This week I saw the most beautiful thing in the world:
Alessandro was maybe four years old when I met him and his family.
Alessandro’s mom and oldest brother were baptized, and they all started attending church regularly. But, as it always happens, I was transferred from that area shortly afterward, and was left only with word-of-mouth updates as to how they were doing.
Then a few years ago, through the miracle of Facebook, the brothers contacted me! I was so thrilled to hear from them, and I felt much like Alma must have felt, when he met up with his friends, the sons of Mosiah, after many years of being apart:
... Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
When Alessandro contacted me, he expressed his gratitude for my having served a mission. He told me:
Know that you, Sister, are very beloved by us. We love you very much, and I in particular am very grateful for your beautiful mission in Brazil. I recognize that I would not be who I am today without the wonderful influence that your mission has provided to our family.
He tagged me when he posted the letter from the First Presidency on Facebook, and I could barely contain my emotions when I read the words addressed to him, that were once addressed to me. I choked up as I thought of the lives that he would touch, and the families he would love and worry about for the rest of his life. And I thought of the people who, in years to come, will serve a mission because of him.
The things we do and the decisions we make don’t only affect us. They affect those around us and continue to have an effect for years to come-- effects that we may not see right away, or may never even know about. I went on a mission because Heather, an old roommate, showed me that cool girls could serve missions too. And I have no idea if she knows that she influenced me in that way. I should tell her. Because without her example, I likely wouldn’t have served a mission, and my life would not be what it is today.