“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
~ Emily Dickinson
Over the past few years I have come to love the notion of hope.  I quote this poem almost daily as I work towards goals and make plans for my future.  It’s a beautiful, simple little thing that explains the nature of hope.
Hope should never stop, it should continue to sing out in our hearts and in our thoughts even when times get hard or we do not understand what our Father in Heaven is preparing us for.  I know that my mission will be hard; I may struggle with the language, I might have issues with my companions, the weather could be awful, our message will be rejected, I may watch investigators and members make decisions that lead them from the straight and narrow path, but I must maintain my hope.  “Hope keeps us ‘anxiously engaged’ in good causes even when these appear to be losing causes(Brightness of Hope by Neal A Maxwell).”  We cannot give up the hope that the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ will touch those we know and those we teach in some way.  It may not be in ways we can immediately see or even understand, but Heavenly Father knows the paths that He has set for all His children(Proverbs 3:5 & 6).  Oftentimes, what may appear to be a losing cause is simply a cause in process.  That process varies from person to person with each unique situation, and we must bear this in mind when times get tough.  It may take a few months or it may take several years, but it is cause in progress in one direction or another.
Which brings me to another point also addressed in my favorite little poem above.  The little Bird of hope keeps us warm in the Gospel and in our faith in Christ even when it seems like things are crumbling or standing still.  Hard times can be got through with reliance on the Lord and trust in His hands.  All things in the Lord’s way and in the Lords time.  With hope we can look forward with trust in the Lord and faith in His timing and actions(2 Nephi 31:20).
Finally, EMBRACE HOPE.  Embrace the whole idea of it, live it until it hurts and sometimes doesn’t make any sense.  When my mission gets particularly difficult I pray that I can rely on this idea, that the hope and trust I have in the Lord will drive me forward everyday if nothing else can.  “Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.”  I know that hope can anchor my soul to righteousness, obedience, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ(The Infinite Power of Hope by Dieter F Uchtdorf).  The message of the Restored Gospel is the ultimate gift we can bless someone with in this life, and we must maintain the hope that it can bless the lives of all we know, meet, and love, if we but share it.
en el nombre de Jesucristo,
Amen
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