In light of Thanksgiving coming up this week, I wanted to dedicate a post to expressing gratitude. Specifically focusing on the ways Alex and I have been blessed through working on PreparetoServe.com. (I’m breaking away from my normal routine of posting recipes/ideas and blogging on a more personal note right now, so if you don’t know what I’m referring to, feel free to see my previous post here).
How We’ve Been Blessed by the PreparetoServe Project:
I think one of the most rewarding parts of this endeavor is the opportunity it has given us to individually serve others through what we are doing. (Like, for instance, being able to make a difference for someone who just got their mission call and to see their excitement build after we put up an interview of someone who served in their mission- it’s so fulfilling!)
Another rewarding part is being able to have a front row seat in learning from hundreds of amazing returned missionaries and their experiences. I have been so impressed with the caliber of the RMs we’ve been able to associate with. Wow. I truly believe that returned missionaries, who keep living the gospel with that same missionary zeal they exhibited on their missions, are one most one of the most powerful forces for good in this world. Our testimonies have been strengthened by each of them. It’s been neat to be able to feel uplifted and edified every time we invite a returned missionary to bear his/her testimony or share faith-building experiences in an interview. It really brings the spirit into our home.
An outpouring of spiritual/other insights
Another cool thing is that I’ve been able to pick out a lot of similar themes/patterns from all of the different interviews, which has taught me a lot about missionary work in general. For instance, it’s fascinating to see the similarities of the missionary experiences of someone who served in South America to someone who served in Asia. Although they are on opposite sides of the world, there is so much overlap, even in cultural things. Who’d-a thunk?
Every time I conduct an interview, I get more excited about the project and the vision of what we’re doing seems to become even clearer. Oftentimes while listening to an RM share mission stories and testimony, I’ll receive personal insights that help me in my own personal life or insights that help me see the bigger picture and the value of the PreparetoServe project. (more on that later). It’s even gotten me kinda eager to get interviewed about my own mission (which is something I’ve been avoiding for a long time because of being too camera shy). But I feel like I’m really catching the vision now!
It’s been a very educational, eye-opening, and has helped me to better understand other people and cultures. At the dinner table, Alex will often share interesting things he has been learning about the places he’s recently done interviews about. It’s cool to be able to learn all sorts of random cultural tidbits about every place in the world. One cool side effect of this is that it has made it easier to start up conversations with random people we meet from all walks of life.
Building the website has also opened up many unexpected missionary opportunities. Through it, we’ve been able to connect with people of all backgrounds from all over the world, both online and in person. It’s been way cool. We’ve been able to meet nonmembers, even pastors and missionaries from other faiths who are intrigued at the church’s missionary program, and who have expressed interest in learning more about our church. Some have accepted the invitation to be taught by the missionaries. I don’t know what the end story will be for all of these people, but it’s fulfilling to be able to provide a place where we can point them in the right direction.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about the PreparetoServe project is that it has given us lots of opportunities to meet people and make friends! In many ways, it has taken me out of my comfort zone and has expanded my social horizons. It’s also been a neat way to strengthen our relationships with those who are already our friends–because after you sit down for an hour listening to them tell you all about the most significant 2 years of their life (or 18 months), you really get to know them on a deeper level and come to love them more.
Anyway, these are just a few that I wanted to share. I may add to this post as time goes on. Anyway, I just feel privileged to have been able to participate in this endeavor with Alex and to see the many ways we’ve been blessed through it. Life is good.
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Behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started . . . that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?” Alma 26:1-2
— I thought this was kind of a fitting scripture 😉 It describes my feelings about the past 2 years.
Happy Thanksgiving! Count your many blessings!