Then spake Jesus saying, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Monday, September 21, 2015

sep 21: in one week, i'll be home! hit me up

This week I got a few emails in which my family members expressed their testimonies. These testimonies mean the world to me. Thank you. I would absolutely love a testimony from each and every one of you. Whether it is one line or one page, whether you are a member of the church or not, it is a gift for me to peek into your hearts. A testimony is what you can’t see but you know is true, and we have that capacity. To trust beyond what we can prove or measure. Because we can feel. I know that inside every human body is a spirit—a child of God that lived with Him before being born on earth—that feels. And vaguely— very vaguely—recognizes that there is something greater. Not only a Supreme Being, but a Supreme Plan. Before telescopes, we couldn't prove or measure most of the other planets, but they were there, just waiting for us to discover them. One day we will all see and hear God, but we don’t have to wait until then to believe. 

I know that God is our Heavenly Father, that He has a body of blood and bones. That we accepted His offer to come to earth—suffer, laugh, sacrifice, risk, love, create—and grow. We are brave.

We trusted that our Father would give us everything we need to get back to Him—and He has. He has given us prayer to be able to talk to him and the Holy Ghost to be able to feel His reply and know that He exists. He has given us His church—which He directs through people that put His will above their own—to teach us everything we can’t remember. He has given an ultimate sacrifice that has healed or will heal every wound and trauma—lost limbs, mental illness, abuse— His Son, Jesus Christ. There are no words to describe His sacrifice.

He never overrides our freedom. But He has a bird’s eye view, and has established His church to help us elevate our view and see the same. There are many churches, but He is the head of one. I know without a doubt that THIS is HIS church—the instruction manual from the Manufacturer. In His church, we can be sealed with our families for time and all eternity. I know that He has called many, including Moses, Peter, Joseph Smith, and Thomas S. Monson, to be His representatives and establish His church. It’s not hard for me to believe that God calls prophets in our day because the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know that those I mentioned and all the rest He has sent throughout the history of the world are men of God because I have read and Bible and the Book of Mormon and asked in prayer if they are true. And what I felt was undeniable. I know the Lord answers petitions and answers questions and truly exists.

Lots of people talk about life before and after the mission as the “real world.” But I have learned that the world we live in isn’t the real world. The movies and the music and the art are temporary things. There are only three things that are permanent: our families, the things we learn, and the person we are. This past year and a half, I haven’t seen TV, listened to music, or gotten on the internet. But I have been more in the real world than ever: The things I have been able to do are eternal. And I am grateful to my Heavenly Father because I felt Him giving me health and strength to do them. I am grateful to you—my family and closest friends—for your love and confidence in me. Because I couldn’t have done it alone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sep 7: fotos!

August 31: Don’t just ask for answers; BE the answer

When we get home at 9, we don’t change into our pajamas or eat or get on the internet or listen to music. We thank God for the health and safety we enjoyed that day, pray for His inspiration, then sit at our desks. We pull out the binder with the names of all the church members and investigators in our ward, and plan for the next day. It awesome because even though we’re tired, because we have fresh in our minds what it is we want to accomplish the next day, and we plan it all out. When I wake up in the morning, I am excited to visit and help the people we are going to see that day. You don’t have to be a missionary to do this. We can all do it. When the alarm rings in the morning and you’re super tired, it’s exactly what you need to you out of bed.

So this week we were planning like normal, when my companion say Yessenia’s name and said, “It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Yessenia. Wanna go visit her?” We planned to visit her the next day and sent her a text, asking if she’d be home at 5. The next day, we got to her house and knocked on the door. She opened and told her they’d just diagnosed her with cancer. The night before, she had been praying and asking the Lord for help and comfort, and in the middle of her prayer she heard our text arrive.

Aunt Kate gave me one of the quotes that has motivated me since Day One of my mission:  “The number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of far greater significance,” President Uchtdorf.

