Sunday, June 5, 2011
The Greatest Place on Earth
There are two missionaries currently serving in our ward, Elder Tolman and Elder Falau. Both will be transferred to other areas in the mission sometime this week, so they were asked to stand and bear their testimonies this morning in Sacrament. They've been in our ward since November, so it will be an adjustment for all of us when they leave. Elder Tolman was the first to speak and he talked about how great the past 7 months have been and how much he's enjoyed the members of the ward. And then he said, "I think this might be the greatest place on earth!" I smiled and thought, "He'll probably think that about the next place he goes...and all the others after that."
I have heard that many times from people in the different wards we've lived in. I used to roll my eyes when we first moved to Mendon and people would say, "Welcome to Zion!" They frequently gushed about living in "the greatest place on earth" and I always wondered, "How can you think that when you've only ever lived here?" I used to think that making a statement like that required knowledge and experience with every other possible place and opportunity. It doesn't. I used to think I could actually find the "greatest place on earth" if we moved often enough. But the thing is, you could move 100 times and never find it. Or you could stay right where you are, and just know that you live in "the greatest place on earth." It's not really about the place...it's about the eyes that you look through to see it.
I realized today, when I listened to Elder Tolman, that not only was he right that Allen is the greatest place on earth, but so were all those people who said that about Mendon...and so were the people who said that about Seattle and Atlanta, too...and everywhere else that we've heard it.
There are amazing people in our current ward. They love their families. They go out of their way to serve. They genuinely care about the people around them. They magnify their callings. And there have been people like that in every ward we've lived in. That's not a coincidence. Wherever there is a group of people who has the Spirit and who center their lives on the gospel and on Jesus Christ, it is actually the greatest place on earth.
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them." (Matt 18:20)
This is from my friend Allie's blog...
"We really ARE here for each other, to help each other get back to Him. We are placed in the places we are, not by accident or sheer coincidence. Nothing is random, we are placed in each others lives to be the instruments in helping one another learn what we need to learn. By trying to be like Him while we're here on Earth, we ultimately will BECOME like Him in the eternities." (go here to read the rest of her incredible testimony)
The thing that I've learned from moving around a lot is that even though leaving is difficult, you can take a part of all those people and places with you to the next place. I have little pieces of Mendon woven through my personality and my character and in my heart everyday. I'm different because I lived there, because of the people I met, and because of the experiences I had. They have forever changed me, hopefully for the better.
I'm unbelievably grateful to have lived in a few of "the greatest places on earth" and to currently live in one of them now.