Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our Advocate
March 17, 2014
Sorry I ran out of time to email last week! This week I have been really humbled and I have learned a lot about my Savior in ways that I don't know I could have learned any other way.
Something that I've learned being out here in Grand Junction is that there is a lot of hardship, depression and trials, but I also know without a doubt that the Savior is REAL and that He is perfect.  I've thought a lot lately about how He is our advocate, and I've thought about what that means exactly.  I don't think that I've truly understood until this week. There is this lady that we visit, who has recently been coming back to church. She grew up in the church, but left a long time ago. She has had a long hard life of abuse, hardship, and heavy drugs.  She has two kids, and she really really wants them to have a good foundation. When we go to teach her it's kind of hard sometimes because so much is going on with her kids and its really loud. But we had a really spiritual experience with her that I will NEVER forget. We were teaching her the plan of salvation, and she stopped us and said that she had a question. The room was quiet, I think for the first time ever. She asked about the spirit world. She felt like she had done things in her life that she could never be forgiven for  and of course our initial reaction was to tell her that Heavenly Father loves everyone and that she will be okay. But then something told me to slow down and think about it more. She started to tell us more about her life and that all she can think about is the time that her dad yelled at her and told her that she will be the only one left behind. That she won't ever make it to the celestial kingdom with her family, that it's too late for her. That she had done things that cannot be repaired. That she shouldn't even try because it won't matter.

I think that we all feel this way at some point or another, just in different degrees. That maybe nothing matters- why try because we feel so down or that we'll never be good enough or that we will never be as good as another person. We all feel different emotions- and that is OKAY. What happened next is what really made me realize how perfect the Savior's love is.
I looked straight into this woman's eyes and saw the hurt. I saw how sad she was and how she wanted her family to be together forever and all of a sudden a huge wave of love came over me. I started talking and I started to cry as I told her that as a missionary, I was a representative of Jesus Christ and I now understood why Jesus Christ was called our advocate. I told her that I imagined standing next to her in front of our Heavenly Father and telling Him all of the wonderful things that she did for her kids. To tell Him how hard she's trying to read her scriptures. To tell Him how I would do anything for her to be able to feel happiness again and to be forgiven. I wanted to plead for her. I wanted her to be forgiven.  I KNEW in that moment that the Savior loved her.

It hit me why it was so important to have a relationship with our Savior. Not only can He bring us happiness, but He will be our advocate one day when we have the chance to meet our Maker. No, we are not perfect, but that is why we have a Savior. So that we can be perfect one day. Through Him we can live with our families with eternal happiness. All He wants us to know right now is that it's okay because He is here. He truly knows who you are, and He is waiting for you to find Him in your life. Ultimate peace comes from learning our relationship with our Savior. It's not a scary thing to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's an amazing thing that will change your life. I absolutely love my Savior and I'm thankful for all that He's done for me so that I can be happy. I don't even deserve it! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Biggest Week of Miracles
March 3, 1014

I always start my emails really excited so I tried not to start with the same opening line but I can't help it because THIS WAS THE BIGGEST WEEK OF MIRACLES. We found 9 new people to teach and doubled our number of lessons! AND EVERY SINGLE ONE WAS A MIRACLE. I literally don't understand why we were so blessed this week. but I feel like I am on top of the world right now and I want to be a missionary for the rest of my life. I truly feel like my faith is shooting through the roof and I've never been so happy. Brad, the guy that got baptized last transfer JUST GOT THE PRIESTHOOD ON SUNDAY! Everything is great.

