June 21, 2017

adjusting to life

So I have been home for over a month and I kind of can't believe it. My mission seems like a long time ago which kind of makes me sad. I just miss the simple life of the mission. It's been great being home though. And surprisingly I am adjusting well to normal life. Not gonna lie the day after I got home I kind of just cried the whole day but don't work I haven't cried since. I have been trying hard to keep my habits but it's sad how hard it is to keep them. I have been going to the temple almost every week! I think I missed a week. I got a nanny job with the wares. It's a great job and live right next to me. They have three kids and it's been just after school care for right now. Which has been really nice because I have been needed some extra time to do things. And sleeeeeppp! I'm still working on losing the mission weight...but it is slowly coming off. 

But really I have been mainly hanging with my family which has been really nice. I have gone on lots of hikes. Oh and I turned 23!! It was a really good birthday actually. I went to seattle with my family and kaitlyn. We went to do soaring over seattle which was so coooool! I wanted to doit over and over again. We got to ride a pedi bike! Haha it was so much fun. The guy was so funny and was blasting michael jackson. We ate at a really good sandwhich place and got molly moons icecream. People came over later for cake and we played volleyball. Oh and my best friend Kelsey got married! So crazy! It was a really nice and fun day! I still can't believe she is married. I went to utah for a weekend because Brittany had two baby showers so that was way fun. It was good hanging out with her before the baby comes. We swam and shopped and watched movies the whole weekend. It was very chill. I still need to get tan but I won't for a while because tomorrow I am leaving for Iceland!!! It will be cold haha but I am so excited!! So stay tuned for a Iceland post and lots of pictures! TTYL.

homecoming talk

(it's been a month since my talk so I thought I should share it. I actually didn't write it...just some bullet points so it's not written very well because I wrote down what I said on the recording my sister sent me. I'm glad this talk is over though! enjoy!)

So I have actually had a hard time preparing for this talk because I don’t know how to put in words my thoughts on my mission because it has meant to much for me. So I am going to try to express the feelings of my heart. But yeah it’s kind of weird being back, I noticed when I was in Seattle with my family this week I kept saying hi to everyone I saw. And I keep thinking I need to back my mom out in the car and have her approve my text messages. So a little bit about my mission, it was the Scottsdale Arizona mission. I had never heard of Scottsdale before I went there. It took parts of Mesa & Phoenix and the white mountains. I had no idea that Arizona had mountains and that it snows in Arizona but it actually does and I froze a lot. But luckily I never had to endure the Arizona heat in the summer. I don’t know how I got so blessed.  So I did serve most of my mission in the White Mountains. It’s pretty much the place where everyone wears camo & go hunting & you see deer heads all over their house. It’s a culture shock. But now I come here and it’s a shock. But it is awesome being home.

So as you probably know I left on my mission kind of later, I was 21 so deciding to come on a mission was very hard for me. I had a lot of fears about going on a mission but I had a lot of promptings to go on a mission and that scared me. But I finally had this huge leap of faith & decided to come out on a mission. And I can say that it was the best decision ever. And so I was asked to speak on the doctrine of Christ and how I have seen people on mission apply Christ’s gospel to their life. The doctrine of Christ is 5 elements. First is to have Faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repent, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. So that is our purpose as missionarie and as latter day saints.

So to start off I was to talk about a challenge that my mission was given. We were challenged by our mission president and his wife to read the book of Mormon highlighting the doctrine of Christ. And we had 65 days to read it, which is about 9 pages a day. And this experience changed the rest of my mission. I got to fully emerge myself in the doctrine of Christ, in the Book of Mormon. I learned that the book of Mormon is filled with the gospel of Jesus Christ and that the principles and ordinances are related and intertwined. All things are gathered together in one. The gospel of Jesus Christ is how we access the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives. It is how we can change, be converted and ultimately live again with our Heavenly Father.

So to prepare I was actually asked to read John 21 and I love this chapter. So it is when after Christ died, some of the disciples went back to fishing but they weren’t catching anything. And Christ comes on the shore but they don’t recognize him and told them to cast their net on the right side. They caught many. They finally recognized him as Christ as the risen Lord and went to shore. And I love what Christ is telling Peter as they are eating the fish. John 21:15-17 reads, “Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” I think this story has become very personal to me because throughout my mission I have evolved my why behind being on a mission. I came on a mission for lots of reasons. I loved the gospel and I wanted to share it with others and it brought me so much happiness. But ultimately I realized that I came on a mission and was still on a mission because I loved Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. And that love led to serving them. And when I realized that, I realized that I wasn’t there for me. I was there for Heavenly Father and His children. And I think that’s when my mission changed me and that’s when I got lost in the work. When we have a love for Heavenly Father, it motivates us to do hard things, like live the gospel.

