Monday, May 25, 2015

The Plan of Happiness


First off I'd like to give a shout out to the best mother in the world. The one and only that I ever will have! I love you so much mom and I hope you have a great birthday this week!

We finished up another great transfer here in Pontevedra. I was so excited to hear the news that I'll be finishing my mission in Pontevedra with my son! It'll be almost 6 months in Pontevedra and almost 5 months with my boy! I'm really excited for this next transfer!

Another great P-day in Vigo. We went to celebrate an Elder's birthday, a missionary couple took us out to eat at an old 50's looking American diner. It was awesome. We talked a lot about older music and Utah. My two specialities. It was a great lunch. I love a good American burger, especially when I can barely hold it in my hands.

We had a great branch activity on Saturday. We went up to a little "campsite" up in the mountains of Galicia and had a BBQ. My comp and I taught them how to play Ultimate Frisbee except we didn't have a Frisbee... So we used an American football. We also played Hackie Sack! That took me back to the good old Scout days with all my buddies and Goose! (Brother Geissing). At the end of the activity we took a hike up to the top of a hill that overlooked the countryside of Galicia. It was beautiful. We listened to a spiritual thought and once again I was touched by the incredible spirit of nature.

For the activity we were asked to make brownies. (I'm convinced they only invited us for our American Brownies..) I made the test batch, seeing that it was my first time ever making them. I used Sister Jackson famous Brownie recipe. While I was putting together the ingredients I saw that it said "mix the ingredients together by hand"... To me "by hand" means stick your hand in there and mix it all together. Apparently it didn't... it meant mix it without using a blender. As I was sloshing my hand around in there my companion started busting up laughing, he being a good cook got quite a kick out of that. Practice makes perfect right? I feel like it was just a test of exact obedience. They actually turned out really well.

I've really been impressed with the talk given by Boyd K. Packer in this last conference called the "Plan of Happiness." I've been studying his words a lot lately and I've come to love his life story and teachings. He really is an incredible apostle. In April of 2013, he gave a talk that really impacted me.
Mainly the poem that he wrote about 30 consecutive years of his life and the things he's learned. Although it's a little long I wanted to share it with you all.

"Unfinished Composition"

I had a thought the other night,
A thought profound and deep.
It came when I was too worn down,
Too tired to go to sleep.
I’d had a very busy day
And pondered on my fate.
The thought was this:
When I was young, I wasn’t 68!
I could walk without a limp;
I had no shoulder pain.
I could read a line through twice
And quote it back again.
I could work for endless hours
And hardly stop to breathe.
And things that now I cannot do
I mastered then with ease.
If I could now turn back the years,
If that were mine to choose,
I would not barter age for youth,
I’d have too much to lose.
I am quite content to move ahead,
To yield my youth, however grand.
The thing I’d lose if I went back
Is what I understand.

Ten years later, I decided to add a few more lines to that poem:

Ten years have flown to who knows where
And with them much of pain.
A metal hip erased my limp;
I walk quite straight again.
Another plate holds neck bones fast—
A wonderful creation!
It backed my polio away;
I’ve joined the stiff-necked generation.
The signs of aging can be seen.
Those things will not get better.
The only thing that grows in strength
With me is my forgetter.
You ask, “Do I remember you?”
Of course, you’re much the same.
Now don’t go getting all upset
If I can’t recall your name.
I would agree I’ve learned some things
I did not want to know,
But age has brought those precious truths
That make the spirit grow.
Of all the blessings that have come,
The best thing in my life
Is the companionship and comfort
I get from my dear wife.
Our children all have married well,
With families of their own,
With children and grandchildren,
How soon they all have grown.
I have not changed my mind one bit
About regaining youth.
We’re meant to age, for with it
Comes a knowledge of the truth.
You ask, “What will the future bring?
Just what will be my fate?”
I’ll go along and not complain.
Ask when I’m 88!

And last year I added these lines:

And now you see I’m 88.
The years have flown so fast.
I walked, I limped, I held a cane,
And now I ride at last.
I take a nap now and again,
But priesthood power remains.
For all the physical things I lack
There are great spiritual gains.
I have traveled the world a million miles
And another million too.
And with the help of satellites,
My journeys are not through.
I now can say with all certainty
That I know and love the Lord.
I can testify with them of old
As I preach His holy word.
I know what He felt in Gethsemane
Is too much to comprehend.
I know He did it all for us;
We have no greater Friend.
I know that He will come anew
With power and in glory.
I know I will see Him once again
At the end of my life’s story.
I’ll kneel before His wounded feet;
I’ll feel His Spirit glow.
My whispering, quivering voice will say,
“My Lord, my God, I know.”

I one day hope for and will fight to achieve these things as well. Looking about on a successful life can be filled with many memories but we must remember as Harold B. Lee counseled, "The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes."

That is our goal.

President Gordon B. Hinckley once said at the sealing of the 24th of his 25 grandchildren to be married that, "It has occurred to me that I have sealed all five of my children and 24 of my married grandchildren in this temple." (The Salt Lake City Temple) Then he paused for a moment or two and concluded with this remarkable statement, "I think that is the finest thing I have ever done."

An eternal family is the most important thing that we will ever do or ever be a part of. It truly is the finest thing we could ever do.

I love you all! I love my family! I love the Lord!

Elder Giforos

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