So I guess the story I want to tell this week is another continuation from last week, about the family with the husband that grew up in the church and the wife did not- who we taught the restoration to. I guess it would be easier to use their names. They are the Short family. It was probably the MOST powerful lesson I have ever been in in my life. We taught the beginning of the plan of salvation. My favorite question to ask people is, what do YOU think it was like to live with our Father in Heaven before? If you just take a minute and think about that, it's really amazing.  I think the peaceful feelings that we feel when we think about it is God reminding us about what it was like and that we can return to that one day. So the wife, I'll call her Sister Short, hasn't really ever prayed in her life. At the end of the lesson, we taught her how to pray. We told her that Heavenly Father wants to hear from us so badly. We compared it to her kids by asking her how she would feel if her son was having a problem and she knew it, and she knew he was struggling, but he wouldn't talk to her about it. She said she would feel sad and she'd want to help him, but she also said that she knew she couldn't if he didn't come to her and ask for help. She also knew that if he did come to her, she would be willing to do anything for him. She just needed him to ask. It's the same exact thing with our Heavenly Father. God put us down here on earth in families so that we can learn the relationship that we can have with him. He gave us relationships so that we could understand how they work. We taught Sister Short how to pray, then asked her to say the closing prayer. She was like WHAT!? then sat there and thought about it. She looked up and said, I'm going to have to do it aren't I? her husband immediately said yes. I thought it was really cool that he wanted to hear her pray. Her son came over to her and she wrapped her arms around him as she began to say the first prayer she had ever said out loud. She started off her prayer just thanking Heavenly Father for us, and for her family, and for simple things. then she paused.  The Spirit had never hit me harder in my life. She started to cry. I knew that every single person in that room felt it. I felt a warmth and a strength come over my heart. It felt like God had put a blanket over the whole room. It was something so unimaginable, something so real, something that was truly feeling the love of God. She was in tears as she thanked God for her family, for all that they had,  for the wonderful love that her husband has shown her, for them getting out of debt, and for her children. She felt the Spirit so strongly and God had answered her prayers in abundance. I now understand the scriptures that say that He POURS His Spirit among His children. It was something that I wanted to feel forever. After she prayed, I opened my eyes and every single person had tears streaming down their faces. Even her husband. Her husband who has felt guilty about things that he has done, who didn't feel like the Lord would love him. He knew too, that God loved him and his family. There was no denying it.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the truth. This gospel brings families the GREATEST JOY in the ENTIRE WORLD, if you will let it. Like the Book of Mormon says, Heavenly Father is pouring His Spirit out among His children because He wants us all back. He wants them to feel of the great joy that we just barely get to taste in this life. He gave us the Book of Mormon because it holds truth. It is the truth, and it is light. It gives us light when it seems like everything else is dark in our lives. It gives us light because it IS another testament of our Savior Jesus Christ. I just want you to all know that Jesus Christ is your Savior. He died so that we could go back to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father. I know you may hear that a lot, but take a minute and think about it. Without Him, we would not be able to return to live with God. We all need Him in our lives. No unclean thing can return to live with God, so He prepared a way for us to come back. that's why He's given us the Savior and Redeemer of the world. That's why he's given us the simple path of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can feel the joy that I feel every day in missionary work by following this path. By doing those things that Jesus Christ came to show us how to do. Baptism is the way to eternal life. So this week, just think about how much that would mean to you to get there. How much it would mean to you to know that there was a path to peace in this life and in the life to come. and then think about what step Christ would want YOU to take next in your life.

What I heard this week I really liked- the Restoration of Christ's gospel is WHAT we believe. The Plan of Salvation is WHY we believe it, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost) is HOW to get there. how to get back to our Father in Heaven in the Celestial kingdom to live with our families.

One last story that I want to tell this week, that our ward mission leader told us. He said he was in line with his brother who, when he was 9, waited to shake President Monson's (the prophet) hand. At that time, Pres. Monson was an apostle of the church, he wasn't called to be a prophet yet. His 9 year old brother got up to the front and handed President Monson a Book of Mormon and asked him to autograph it. President Monson said, I can't autograph it, it's not my work! but he wrote him a little note in the front cover. He said that his brother refused to open it until they got home, he didn't want to ruin the surprise of what President Monson had chosen to write in the front cover of the Book of Mormon.
This is what it said,

"Your testimony is the autograph of the Savior." -Elder Monson