Friday, May 23, 2014


"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"

Hump Day

This is a letter I wrote to my family about my journey here thus far. It is exciting :)

Happy Hump Day to me! I almost can't believe it. This next week is my
9 month mark. Half way. It seriously just blows my mind. It totally
doesn't seem like it has been that long since I have been away.
Sometimes I feel like I have missed so much. Christmas, birthdays,
reunions, parties, traditions, new movies and music, etc. but at the
same time I feel like I haven't missed out on anything. Because of the
knowledge I have gained and the person I am still becoming. Because of
the lives I have seen myself help and the service I have been able to
give. Because of the things I have seen and the understanding that I
now have.
Before my mission, as many of you know, I thought I was the bomb. I
thought I was awesome and I had everything going for me. Coming here
has been a complete eye opener for me. I have found that I am nothing
compared to who I thought I was. I am not really that cool, I am not
funny, I am not awesome, I am pretty mediocre. But with the help of
The Lord, I can do a lot more. He makes up for everything that I am
not. And how grateful I am that He does.
So I wanted to share the top 10 things that I have learned since I
have been here. They might not actually be the top 10, but they are 10
very meaningful things on my mind as of this moment.
#1. Not everything is about me. I know this is all ya'lls favorite
thing to say, but it wasn't until I came here that I realized how much
everything really was always about me. I was selfish! My decisions,
what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, how I felt, etc. Every
decision I made and everything I did was for me. Now, nothing is about
me. And when I try to make it about myself, nothing goes right. And
after marriage, it will still not be about me. (My birthdays still
will be, so don't forget those!) It will all be for my future husband
and my future family and forever about my Savior. How grateful I am to
have learned this now verses when I am married or even just dating. I
have come to know my true self so much better here than I ever have
before. And it was honestly an eye opener to see how I reacted to
things and the person I was. It wasn't quite the person I wanted to
be. But I am slowly becoming that person. Who you are is part natural
and part effort. I am just working on the effort part.
#2. Anything important in life takes a lot of work. If it doesn't take
work, it isn't important. Understanding the gospel, receiving answers
to prayers, getting along with your companion, preparing for the
workday, etc. it all takes a lot of effort if it is to be done right.
But it is worth it to put effort into it. It is more tiring for sure,
but the alternative is disappointment. And that's much worse.
#3. Patience really is a virtue. And it is necessary when you live
with someone. I had no idea just how frustrated I could get in my head
at things. And just stupid little things. I also didn't know what a
clean freak I was raised to be. Not that everything has to be spotless
and in its exact place, but it definitely can't be filthy and
everywhere except where it should be. I have learned that the best way
to deal with frustration with your companion is to serve them. What do
I do when I hate that my companion doesn't do the dishes or make her
bed? I do her dishes and make her bed. It's that simple honestly. She
can't complain and I can't complain, so we get over it and move on. I
have learned that although I hate being wrong, sometimes, I am wrong.
And it's okay. And instead of being mopey, it is a lot more fun to
gloat about how awesome my companion is for being right and let them
feel the praise for being right.
#4. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But then there is
another tunnel. Nothing lasts forever. There is always one final curve
you take and you get to see the glorious light of joy or happiness or
relief. But once that light hits The Lord will send you into another
tunnel. Why even send us into tunnels you may ask? Because we can't
see our way and we have to ask God for help. And that is when we make
it farther. If it were all sunshine and lollipops I would be a sitting
duck. And a fat one at that.
#5. Family is everything. I had no idea how much I would miss my
family until I came here. I mean, going to college is one thing, but,
going to a different state with limited communication is a whole other
thing. I am sure people are just sick of looking at pictures of you
all. It is my favorite subject to talk about. I love telling people
about my crazy siblings and all the fabulous things we do together.
And seeing the look on their faces when I tell them just how insane we
really are... It's priceless. I didn't realize just how amazing our
family was until I saw families here. I was and am truly blessed to be
in the family I am in. To grow up with loving parents who taught and
lived the word of God. Who worked hard to support the greatest gift
that God can give. To take on the responsibility necessary to
sacrifice and labor for the well being of 8 kids. And to live with the
most amazing examples of dedication, hard work, service, love,
kindness, etc. that I have in my siblings. Yeah, we have had our
moments, but more than that, we are a family. And a dang good one I
might add!
#6. Conversion isn't just putting on a shirt and tie (or a dress) on
Sundays. It is a whole lot more. True conversion comes from countless
hours of callings and service, many a days of camps and projects,
multiple activities and get togethers, meetings, babysitting,
donating, helping, etc. The person you are at the end of the day. How
you live your day to day life is a true scale of just how converted to
the gospel you are. I have learned that there is a huge difference of
being converted to the church vs. converted to the gospel. If the
prophet was to stand in Conference today to say that he received a
witness that this church in fact wasn't true, would that shake our
testimony? Mine still might be, just a bit, but it shouldn't! We
cannot just be "Sunday Mormons". It isn't enough. We are disciples of
Christ. Daily disciples. And the gospel isn't just for us to sit in a
building for 3 hours, but for us to literally become like our Savior.
#7. Happiness is a choice. We will always have reasons to not be
happy. Sometimes we have to fake a smile until the real one comes. But
if you look hard enough, there is always a reason to smile. Always.
And people need it. My whole life I have looked up to people like
Debbie Olsen and Becky Morrill who are always happy and smiling. And
that is why I looked up to them. I never saw them mad or even solemn.
Always happy. Makes life a lot more fun honestly when you are around
happy people. I have seen Elders here who feel like they have a hard
companion and are grumpy all the time. And I have seen other Elders
with the same companion and they are always smiling. The companion
didn't change, the Elder changed. So it is with everything. Our
situations won't change if we are grumpy about it. In fact, if
anything, it will get worse, making us worse. But if we just decide to
smile, who knows what can happen.
#8. Christ is real. He loves us and he listens to us. And our prayers
are always answered. Just not usually in the ways that we want. Christ
not only told us the way, but he lived the way and provided us the
means necessary to walk the way and live forever. Without Christ, we
literally are nothing. Without Christ, we have no hope. Without
Christ, there is no purpose. And it is true that the more you learn
about Christ and the Atonement, the more you want to share His gospel.
Why hold in the greatest news that has ever come to mankind; that we
can be saved? That we will live again. And Christ provided the way.
And it is as simple as following Him that will give us our reward. How
blessed we are!
#9. There is so much more to life than having fun. And most things
that are fun don't even last. Sometimes I am guilty of the good,
better, best scale. Nothing I do on a mission is bad. I am never going
off and watching movies or partying. But sometimes I let my mind rule
over me to do the good thing instead of the best thing. I have noticed
that it is usually because the good thing is more fun for me. But how
much more fun? The fun only lasts while I am there, while doing the
alternative lasts a whole lot longer. And it's those best things that
I end up writing home about and it's those best things that stay with
me longer. Looking back at the last 9 months I don't remember
everything. But the memories I cherish the most are the times I made
the best decisions. I am still working on it, but it is coming.
#10. This is the true church. I cannot deny it. The more I testify of
the truthfulness of this message I am proclaiming, the more conviction
I have to say that this is God's gospel. It is His priesthood. Joseph
Smith is His chosen prophet who restored His organized church. Thomas
S. Monson is chosen of God and leads and guides His church today. The
Book of Mormon is the word of God given to his prophets. Through the
Atonement and suffering of Christ, we are relieved from worldly cares
to be able to return to the presence of our loving Father to dwell
with Him and with our families for all eternity.
I want you all to know just how grateful I am for all of you. You are
all inspirational in so many ways.
Thank you mom and dad for your love and support. I couldn't be here
without your help. Literally! Thank you for your weekly emails. For
your words of wisdom when I am frustrated or down. For your love that
you constantly share.
Thank you to my sister for all the packages filled with love and for
making my scrapbook. I haven't seen it yet, but I am sure it looks
great! It will be nice to have as a memory of all that is happening.
Thank you to all my older brothers who served. Thank you for your full
service and for your words of encouragement and love. Thank you for
being strong and being perfect examples of service. As I don't know
what to do, I sometimes ask myself what I think you would have done.
You are all wonderful.
And thank you to my little brothers for believing in me. Thank you for
sharing your feelings with me and allowing me to help, even with how
far away I am. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the one
you look up to. You are the ones who keep me trekking. I know I need
to show you that hard things can be done.
I love you all and am excited to see you in 9 short months :) Be ready
for some complete awkwardness, because I am stock full of it!

