Elder Carter's Argentinian Mission

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The Hidden Miracles

May16

Hello All,

This past week has been great!  We were able to find many new people to teach and I finally know my way around the area (your first week or two in a new area is a big game of “Follow the Leader”).  The members in our area are really great and supportive of the missionary effort.  It almost makes me jealous to see them so excited for the missionary work because growing up in Utah, I never had missionaries in my ward.  Then, I realize that jealousy is a sin and start singing “Scripture Power” in my mind.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about something a bit more uplifting.

A couple of weeks ago my mom wrote me a letter that said that I should look for a miracle every day in my mission.  I had heard of that before from other missionaries, but it is a lot different coming from your own mom.  A couple of days later I was setting new goals with my companion.  I like to divide my goals up into categories (like key indicators, Christlike attributes, personal improvement, etc.).  We got to the Christlike attributes section and one of them we decided to work on was Faith.  As we were talking about ways to increase our faith I decided to share what my mom had written me.  We decided to record a “Miracle of the Day” after we finished planning each day.  The first day was easy because we received a really obvious miracle (in walking across the street from where we were knocking, down several houses, and finding a family that was prepared to hear us).  The obvious miracles were great but what has impacted me the most has been the hidden miracles.

We got back one night and finished planning.  I turned to my companion and said, “It’s time for the ‘Miracle of the Day’…what miracle did we see today?”  He stared back at me as I stared at him.  It seemed that nothing miraculous had happened.  He asked me what I wanted to do.  I was at a loss – had we not been miraculously helped that day?  Was our Heavenly Father randomly giving us miracles on some days and other days leaving us abandoned?  If that was the case, maybe the miracles were just coincidences…

Shaking the thought from my mind I continued thinking.  The first thing that came to my mind was Gustavo.  This was the first time I taught him and he was a really intelligent guy.  He had several good questions and seemed genuinely interested.  It seemed like a normal thing, but then I remembered what my companion had told me about him earlier – that he was just a drunk.  The first time they had taught him he had been drinking and they just left him with a pamphlet (because it isn’t very effective to teach a drunk person).  To me, he didn’t seem anything like what he was before.  I talked to my companion and he agreed.  The only explanation for so much change in so little time is that it was a miracle!  As quickly as that idea came into my mind I thought of our English class that we had just come from.  Everything went as planned, but four boys came in that we didn’t even know.  One of them was a member and the other three were his friends that he brought along.  Everyone in the class were people that we personally invited as we couldn’t announce it in church or distribute invitations.  I started wondering how they even knew that we were there.  Every other Saturday leading up to our class the church was locked.  None of them were active and none of them knew anyone else in the class.  How did they even get there?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that God had just dropped them into our laps.  Another outright miracle!  It had first been a hidden miracle, but a minute of mediation and reflection captured what had almost been lost.

We each see miracles every day.  Almost every single miracle that happens in our lives goes unnoticed and fades from our memory.  Ungrateful for His hand in our lives we struggle forward with feelings of insecurity and doubt – although it is completely unnecessary.  It only takes one minute to gratefully record and thank Heavenly Father for his help in our lives and it will fortify our faith, strengthen our resolve, and comfort our hearts.  I am reminded of a talk by President Eyring who spoke about tender mercies.  He suggested keeping a notebook and writing down all of the tender mercies that you see in your life.  He explained that they are all around us, but we just need to take the time to recognize them.  I know that it is true and I am living it every day of my mission here.  You don’t, however, need to be a missionary in order to put it into practice because he was speaking to all of us…not just the missionaries.

Thank you all so much for all that you do!  I am horribly behind on my handwritten letter replies (I am much better at responding to email – jared.carter@myldsmail.net).  Thanks for all of your words of encouragement.  For those of you who have sent wedding invitations – CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I am so happy for each one of you and I pray for all of your success!  Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and I’ll talk to you soon!

Love,
Elder Carter

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