Tag Archive for: love

What great leaders do…

Yesterday was amazing.
Every six weeks, we meet as a Mission Leadership Council.
I was surrounded by true leaders.
It is their time to lead.
Young men and women, with pure humble hearts, who are principle driven, selfless, devoted, disciplined and who get things done by bringing out the very best in others.
Our time is spent in training, learning, and counselling together.
Great missionary effort requires great leadership, through faith, love, obedience, and work.
All leaders must be good followers and they do that with exactness.
They see potential everywhere.
They are examples of goodness.
They are bold.
They lift and inspire.
They encourage.
They are prayerful.
They listen with genuine empathy.
They communicate with kindness.
They are great teachers.
They take time to slow down and consider what really matters most.
Ultimately, each of them endeavours to emulate the greatest servant leader of all, even Jesus Christ.
They love to serve others, as Christ centred servants.
They minister, one by one.
Remember, one is the key to the ninety and nine.
They feed their sheep.
Meeting with each of them is an absolute joy.
Ezra Taft Benson said…
โ€œMen and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whosoever will lose his life in the service of God, will find eternal life.โ€ (See Matthew 10:39)
As a leader, do you constantly remember that you are a servant?

Handling Failure

Experience has taught me, that to suffer some anxiety, some stress, some low moods or depression, some disappointment, or even some failure is ๐’๐’๐’“๐’Ž๐’‚๐’.
Let me repeat that…. ๐๐Ž๐‘๐Œ๐€๐‹!
Everyone fails.
Everyone has bad things happen to them at some point.
Every now and then, a really good miserable day, or even a few of them may come along all at once, lined up perfectly all in a row, day after day!
Maybe you have felt days like that?
Doomed to failure.
Defeated, lost, discouraged, possibly even feelings of shame and inferiority may ariseโ€ฆ
You may even choose to prolong the agony by engaging in some mental torture, relentless self-criticism, beating yourself up and continually berating yourself.
When we feel like this, we may even want to hide, to shrivel up or even just disappear.
Have you been there?
Itโ€™s easy to be tough on ourselves. Isn’t it!

If this is you, choose to ๐’๐“๐Ž๐!

It is time to change your relationship with failure.
Take a momentโ€ฆ
Let me assure you, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐›๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ…
What would you do to support a friend through a similar difficult period?
By showing ourselves some kindness, respect and encouragement, we can practice self-compassion.
With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care weโ€™d give to a good friend.
โ€œSelf-compassion has been defined as a self-attitude that involves treating oneself with warmth and understanding in difficult times and recognizing that making mistakes is part of being human (Neff, 2003)
Realising that things donโ€™t always go the way you want them to, is a reality shared by each and every one of us.
My experience is to see failure as a step closer to success, not a step backwards.
How can you be kinder to yourself?
Think of a time when you failed at something and someone responded with kindness and reassurance…
How did that make you feel?

Are you big-hearted?

The heart is a tender place.
Often, we may describe a person by their heart.
We use phrases like โ€œbig-heartedโ€ or โ€œkind-heartedโ€ or โ€œgoodheartedโ€ or sometimes even having a โ€œheart of gold.โ€
They are kind, generous, gracious, thoughtful, compassionate and are often the first to extend a helping hand when it is needed, without any expectations attached.
They really care.
They are in touch with how their hearts feel and let others know.
They also lift others and always see the good in them.
Yes โ€“ thatโ€™s those with a big heart.
Do you know any such souls?
There are a few of these people in my life right now, and I treasure every one of them.
All week long, our missionaries have been speaking with lots of people about love.
And theyโ€™ve given out lots of big hearts!
It has been Valentineโ€™s week after all!
I know that hearts are softened by love.
Love has a way of spreading.
It can make your day sparkle.
And if you’re happy, you can illuminate someone else’s day.
Missionaries love to serve others with all of their hearts.
Theyโ€™ve been illuminating peopleโ€™s lifeโ€™s all week long.
At the drop of a hat, theyโ€™re off serving, to lend a hand to someone in need.
I hope when you meet the missionaries, you will not fear them, but are willing to listen and learn from them.
After all, each one of them has a big heart and they just love to share whatโ€™s in it.
๐‘ฏ๐’๐’˜ ๐’ƒ๐’Š๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’‰๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’•?

Love Letters

Last night we had some good friends visit, John and Rebecca Muntinga.
It was lovely to see them, eat dinner, catch up and relax together.
We love to play games, and they introduced us to a new one called Love Letters.
Itโ€™s a game of risk, deduction, and luck, but very topical for valentines this week.
Players attempt to deliver their love letter into the Princessโ€™s hands while keeping other playersโ€™ letters away.
It was a fun game, and we had quite a few laughs playing together.
Reflecting upon the game this morning, I recalled the many love letters that I sent in my younger years, especially with valentines.