9 Months

I know I hit my half way mark about a month ago. I have seriously slacked on posting.
But how grateful I am to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but, it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. 
I am so grateful to be a representative of Christ. To wear His name proudly on my shoulder each day. I am so grateful for the relationship I have been able to gain with Him and for the chance that I have to share with others how they can find the peace and joy that I have in my life by coming unto Christ.
I love my life. I am grateful for the challenges I have been through that have made me the daughter I am today. I am excited for 9 more months of fun in Chicagoland!


"Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!"
-2 Nephi 28:24
We are stronger than we think!
Photo: "Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!"
-2 Nephi 28:24
We are stronger than we think!


 I am beyond grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am literally nothing without Him. I am here as a missionary not to force people to join my church, but to invite others to strengthen their relationship with Christ. Because that is what matters. He is everything and He can bless your life if you let Him in.

 Follow the link below to discover what is possible Because of Him.


#itwasmom who taught me to love the gospel and sat and held my hand walking into The House of The Lord. So grateful for my momma! She is the best mom in the world! I love her with all my heart. 
Photo: #itwasmom who taught me to love the gospel and sat and held my hand walking into The House of The Lord. So grateful for my momma! She is the best mom in the world! I love her with all my heart. (Special shoutout to my dad as well. He did a great job too!) Paul E. Spackman


 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Congratulations Karl for your decision to be baptized. 
It was a long journey. But I have seen the light enter into his eyes. I am so proud of him and his decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mountains to Climb

This is a letter I sent to my mom a little while back. She resent it to me and I thought it was fun to read.

This is hard! But, I am way too strong to come home. Sometimes I think that I want to, but then I think about what I have learned already and I couldn't do it.
I think of it like Hiking. It is hard and brutal on the way up. I want to cry a lot and I am breathing hard and I am tired and winded and I want to stop and take a break. I start to wonder why I am even hiking in the first place. Then I turn around and see kind of where I am on the mountain and I get to see a mini view of where I came from and it is pretty. I know the view from the top is even better, so I keep on keeping on. One day I will be at the top. I will get to look down and see the path that I climbed. I will get to relax and sit there and look out over all the land and see where I got to from the bottom. I get to see a beautiful scene that God has created just for me. Then, I get to run down the mountain and look back at the top and just smile at the path that I was lucky enough to take. Then, I turn around, and there is another mountain that I get to climb. It won't be easier than this one, but there are going to be a lot of similar stumps and rocks that I will have to go around. And at the top of that mountain, I will get to look over and see the other mountain top and remember all the fun times. 
Right now, I am still pretty far down the mountain. Looking up, I just see a steep and tall climb that I have to take. Looking back I can see where I came from, and it is pretty and I am impressed that I have made it this far. Looking forward, I get a little discouraged knowing that I am barely a fourth of the way up the mountain. But my mountain needs to be climbed. I have to keep trekking. And think how beautiful the view will be from the top.

Friday, March 28, 2014

5 Things This Mormon Wish You Knew

 I found this on Facebook. Thought it was nice enough to share...

