This past week we’ve had a taste of winter! At times we were colder than our loved ones back in Utah and Idaho! But the cold didn’t change our focus each day. We’ve spent considerable time this week counseling about the new missionaries arrived on April 6th. It has been wonderful to be a part of the detailed planning to unify our efforts and accomplish our goal of preparing every needful thing for their success here. A carefully planned ZOOM meeting with the 2021 and 2022 couples will be held as part of FHE tomorrow evening. We already feel invested in these new couples and are excited to finally meet them via technology.
We gather each morning as Sisters, in the home of the one assigned to provide a spiritual thought. That has been wonderful. We index at home while work progresses on the new work center addition. One afternoon we got together to begin putting our barn quilts together. It includes six panels, so it promises to be less demanding than our last quilting effort. We plan to meet each week and learn a new step so we can eventually finish. It has been fun even for a non-quilter.
Darrel assisted in the deep cleaning of the shop at the work center with a BIG garbage haul. He also helped with some snow removal early in the week. He made repairs on the flagpole at the WC and helped pull carpet out of the women’s part for the WC in preparation for the addition. He then focused on the upgrades at the 4-plex. He was asked to spear-head the patching, cleaning, preparing, and painting in each of the four units prior to getting new carpet. Work started in unit #3. He also began a five-week Ham Radio training course in Hamilton. That training will be each Saturday. Then he will be a licensed, amateur Ham radio operator. Since there is a radio tower at the AOA water plant it will be good to one among the ranks.
I spent hours preparing for my “Come Follow Me” discussion about The Creation. It has been a fruitful and wonderful experience. I loved this quote by Elder McConkie. “The Fall was made possible because an infinite Creator, in the primeval day, made the earth and man and all forms of life in such a state that they could fall. This fall involved a change of status. All things were so created that they could fall or change, and thus was introduced the type and kind of existence needed to put into operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation.” This first temporal creation…was paradisiacal in nature…All forms of life lived in a higher and different state than now prevails. The coming fall would take them downward and forward and onward. Death and procreation had yet to enter the world. That death would be Adam’s gift to man, and then, the gift of God would be eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus, existence came from God; death came by Adam; and immortality and eternal life come through Christ.”
One insight that was came to me while studying was powerful. Before the earth was created the matter that would form it was void and without form. There was chaos and darkness. How did the creative process begin? The Lord said, let there be Light! Light is synonymous with truth and Spirit. Where confusion and disorder reigned, God began the process of creation by identifying and separating opposites to create order. He clearly marked His presence and influence with the separation of light and dark. Clear boundaries between opposites were the first step on the path to order, light, truth. It is in our lives as well. That’s why calling good-evil and evil-good is such a dangerous course to take. It leads to chaos, darkness, and voids in our lives.
The following is an impressive finale to any study about the creation.
Our sacrament meeting speaker today was Elder Steffensen. He is a master teacher who teaches through stories that have a moral. He included some material from Elder Michael A. Dunn’s Oct 2021 Conference address entitled, “One Percent Better.” I felt it was worth sharing as we plunge into a New Year.
Elder Michael A. Dunn spoke of the national bicycling race teams from Britain, who for more than a century had been so underwhelming that some bike manufacturers refused to sell bikes to them in hopes of preserving their own hard-won reputations.
That changed in 2003 when Sir Dave Brailsford was hired. His strategy was simply to make small improvements in everything. This required a constant measuring of key statistics and targeting specific weaknesses. His idea was that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1 percent, you would yield a significant increase when you put them all together.
Our approach to change in the coming year can be the similar. Instead of trying to perfect everything, what if we tackled just one thing? James Clear, a renowned author, says this strategy puts the math squarely in our favor. He maintains that “habits are the ‘compound interest of self-improvement.’ If you can get just one percent better at something each day, by the end of a year … you will be thirty-seven times better!
The caveat to this micro-betterment approach is there must be a consistent, day-in and day-out effort… Elder David A. Bednar taught: “Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God…does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.”
So, will this pocket-sized approach to repentance and change really work? The proof in the British bicycling teams. In the past two decades since implementing Brailsford’s philosophy, Great Britain has been the most successful country across all cycling events. In the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, the UK won more gold medals in cycling than any other country.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “Each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service, and each act of worship, however small and incremental, adds to our spiritual momentum.”
Ultimate victory is 100 percent certain if we intentionally, and consistently follow this pattern. That echoes any success we have found and our hope for us all in the coming year!
Our prayers include you and so does our love! Darrel and Karen Kenison