It is one of the sweetest feelings to know that the Lord has used you as an instrument in His hands. We should ALL be instruments in His hands, not just missionaries. I know that if we really want to be, He will give us thousands of opportunities to be the answers to others’ prayers. There’s no shortage of need in the world. There’s a shortage of those willing to seek divine inspiration to help fulfill those needs. I literally love the prophets and apostles of our days, because they are literally the Lord’s spokesmen. They have worked so hard all their lives to be sensitive to the Lord’s still small whispers. President Monson once said: “I always have tried to live in such a way that when the Lord needs an errand run, he says, I know Tommy Monson will do it.”

I invite you all to make that one of your highest priorities, too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

August 24, 2015: Scrapbook Day

The day one of the hermanas (she's our age) forgot it was her day to feed us. we we got there and everything was locked up. we thought, if we had a smartphone we would totally send her this snapchat

you can see in the bottom right corner the name DOMINUS. he's our fav graffitti artist and the other day we saw someone starting a new mural, but it looked like a totally different style, so we just kept walking. that night, when we passed the same spot, it had his signature! awweee we coulda met dominus...

One day we got to church early and there was a dog running around inside! hahaha it was so funny to see a dog going crazy in the cultural hall. this dog was literally dixies long lost twin so yeah you can imagine exactly how this dog was acting

I just realized that i am wearing the same shirt in all three pictures... if it looks like by this point in the mission, i don't have a lot of clothes, you would be guessing right lol. luckily this shirt takes like two seconds to wash by hand and 2 more seconds to iron.

here's another pictures with a dog. how many pictures do i have with dogs on my blog? and i'm not even an animal person! but the mexicans are animal people. i think i've met like 3 families in my whole mission that don't have a dog! these little girls are super sweet. the day we took this photo, we were helping her get ready for her baptism :)

This is one of the less-active sisters we work with. 

She's awesome. she lives right by a park, so she started the "No Trash Club" and when a kid joins the no trash trash club, they paint their handprint on the wall of her house and promise to pick up 5 pieces of trash every time they go to the park. and they do it! haha okay so see right above my head where it says Elder Villagomez? and then a little to the right where it says Elder Lessard? haha those are our handprints. we amy not be kids but i think we go to that park more than any kid in the neighborhood because it's right in the area where we work a lot and when we're in that neighboorhood, we cross it a million times a day. haha and Elder Lessard donesn't refer to my brother... she knows we're hermanas but she likes to call us "Elderas" haha for those of you who don't speak Spanish, that word doesnt exist :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August 10: And if He received not my Spirit, He shall not preach

Today we taught Meri, our hardest investigator. She has been praying to find out if what we have taught her is true, but says she hasn’t received an answer yet. We’ve asked her how she has received her answers in the past, and she said that she has seen things, like a little light, etc. Hermano Javier came with us and he was awesome as always, but for some reason, Meri was out to fight. She was getting mad at everything he said, and or a few minutes is looked like there was gonna be a showdown. And we were just like, “What do we do?” because she was almost yelling.

But Hermano Javier didn’t give in to the bait, and when there was a small pause we started to teach. And she calmed down and listened. At the end, we simply said, “I know it’s hard to believe. I’ve been there. I wish I could just take out of my mind and heart what I know and give it to you, because I see you battling to figure it all out. But that battle is an important part of the process.”

She asked me to give the last prayer, and partway through, I felt a very special tranquility. When I finished, Hermano Javier said, “I felt the Spirit,” but the best part was when Meri said, “I saw a little light.” It was the first time in all our lessons where she accepted her answer—because she always denies the Spirit. She has been waiting and waiting for a manifestation, and I know the Lord sent her that little light.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 17: Mini MTC!