It’s not something I talk about much, which is strange because my faith is actually a huge part of my life. I think the main reason is because I don’t like to feel judged, and I don’t want anyone else to assume I’m judging them. Religion is a very sacred and personal thing to most people, enough so that the mere mention of the word “religion” is bound to offend someone, or at least initiate a case of the cold sweats (I’m kind of a sweaty person anyway, but uncomfortable religious talk DEFINITELY gives me armpit tacos). I’m also pretty private (yes, blogging propels me far outside my comfort zone), and I’m typically not prone to talking about my personal life unless people ask.
But I’ve started to realize that a lot of my friends and family are actually pretty curious about Mormons, but are too afraid to ask.
What do Mormons believe? Do we worship Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith? Why do we wear funny underwear?!
I know quite a few people harbor some pretty deep-seated misconceptions about Mormons. Some can’t stand us (I hadn’t seen this type of animosity until I moved to Mormon Mecca (a.k.a. Utah), which totally surprised me). Many are confused by us. Probably an even larger number are unaware we exist (I was one of these. I grew up thinking Mormons were the predecessors of the Amish…Not totally sure where that came from). The thing is, I really love being Mormon–honestly, I do. But as a convert to this faith–I converted when I was 20–I’m fully aware of how our church and its members are perceived from the outside looking in.
I sat thinking today, and I realized that I desperately wished people knew more about my faith. And believe me, not in the hopes that they would denounce their faiths and dive into the Mormony waters of baptism; my motives are more selfish than that. I just want people to stop looking at me like I have three heads when they find out I’m Mormon. I also want them to know I’m a normal person, with faults and feelings and hopes and disappointments that make me just like everyone else. I could have made a really long, doctriney-based list, but I narrowed down five, super non-specific things I wish more people knew about Mormons:
1. Mormons are Christian (and while we’re on the subject: The Mormon Church Isn’t a Cult)
The actual name of the “Mormon” church, in case you didn’t know, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (I use Mormon and LDS Church interchangeably, since most people are more familiar with “Mormon”). ”Mormon” is actually a nickname that came from the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture which is another testament of Jesus Christ. We believe in God (our literal Father in heaven), in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We believe Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, that He was crucified and was resurrected. We worship Him, learn of Him through the Old and New Testament, as well as the Book of Mormon, and strive to become more like Him.
On that same note, I’m not entirely sure why people think the Mormon church is a cult–more so than any other religion, anyway. Sure some of our doctrine may seem foreign to some, but ALL religions are built upon stories and assertions that defy science and logic. Christians actually believe a mortal was the literal Son of God, and that he was capable of healing the sick and raising the dead. Jews actually believe Moses parted the Red Sea. Hindus actually believe people die and continue to be reincarnated over and over again. Muslims actually believe Muhammad spoke to the Angel Gabriel. (I had a comment here about Atheism that several atheists informed me was inaccurate–so…it’s out. I don’t want to misrepresent others’ beliefs, especially considering the spirit of this post (yikes Kelly, way to be a raging hypocrite!)). It’s also worth noting that there are nearly 15 million Mormons worldwide, which is actually about the same as the worldwide Jewish population. We may not be “mainstream”, but we’re not small and we’re not extreme. As a whole, we have really traditional views on most social issues, which are pretty in-line with most Christian denominations. Not to mention, we wholeheartedly believe in free choice as well as freedom of religion for everybody, including Mormons who decide the whole Mormon thing just isn’t for them. I haven’t been asked to drink any Kool-Aid yet, but I’ll keep you updated.
2. Mormons Aren’t Judging You
Obviously, this is collectively speaking. I’m sure there are Mormons that judge you, just like there are inevitably atheists, Catholics, Muslims, and Jews that judge you. I think most of this perceived judgment comes from the fact that we’re encouraged to live a pretty straight lifestyle–we commit to abstaining from alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking and using drugs. We believe in chastity before marriage. We’re commanded to avoid pornography, and we’re encouraged to dress modestly, to not swear, etc. etc. etc. Not surprisingly, people assume that because I say “no” when I’m offered a beer that I’m secretly condemning them because they drink beer. I get it.  I’m guilty of that line of thinking. My brother recently became a vegetarian, and I just knew at every meal he was thinking I was Satan for enjoying tasty animal flesh while he gnoshed on beans and lettuce. But the truth is, 1. I don’t think most of the things I abstain from are truly bad, I’ve just made a commitment to not to do those things 2. I don’t have the time or energy to judge you and 3. That’s not what Christ would do; I love President Uchtdorf’s (a member of the presidency of our church) thoughts on judging others:
“When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. “
What it comes down to is that I respect your choices, and I hope you can respect mine. So let’s just be friends.
3. Can Answer Most of Your Questions (So can…Mormons)
When I find people spouting off negative, inaccurate information about the LDS Church, I’m never surprised to find that it typically originates from websites whose sole intention is to promulgate negative, inaccurate information about the LDS Church. If you wanted to learn about black history, you wouldn’t check the KKK website first, would you?? Likewise, if you have a question about Mormons or the Mormon church, wouldn’t it make sense to go straight to the source? and are sponsored by the LDS Church and have a ton of information for both Mormons and non-Mormons. (2nd Edit: This is not to say that people should ONLY view websites sponsored by the Mormon church–there are MANY great non-church sponsored websites that have a lot of good information about Mormons, and allow for candid discussions about the Mormon faith. I would caution, that people need to be aware (especially those who are completely unfamiliar with Mormon beliefs) that there are many sites that are FULL of misinformation about the Mormon church, and as far as learning the fundamentals of our beliefs, I still think and are the place to go). I think you’ll also find that most Mormons are happy to have you just ask them directly if you’re curious about something. I don’t get offended when people have genuine questions about my religion; I appreciate the fact that they consider me a reputable source, and I’m honored that they feel comfortable enough to ask.
4. We’re Not (Always) Trying to Convert You
I had one friend tell me she thought most Mormons were really nice, but she couldn’t stand feeling like they were always trying to get her to convert. The fact is, our church is HUGE on proselyting; so much so that boys over 18 are expected to serve a two year church mission (I’m sure you’ve seen them in suits with backpacks, bikes, and name tags). Aside from our missionaries (whose actual purpose is in fact to introduce people to our church and the gospel of Jesus Christ), most Mormons are just normal people who are really excited about their faith. Why? Because most find it to be extremely meaningful and fulfilling, and it makes them happy. Yes, listening to them might be overwhelming, but if it is, politely change the subject or tell your friend or neighbor you’re not comfortable having that conversation. There’s no competition or reward for conversions or baptisms. If someone has a hidden agenda to befriend you in order to get you to convert, that’s wrong. And it’s crazy. But if in the normal course of your relationship religion comes up, and your Mormon friend shares things about their faith, it’s not because they’re trying to suck you in or brainwash you. I would hope most Mormons are just as interested in learning about your faith and the things that are important to you as they are about sharing their own.
5. Not All Mormons are Like that One Weird Mormon Person you Know
I’m never sure how I should feel when I’ve known someone for a little while and they say to me, “Wow, I never would have guessed you were Mormon!”, especially when they say it as a compliment. On the one hand, I’m grateful to NOT fit whatever horrible stereotype they’ve bought into and project on every Mormon person they meet. But on the other hand, I REALLY REALLY like being Mormon, and I’m not ashamed of it. The fact is, stereotyping someone because of their religion is the same as stereotyping someone for being black, or Asian, or Muslim, or female. All I ask is that you see me as a human first, that you give me the benefit of the doubt and get to know me first before you decide whether or not we can be friends.
Thanks for making it this far down the list. I hope you now know that if you have questions about Mormons, here’s one you can ask :)


