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Elder & Sister Nichols - 1/2/2024

A new year is always so invigorating.  It somehow causes us to reflect on the past and helps us recommit for the future.  It motivates us to set goals, almost all of which are designed to make us better (I don’t know many people that have a goal to watch more TV for the year) and helps us center ourselves more toward who we want to be.  Maybe that is why the gym was so full this morning.

Going through the holidays as a missionary has caused Penny and I to reflect on the spiritual aspect of our lives more intensely than we previously have.  We have reflected on a full year of focused service and discussed how dedicated we were during this time.  We talked about the mistakes we made, the struggles we have had, the miracles we have seen, and what we need to do to minimize the first two and magnify the last.  The answer was clear…have more faith in Jesus Christ.  We know that the more we submit and trust in Him, the more we will find joy in this work, and our lives, knowing He controls the outcomes and has our best eternal interests in mind.  It was highly motivational, and we feel we will see many more wonderful things here in the first half of 2024. 

The younger missionaries we serve with are amazing examples to us of this.  Through the holidays, we know many of them were missing home and family traditions, but they remained focused on what they were doing and seemed happy.  We enjoyed caroling, teaching, performing service, and visiting people with them and feeling the power they have as they bring light and hope to so many, all while personally longing for home.  To think that the Church has over 72,000 young people currently serving around the world, learning the value of putting others before self and how to be strong and resilient in faith and life, is a great beacon of hope for the future. 

The young people we serve continue to gather into groups throughout the area with the help of their leadership.  It continues to be a wonderful experience to see how the Lord uses the information we provide to move inspiration forward from the top down.  We are witnessing young people, with the mentoring of older adults, take control of their spirituality and begin to organize themselves for the purpose of gathering and ministering to those that are missing or lost.  Many were in spiritual survival mode, not sure where they fit in the world, and now they have a swagger when they walk into the Church, or a meeting, because they feel the partnership of the Savior as they step off the sideline and participate in the work of gathering and love.

There are a lot of great things planned for the first quarter of the year and we look forward to sharing as we continue to have a front row seat to the greatest show on earth.

Love you all,

Scott & Penny



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