Wednesday, March 9, 2011

President's letter November 2010

“Counting blessings as well as blemishes will show many more blessings” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Dear Elders and Sisters:

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our many blessings. I am most grateful for the knowledge that regardless of the opposition, challenges or frustrations that come our way, we all have equal access to the blessings of the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

No matter our station, circumstance, or condition, we can exercise faith in Christ, repent of our sins, enjoy the blessings of His ordinances; then claim the hope and promise of immortality and Eternal life as we endure to the end. For this I am most thankful.

Amulek encouraged all to “Live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38)

We need to take time each day to count our blessings and express gratitude for the breath of life, food, clothing, and shelter. We need to give thanks for all our experiences that help us develop Christ-like attributes.

The first line of the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” reads, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed. When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”.

Do we take time each day to express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father and count the blessings He has bestowed on us? If we do, it will help us to keep the sacred covenants we have made with Him and then we can reap the promised blessing that, “the riches of eternity are yours” (D & C 78:17, 18)

As we cultivate the virtue of gratitude and thanksgiving, our perspective will change for the better and we will become more hopeful and optimistic; happiness will follow. We all know someone that exudes light and optimism despite their circumstance. We enjoy being in their presence. This individual radiates light and we wish to share in their light. We too can become a light of optimism for others as we develop and cultivate daily thanksgiving. You will observe that the most optimistic people express thanks often. They count their blessings and appreciate what they have even if by the world’s standards it may appear very little.

President Monson stated, “We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues”. (Ensign, May 1992, 54)

My prayer for this season of thanksgiving is that each missionary will look past individual challenges and set backs and become a beacon of light to others as you share your testimony of gratitude and thanksgiving. Resolve to be more thankful for each blessing, no matter how small, and witness for yourselves the light that will draw people near to you, as you spend more time on blessings not blemishes.

With love and gratitude for all you do and who you are becoming!

President Perry

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