And so I have thought about a lot of people I have met throughout my mission and thought about how much they loved the Lord & how that motivated them to live the gospel. So what I want to do is to share some experiences of how people I have taught embraced an element of the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives. So I want to start with Faith in Jesus Christ which is to have a belief in Him & it is more than a belief, it leads us to action. When I think of someone who has a lot of faith I think of this women named Deanna. We found Deanna through members, side note missionary work is nothing without the members! I loved working with the members. Deanna was of another religion and had a great knowledge of the bible. So she had a lot of faith but I could see her faith increase as we taught her. The Spirit in the lessons was so strong. When you feel the Spirit and feel the love for the people you are teaching you can be bold with them. Deanna knew the book of Mormon was true. She had gotten so far in it and understood it so well. I had never seen an investigator embrace the book of Mormon so well. She was on date to be baptized so we were working with her with not drinking coffee. She drank many cups a day. When we taught her the word of wisdom, she did not drink another cup of coffee again, she had so much faith. But sadly the adversary knew how amazing Deanna is and things led her to not want to meet with us anymore. And that taught me that no matter how much faith I had, it can’t change the agency of others. I do know that Deanna was changed by the gospel because we still talked to her and she was still reading the book of Mormon and not drinking coffee even after we stopped meeting with her.

The next principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is repentance. Repentance is change, that change of heart and not just changing the big things but the little things to become more like our Savior. When I think about repentance I think about this boy named Noah. He was actually the last person I got to see go through the waters of baptism. He is a very special person. Noah is 12 and his mother passed away when he was young so he went to many foster homes. A family in our ward decided to adopt him so we started teaching him. The biggest change I saw in Noah was his happiness grew. When we told him that God loved him, there was such a light in his eyes. I loved telling people that God loved them especially if they never knew that in their life. Noah really embraced the gospel, I have never seen anyone love the gospel more than him. I remember when we first taught noah repentance, we told him that everyone made mistakes, even us as missionaries. He said “really?”. He was so surprised because he thought we were perfect. Noah thought we lived at the church, every ending prayer he asked to help us drive safely back home to church. Noah really worked hard on repentance. He wasn’t a back kid or anything. But every night he said he went to the tree house to read his book of Mormon and to repent. Noah is such a good example to me. We went to the temple with him for the first time and he said he just wished he lived at the temple. Some quotes that I love from him “after I get done with my homework, I am going to go read the whole book of Mormon”. And when we were teaching about the temple, we showed him the baptismal font picture and he said “that looks like a royal bath!”. And then my favorite quote “when I feel the Spirit I feel like I can do anything”. I know that to be true, that we can do anything when we have the Spirit with us. But what I learned from Noah is that it’s the little changes that we need to be repenting of, its not only the big things. But it’s that daily continual communication with our Heavenly Father.

And then baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. It is an outward expression of our inward commitment to follow Jesus Christ. When I think of a baptism on my mission I first think of Molly’s. She was so prepared for the gospel. I had never seen anyone so prepared for baptism. She grew up religious and her parents were not for our church at all. She had so much faith to go for baptism even though her parents didn’t approve. She feared God over man. So on her baptism day we were walking to the font with her before everyone else and she was just so giddy and literally jumping and skipping with joy. She was so excited for this huge step in her life. Sadly she did have a lot of trials after baptism like a lot of converts do. I think that was one of the hardest things to see on a mission was to see your recent converts struggle. I definitely learned from her that partaking of the sacrament each week is a sacrament opportunity that we all have. And each week we can act like we are preparing for our baptism, because essentially that is what taking the sacrament is. When we are partaking of the sacrament we are renewing our baptismal covenants with our Heavenly Father.

And after we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost is what completes baptism and is what cleanses us and purifies us. And every time we partake of the sacrament we are promised the Holy Ghost as our constant guide. When I think of someone that receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I think of Gaylon. Gaylon is someone I wouldn’t think would be prepared for the gospel by just looking at him on the street. He has a bikers bandana, big beard, tattoos everywhere, & smells of smoke. But Gaylon has the biggest heart. He has had a rough past with prison and whatnot. He is the most humble person I know. At every lesson he cried almost the whole time. At his baptism he cried the whole time. He wanted this so much and wanted to be closer to His Heavenly Father. He had to overcome some things, like coffee and smoking. He had been smoking since he was eight. With a lot of faith and help from our God he was able to stop. But funny story at his baptismal interview a week before we drive up and he is sitting outside with a cigarette and a cup of coffee. And we were so mad! But we got closer and it was a rolled up piece of paper and hot chocolate….He loved pulling pranks on us. He had been through a lot and had depression. But I know that the Holy Ghost helped him to be happy and that the Holy Ghost helps all of us to be happy. After he received the gift of the holy ghost he texted us later that day saying that he had never felt like this before.