At times we may feel as though we are drowning in the floods of the world or the tsunamis that are enveloping our lives. Courage leaves our hearts, as we see and feel the despair in our lives come crashing down around us. There seems to be no hope left for us. But there is always hope, for Christ is always stretching forth his hand to save us, to uplift us from our pits of torment and to exalt us to stand by his side. Why? Because He loves us, and I testify that it is never too late to reach out and take his hand so that He can draw us back into his loving embrace. There is always Hope; for Christ will always live.

"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."
3 Nephi 9:14

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book of Mormon Challenge

Right before Christmas we as missionaries of the Illinois Chicago Mission were given a Book of Mormon challenge from our loved Mission President, President Woodbury. We were asked to read the Book of Mormon all the way through before General Conference. He asked us specifically to search the Book of Mormon for when it mentions Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
Well... I just finished the challenge this last week. And I am so happy! I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I receive a personal witness of its truthfulness every time I read it. It was especially fun to read it with Christ and His Atonement in mind. I had no idea how much the Book of Mormon is all about Christ and what He has done for us.
I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that Christ lives and loves me. I know that He has set the path for me to follow. I know that it is by Him and through Him that we can all return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father again for eternity. I am eternally indebted to my Lord for what He has done for me, but I am grateful for this service that I am able to give to Him and His children.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One Year

One year ago I was opening this call letter to serve as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I never thought I would get this opportunity to serve. And how eternally grateful I am for this chance to give up what I have to serve my God. My life has forever been changed because of my decision to serve.

Friday, March 7, 2014



"Miracles do not produce faith."
Sometimes we ask for a miracle to happen for us to believe. But it doesn't work that way. The Lord wouldn't give us a miracle when we ask for faith, because the miracle literally can't produce that faith that we want. But that doesn't mean that miracles won't come.
"Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."
"Faith comes by righteousness. Strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And miracles come to confirm one’s faith."
Instead of asking for a miracle to give us faith, let us all live our faith and see the miracles that come as our confirmation.


"Create of your life a masterpiece.
Brothers and sisters, the abundant life does not come to us packaged and ready-made. It’s not something we can order and expect to find delivered with the afternoon mail. It does not come without hardship or sorrow.
It comes through faith, hope, and charity. And it comes to those who, in spite of hardship and sorrow, understand the words of one writer who said, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”" 
- Joseph B. Wirthlin

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Atonement

"I am convinced that [our earthly journey] is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that [everyone who ever lives will] have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. [We will] have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary."
"I believe that [you and I], to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price."
"When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God's Words Never Cease

"Why does God not speak to us today?" "If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why would He hold back His words from us?"
When asked these questions by a friend, Hugh B. Brown responded as follows;

"May I suggest some possible reasons: perhaps God does not speak to man anymore because He cannot. He has lost the power.”

He said, “Of course that would be blasphemous.”

“Well, then, if you don’t accept that, perhaps He doesn’t speak to men because He doesn’t love us anymore. He is no longer interested in the affairs of men.”

“No,” he said, “God loves all men, and He is no respecter of persons.”

“Well, then, if He could speak and if He loves us, then the only other possible answer, as I see it, is that we don’t need Him. We have made such rapid strides in science, we are so well educated, that we don’t need God anymore.”

And then he said, and his voice trembled as he thought of impending war: "Mr. Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why He doesn’t speak.”

My answer was: “He does speak. He has spoken, but men need faith to hear Him.”

I testify that God speaks to us. Like in times of old, God has called a prophet to lead and guide His church. Through that prophet, we hear the word of God. I know this to be true.

"Come, listen to a prophet's voice,
And hear the word of God"

I know Christ lives. I know that His church has been restored upon the earth. How grateful I am for this knowledge.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.”
The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
As we are called upon to endure suffering, sometimes inflicted upon us intentionally or negligently, we are put in a unique position—if we choose, we may be allowed to have new awareness of the suffering of the Son of God.
Sometimes we cannot understand that mortal suffering can bring eternal blessings. “If the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
-"Your Sorrows Shall Be Turned to Joy" October 1983, Robert D. Hales
-"That They Might Know Thee" October 2006, Keith R. Edwards
The Lord knows and loves us. He wants us to fulfill his plan. The simple fact is that part of the plan is to understand what Christ went through so we can access His atonement. So that we can lay up our treasures in heaven. I am so grateful that I have trials. I don't love my trials, but I love what comes from my trials. God is so good my friends!!

