Amor: love. What does love mean? An intense feeling of deep affection. I guess any reader with a bit of insight and slight awareness of the date (day after Valentine's Day) could guess what this week's sermon will be. But first, a little about our week.
We had a zone Enfoque in Zaragoza. I had the great pleasure of reviewing a section of the white handbook (Blanca biblia). I love the white handbook... A sacred trust to cover the section about "the opposite sex" the week of Valentine's Day. ;) But really, it's important to remember that we've been set apart. That we can't act the way we did before, we need to aspire higher. Do more than avoid the appearance of evil, give the appearance of GOOD. We came back, did a couple of pass bys, went to missionary coordination (where I've come to be called 'sergeant' because of my attention to the time and attempts to keep us on topic).
We got home justo en tiempo (just in time) and were greeted by our door, dark and hanging open. Moments of possible danger bring out your true nature. I'm a fighter (umbrella= weapon. Let's go!). My companion isn't. So we called the Elders and they searched our piso, finding nothing out of place. We thanked them and spent the next 45 minutes running through every detail of the day, seeing if it was possible that Hermana Gutoff forgot to shut the door.
Spring's showers are coming. We got caught in them sometimes this week. Fun stuff. We continue to find new people and have had some great moments following the spirit and keeping the faith this week. God answers prayers.
On Sunday we were running just a little bit late to church, walking fast trying to get there on time. Part way through I realized that if we kept walking we would be late. So I prayed we could be there in time, apologizing for leaving late, and we started running. Not two minutes later a woman pulled over to the side of the road, honked the horn, and said "Hermanas!" We were at church in plenty of time. God is in the details and answers prayers when he knows we'll do our part too. (Best part- I'd never met that member before...)
Oh Valentine's Day. As we said goodbye to Élder Barney in the train station he pointed out one perk of his departure "At least I'll get to celebrate Valentine's Day for real this year, which you can't really do." My straight-faced response was, "Actually, I'm going to celebrate it pretty much the same way I always have." And you know what? We did. We went to church, made brownies, cut out a million paper hearts and stamped them with those good old Hermana Manwill leftovers. In our little way, we filled the world with love. We met with Ana and Norma, something we haven't been able to really do for a good while. The good thing is that they said they felt the difference, and they most definitely will be going to church next week: rain, wind, walk...
They'll be there.
A while ago I was reading through the New Testament. I got to a chapter in 1 John and about half way through said to myself "this sure has said 'love' a lot.... Maybe I should start marking it." Several minutes later I was staring, dumbfounded, at my scriptures crowded with little hearts and boxes. In only 21 verses, 1 John 4 contains 29 references to the word 'love.' So I started a tab in gospel library, and since then, it's been showing up everywhere.
I always thought that love was a sort-of cop-out answer. Harry Potter was protected by his mother's love, true love's kiss is always magical, love heals a "Frozen" heart, etc, etc, etc. It was the easy, cliche, eye-roll answer to all the problems people face. But the more I learn of the gospel, the more I realize that society and imagination - for once- actually got it right. Because love- Heavenly Father's love for us and the Savior's love for us and Him- is what brought us here, what will save us, and what will bring us back again. It breaks the bonds of death, lifts us, and continually blesses and heals us.
For God so loved the world...
It really is everything.
Our mission president is a fan of musicals (a big part of what made the switch easier). And there's a song. He wants it to become a sort of secondary mission anthem. It's already played through my mind and heart a million times, and I love it. It's a constant question, a self-assessment, and a motivation.
For those of you with YouTube capabilities, I encourage you to look it up.
But here's the last verse.
Did I Fill the World With Love?
In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset, at a moment in
my life when the night is due.
And the question I shall ask only I can answer.
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?
Did I fill the world with love, did I fill the world with love, did I
fill the world with love my whole life through?
I love you all.
Have a great week, and fill the world with love!