 This week the Primary held a mini MTC and invited us to be there! It was such a special experience for every one of us! We got assigned a little district and we divided them into companionships and we had 2 hours to teach them. We taught them the missionary purpose and the rules of a companionship, and whenever someone had to go to the bathroom we made them go with their companions ahah. We taught them one of the 10 Commandments—The Sabbath—and what things are good to do on the Sabbath and what aren’t. And then we had them get up in front of the group and practice! One kid was a friend who invited the other to go to the movies on Sunday, and the other kid had to explain why he wasn’t going to go. I invite all of you to take advantage of these little missionary opportunities in your own lives. Live the gospel and you will see and feel the blessings of obedience in your lives; see and feel the blessings of obedience and you will have a simple and powerful way to explain why you do what you do. Explain why you do what you do, and you will be fulfilling another commandment: take the Gospel to all the ends of the earth.
I have a huge testimony of the Sabbath Day and it always makes me so happy to teach this principle.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
(Exodus 20)

On Sundays, we don’t need to work or cause anyone else to work (by buying things). But it is more than that. What is it about this commandment that makes us think Sunday is OUR day? It’s MY day to nap or rest or catch up on tasks I didn’t get to in the week? It clearly says in verse 10 that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” It is not MY day; it is HIS day. As members of the Church, often Sunday turns out being one of the busiest days, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a day to dedicate to Him. And what better way to dedicate a day to Him than serving the brothers and sisters in the tiny or large part of His vineyard that He has assigned to us? What did Jesus Christ do on the Sabbath? He healed and taught. What can we do on the Sabbath? Heal and teach. We can be the hands of the Lord. And in so doing, we serve our Lord and Redeemer: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matthew 25:40.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been a really good student. I had always done homework and studied on Sundays, because there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the week. Some semesters at BYU, I went to school at 8 every morning and got home at 10 every night. Except Saturdays, when I got home at 3 and went and hung out with friends. Sundays, after church, I studied in my apartment. It didn’t seem possible not to study on Sundays, if I was already studying all the hours I could manage and barely getting by. But there came a point where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I decided to lean on someone more smart and powerful than myself—the Lord. I decided to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and I stopped studying on Sundays. My grades stayed the same! I had more energy!  I became closer with my family because I suddenly had time for them—Sunday. I had time for my calling and time to go to a nursing home and sing—Sunday. Truly everything changed on the inside and out. I gained a personal testimony of the power of the Lord’s commandments to make our lives more productive, peaceful, and satisfying.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Sweet Family

For 3 months now we've been working with Graciela, a young (25!) single mom of three kids. Her kids' dad is in jail and she has a boyfriend of a year and a half who doesn't have any kids of his own and loves her kids and wants to live with her and have kids-- but doesn't want to get married. She wants to marry him-- but doesn't want to have kids. She says that she doesn't want to damage him!!! For her, having kids has been far from bliss. Just being able to feed them each day is a struggle. She lives with her parents and some of her siblings, but her parents drink and never like to take care of their grandkids. When she goes to work for a few hours or take the oldest to school, her parents brainwash her kids, telling them negative things about her.

We've seen a beautiful change in her. Before, we never saw her smile. Now she looks young and radiant. All the neighbors have noted a change, too. But we couldn't seem to teach her! We got there with a great lesson planned, and she just talked so much we just couldn't get a word in! Last week, we fasted for her... And went to the lesson... In just one day, we doubled the amount of teaching she had! After 3 months of working with her, everything changed overnight! She listened and when she answered the questions, she didn't start talking about other things-- she stayed with the subject. The power of fasting has been evident over and over again on my mission, and I invite you all to apply it in your lives. It is a way to make your petitions powerful and your spirit strong.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

June 29: The Book of Mormon

We were in our first lesson with Benarda and Jesus; first lessons are always hard because you don’t know the person, but have to help them understand the importance of baptism in their lives, and how they can receive answers from God to specific questions they have. You have to listen so hard to the Spirit! Everything felt warm, nice, but I didn’t expect what happened when I pulled a Book of Mormon out of my backpack as my companion was teaching. Before I even had it fully out of my backpack, before we could start to explain what it was, the husbands eyes got huge. I had no idea what that meant, if it was a good thing or a bad thing. So I just asked what he felt upon seeing the book. And he said, “Right away it calls your attention and it makes you feel like reading it.” Whooooooooa. The Lord prepares people!!!

