Rather than write a New Year's resolution post this weekend, I just want to thank the Lord that my son has returned from his mission safely. He probably won't be with us long, since he needs to enroll in college somewhere within the next month, but it is wonderful to have him here for a short time.
One of the best things about my current church calling is that I was able to hear him report on his mission in that official capacity. It was amazing to listen to him and realize how much his faith and understanding of the central principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have grown over the past two years. He focused on seeing people as God sees them - as beloved sons and daughters - as our spiritual brothers and sisters.
I loved one analogy he used in talking about Jacob 5. He mentioned that the Lord had cultivated fruit in the worst part of the vineyard - the least desirable land available. He then talked about how amazing it was to see people whose lives had been extremely difficult accept the Gospel and make mighty changes as the seed took root and grew in what appeared to be terrible soil. It reminded me once again that we simply MUST NOT make judgments about who is ready and who is not. Rather, we need to be willing to talk with everyone - truly talk with and love them, not preach at them. Those we naturally would overlook and not approach often are those who would accept it most passionately and fervently - no matter the apparent condition of their internal soil.
I love you, Ryan - and I am so glad to see the man you have become.