Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Forgiveness is Necessary for Change
November 24, 2014

Wow! I have sooo much to say! Well, here I am again in Montrose! It's great though, I love it here. I'm glad I get to stay everywhere forever  because I really like change, and well, God is teaching me to love enduring to the end!

The first thing that's on my mind is the HASTENING OF THE WORK OF SALVATION OF GOD'S CHILDREN. I will gladly tell you what I mean by that. If you didn't hear, the movie "Meet the Mormons" just came out and it was wonderful and next month, the church is putting out a new video called "He is the Gift"! and it's the best video of all time. There will be a website, christmas.mormon.org, and I invite all of you to check it out! We get to hand out pass along cards with that on it and we get to share wonderful Christmas messages about Jesus Christ all month to remind everyone about the true meaning of Christmas!

Anyway, so the big thing that has been on my mind is change and forgiveness. I have the opportunity to give a talk about forgiveness next week and I'm really excited. I've been trying to really pray about how and what to talk about because it's such a big subject!
First, I was thinking about a training that sister Pearson and I got to give on how Colorado Denver South is the BEST MISSION IN THE WORLD! We had thirty minutes to convince our zone that that statement was true, and I think it worked. haha. but one of the activities we did was we talked about how much this mission has changed since we first came out and then we talked about how much WE have changed since we've come out on a mission. We had a few minutes to sit and write a letter to tell someone we love about how much we have changed. Something hit me really hard as a wrote that! I was talking about how I've learned so much about my Savior etc, but then I found myself writing, "and I hope I can carry these changes home with me." that's when I realized- what does it take for something to be carried with us forever and through eternity? will the changes that I make now and throughout my whole life carry through to the next life? have the changes been significant enough that I'd do anything to keep them and keep living in the way God wants me to live? All of these questions spun through my mind as I reflected on my mission.

Next I realized that only through Jesus Christ would it be possible to make the changes necessary to receive a continuous conversion and salvation. As God's children, we decide what changes we make and we decided what to do with our lives here on earth. However without Jesus Christ, the 'extraordinary' would not be possible. In that moment, I was overcome with gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ. I was overcome with the feelings that I just wanted to hold on to my relationship with Him as tight as I could. I never wanted to lose it.

So, what does this have to do with forgiveness? a lot. It teaches us WHY forgiveness is necessary. Forgiveness is necessary in order to change.

Over the course of my mission, I have learned a lot of things. There have been some of the happiest times, and also some of the hardest times. I have made mistakes, and probably have not been the nicest always, but there have also been times when I have been filled with love for the people and devotion to the work. Sometimes relationships need mending, and moments that need repenting. I personally have truly experienced the healing of the Atonement. Sometimes we do things to cover up our mistakes, or our misdeeds. We move on, thinking, it's okay- we will just never get along with a person or its okay, they aren't really hurt by that comment. That is not true. The reason I know that Jesus is the Christ is because of the opportunities He has given me to forgive.

This past week, someone had brought up an Elder that I probably wasn't the nicest to. I thought everything he did was a joke, and I felt that he had hurt more than he had done good. After this person brought him up, this huge feeling of GUILT just washed over me. No, I had never really done anything really mean to this elder. I maybe made some smart comments towards him, but what I really had done was to be angry with him in my mind. I felt like he was very distracting to other sisters and it really made me mad,  but I felt like my feelings were justified because of the harm he had done.

As the week went on, I felt worse and worse! I was amazed at the opportunity that God was giving me to repent of this and to change my attitude.  I was amazed because really, no one would ever know if I forgave this elder or not. He wouldn't know, the other missionaries wouldn't know, but the fact was- I would know and that's what mattered to Heavenly Father. I found myself pleading for forgiveness- I wanted to change. I wanted to recognize every single person as a child of God and I wanted to be better. Though this was not a huge sin, it was one of the hardest repentance processes I ever had to go through. Probably because it was something that we do most often…judge.

I was so grateful that I knew that through repenting, I could be forgiven. It didn't have to bother me anymore. There really wasn't a good reason that this elder bothered me. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I changed. I forgave him, but more importantly I forgave myself.
Sometimes, we think we don't have to change. We may be doing well in life, and everything seems fine, but in reality, there is always something to change. Something to repent of. That's why God has given us the great miracle of sending His son to the earth to die for us, so that we could overcome any challenge sent our way.

Hopefully you don't think my story is too dumb.  I really am not that judgmental haha. But it was really something that affected me and I learned more about my Savior Jesus Christ because of it. I am grateful for every opportunity we have to forgive. I hope you will all keep this in mind this Christmas season- and think, is there anyone that God would want YOU to forgive? I would suggest that this would bring the Spirit more abundantly into your life and give you a greater opportunity to grow yourself.

I love my Savior so much and I love this gospel. I love you all and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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