Parable of the Current Bush

This is definitely one of the most humbling videos I have ever seen.
Do you ever wonder why hard or trying things happen to us? When we are doing all we can, why does it seem like God isn't? Sometimes we have to be
cut down to become who God wants us to become. Remember that!
Click Here  to watch the video.


"What young musician, after years of agonizing rehearsal was finally scheduled to debut in a capacity concert hall, would, while en route to the performance, stop to join a long line forming at the latest hit movie, forgetting the thousands of people waiting to hear her?
"What world-class runner, after training for well over a decade, would find himself in the Olympic finals, only to stop running halfway through his race to watch the high-jump finals taking place on the other side of the field?
"These examples may seem preposterous—but how much more tragic it is for someone who, equipped with a testimony of the truth and a knowledge of the purpose of life, becomes more absorbed in life today than in life forever. Who’s just a little more concerned about his or her status and standing in mortality than in eternity. Whose focus is not directed to God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, with whom it is possible to have a glorious connection and bond."

We all can gain, or even have, this testimony of truth. And how important it is to remember the eternal perspective of that testimony vs. the worldly perspective. God is forever. And we will be too. So focus on that! Focus on the eternal. Makes this life a whole lot better, I promise you that!


I believe in miracles. Little moments that God gives us to keep us on track. To remind us that He is in control. 
These last couple weeks have been full of tiny miracles. I don't have time to write them all, but I am grateful for them all. 
I love my life. I love this time that I have to serve my God. I love being a missionary and sharing the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel. I am grateful for my Savior who has given me all. It is to Him that I sing praises and to Him that I worship. And I choose to do it in His way. 
I bear my testimony to the world that Christ lives. And He loves us unconditionally. As we serve Him and follow Him we will see miracles. How blessed I am for this sure knowledge!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book of Mormon

Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

....For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

(2 Nephi 29)

I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I know that alongside the Bible, it contains the fullness of the Gospel. I love the Book of Mormon. After reading it, I couldn't deny the power and gifts of God. I love this church with all my heart!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Our road...


Why does God allow suffering to happen to good people? I have been asking myself this question a lot more than usual lately. I haven't completely come up with an answer, but I have found some stuff I really like...

From the talk, "That They Might Know Thee" October 2006, Keith R. Edwards;
"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” 
The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ. Anciently Paul wrote that our suffering may give us an opportunity to know the Savior better. Paul wrote to the Romans:
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” 
Now, lest anyone go looking for hardship and suffering, that is not what is taught. Rather, it is the attitude with which we approach our hardships and trials that allows us to know the Savior better.
 Although the purpose of the suffering is not always apparent at the time, the Prophet Joseph had a singularly spiritual experience as he lingered in Liberty Jail. The Lord comforted him:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.” 
“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. 
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” 
As we are called upon to endure suffering, sometimes inflicted upon us intentionally or negligently, we are put in a unique position—if we choose, we may be allowed to have new awareness of the suffering of the Son of God. While Alma tells us that Christ suffered all that any of us will ever have to suffer that He might know how to succor us, the reverse may also be true: that our suffering may allow us insight into the depth and magnitude of His atoning sacrifice.

We all can learn from our suffering "if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We suffer to know Christ better. To become better. 

From the talk, "Your Sorrows Shall Be Turned to Joy" October 1983, Robert D. Hales;
[Our] suffering in mortality will bring a greater appreciation of the blessings of a resurrected, perfect body. Also, our joy of service in helping [others] in time of need brings us a greater appreciation for one another. We are told that out of suffering, sorrow, and sadness that joy will come. Sometimes we cannot understand that mortal suffering can bring eternal blessings.
When Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, he cried to the Lord for comfort, and the Lord gave it to him. He said that “if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7.)
Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. We should be humbled and drawn to the Lord.

The Lord knows and loves us. He wants us to fulfil his plan. The simple fact is that part of the plan is to understand what Christ went through so we can access His atonement. I am so grateful that I have trials. I don't love my trials, but I love what comes from my trials. God is good!!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Rejoice in God

"I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. 
Yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo."
God is good! Why wouldn't I go around praising his name to the world? God is real and he loves us. He made a perfect path to follow. And we can follow! We are so blessed.
"Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His hand those He touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result. If we are His hands, should we not do the same?" -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Our 1/4...

Want to know how to receive answers from God? Read Moroni 10:4-5. 1) Ask with a sincere heart 2) Have real intent 3) Have faith in Christ.
And we all want an example don't we? Check out Alma 22. Focus on verses 17-18.
17: "And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before The Lord, upon his knees; yea, and cried mightily saying:"
18: "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee."
1) The king immediately went to work. He didn't wait to ask his questions. And he asked direct questions knowing that he would get direct answers. He was sincere.
2) The king wanted The Lord to know that he was in it. That he intended upon acting on the answer that would come. He promised to give away the one thing that God doesn't already own... His heart. His desires. His sins. Literally, his all!
3) The king didn't know God was even there. He prayed in faith. Not even knowing if anyone was listening. Sometimes we don't know if anyone is listening. We don't know if what we are being taught is true. But we prove our faith by asking.
It is the work and the glory of The Lord to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). Immortality will come to all men because our Savior came to earth. That part is covered. So now, eternal life. Because God loves us he has provided a plan for us. Aaron taught the king this plan from the scriptures. And this plan has been revealed to us by God's prophets. It's up to us to learn that plan and follow it. God has provided immortality and the path to eternal life. He has fulfilled 3/4 of his purpose. So our part, "Behold, this is YOUR work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind, and strength" (Doctrine and Covenants 11:20). Our 1/4 is to learn the plan and follow it. How blessed we are!
I know that God has a plan. A perfect plan. And we can know it and follow it. In fact it's our work to learn it and follow it. NOW is the time to prepare to meet God! How much are we willing to work to receive the blessings for fulfilling our 1/4?

