Basil is a luscious, fragrant herb that tastes as good as it smells. It is a vibrant green color. Basil plants grow where they are planted. If the plant receives adequate sunshine, water and nutrients, it flourishes and grows rapidly. The leaves are used for cooking. If it is too cold and rainy, or the sun doesn’t shine, or if it’s too hot and the sun shines too much, the growth of the basil is stifled. Sometimes the stems and leaves of the basil plant wither and dry out, but the stem and leaves are still useful and taste good. If the basil plant gets sun and water and is left unattended, it grows rapidly and forms blossoms on the end of the stems. The plant then becomes spindly and doesn’t look as fresh and vibrant as it once did. The solution is to cut the tops off of the stems and decrease the size of the plant. This causes the plant to generate new growth and become healthy and useful again. Regardless of the growing phase the plant is in or even if the leaves have all been picked, dried, and cut into pieces, the pieces of the plant are still useful and still taste good.
Our lives are much like a basil plant. Sometimes we are planted where we don’t want to be planted, but we have to learn to grow where we are planted. Sometimes life is good and we grow and flourish. Occasionally we have bad things happen and we have to exercise faith that good things will happen again. Sometimes when everything seems to be going really good, we find ourselves growing too fast and our potential isn’t being used as it should. Those are the times when we need to have adjustments made in our lives and, like the basil, we need to be cut back a little bit so we are able to branch out in other areas and be strengthened. Regardless of what happens to us, we need to exercise faith that Heavenly Father is the ultimate gardener and knows what we need to keep us healthy and useful. He is in charge of our growth. Regardless of what happens in our lives, good or bad, it is still just what we need. Like the basil plant, we are still useful, and still taste good during all phases of our lives.
As missionaries, you have good times and bad times, growing times and stagnant times. Regardless of what stage you are in, you are always what someone needs to make their life a little bit better. Heavenly Father recognizes all the good things you do and will bless you for them. Here in the mission we are mostly young and growing. We have many plans and desires. We encourage you to press forward with your hopes and desires.
We love you. Each time we taste or smell basil, we will be reminded of you—especially if there’s a bee buzzing around!
Presidente and Sorella Waddoups