I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon my freshman year of high school. It was the year I was sickest. Almost every week I went to the hospital, missed school, and had make-up work; I was getting blood transfusions constantly, trying all kinds of medicines that never worked, and simply talking and smiling was a tiring effort for me. But I hardly EVER missed 6:30 am seminary before school. I felt like I could not make it through the day if I did not go. It gave me a strength and a peace that helped me survive. We were studying the Book of Mormon. Ever since then, I have known of the power of this sacred book. It’s so much more than just a book. It’s God’s words. It’s the instructions and advice he wants us to have. I love the Book of Mormon and invite every one of you to take advantage of it by reading it every day and applying its holy instructions.
(caption) This week we said goodbye to Presidente and Hermana Camarillo, two of the most dedicated servants of the Lord I have ever met. I am so grateful for them!

Monday, July 6, 2015

June 22: You are a masterpiece

Yesterday we were teaching a lady named Marta for the first time. I was speaking, but I paused so that I could think of the right word to explain what I wanted to say without being disrespectful. And while I was trying to think of the right word, she said, “You don’t even know what you’re talking about. You’re losing your marbles. How can you preach to me when you don’t even know what you believe?”

It was one of those moments in life where you felt fine 2 seconds ago, but now you really don’t. I know exactly what I’m talking, and I know exactly what I believe. (I may be losing my marbles, but that’s beside the point haha.) But simply because I wanted to be loving and respectful, she saw me pause and said those things to me with a face full of disgust. A few months ago, I might have gotten mad. But I can honestly say that when you let yourself be moldable in the Master’s hands, He will change you. It is not easy or fast. It is so painful because you are being broken apart so that you can be put back together—a better person. I have not yet become the person I want to be, but I have gained a testimony that through sacrifice and the sacred steps and covenants the Lord has offered us—repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the temple—the impossible becomes reality.

Last night I took out some pictures I have of Christ and looked through them. I lingered on the one where He was washing His disciples’ feet. I felt like yesterday I got a very small chance to wash Marta’s feet. I invite you all to persevere and become the person the Lord created you to be. When they asked Michelangelo how he achieved his masterpiece David, he said, "I saw the face in the marble, and I carved until I set it free." I know the Lord sees the masterpiece in every one of you, and is trying to set it free. As much as the carving and chipping away at the marble hurts, we must let Him work if we want to be set free. D&C 122:7.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

blog. june 15: Pray to Answer Prayers

This week we were in a lesson with an inactive family, when a missionary from another church knocked on the door. (There are tons of missionaries here!) The dad of the family was like, Don't worry about it, you guys beat him to it. And I just thought he was being funny and laughed. But then at the end of the lesson he told us he had been talking to God that morning and telling Him that He had forgotten about him and his family. And that the first church that knocked on their door that day was going to be their church. 

We didn't know that it was important to be with them that exact day, at that exact time, but Someone did. I feel so grateful every time the Lord lets me be the answer to somebody's prayers. I invite you all to pay special attention to the whisperings of the Spirit, because the Lord will use you as an instrument in His hands. The Lord always answers our prayers, President Monson said, usually through a friend, a neighbor, a stranger. It strikes me as so beautiful that He lets us participate so much in His work. I remember mom telling me one time, "You kids were the only 4-year-olds who cut out sugar cookies starting from the outside and working inside, putting the cookie cutters close together." I think about how many things I learned because she pulled me into the kitchen or because she helped me clean the floor, even though it would have been so much easier for her to do it herself. And I think how Heavenly Father is the same way with us. He lets us participate in His work and His glory- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. On tiny step or word of encouragement or hour of helping at a time. Everyone of you who is reading this has been an answer to my prayers for comfort, for friendship, my prayers to learn new things or to understand what I was going through. Thank you for your support and your love. Thanks to my parents for your HUGE patience with me and your HUGE belief in me. "In the end, the number of prayers we offer may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer is of much greater significance," said President Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 18: Merry Christmas

Hermana Luci was sooooooooo nervous the day of her interview. She had to leave work early because her blood pressure sky-rocketed—and she doesn’t even suffer from high blood pressure. Then, when she and her husband and daughter all showed up together for the interview, and Elder Mills asked who wanted to go first, she almost shouted, Me. I have never seen her take so much iniciative EVER. When she came out of the interview she was SO HAPPY she did a little dance. She was so happy that when we were filling out her paperwork and asked, “What is your dad’s full name?” she goes, “I only know his first name was Refugio, his last name—who knows!” And my companion goes, “Well, it would be your last name, too.” HAHAHA. She s always so reserved, but on Thursday she was all emotions.

