I'm in my new area and it's crazy different. I got transferred to the only all-Marshallese branch in Hawaii and my companion is Marshallese, he's actually from Hawaii. I feel like it's a great opportunity for me to really fulfill my calling and learn the language!
The branch asked all four of the missionaries to give talks on sunday. I found an old Conference Ensign and found a talk that was perfect. It was Neil L. Andersen's talk where he shares the story about the currant bush. There's also a Mormon Message that shares the same thing and it's my favorite one. For those of you who haven't seen it, it shares the story of a gardener who purchased an old, run down farm. As he went about tending to it, he came across a currant bush that had grown 6 feet high and had yielded no berries. He pruned it back drastically to the point where only stumps remained. After he had done this, he saw a drop on the top of each stump as if the bush were crying, and thought heard it say "how could you do this to me? I was making such great progress and now you cut me down. All the other bushes in the garden will look down on me. How could you do this to me?" The gardener told him "look little currant bush. I don't intend for you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree, I want you to be a currant bush." He told him he knew what he wanted him to be and that he knew what it was going to take for him to reach that potential. Years later, that same gardener was in line for a promotion to general in the military, but it was denied him because he was a Mormon. With bitterness in his heart he went back to his tent, threw his hat on his cot, and shook his fists at heaven saying "How could you do this to me God? I've done everything to measure up. How could you do this to me? Then he heard a voice, it was his own voice saying "I'm the gardener here, and I know what I want you to become" He said the bitterness left him and he knelt down and pleaded for God's forgiveness. Now he looks up to heaven and says "thank you Mr. Gardener. For seeing my potential. For loving me enough to cut me down.
I know that this story applies to all of us. God knows what He wants us to be. He can see our potential and wants us to reach all of it and more. He knows what it takes for us to get there, and sometimes it takes correction and pruning back in order for us to grow and become what He needs. I would encourage all of you to watch this Mormon Message, and when you're faced with opposition or trials, to instead of being angry, kneel down and thank our Heavenly Father. Thank him for loving you enough to cut you down. For giving you His love-inspired correction. Love you all!