I got transferred this week! I'm still the zone leader but in a different zone, and I'm serving in a fairly different area consisting of one apartment building and then a whole lot of little houses on very windy roads on a lot of icy hills. It's fun, until I fall down. The ice never melts in winter, and so everything is always slippery.
My new companion is Elder Norlund. He's new and from North America. Only, he's not here yet. His visa didn't come through and so he is serving in Maryland until he can get his visa. So, I have a temporary companion named Elder Unubold. He's not really a full-time missionary but a ward member who is called to be a temporary missionary when visas are delayed. He's great, but I do hope Elder Norlund can get here soon so I can train him.
I'm technically not the Sign Language Elder anymore, but there are so many deaf investigators and members in my new area that I will continue to use sign language a lot.
I finally bought a nice new coat to go with the weather. It will help me stay warm.
I had a thought from the scriptures this week. It is about Nephi and hope. We recall Laman and Lemuel and their repeated wickedness; it seems every time that after they repent and humble themselves, they go back to rebellion again and usually fairly soon. Nephi knew about them, and he also had seen in vision that his nation would be destroyed due to unbelief. And yet, for example, in 1 Nephi 16:5, we read "And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness." Laman and Lemuel were a source of hardship for Nephi. When they repented, Nephi didn't say, 'oh, well, they will be back to normal in a month or two' but instead had great hopes that they would walk in the path of righteousness. He didn't assume that something bad would automatically happen, but had hopes that good would continue. Hope is really key here.
Life doesn't give us a set amount of good and bad experiences. Life isn't fair, but in the end we aren't judged by how many good or bad things happened to us but rather by how we chose to use our agency and follow God regardless of how much good or bad happened in our lives. We should not try to guess whether great things or bad things will happen to us next; this turns our faith into superstition. God blesses us because he loves us, and He gives us hard times because He loves us. We cannot tell beforehand when or how they will come. We have only to be grateful for the good times, be patient in the hard times, and follow God all the time. As Paul said, "I know how to abound and I know how to lack. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." And when we want to wish away our hard times, then as Gandalf said, "So say all who live to see such times. But that is not the choice we are given to make. The choice we have is what to do with the times we are given."
If we serve the Lord at all times, we are using our agency well, no matter what is happening to us.