Friday, the day of the baptism, I woke up at 4 in the morning to go to the bathroom. You know how you usually feel so much relief to see that it’s not time to get up yet—that you get to back to sleep? I didn’t. I didn’t want to go back to sleep—I wanted it to be Friday already! It was like Christmas—the second you wake up you know it’s Christmas, there’s none of that waking-up grogginess.

Their daughter also got baptized; the elders have been teaching her because soon after we started teaching them, she got married and moved out of our area. One night when she invited her fiancĂ©e to listen to the lesson, he whispers to her, “I’m a member of this church!” Her husband was less-active… not anymore! Now his mom’s coming back to church, too. It is hard to believe in coincidences anymore. The baptism was perfect and we love knowing that we promised to find them and because of the Lord’s hand we kept that promise.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 11: What do you focus on?

We’ve been doing family home evenings with all the members who live in this neighborhood; they all take turns hosting it and everyone else goes. Well, when they can. Cause sometimes no one goes. But last week, guess who hosted it? The Robles! It was their second time hosting it and they’re not even members yet. And not all the members have even hosted it yet. They’re so in love with the Spirit and it is so beautiful to see. Because sometimes I take it for granted, but when I see how much it impacts them, I realize what a miracle it truly is to simply have the Spirit in your life, in your home.

On Thursday we went to see them and they told us that the blood draws they had done a couple weeks ago in preparation for their marriage (I’m not sure if that’s a law in the US? I assume so…) expired! They have to pay to have them done AGAIN. But they’re not discouraged. They’re going to do whatever they have to do, even though it means more sacrifices. We should all follow their example. Refuse to let setbacks discourage us. Focus more on the successes than the frustrations or failures.

Hermana Hererra and I called our moms on Saturday (miss you, Mom!), and on Sunday we had church and the normal lessons but we spent a good part of the day singing a sweet mother-daughter song one by one to all the moms we know here! We didn’t have room in our hearts to feel sad that we weren’t with our moms, because our hearts were too busy giving love to be selfish. I know when we forget ourselves in the service of others we find a really sweet peace and happiness in our hearts. Because each and every one of us truly are brothers and sisters, since we are children of God, we have the need to love and be loved.

In the April 2010 General Conference, Bradley D. Foster said:

"Perhaps the reason we respond so universally to our mothers’ love is because it typifies the love of our Savior. As President Joseph F. Smith said, “The love of a true mother comes nearer [to] being like the love of God than any other kind of love”"

Making salsa by hand, helping one of the hermanas

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 4: Axel

Last week the bishopric gave us a list of all the members and asked us to see if the information was current. Needless to say, we’ve been getting to know the area a lot better. So! We knocked on a blue door with a bunch of graffiti. A skinny 16-year-old sauntered out we introduced ourselves. He said that he was baptized 4 years ago but hasn’t really been to church. That his grandparents, who lived with them and were also on the list, passed away. So we asked who all lives there. Axel said that he lives with his 17-year-old brother because when his mom died several months ago, his dad left.
But when we told the bishop that we had met him, the bishop told us that his mom didn’t just die, she was killed. By his dad. We haven’t told him we know.
How can I begin to comprehend what he’s going through?
I can’t.

But the miracle I know is true is that Someone does. I can’t heal him, but healing is possible. Alma 7 tells us that Christ suffered your sin, your anger, your regret, your sickness, what you felt every time you have been betrayed or let down- EVERYTHING. And not only that, but it tells us why: that His soul may be filled with mercy, and that He may know how to comfort you.
I know these things are true. I’ve come to ask myself, like most people, I think, “If God loves us so much, why does He let things like this—and worse—happen?” The other day they shared a story with us in church that I want to share with you all.

