.
I cannot recall exactly how many people’s home’s we got into, but it was lots!
We watched that movie so many times. Even now, I can recite the words and songs of the movie almost perfectly.
Great times, never to be forgotten.
This year, I may well watch “Mr Krueger’s Christmas” once again.
In one scene, Jimmy Stewart who plays the lead role in the movie, as Willie Krueger, steps towards baby Jesus and says “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. As long as I can remember you’ve been right by my side. I’ll never forget when you walked with me right in those first few hours after I lost Martha.”
“I’ve always been able to count on you when I’ve felt dark inside” Krueger says.
As he kneels before the Christ child he says “I love you. You’re my closest, 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅. And that means I can hold my head high, wherever I go.”
Forty years have passed since that Christmas experience.
In between, I’ve come to know the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, even more, much more personally.
Just like Willie Krueger I can say “I love you. You’re my closest, 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅. And that means I can hold my head high, wherever I go.”
I hope you find Him too this Christmas Season.

Aligned

Over the course of the last 10 days, I have met face to face with each of the Stake Presidents serving in Belgium and the Netherlands.
I’ve travelled from the most southerly, to the most northerly part of the mission, meeting…
Angelo Leman in Gent
Eelco Scheltinga in Den Haag
and Jerry Bletterman in Groningen
What is the role of a Stake President?
A stake president is the lay leader of a stake, which is a geographic subdivision similar to a Catholic diocese. A stake president is a man who is asked to serve as a volunteer in this position. He oversees Church programmes in a defined geographic area composed of individual congregations called wards and is responsible to help the members of his stake in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. He also oversees the activities of the bishops or ward leaders, counselling them as needed.
As I met with each of them, I discovered something.
Frequently, in our discussions together, we used the word 𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒆𝒅, or 𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕.
𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐝: “supporting or agreeing with another person, to match behaviours, thoughts or views, harmonize the aims or practices”
It was a marvel.
Whilst living here, in two countries where bicycles are everywhere, I’ve learned the importance of wheel alignment.
To keep your bike running smoothly, truing a wheel involves tightening and adjusting spokes from time to time to keep your wheels aligned.
Similarly meeting together from time to time with each Stake President, ensures that we are in full alignment.

Staying aligned

We are spiritually aligned through our faith in God, our testimonies of the truth, plus the knowledge and wisdom that each of us have gathered, as we study the holy scriptures and follow living prophets.
Quentin L. Cook recently said “Our Heavenly Father’s plan for safely gathering His children to our heavenly home is not based on worldly success, economic status, education, race, or gender. Father’s plan is based on righteousness, keeping His commandments, and receiving sacred ordinances and honouring the covenants we make.”
I love these men.
They have become true friends.
I feel united and aligned with each of them as together, we boldly declare the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and invite all to come unto Him.

Welcome Back

𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝑩𝒂𝒄𝒌!
It seemed as if it was only yesterday that Melanie Coates was departing for home from her mission.
That was back in July already.
“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.” — Ally Condie
It was an absolute delight to have her visit briefly with her sister Emma this week and to catch up again.
We loved to reminisce, share stories, smile, and laugh – a lot.
Friendships are so important.
Our time together reminded me of this little poem entitled True Friend by Ashley Campbell.
“A friend is like a star that twinkles and glows
Or maybe like the ocean that gently flows.
A friend is like gold that you should treasure
And take care of forever and ever.
A friend is like an angel that is there to guide you.
A friend is someone you can trust out of a few.
A friend is more than one in a million.
They are one in a ca-zillion,
And you, my friend, are very special
and so it is official.”
Good friends are a little like stars, you may not always see them, but you know they are there!
Stay safe my dear friend – until we meet again.
What kind of friend are you?

What is of greatest worth?

