Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Live in Thanksgiving Daily

"Recognize the blessings that are raining down on you, and enjoy them with thanks. D&C 109:12."

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday.  It's not because of the amazing surplus of food (although that's a plus), but it's because I really get to see more clearly the hand of the Lord in my life!  There are SO many things to be grateful for!  Through the month of November, I've decided to post one thing a day that I'm grateful for on facebook.  #30DaysofGratitude!  That has really opened my eyes to see what the Lord has done for me!  I'm so blessed!!!

I was just reading my scriptures, and read Alma 34:38 in the Book of Mormon, which says, "That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

That scripture brought a wave of amazing memories from my mission!  Story time!

Last Thanksgiving, I was blessed to still be serving in Windermere, FL (although most of the area was actually in the city of Orlando).  It was my first area, and I loved it SO much!  Thanksgiving week was my last week in the area.  It was time for a change, as I'd been there almost 9 months, but I learned so much there!  But as I had the most amazing holiday in my last week there, I knew I had to make it count!

My companion, Sister Eagar (I know, laugh all you want... Good and Eagar... we got jokes EVERY day from complete strangers) and I didn't have many appointments for the day, but we wanted to make it the best Thanksgiving we could for everyone around us!  As we planned what we would share for the day, we decided to find a great Thanksgiving scripture we could easily share with people we met to remind them of the many blessings the Lord had given them.  And we found Alma 34:38, the scripture from above.

This was perfect!  It was going to be a great day!!!

We were ready to contact everyone we met to share the wonderful news of the Lord Jesus Christ and to help them reflect on His many mercies.  This was exciting!  This is what missionary work is all about!  It was really easy to find a lot of people near our apartment, because I lived practically across the street from Disney World.  So we had the blessing of meeting so many people from around the world!  Usually, people around there are "too busy" to take time to talk to us.  They just blow past us when we try to talk to them.  But Thanksgiving day was different.  If we started talking about the holiday, people were excited to talk to us.  :)

We started out on our bikes on that wonderfully warm November day (heaven for an Idahoan) and started talking to everyone, asking them if we could share a Thanksgiving scripture with them, and then we would read the scripture, really focusing on living in thanksgiving daily.  We asked them what they were thankful for and then transitioned it to how we were grateful for the Book of Mormon, where that scripture was found.  We testified how any answer to any life question can be found in the book.  We testified how grateful we were for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who that book is all about.  We testified how it has helped us, and WHY we were so thankful for it!  And because of that, we were able to hand out multiple copies of the Book of Mormon that day.  That book truly changes lives!

But as we talked with complete strangers about "living in thanksgiving daily," it became really easy for us all to realize just how much we have to be thankful for!  It reminded me just how much Heavenly Father is in every aspect of our lives.  It reminded me how the scriptures truly apply to everyone.  It reminded me how loved I am!  That was probably one of my favorite contacting days.  It was just FUN all day!

Missionary work is fun.  The scriptures are fun.  Seeing God's hand in my life is fun.  All of my blessings are fun!  That's why I'm so happy!  I have EVERYTHING to be thankful for!  Even my trials turn out for the better, because God knows what's best for me.

I can't express how grateful I am that I have this amazing gospel in my life!  It has truly changed me and made me the happiest person I could be!  I have gratitude in my heart every day for it!

When times get tough, think of the blessings you have!  There are always more blessings than trials!

Live in Thanksgiving Daily!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chronicle of an RM

Hey y'all!  Now that I've been back for a month and a half, I figured it's probably time to update this thing.  So I thought I'd share my feelings about my mission, since that's been my life the past 18 months!  Central Florida will always hold a special place in my heart!  :)

My mission was definitely a fantastic experience!  I'll never forget it, and I will always cherish the things I learned and the way I grew!  I know without a doubt that this is the true church of Jesus Christ!  I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God!  Before my mission, I knew that the church was true, but now, I know WHY and HOW it's true!  It never ceases to amaze me just how much Heavenly Father loves us and how much He knows us!  I don't think there's a way to put into words the way I feel about this gospel!  I'm just SO thankful I went on a mission!  Best decision of my life!

I miss everything about missionary work.  I miss testifying to random people all the time.  I miss feeling an overwhelming sense of the power of the Spirit!  I miss all the amazing people in Florida I had the opportunity to meet.  I miss putting on my name tag every day.  I miss seeing that amazing change the gospel brings into people's lives every day.  I miss being an official representative of Jesus Christ.  Shoot, I even miss all the persecution and getting yelled at all the time and all the heartaches that come with missionary work when people reject the gospel of our Savior.  I'd take it all back, if only I could have that joy of serving back!

I was just thinking yesterday morning about taking it all back.  Would I be willing to go back and do it all over again?  Would I be willing to leave for another year and a half of my life?  Would I be willing to take back all the extremely hard times, those times where I was just so heartbroken that I didn't know what to do with myself?  (I don't think you can understand the heartbreak a missionary goes through over and OVER again unless you've been there... there's no way to describe the despair that comes over you when someone you have grown to love rejects the one thing that will bring them back to the presence of our Heavenly Father and Savior).  Would I be willing to be laughed at to my face again?  Would I be willing to again endure people screaming at me and telling me that the things I am doing are of the devil?  Would I be willing to again just smile at people who tell me I need to quit what I'm doing and "go home to Mommy and Daddy?" 

The answer is YES!!!  YES!!!! I would go back and do it all over again in a heartbeat, if only it meant that I would have the opportunity to change just one person's life around and help them find their way back to our Heavenly Father and our Savior.  That's what missionary work is all about.  There's no way to properly describe the joy that comes from serving the Lord.  But I think Ammon describes it pretty well.  :) 

In Alma 26:27-30, it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.  And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world- not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.  And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.  And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some."

This whole chapter is amazing (Go read it HERE) but I REALLY love these verses!  It perfectly describes what a missionary goes through, and why!  And I really would do it all again if I could!  Because that one soul matters to God!  

So yes, I miss my mission!  But I'm also happy to be home.  As my mission president put it as we were leaving, "You're leaving something amazing to go do something else that just's as good, if not better!  You have your whole lives ahead of you!"  I needed this experience of serving a mission.  It really will help shape the rest of my life!  And although I'm still sad about not serving full-time anymore, that has only motivated me more to make sure I can feel that missionary spirit for the rest of my life!  I've realized that I don't have to be a full-time missionary to bring someone into the joy of the gospel!  

So would I do it again?  Yes.  Double yes.  Am I doing it again?  Yes, just on a smaller scale!  It's not quite the same, but it's what God needs me to do right now, so it's what I'll do!  "I'll go where You want me to go!"

Now go out there and SHARE THE GOSPEL!!!!!

(By the way, if any of y'all have any questions about my mission, feel free to message me!  I love talking about my mission!  It might just create another series of blog posts!)  :)