Just a few shots of the scenic views we took in as we navigated our way throughout El Salvador. The lush tropical landscape was simply stunning--I wish the pictures could do it justice. Everything was so vibrant and beautiful!
There were many people who traveled to El Salvador for the temple dedication, but missed out on really seeing the country. They stayed in the most neatly kept Americanized hotels and saw little else. We had to make some sacrifices, and it wasn't always convenient or comfortable, but I'm so glad I got to see a real glimpse of El Salvador--the land, the people, the culture. Meeting the people and seeing their country made me appreciate the temple dedication so much more.
I've thought about that lesson many times in recent months. You can't truly enjoy the best things without work, sacrifice, and courage. Sometimes I was certain we were lost in the middle of nowhere, and I envied those back in the safety of the hotel lobby. Then, we'd round the corner and I'd see the beautiful green countryside covered in a soft blanket of mist...all concerns and fears were forgotten in those moments, and I was simply awestruck at the beauty I was privileged to behold.
I think in the midst of trials, the Lord so often wishes I would step back, be still, and see the beauty of His plan for me. Perhaps just around the corner there's a lovely sight to behold... Perhaps after all the twists and turns and moments of feeling lost in unfamiliar territory, I'll realize I'm standing right where I need to be; right where I want to be. Living life from the passenger seat can be frightening, but if we let the Lord direct our paths, the road will have moments of immeasurable beauty, prepared just for us-- so often those moments come right when we need them most. Perhaps that's why taking in these views of scenic El Salvador was so marvelous to me, because they came right when I was wishing I was somewhere more familiar, somewhere more comfortable, somewhere more like home. You have to be willing to work, sacrifice, and move forward with faith in order to see the most beautiful things.
Don't give in. Certainly don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. "Cast not away therefore your confidence." Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you. Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Cast Not Away Your Confidence