It seems like summer is finally starting to come to London! Finally it isn’t freezing here. It’s been a good week, and we kept very busy!
This week was full of trying to find new people to teach. It’s difficult during the summer season because we just meet a lot of tourists, but hey, seeds are being planted.
The highlight of my week was teaching another Michael. Background on him: He came into the Visitors’ Centre a few weeks ago and was hooked ever since. He told us that people are beginning to notice a difference in him as he has been meeting with us, coming closer to Christ, and following the Word of Wisdom. He is so excited for his baptism, and has taught me so much. Honestly, Michael makes me want to be a better person. He is absolutely incredible!
So much has happened, but I continue to love teaching. I am so amazed at people’s dedication and desire to change. Anne, another one of our dear friends, is such a beautiful spirit. We taught her about the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) this week, and she’s looking forward to her baptism. I love these people so, so much!
This week I’ve thought about basketball. Not just because I just learned Kevin Durrant is now a Golden State Warrior, Derek Rose was traded to the Knicks, and Dwayne Wade decided to become a Bull rather than a Buck (when you’re on a mission, you become very excluded from the sports world except from emails from dads and friends.)
Instead I’ve thought about the concept of rebounding.
A brother in our ward told me about an experience he had trying out for a basketball team. He said the coach asked them, “How many would consider yourselves a shooter? How many would consider yourself a rebounder? How many with consider yourselves both?”
After a drill in which the players practiced shooting and rebounding, the coach then said, “I don’t care how many shots you made. On my team you will be a rebounder.”
This brother who shared his story while trying out noticed that those who only cared about shooting, got upset at that single shot missed and the rest of their game was affected by it. There were then those who missed the shot that were determined to make up for it.
They would let their mistake motivate them. They would push harder in each aspect of their game. They didn’t let that single shot missed influence them, but rather push them. Were they disappointed they didn’t make the shot? Yes. But after being aware and noticing the opportunities to rebound, they also learned the second shot is normally much easier.
As in any aspect of life, are you able to rebound?
When faced with a challenge, how do you approach it? When you make a mistake, how do you bounce back?
I had the opportunity to talk with another sister missionary. I told her how talking to strangers has been a bit difficult for me on my mission. I guess I’ve been afraid of rejection.
She said back to me, “Just think of it as practice. You mess up. You fail. But you just tell yourself that was practice and you’ll do better next time. You’ve got another shot.”
How true that is in life! We mess up daily. We fail. But we have to be able to rebound. There’s always another shot.
Our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson shared his story regarding basketball.
“As a young teenager, I participated in a Church basketball game. When the outcome was in doubt, the coach sent me onto the playing floor right after the second half began. I took an inbounds pass, dribbled the ball toward the key, and let the shot fly. Just as the ball left my fingertips, I realized why the opposing guards did not attempt to stop my drive: I was shooting for the wrong basket! I offered a silent prayer: “Please, Father, don’t let that ball go in.” The ball rimmed the hoop and fell out.
From the bleachers came the call: “We want Monson, we want Monson, we want Monson–out!” The coach obliged.
Many years later, as a member of the Council of the Twelve, I joined other General Authorities in visiting a newly completed chapel where, as an experiment, we were trying out a tightly woven carpet on the gymnasium floor.
While several of us were examining the floor, Bishop J. Richard Clarke, who was then in the Presiding Bishopric, suddenly threw the basketball to me with a challenge: “I don’t believe you can hit the basket, standing where you are!”
I was some distance behind what is now the professional three-point line. I had never made such a basket in my entire life. Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Twelve called out to the others, “I think he can!”
My thoughts returned to my embarrassment of years before, shooting toward the wrong basket. Nevertheless, I aimed and let that ball fly. Through the net it went!
Throwing the ball in my direction, Bishop Clarke once more issued the challenge: “I know you can’t do that again!”
Elder Petersen spoke up, “Of course, he can!”
The words of the poet echoed in my heart: “Lead us, O lead us, / Great Molder of men, / Out of the shadow / To strive once again.” I shot the ball. It soared toward the basket and went right through.
That ended the inspection visit. At lunchtime Elder Petersen said to me, “You know, you could have been a starter in the NBA.”
I love his story. He said, “Someone has said that courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it. At times, courage is needed to rise from failure, to strive again.”
President Monson could have turned down that opportunity to shoot the ball in that new chapel. He could have let his fear from his past failures stop him from trying again. However, his embarrassing mistake as a youth helped him learn and gain courage from his failure to try again.
We all get to try again. No matter how many mistakes we think we’ve made, we have the opportunity to learn and grow from them, especially through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We can work harder, continue to try, and become better.
I think of the fear of failing as a challenge now. I’m not one to turn down a challenge, because I see it as an adventure. I see it as an exciting experience to grow and ultimately laugh at my mistakes.
Tyler Haws shares in this video how his experience in basketball has been a work in progress. His failures have pushed him to work harder and I especially like how he put what is most important first. (https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-12-0160-a-work-in-progress?lang=eng)
It’s inevitable that we will miss some shots. No matter how hard we try, we are flawed and will mess up. But as we fail, are challenged, and miss some shots, may we remember that we can become better from them. May we truly find ourselves as the best rebounders.