A barber and his client chatted as the barber worked. As they began to talk more, the barber said, “I don’t believe in God.” His client asked him why. “If God existed, He simply would not let some of the atrocities that we see today happen. The children that are abused in every form, the torture. If there were Someone all-powerful, and loving, He would put limits on this kind of suffering.” The client thought, and after a moment, said, “Well, I don’t believe in barbers.” “What are you talking about? You’re sitting right here talking to one,” the barber said, as a big bearded guy passed by outside. The client said, “If there were barbers, there simply wouldn’t be guys like that walking around.”
The barber said, “I always see that guy pass by. I’ve even talked with him before. But he just won’t come in and let me fix him up.”

I testify that God is as real as you or I. The world is how it is because most people don’t want to come unto Him. And even though He is all-powerful, there is one thing He won’t override—our agency. He allowed His only perfect Son to suffer all the sin and perversion and pain of the rest of His children in order to give us the chance to come unto Him. If we accept His yoke (the sacred covenants such as baptism, etc.) with sincerity, we will be healed. All the evil in the world will be punished with time. But more importantly, all the scars that evil caused will be erased.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April 27: The Robles Family

Dear everyone!

One morning before we left the house, we prayed that when we got back home at night, we would have found three people who accepted a baptismal date.  Accepting a baptismal doesn’t mean you’re GOING to get baptized that day. It means you’re going to search to find out if the church is true. And if you feel, before that date, that God has responded to your prayers and your search, then you will decide to get baptized that day.

We got home that night with three baptismal dates. With a little family. The dad, the mom, and their youngest daughter, who’s 13. The rest of their kids are already married. The Robles family have become our best friends in Zamora. As missionaries, we always make our plans and back-up plans. But we laugh when we come to the part where we have to make back-up plans for the Robles, because they always receive us. They haven’t missed a week of church. One night when we were getting ready to leave, the mom, Luci, said, “It’s gonna be terrible when one of you gets transferred. I’m gonna feel like one of my own daughters is leaving!” One day it was raining so hard, and the dad, Manuel, wouldn’t let us leave until he paid a taxi!! Their 13-year-old, Estefani, used to come out with us every day after working in the “freezer” cutting the tops off strawberries.

We’ve been through everything with them. A few weeks ago, Estefani, got back together with her boyfriend BUT she didn’t tell anyone. She just didn’t come home that night. They called us at midnight to see if we knew anything, but we didn’t, and we could hardly sleep that night, not knowing where Estefani was and if she was okay. The next day they called us to saythat she had come by the house, and we went over right away to see her. We hate seeing her choose momentary happiness over permanent happiness. It has taught me to always have an eternal perspective in my life, so that I don’t choose temporary over what lasts.

The day we found out that Manuel and Luci aren’t married was the worst! But we left them with the pamphlet of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and when we went to the next lesson and asked, “Were you able to read the assignment we left?” they said, “We understand what you were trying to tell us. We need to get married.” And one of the their adult daughters goes, “Yeah, y’all are living in sin!” Hahahaha. But they don’t have much money, so they really weren’t sure what to do. One day we sat down with them and set a goal. We thought we were going to need the help of the ward to accomplish that goal, but a week later they told us everything was taken care of, and they have an appointment for MAY 12!

It’s inspiring to see people MAKE DECISIONS. To see people appreciate the gift God has given us to CHOOSE what we want to do. When we use our AGENCY to improve our lives, when we make the sacrifices necessary to live God’s beautiful and perfect plan, we will reach our divine potential. If you think about any goal you have reached, there will also come to mind the many sacrifices you had to make to achieve it. #Howbaddoyouwantit?
I will always remember one time when we were trying to convince a group of people to come on a hike with us, and they were like, “I’m tired.” Or “It’s really steep.” And stuff like that. And my friend said, “Do y’all know about Type A Fun and Type B Fun?” I turned to look at him cause I didn’t. He said, “Type A Fun is good in the moment but bad afterward. Like eating a ton of ice cream. Type B Fun is bad in the moment but good afterwards. Like a really hard workout.” I’ve never forgotten about Type A and Type B Fun, and when I’m doing something I think I can’t do, but I’m doing it for a good purpose, I tell myself, This is Type B Fun, that’s all.
We often have so many things to do we don’t know where to start. But it’s not as complicated as we think it is. We complicate things, not God. I like this scripture because it reminds me how simple life is. 