I remember the acronyms that Iโ€™d write on the back of the envelope such as:
S W A L K โ€“ Sealed with a loving kiss.
I T A L Y โ€“ I trust and love you.
H O L L A N D โ€“ Hope our love lasts and never dies.
(Holland proved to be a good one for me!)
Whilst dating, Monic and I were so far apart, that we still treasure our letters today.
Our missionaries too, like receiving letters from home, as parents, siblings and sometimes even a girlfriend of boyfriend express their love.
In a way, the holy scriptures are like love letters from home telling us how we can draw near to our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.
Gordon B. Hinckley said; โ€œLove is the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is not found only at the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arched across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, and neighbours! Love, like faith, is a gift of God. It is also the most enduring and most powerful virtue.โ€
Todayโ€™s texting lingo may be:
BFF โ€“ Best friends forever
ILY โ€“ I love You
FIMH โ€“ Forever in My Heart.
IMHO – Why not send a letter of love to someone todayโ€ฆ?


๐“๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐š๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐ž…
For eighteen months or two years, thousands of 18 โ€“ 26 young men and women leave their homes voluntarily and at their own expense, to serve a mission in far off lands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Later today, we will receive another five, who will serve in Belgium and the Netherlands for a season, namely: Kiera Wadsworth, Grace Warner, Brigitta Broadbent, Pedro Jalo and Ian Schwab.
Each of them will serve thousands of miles from home.
It is viewed as an exciting adventure, with an instant network of friends to help them adjust to their home away from home.
It is in their homes that they will have learned the values by which will guide their lives.
I know too that homes are places where lifeโ€™s greatest lessons are learned and taught.
Yet now, they will be learning, living and working in a completely different cultural environment from their experience of home life so far.
Overcoming the language barrier can also make it difficult at times.
It is the daunting reality of missionary life.

Yet โ€“ they are ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐š๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐.

Each of them arrives with their luggage, containing only a few physical possessions.
They are however, armed with a deep-rooted desire, faith, and hope as they individually embark upon their period of missionary service.
Theirs is a mission of love and service.
Empathising, both Monic and I are constantly trying to put ourselves back in their shoes.
Itโ€™s 30+ years since we both served respectively, far from home.
As Mission leaders and mentors, we have many roles, including to provide a bit of a pick-me-up when things are challenging.
Frequently, we help missionaries to see the big picture and how theyโ€™re making progress.
For missionaries, knowing that someone cares about their personal well-being and believes in them can help them deal with the umpteenth โ€œrainyโ€ day on their mission.
And then, before they know it, like a few in the picture below, their time is over.
Its transfer day today.
It means much change throughout the mission to accommodate those arriving and departing.
With a heart filled with love, we bid farewell to our dear friends who are returning home in the next few days Julia Hyer, Nefi Regalado, Harrison Wright and Rafe Baldwin.
Mission accomplished, as they return home with honour.
What has been your experience living thousands of miles away from home?

All My Heart

My daily routineโ€ฆ
After I dress myself in my shirt and tie, I slide my nametag onto the breast pocket.
Doing so, reminds me of who I am representing daily.
Constantly, I am reminded, that the name of Jesus Christ is positioned next to my heart.
Today, I noticed something extra.
For the last 19 months, immediately after I slide my nametag into position, I then place a folded A4 piece of paper into my breast pocket.
On the paper is a list of names and areas of everyone in the mission.
We call it the By-Zone.
Currently there are 130 names on the list for this transfer.
The names change every six weeks, as missionaries arrive and depart.
Many other names have been on the list too.
It struck me today, that the list of names is one layer of cotton, closer to my heart.
The names are positioned between Christโ€™s name and my heart.

My Heart

The heart is a tender place.
We feel things in our hearts.
I know every single one of those individuals listed on the paper.
They are much more than merely names.
They are real people, who I have met with, laughed with, cried with, rejoiced with, taught with, prayed with, dined with, played games with, juggled with, sang with, travelled with, and counselled with.
I love them.
My heart overflows with gratitude for each of them.
Many are home now.
For a season, their names were next to my heart.
Over time, their names have migrated from next to, to deeply ingrained and written into my heart.
At times, there is a tug on my heart, and my thoughts are directed to each of them, one by one.
Like family members, their hearts are bound to my own.
In Luke 10:27, the Saviour explained, we must โ€œlove the Lord thy God with all thy heart, โ€ฆ soul, โ€ฆ strength, and โ€ฆ mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.โ€
What does it mean to love someone with all your heart?

๐Ž๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž – the key that opens every door.

โ€œ๐Ž๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž is the key that opens every door.โ€ โ€“ C.S. Lewis
Yet, ๐’๐’ƒ๐’†๐’…๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’„๐’† is not a positive word these days.
Generally, I have found the Dutch (and I love them) do not want anyone telling them what to do!
๐Ž๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž: โ€œcompliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.โ€
From Antwerp to Utrecht, over the last couple of days โ€“ Iโ€™ve shared a quote from Boyd K. Packer that states โ€œ๐Ž๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž โ€
From โ€œevery doorโ€ to โ€œcure-all.โ€
I want some of that.
Do you?
This is an exciting time to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
And even more so to serve as a full time missionary.
We are blessed to able to serve day in, day out with approximately 120 voluntary missionaries here in Belgium and the Netherlands.
They are remarkable.
Each of them has an obedient heart.