And then we need to endure to the end, which is so continual. It can be so hard to stay on the path when we have trials and so much going on around us. Keeping our covenants is enduring to the end. When I think of enduring to the end I think of Dave. He has also had a rough past but he totally changed his life around when he got baptized. He is married to a member and they are actually going to the temple to be sealed very soon! I am so very excited and happy for them. That to me is enduring to the end. We want to see all of the converts of the church to go to the temple. In the temple is where you can really feel God’s love for you & know that you have a purpose.

And so I was looking in the bible dictionary under conversion and it says “denotes changing one’s views, in a conscious acceptance of the will of God. If followed by continued faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism in water for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, conversion will become complete and will change a natural man into a sanctified, born again, purified person, a new creature in Christ Jesus. Complete conversion comes after many trials and much testing.” I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people.

My mission has changed me and how I see things, my perspective on life. I really am my biggest convert. I came on a mission to serve others to see this change in people like I have described. But I realized that this mission was really for me, I needed this mission. Heavenly Father is so aware of all of us. I know He has a plan for each and everyone of us. I had never planned to go on a mission but I know that His plan is always better than the plan we have for ourselves. When we have faith in Jesus Christ we can do anything. Anything is possible through him. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the Redeemer of the world and He loves us very much. I am very grateful for Him and His sacrifice. Ultimately it was the atonement of Jesus Christ that changed me. My mission was a very sacred opportunity and experience in my life. I am so grateful for it. I can’t imagine my life without it. I know that Heavenly Father sees our full potential in each of us. That’s something that I have definitely learned on my mission. Heavenly Father knows us personally. I have gained a love for people in Arizona in words that I can’t even describe. I know you always here missionaries say that they love the people they serve but it is so true. That love is something that I didn’t really even know was possible. I know that there is so much power in the book of Mormon. This book has shaped the way I see things and has brought more light into my life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet who restored the gospel of Jesus Christ and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did appear to him. And that is a fact. I am very grateful to stand here today and for all of your support. On a mission you feel very humbled. On my mission at times I felt down or I felt like I wasn’t good enough. But I know that we all have divine worth. Everyone deserves the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no one that doesn’t deserve God’s love. His love is infinite. I’m grateful that we can keep going and serving. I’m excited to keep serving my Heavenly Father. This mission has been a springboard and I am grateful that I have been able to be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that I can continue to become more converted. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

June 15, 2017

coming home

So I have been home 4 weeks...so I don't know how that happened. My mission feels like just yesterday but already feels like a huge blur. So I figured I should probably write about my last two days in the mission.

Those last days are really special. It was fun because we got to spend it in the valley and luckily it was only in the low 80's. We got to spend the night in the mission home for two nights. I was with Sister Fukushima the whole time. Love her. Monday night we got to proselyte with some sisters and meet the new missionaries! I felt really out of place not going to lie. I already felt like I was dying.

Tuesday we got to say goodbye to the missionaries heading to the mountains since it was transfer day. I then had my departing interview! I miss President a lot. He is so chill and the mission president I needed. We then just chilled a lot of the day which was really weird because we aren't used to doing nothing. We then got to go to the temple! All of us that were leaving. It was nice because my anxiety left and I could just feel so much gratitude for my mission in the temple. I always feel God's love for me most in His house. We then had our farewell dinner. We got to talk about experiences and people we taught. We then had a devotional with President and Sister Robinson. It was so special. I won't go into a lot of detail but let's just say there was a lot of tears. We all got to bear our testimonies. I'll never forget my last night in the mission.

Wednesday was the day! Let's just say there was a lot of anxiety. I didn't sleep that well the night before. It's weird because you dream about this day your whole mission and when the day comes you freak out a lot. well i did. I was in the same terminal as sister fukushima and sister grow. I boarded last so I dropped them off which was WAY sad let me tell ya. I sat next to Poppy and she talked my ear off the whole time haha. She is hilarious but that's a whole other story. But there aren't really any words to describe seeing your family for the first time in over 18 months. It was an awesome reunion & I was so happy. Who knows when my whole family will be all together again! I'm grateful I can be with them foreverrrrrr. As for now I am enjoying my time at home & trying to adjust to real life.