Friday, January 24, 2014

“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee”

1 Nephi 10:18 "For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him." The way is prepared, but with how crazy the world is constantly getting, we need someone to remind us of that way.
God has a pattern. He always has and he always will. Amos 3:7 - "Surely the Lord God would do nothing until he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets." D&C 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." God speaks to prophets. How happy I am to know that. 
The latest talk from our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, is inspiring. The Lord will never leave us. He will never lead us astray. We just need to ask, "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?" "Difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, stand to become something different from what we were - better than what we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before. This should be our purpose - to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow."
I love our prophet. I love knowing that we have an earthly vessel chosen to lead and guide the Church of God. I know that through Authority and Revelation, God leads His church. I know it. And I love it. It just makes sense to me.
Will we falter or will we finish? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

6 months...

Crazy to think that tomorrow will be my 1/3 mark on my mission. I never ever thought that this day would come. It has been a long and crazy journey so far. But it has been the best journey of my life! I wouldn't trade it for the world. 
The Lord has been shaping me and molding me into the daughter of God that I knew I could become. My mission has been so far from what I thought it would be, but it has been the best thing for me! I just still can't believe where I am right now. 
July 24th-January 24th

Continue in Patience

"Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time."

Key words: For a time.
We will never be tempted above what we are able. We will never have to deal with our trials and heartache for eternity. All will be made right!! 

"Patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace."
"Patience is far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience requires actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results don’t appear instantly or without effort."
"Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed." 
"Patience means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings."
"Sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most."

Click Here  to read the full article "Continue in Patience" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Teaching with the Power and Authority of God

I often ask myself how I can be a better teacher. I feel like I am a very organized person and I know how to plan a lesson or a talk to provide information. I feel like I lack the fun or the spiritual side of everything though. While reading this talk this morning, I have realized how much I am leaving out of being a powerful teacher. David M. McConkie tells it perfectly...

You have been called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and have been set apart by priesthood authority. 
What does this mean?
First, it means that you are on the Lord’s errand. You are His agent, and you are authorized and commissioned to represent Him and to act on His behalf. As His agent, you are entitled to His help. You must ask yourself, “What would the Savior say if He were teaching my class today, and how would He say it?” You must then do likewise.
Second, you are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. You must not teach your own ideas or philosophy, even mingled with scriptures. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation,” and it is only through the gospel that we are saved.
Third, you are commanded to teach the principles of the gospel as they are found in the standard works of the Church, to teach the words of modern-day apostles and prophets, and to teach that which is taught you by the Holy Ghost.

So where do we begin?
Our first and foremost responsibility is to live so that we can have the Holy Ghost as our guide and companion.
“The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments."
Of course, you must diligently prepare for each lesson and strive to learn how you can teach so as to help your students exercise their agency and allow the gospel to enter into their hearts, but the first and most important part of your service is your personal, spiritual preparation.
The gospel comes to men in two ways, in word and in power. The word of the gospel is written in the scriptures, and we can obtain the word by diligently searching. The power of the gospel comes into the lives of those who so live that the Holy Ghost is their companion and who follow the promptings they receive.
Some focus their attention only on obtaining the word, and they become experts in delivering information (This is me...). Others neglect their preparation and hope that the Lord in His goodness will somehow help them get through the class period. You cannot expect the Spirit to help you remember the scriptures and principles you have not studied or considered. In order to successfully teach the gospel, you must have both the word and the power of the gospel in your life.
After you have prepared yourself and your lesson to the very best of your ability, you must be willing to let go. When the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come, you must have the courage to set aside your outlines and your notes and go where those promptings take you. When you do this, the lesson you deliver is no longer your lesson, but it becomes the Savior’s lesson.
“I always know when I am speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost because I always learn something from what I’ve said.” Remember, a teacher is also a student. 
 Finally, you must stand as an independent witness of the things you teach and not just be an echo of the words in a manual or the thoughts of others.  

I know that there is plenty that I need to work on to be a good teacher. I understand the power of the Spirit in a lesson and the importance of teaching for understanding instead of just sharing information. The Spirit is the converting factor and testifies through us if we allow him to. We have to invite him in! This is God's work. We are teaching His gospel. So what does this mean? We have to use God's power to teach His way to help His children!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happily Ever After

Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

My dear young [friends], you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every [hero or] heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength.
It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.
We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way.
All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I leave you my blessing and give you a promise that as you accept and live the values and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “[you] will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.” And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story; there you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words: “And they lived happily ever after.” Of this I testify in the holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 -Dieter F. Uchtdorf "Your Happily Ever After"


Isn't this so true? If we keep looking back at what has happened, how can we move forward to what will happen? If we keep focusing on our "once upon a time" we will never make it to our "happily ever after". There is so much joy to be found in the future if we allow ourselves to live it!


I sure hope you all can read this! I wish I knew where it came from so I could just copy and paste it over. I thought it was extraordinary!!! Thanks Elder Bruderer for sharing this :)

Lift Up

I am a victim of this! Too many times have I looked down to make myself feel higher. But who does this help? Why wouldn't I want myself to be on equal ground as my brother or sister? 
We are all sons and daughters of God. We are all working towards making it back to Him. And we will all stumble and fall at times. Be the one to help your brother get to where you are so that when you fall behind, he can turn around and help you up to where he could get!
What goes around comes around :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Pure Love of Christ - Our Premortal Language

Have you ever wondered what language we all spoke when we lived in the presence of God?I do know that in our premortal life we learned firsthand, from the Father of our spirits, a universal language—one that has the power to overcome emotional, physical, and spiritual barriers.That language is the pure love of Jesus Christ.It is the most powerful language in the world.
This love brings about real change of character. It can penetrate hatred and dissolve envy. It can heal resentment and quench the fires of bitterness. It can work miracles.
We received our “first lessons” in this language of love as spirits in God’s presence, and here on earth we have opportunities to practice it and become fluent. You can know if you are learning this language of love by evaluating what motivates your thoughts and actions.
When your primary thoughts are focused on how things will benefit you, your motivations may be selfish and shallow. That is not the language you want to learn.
But when your primary thoughts and behaviors are focused on serving God and others—when you truly desire to bless and lift up those around you—then the power of the pure love of Christ can work in your heart and life. That is the language you want to learn.
As you become fluent in this language and use it in your interactions with others, they will recognize something in you that may awaken in them a long-hidden feeling to search for the right way on the journey back to their heavenly home. After all, the language of love is their true native language too.