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil;for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
 28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
 29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth thespirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

I know this scripture is true. We can choose—life or death. Put that way, it’s sooooooooooooo easy. Put into real life, it’s hard. Choosing life is simple, but its not easy. Know the difference?
I know that our decisions have an eternal echo. I promise that in the end, the spiritual is all that matters. I invite you to think about what the Lord is asking you to SACRIFICE at this time in your life in order to advance spiritually. And DO IT. And I love each and every one of you. Think about each and every one of you. Pray for each and every one of you.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 30- Let’s Never Stop Learning

Fernando’s reading the Book of Mormon, and said he had to read 1 Nephi twice to understand it. He still wasn’t quite sure, but he decided to keep going, an when he got to 1 Nephi 11 (where Nephi explains the vision that’s in 1 Nephi 8), he was like, “I got it all right!” We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he said he didn’t understand what was bad about coffee and black tea, but he could feel that it was the word of God. This week we taught him how the Church of Christ was lost and changed during the Great Apostasy, and how it was restored in 1820 , and he decided to set the goal of April 18 for baptism. But when he came to the stake center to watch Meet the Mormons on Friday, he truly received his answer. We were sitting in the movie with some other investigators, but when it was over, we found him and asked him what he thought. He said, “You young ladies have a lot of work ahead of you.” And we were like “…” haha because we weren’t exactly sure what he meant. “I AM getting baptized on April 18. I know now that this is what I’ve been looking for. I’m not confused and there is no doubt.”

I’m not confused, either. There is no room for doubt in me, either. I knew this church was true when I decided to come on a mission. Trust me I would not have left all y’all and everything I had going for me if I wouldn’t have known. But on the mission, my understanding of God’s plan for me and for every one of us has deepened and strengthened even more. I have been reminded that God knows me. I have been reminded of who God wants me to become.

I have learned that growth is painful and difficult; often we doubt ourselves—can I really do it? I’ve learned that growth is a choice. He will give us opportunities. We can seek out opportunities. But God doesn’t force anyone to grow. I have learned that when we seek and accept opportunities to grow, that is only the first step. Persevering is necessary. And our perseverance will yield many more fruits if we rely on him during the journey.

Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; 
therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, 
for in his strength I can do all things, Alma 26:12

I want to inspire every one of you to accept these opportunities with joy. To seek these opportunities with confidence in yourself, in your Father in Heaven, and in your Salvador. Jess wrote me a couple months ago that the pain of growth is a good thing: “It's kind of like playing a sport and your muscles hurt and you can barely breathe, but that means you're doing it right, so it's miserable and wonderful at the same time. That's the challenge of a lot of the things we do and care about in life. They come with a little bit of pain and difficulty. Homesickness is hard because no one can see your homesick or sad or whatever is going on inside. So it's a kind of silent suffering. But that feeling of homesickness is a reminder that you are on your mission! That you have people to love! That you have family and friends and a wonderful life to come home to! If you think of it that way it would be worse to not be homesick, right? So maybe when you're feeling homesick, you can be like YES I'm homesick! Kind of how an athlete says, YES I can't breath because I'm running as hard as I can make my body run.” I thought that was pretty smart. So let’s accept the challenge to become better. In every aspect, but spiritually, above all.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” And President Hinckley, "You cannot afford to do anything that would place a curtain between you and the ministering of angels in your behalf." This next weekened is General Conference, and I invite you all to prepare! With lots of prayer and meditation, write down some questions you have and leave space for the answers. I know the Lord is aware of you and will help you recognize in what direction to go.