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮?
It’s a question that often crosses my mind.
For a large portion of my adult life, I have been an ordained minister of religion.
As such, I have met with many people who in their older years were preparing to depart this life and pass through “the gateway we call death” – Russell M. Nelson.
I treasure the many sweet memories that I’ve been blessed to have with family members and dear friends who have already passed beyond the veil of death.

Family and Faith

Visiting with those in the closing days of life, we’d frequently reminisce about those things of greatest worth, namely, family, friends, experiences and ultimately for many, their faith in and encounters with Jesus Christ.
Cherished family experiences and special tender moments are shared in a very intimate manner.
Truths are shared lovingly and freely.
Special insights, sweet stories, incredible experiences, along with miracles and wonders are commonplace, as the individual approaches death’s door and shares what matters most.
During those tender moments, attentively listening, loving, caring, sharing, spending time and being fully present is key.
A multitude of moments have been etched into my memory, in turn enriching my experience of life.

Scriptures

In my personal study of the scriptures, I have found great comfort in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
Reading the final chapters of Nephi (2 Nephi 33), Jacob (Jacob 7), Mormon (Mormon 7) and Moroni (Moroni 10) – these remarkable prophet/writers provide some insights into those things that may be of greatest worth to all of us.
Each of them shared a similar experience in their lives’, namely they all had a personal experience with Jesus Christ.
And so, fittingly perhaps, their closing words recorded in the final chapters of their respective books, give us a deep, meaningful look into their hearts, minds and very souls.
Moroni 10:32 “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”
Moroni’s testimony and invitation to “come unto Christ” is a powerful and enduring one that has impacted generations of people the world over.
Like so many others, I hope that each of us will have faith in and encounter Jesus Christ in our life.
What is of greatest worth to you?

Friendship

What new friendships have you made this year?
Reflecting this morning, on the year gone by, I got to thinking about all my friendships anew.
There have been many, all across the world.
A friend cares.
A friend is honest.
A friend reaches out.
A friend listens.
A friend loves.
To all my friends old and new, I discovered a poem that encapsulates how I feel about each of you. I have no idea who wrote it. Enjoy.

“𝐀 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮”

There’s a tenderness comes stealing
O’er this heart of mine today
And a warm and happy feeling
That can never fade away;
Just a feeling that is growing
Every day each long year through –
It’s the joy that comes through knowing
That I have a friend like you.
Round my heart are memories clinging
Of the golden days of old.
And they set my soul a-singing
With a happiness untold.
Yes, our pulsing heart throbs, treasured
Through the years of friendship true
Make me prize the love unmeasured
Of a good old friend like you.
Every passing day I wish you
All the joy your heart will hold;
May success be always with you
As the coming years unfold.
That the fast-approaching morrows
May see all your dreams come true
And contain but minor sorrows,
In my wish, dear friend, for you.
May our friendship grow and strengthen
In the misty years to come,
So that when life’s shadows lengthen
And our mortal race is run,
We may still be friends united –
Still be comrades staunch and true;
That our ways may e’er be lighted,
Yours by me and mine by you.
To all my friends old and new, I hope that 2022, brings you all your hopes and dreams you could ever wish for.
From one good friend to another – Much Love. 💕

Friendship

And that’s the end of our first full month (already!), back home in the Netherlands.

One thing that has struck me is the importance of 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩.

We have spent a large chunk of our first month making lots of new friends and reacquainting ourselves with many old ones too.

As we have visited together, we have laughed, cried, talked, sung, enjoyed meals, walked, played games, hugged, encouraged, helped and above all really listened to one another’s stories and experiences.

It has been a real joy to be with such wonderful friends.

My experience is that all of our interactions together are made more enjoyable and productive when they are accompanied by genuine feelings of friendship.

I remember years ago the counsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞.”

To be a good friend, show genuine interest in others, smile, care about them, be kind, be grateful and show respect. Above all…

– 𝐁𝐞 Real
– 𝐁𝐞 You
– 𝐁𝐞 your authentic self!

Being who you are is key!

What kind of friend are you?