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

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.