Wow, what a crazy 23 months this has been serving as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I have been everywhere from Plzeň and Liberec in the west of the Czech Republic, and all the way to Košice and Prešov on the east of Slovakia!! I have had the amazing opportunity of serving in both countries, speaking both languages and learning to love both the Czech and the Slovak people! But through all of these good times and happy moments, of course there have been hard times. And there has been one common thing that I have learned during these hard times, something Elder Holland once explained perfectly, he said:
“In [life] I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, one who is constantly critical of you, one who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor. Life is tough enough without [someone] who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy. In this person’s care, you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure.”
Life is hard, that is just how it is, but it shouldn’t be made harder because of the people you are around. I know that when we surround ourselves with people who truly love us, who make jokes with us, not at us, who laugh with us, not at us, who cry with us when we cry, who mourn with us when we mourn, life gets easier. Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the bible. Even though they were literally in the midst of a fire, it was made bearable because of who they had with them. I know that as we keep our savior close, and make sure that those who are around us don’t belittle us, life is more bearable. If after reading this you think of some people in your life who are bad influences, I would consider making a change. You are a beloved son/daughter of God and you deserve to be treated as such. I’d like to close with another quote from Elder Holland, which reads:
“C. S. LEWIS once said ‘if we could recognize who we were, we would realize that we were walking with possible gods and goddesses whom, if we could see them in all their eternal dignity and glory, we would be tempted to bow down and worship.’ Because this is true, we need to d to think more highly of ourselves and we need to think more highly of each other.”
In the name of Jesus christ, Amen.
Author: C. M. Benjamin Fuqua