In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a story from my life about gratitude and how it changed my life during one of the times of my life when I was at my least thankful.
We have all experienced times when our testimonies felt weak or inadequate. Usually we find ourselves saying “How can I get to where I was? How can I find my faith again?” I propose to illustrate how the principle of gratitude can help us build our testimonies. To do this I will mostly rely on a single story from my mission.
There are three steps I want to point out to building your testimony with gratitude, which you will see in this story.
1. Choosing to believe blessings come from God,
2. Choosing to give credit to God,
3. Choosing to act on the blessings God presents you with.
Choosing to believe blessings come from God.
There was a moment, about 5 months into my mission, where everything changed. It was the moment when I went from being an unwilling, unhappy missionary to a happy, and successful missionary.
This is the story of when it “clicked” for me. It is probably the key point in my mission, if not my life, and you’ll notice that it all hinges on gratitude.
When I first arrived on the island of Taiwan, my mission president asked me “what sort of companion do you want to have?”
Knowing how incredibly lazy I am, and wanting to be the best missionary I could be, I answered immediately with “one who works hard.”
Man, did he listen.
I was blessed with a hard working trainer. But the phrase “hard working” doesn’t quite encompass the intensity of this great missionary. He was driven. He was a maniac. I’ll try to explain just how much this guy loved working.
Most evenings we would spend our time knocking on every door we could find. Companion knew that it took about X minutes to get home on bike, so when we reached X minutes until curfew, he’d knock two or three more doors, till the time was X minus 1 minute. We would then have to jump on our bikes and pedal our brains out to try and make it home before our 9:30 curfew.
I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, so usually he would get ahead of me and I would get frustrated that he wouldn’t wait up.
He’d say “Can’t wait! We’ll be late! Push harder!”
I’d say “I can’t!”
He’d say “Where’s your faith, elder?!”
Then I’d pedal harder so I could try and punch him in the face...