Your Wonderful Journey Home

Every life is a collection of individual “journey stories.”
We do not know many details about life in that premortal sphere, but we do know some. Our Heavenly Father has revealed to us who He is, who we are, and who we can become.
In the end, you knew God would be just—that His goodness would triumph. You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.
And so, you took a deep breath …
And a great step forward …
And here you are!
You have, each one of you, embarked on your own wonderful journey back to your heavenly home!
He didn’t send you on this journey only to wander aimlessly on your own. He wants you to come home to Him. He has given you a map that describes the terrain and identifies the dangers; the map shows you where peace and happiness can be found and will help you plot your course back home.
Now, where do you find this map?

In the sacred scriptures
In the words of prophets and apostles
Through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost

This map is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, and the joyful way of a disciple of Christ. It is the commandments and example given to us by our Advocate and Mentor, who knows the way because He is the way.
Of course, simply having a map doesn’t do any good unless you study it—unless you use it to navigate through life. I invite you to make it a high priority to study and apply God’s word. Open your heart to the Holy Ghost so that He can direct you along your journey through life.

My invitation echoes that of President Uchtdorf's. Study and apply God's word. Test your faith. Make room for Christ in your heart. He will enter in, I promise!

 Click Here to read his whole message.

The Plan

"Wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin;
This thing shall ye teach, repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin;
Little children need no repentance, neither baptism.
But little children are alive in Christ." (Moroni 8)
It was just about 2 months ago that I heard of the death of my sweet little niece and nephew back home. God's Plan is fair, and it is real! And in hard times, it is the ONLY thing that can get me through. But it always has and it always will get me through. The Plan is perfect. It is full of love and hope for a better future. I know it to be true. My family will be together forever someday. It is because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement that this is possible. So I will follow Christ. I will work my hardest to be worthy to meet little Joshua Alvin and Adelaide Spackman. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

God's Voice

Sometimes we wonder whose voice we are hearing. In the midst of trial and confusion it is easy to hear the louder and more harsh voice. And sometimes we mistake that as the voice we need to follow. But God is there too! He is always and will always be. May we all learn to hear His voice. It may be still and small, but it is powerful once we recognize and heed to it. 

The Armor of God

Found this on my friend's Facebook page. Thanks Sister Hone!!
"Random, individual goodness is not enough in the fight against evil." -Neal A. Maxwell

We need the whole armor of God! To stand and stay on the Lord's side, we need the gospel of Jesus Christ, the holy scriptures, and the power of God in our lives. With these tools God has given us, we can and WILL win the war against evil.

Friday, January 10, 2014


Happiness is the destination, but it’s also the path.
"When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ become more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden." - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf


"Endurance is an important principle found within the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is important because the quality of our eternal future is proportional to our ability to endure in righteousness." 
-Elder Richard J. Maynes


Man oh man do I just love our Prophet! He is so inspiring to listen to. How profound! Yeah, we will all be tested and tried and put to the test that sometimes seems impossible to handle. But as we remember that those are the times that strengthen us, we will be able to fight through anything that comes our way!
My mission has been the most trying time of my life. By far! Just this morning I was crying because I didn't think that I could do it for even one more day. Sometimes I don't feel strong. But I am strong. I can fight. When God throws us into the fire, we aren't being burned, we are being refined. He will only heat us to limits that we can handle. 
I love this gospel and all it has brought me in my life. Where would I be without it? I would have given in and given up a long time ago. But because I know that my Savior lives and loves me, I have been able to fight through every battle that has come my way. Through our Savior we can find all strength!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Come Unto Christ

I wish I could just put up the video, but my blog isn't that cool... But Click Here to see what may just be the most inspiring youth video that I have ever seen. It really is worth every minute of your time!
I know that as we come unto Christ, we can find all peace and happiness in a world full of sorrow and hardship. "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life." Straight from our Savior and Redeemer. We are just so blessed!

The Little Things...

Photo: “God expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.” –Jeffrey R. Holland
There is so much joy to be found and shared, and your life should be embraced and lived fully. God wants you to capture that joy, and use it to build up the world in beautiful ways.
How have you felt joy in your life? 
“God expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.” –Jeffrey R. Holland

There is so much joy to be found and shared, and your life should be embraced and lived fully. God wants you to capture that joy, and use it to build up the world in beautiful ways.

It is the little things that make life a beautiful journey we get to enjoy verses an annoying path we have to endure. May we all find the joys in our journey!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Be Your Best Self

Each must strive to learn his (or her) duty and then to do it to the best of his (or her) ability. As we do so, we provide the means by which our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, can accomplish Their work here upon the earth. It is we who are Their representatives here.
Although our journey through mortality will at times place us in harm’s way, may I offer you tonight three suggestions which, when observed and followed, will lead us to safety. They are:
1. Study diligently.
2. Pray fervently.
3. Live righteously. 
Let us never despair, for the work in which we are engaged is the work of the Lord. It has been said, “The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it.”

