Hello all!

It has been some time since I posted last. For that I apologize. This has been a very busy semester for me, but I am doing well.

I was recently called to be in the brach presidency for my branch. I. Was. Terrified. I didn’t feel ready or worthy. I am just imperfect old me. For the past year I haven’t liked being at church because I had a bad taste taste in my mouth from some of the negative people who were there when I first arrived. I went, but only because I felt like I was supposed to. There was little joy for me and it was hard for me to focus and feel the spirit.  

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All of that has changed. Since receiving this calling I feel more invigorated in church as well as in school and other social settings. I like those I see more and I feel generally better. What changed? Mostly, my attitude. It was so easy for me to not enjoy church (or other aspects of my life) because I was letting myself have negative thoughts about those I worshipped/spent time with. Many of them had made me feel unwelcome and unwanted and that was hard for me to let go. But as I have started to serve them and do my best to help my brothers and sisters (those both in and out of the LDS community) grow and come closer to Jesus Christ, I have felt my own love for them grow.

Another reason I have been struggling is because I have felt like I was being a disappointment to God. Since I started my graduate program, I have been noticing men more. And it has been so frustrating! Sure I have always been attracted to guys, but I feel like every other guy I see I want to just stare at (maybe they are just prettier here than back home?). Even regular friendships have been more difficult for me to develop, because I find myself admiring traits they may have and then starting to feel romantic, so I have to remove myself from the situation.

I was feeling pretty guilty about it. I was continuing to keep my covenants, but still felt so awful about this increase in the strength of my attractions. But when I was called to be in the presidency, I was told something very special. The member of the Stake Presidency who talked with me told me that the Lord trusts me, which is why I was being called to this position. And I have seen that. I am still me. I am still trying not to constantly be distracted by the men around me. But I have received a confirmation that my efforts are acceptable to the Lord. And he has been rewarding me with peace, joy, and comfort. It has been a relief and I have been able to dismiss the guilt and let go of my feelings of inadequacy as I see the Lord working in this branch.

As a result, I have been able to let go of my previous feelings of negativity, and I am seeing how much this branch has changed. We have had several baptisms this year. In fact this month there will be more baptisms than all of last year. More and more less active members are seeking to come back to church. We have three pairs of missionaries here to help us. The attitude of the members has changed completely. Our testimony meeting today was incredible. So many shared their testimonies and the spirit was stronger than I had ever felt here in this branch. The members here are seeking to serve and uplift others, share the gospel, learn of Christ and His teachings, and on and on. The Lord knew that if I was not on board, I wouldn’t see this wonderful work, and that I would probably end up hindering it. He has helped me see that while I may be imperfect, I can still be of great service. And that I am loved no matter what.

Remember, the Lord trusts us. We are his hands here on this earth. So let’s get to work!

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