๐Ž๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž is a principle of discipline, choice, and trust.

Learning of it, with exactness in our youth is โ€œpowerful spiritual medicineโ€ that can and does act as a guide for each of them as they chart their journey through life.
โ€œIf you want to learn to fly an aeroplane, learn and follow the laws that govern gravity.
If you want to operate on the human heart, learn and follow the laws that govern the human body.
If you want to be happy, learn and keep the commandments.
It becomes a rather simple formulaโ€ โ€“ said Russell M. Nelson.
For your journey through life, one of the first things you need to know is this…
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated.
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by ๐จ๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž to that law upon which it is predicated. (Doctrine & Covenants 130:20โ€“21)
Please ponder that thought.
It states unmistakably the fact that there are principles upon which promises are predicated, and that obedience is the key to receiving blessings.
My experience is this โ€“ ๐จ๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž with exactness, always brings safety and inner peace.
I hope that each of us will choose to follow the simple formula of ๐จ๐›๐ž๐๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž throughout our life.

Jump in!

Did you dip your toes in the water a little?
Did you jump in at the deep end?
Which metaphor describes your 2022?
What did you do particularly well?
๐‘พ๐’†๐’๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’† ๐’•๐’ 2023
As each year passes by, we never stay the same.
๐–๐ž ๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ, ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ง, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž.
Truth beknown, I learned last year that you canโ€™t deliver your best work if youโ€™re not energised!
I chose to jump in at the deep end and rediscovered the of power napping!
Itโ€™s been great!
It has reawakened a host of benefits for me.
I was keen to change and be reenergised!
I witnessed, time and time again many others who changed in a much more significant way.
There were many that I encountered who were seeking to change who met with our missionaries.
Many decided to jump in and become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It changed their whole life.
They too have been re-energised!
It has been a real joy to become acquainted with them.
Like many hundreds of thousands before them, they chose to dip their toes in a little to start with, and then decided to jump in!
Happiness often springs from small and unexpected sources.
You will find it in abundance as you choose to follow Jesus Christ this year.
Thatโ€™s the message I would like to share with you as we start 2023โ€ฆ
All over the world in 2022, missionaries were life savers for thousands of others โ€“ just like you.
I look forward to becoming acquainted with you too.
Why not dip your toes in to start with?

Or better still, choose to jump in at the deep end! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Either way, itโ€™ll be the best decision you make this year.

Three Gifts

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ฎ ๐“–๐“ฒ๐“ฏ๐“ฝ๐“ผ…
Our missionaries have been very busy this week.
There has been lots and lots of service in the community.
And, in addition, at Christmas marketโ€™s, town squares and on many a street corner throughout Belgium and the Netherlands, missionaries have given away thousands upon thousands of gifts.
Greeting so many, the message is simple โ€œ๐“œ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ป๐”‚ ๐“’๐“ฑ๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ถ๐“ช๐“ผโ€
Weโ€™re not talking about the latest Red/Blue Nintendo Switch for son, the Barbie Extra Deluxe for daughter, the beautiful new necklace and flowers for mum or the special new jumper and tie for dad.
No, none of those.
Set those and the many other gifts galore aside.
We didnโ€™t even give away any gold, frankincense or myrrh.
Remember, the gold points to Jesusโ€™ royalty, the frankincense to his divinity, and the myrrh to his humanity.
All of which we honour and respect.
Rather consider the little gifts we did giveaway.
Three little chocolate hearts filled with only one thing – ๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ฟ๐“ฎ.
Through it all, there is perhaps one common denominator for Christmas โ€“ it is ๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ฟ๐“ฎ…
โ€œGod be thanked for loving us enough to send His Only Begotten Son. Jesus Christ changed the world for each of us with His atoning sacrifice. He is the light of the world. He is the light we need to hold up. He is the light that fills us with good will toward all people.โ€ Russell M. Nelson
We hope amid all the hustle and bustle of gifts and gatherings, you will let your life reflect the ๐“ต๐“ฒ๐“ฐ๐“ฑ๐“ฝ ๐“ช๐“ท๐“ญ ๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ฟ๐“ฎ of Jesus Christ this Christmas time.
Merry Christmas dear friends.

Welcome Back

๐‘พ๐’†๐’๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’† ๐‘ฉ๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ!
It seemed as if it was only yesterday that Melanie Coates was departing for home from her mission.
That was back in July already.
โ€œGrowing apart doesnโ€™t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. Iโ€™m glad for that.โ€ โ€” 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.
โ€œA 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.โ€
Good friends are a little like stars, you may not always see them, but you know they are there!
Stay safe my dear friend โ€“ until we meet again.
What kind of friend are you?