We are all called upon to do the work of the Lord. We need to rise to that challenge and be our best self to reap the blessings that He has in store for us. But WE are the ones called. And we are called to do it as ourselves. We have to be ourselves. We need to be who we are. Recently I got a letter from a good friend of mine. I was explaining to him that I am trying so hard to be this missionary that I picture in my head as being a "perfect missionary". He told me to stop trying to be someone that I am not. He said that I was called to be me. Not to be what I think a perfect missionary is. He said, "The Lord has put you through trials and experiences to shape you into who you are. He didn't do that to then call you on a mission and have you throw all that away to change who you are. He did that to mold you into the missionary that you are now. To be able to use all those things that He has given you to be you. Because people need YOU!" Man oh man were those words needed. I have been trying way too hard to be someone that I am not. And it is a bit discouraging. But I am giving that up. Don't get me wrong, I will always have things to work on and things to better myself, but I am still me. I am a bit crazy, I am not really funny, I am goofy, I am not very good with words, but I love this gospel! And I have an unwavering testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the path that He has given us to take. And I can use that. And I will use that.
I need to be me. And you need to be you. If we aren't ourselves, who are we? God didn't create us to all be clones. We are personalized for a reason. So be YOUR best self. Find your gifts and the things you have learned through your trials and experiences and work with those. Because God has been shaping you into you for a very long time. And He has been doing it for you to help someone who needs YOU!
I know that this church is true. I know that God loves me and is molding me every day little by little for me to become the daughter that I was sent here to become. I love this gospel. I love the words of God that we are given in the Book of Mormon and by our prophets. I am grateful for my testimony that is continually growing. I love my Savior and His Atonement. It helps me through the best and the worst of times. Being a missionary is very humbling. And it is crazy worth it! The church is true :)

Personal Strength

I read this talk this morning and it really hit me. I thought it was fabulous! 
Recently I was blessed to meet with a most impressive group of youth from the state of Idaho. One virtuous young woman asked me what I feel is the most important thing they should be doing in their lives right now. I suggested they learn to recognize the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives.
How profound! of all the things that we can be doing with our time, the most important thing is not to understand the Atonement, but to recognize the power of it in our lives. I thought a lot about this. How can I recognize the power of the Atonement in my life more? I haven't quite come to figure that out, but Elder Richard G. Scott helped me come to some conclusions.
He shares the story of Ammon teaching the gospel to a people who were "a wild and hardened and a ferocious people." (See Alma 17-27 for the whole story) Some were converted, and to show the Lord that they would change their ways, they buried their weapons of war. When their unconverted bretheren came to war against them, they chose to succumb to the sword rather than risk their spiritual lives by taking up arms. Because of this, more were converted. Well, years down the road, their unconverted bretheren again came with sword to rage war against the believers. This time was a little bit different. Those who were converted had families. They knew that they had a big responsibility to protect their families. But they had covenanted with the Lord to never take up arms again. They were at a loss. Their captain, Helaman, knew that breaking their covenant with the Lord would never be justified. He offered an alternative solution for their families to still be protected. The sons of those who had covenanted went to war in protection for their rights and their families. How hard that must have been as a father. To feel helpless in protecting their families for a covenant they had made with the Lord. But they recognized the Atonement in their lives. They remembered the covenants that they had made with their Lord and they understood that they could not break that. 
We all make covenants or promises with the Lord. And Satan who knows us so well, knows just what to send us to hit our weak places. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can fortify our weak areas to create strength. 
Each of us has had times in our lives when we have made poor choices. We are all in desperate need of the redemptive power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Each of us must repent of any rebellion. “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” He cannot because He knows what it takes to become like Him.
But how? How do we build up our fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness? Elder Scott tells of 4 ways:
  • Make covenants and receive ordinances for yourself. Then steadily and consistently work to provide ordinances in the temple for your own ancestors.
  • Share the gospel with nonmember or less-active family members or friends. Sharing these truths can bring a renewed enthusiasm into your life.
  • Serve faithfully in all Church callings, especially home teaching and visiting teaching assignments. Don’t be just a 15-minutes-a-month home or visiting teacher. Rather, reach out to each individual member of the family. Get to know them personally. Be a real friend. Through acts of kindness, show them how very much you care for each of them.
  • Most important, serve the members of your own family. Make the spiritual development of your spouse and children a very high priority. Be attentive to the things you can do to help each one. Give freely of your time and attention.

     As we lose our life in the service of our Father in Heaven's children, Satan's temptations will lose power in our lives. What a miraculous promise. I know that we can find strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that He is the source of all goodness and all hope and love. How grateful I am for this knowledge and for my Savior who has done all for me. The church is true my friends!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Disappointment vs. Discouragement

I think there is a big difference between disappointment and discouragement. 
We will all be disappointed at one time or another. That is totally fine. I was disappointed this morning, in fact, when we had a planned lesson fall through. I usually get disappointed when planned lessons fall through. I do because I know the joy and happiness that come from accepting and living this gospel. So it is hard to keep going when I see others not accept it. I get down and sometimes I get a bit frustrated. But we can't let that get to us! God allows disappointment to better us. To help us to learn. On the other hand, Satan is the source of all discouragement. He is the one telling us that we should quit when things aren't working. He is the one trying to make us miserable and trying to tear us apart. Why does he do that? Because he is jealous of us. He doesn't want us to come closer to Christ. That is why living the worldly life is easy while following the path of God brings challenges and hardship. It is inevitable. But if we allow discouragement to take over, we are allowing Satan to win. And we can't allow that to happen! Discouragement will lead to bitterness and anger. 
We are in charge of our own happiness. We decide our reaction to others actions and the situations that we are in. We can't control situations, but we can control our reaction to them. We have to be stronger than Satan. We can win through following Christ and fighting through the situations that we are in.

All of us encounter disappointment in one form or another. It might come through such circumstances as unmet expectations, elusive career opportunities, failing a test, being disqualified during a try-out for a school play or athletic team, or being excluded from certain social functions.
Disappointments can be seen either as a prelude to continued failure in our lives or as occasions for great personal growth and even the beginning of truly outstanding performance.  
All human beings experience disappointment. If this hard fact of development were not so, it would be very difficult to explain the joy of personal growth that often follows setbacks. Our challenge is to maintain balance and perspective through inevitable disappointments.

Let us use our disappointment for good.For strength and growth vs. failure. I know that through Christ and His Atonement we can all find that peace and hope through any trial.