Monday, March 31, 2014

I don't care what's on the calendar, it is so NOT SPRING

Today, we woke up to at least 3-4 inches of snow on the car. No need for further explication. Here is our "palabra del dia" board that I've been meaning to share.

We've been doing this for about a month now, and among my favorite words are "pilluelo" (mischievous) and "mezquino" (wretched/miserly). Now for the story behind the broken board. It hasn't always been hanging up, so it used to be leaning against the table. I may have mentioned that I like to practice handstands at night. Well, I got a pretty good one and apparently I got too excited, because I somehow tipped over right on the whiteboard and snapped it :(

Just a quick scripture today. Ephesians 2:19-20

 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

This is how Jesus Christ set up His Church when He was on the earth. He also taught that we must be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5, Mark 16:16). In Ephesians 4:5 we learn that there is to be one baptism. In 1 Cor. 12 we learn about the body of Christ. The body of Christ, or His Church, is the Kingdom of God on the earth, which we may be baptized into. If we then continue following Christ to the end of our lives, we have the promise of everlasting life. That is worth so much more than any pursuit available to us here on earth. Our Father in Heaven wants us to have families, careers, friends, recreation, and other things in our lives. We just need to make sure that He comes before any of these things, and as we pursue these things, we must make sure to put God's will as the top priority, then we will have success. Perhaps it won't come immediately, but I believe the promise found in proverbs 3:5-6. I testify that the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ as explained in Ephesians is important for our day (Ephesians 4:11-14). I testify that Prophets and Apostles are on the earth today to guide the Church. I realize that this statement carries a lot of weight, and I don't expect you to believe me. Think about what I've said and take it to God in sincere prayer. If you really want to know and you are willing to act based off of the answer you receive, you will definitely receive an answer. If you really want to find the truth behind what I'm saying, you will also meet with the missionaries. I have by no means given you enough information, but the missionaries will. They can help you see why it is important for you. Our Father in Heaven wants us all to find the truth in our lives. That is why there is 85,000 missionaries throughout the globe. It is the work of God to bring all to the knowledge of the truth. He expects people to search in faith, and not wait for an answer.

 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  -Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

I like mine farm fresh! We stopped by a members house, and they have their own chickens! They sell them, but to us they were kind enough to give some away :) I could definitely tell a difference from store-bought eggs.

Yesterday all of the missionaries from here in Casper took a trip out to Martin's Cove, so that's why I didn't make a post. Martin's Cove is a historical site where some of the pioneers got caught in an early winter storm in 1856. They camped there for five nights because they could not move on due to weather and lack of strength. They waited there for assistance. It is a worthwhile spot to consider as a stop on a vacation. It really helped me to appreciate even more the sacrifices of the early members of the Church to travel across the country. The highlight, however, had nothing to do with history. As we waited for our lunch (don't expect lunch there unless you are a missionary :)), we were shown a video on families that is only presented in LDS visitor centers. I told my parents of the experience:

"Yesterday at Martin's Cove we watched a video about families, which was a very tender experience. I though a lot about CarrieAnne, grandma Dudley, and other members of the family. It also made me very excited and anxious for starting my own family. The responsibility and the joy of families both weighed on me and showed in my emotions. I know that out of the many people who teach me in life, other than Jesus Christ, none of their influences will ever rival that of my parents, until perhaps I am able to learn from my spouse and my children."

For a little bit of information, my parents had a baby girl pass away at ten months about 3 years before I was born, and my grandma recently passed away. These events bring sadness because of the absence of people so dear to us, depending on how close we were with them, but they also bring us closer to God and make us stronger if we let them. Because of the gospel , I know that the sweet memories that we have with our loved ones in life do not stand alone, for we have the eternities to create more with them. This possibility comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I imagined my grandparents free from all imperfections of health, as I know I will meet them after this life. Only because of Jesus Christ can we hope to be free of cares and suffering in the next life. However, the knowledge that I can share everlasting joy with my family members is what motivates me to follow Christ. I would have little motivation to do God's will if I didn't know that it would lead me to a life with my family forever. God's choice social unit is the family, both here and  especially after we leave this world, where we will not have any of the concerns that we face here. Jesus Christ is my reason to hope. My family is my reason to work. And, the Holy Spirit that I feel in my heart when I bring myself humbly and wholly to God is how I know that it is real.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Miss Me I'm Irish

Happy St. Patrick's day everyone! It's always fun to participate in a little holiday spirit! Luckily it landed on a preparation day! (Mondays are our day to take off of proselyting to get ready for the week - Preparation day)

This past weekend has been transfer time, which happens every six weeks. On these weeks, we have the chance of moving to another area. For the next six weeks, I will still be here with Elder Bell. I am so happy, because we have a great time (see picture) but still stay focused on the work.

Each week, our mission president sends out a mass email to all of the 230+ missionaries in our mission with advice or spiritual thoughts. This week, I'd like to talk about something he said. He suggested that as we teach people how to pray, we ask them "If God were in the room right now, what would you ask Him?" Making our prayers as a conversation with our Father in Heaven is a very important skill to learn. It is hard to imagine a real, tangible being who can hear our communications to Him and those of everyone else who makes such attempts. That is an amazing, miraculous concept. If we can imagine speaking in direct conversation to Him, however, we will learn to grasp that concept and we will become aware of it's truthfulness. As I have taken the time to truly imagine my Father listening to me as I pray, my prayers become more sincere and earnest, and my faith in God develops as the answers become more easily recognizable. Practicing this daily has brought me a surety that God hears are prayers and that He has a deep, unconditional love for each of us. In psychology class, the suggestion was made that many religious people can have imaginary relationships with a higher power that they believe in. This caused me to wonder, but I beg to differ. Those who call upon the Lord in sincerity can feel indescribable influences come into their heart and mind. Prayer is a very real gift. It is a true line of communication with the Father of our spirits, inexplicable by science or reason. I invite each of you to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, as the Savior himself taught. He wants to be an influence in your life. There are not many who want to influence your life, motivated 100% by a desire for your well-being, and nobody, even you, knows what you need better than Him.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Don't Worry, the Cat is not in Our Apartment

I finally got a picture! This cat really did not want to kiss me... but I didn't want to kiss it either, I was just posing for the picture! This is the cat that is constantly roaming around our apartment complex, and we have no idea who it belongs to! It is often lounging in our building's laundry room, which is where the picture is taken. 

We had a fairly slow week as far as teaching goes, but we did a ton of organization for our new English proselyting area. That took way too much time for my taste, but I know that God wants us to be organized, so my "taste" doesn't matter. It is one of His characteristics that He wants us to develop. Careful organization leads to lasting success, which is something that I have learned more on my mission than ever. Another attribute that God wants us to develop is love (1 John 4: 7-9). He loves perfectly, and the more we learn to love those around us unconditionally, the more we become like our Father. I have been realizing more and more that the things that God commands us to do always allow us to grow more like Him. I have always known that His commandments are in place for our well-being, but I haven't thought about it in this way very much. He truly does, as a perfect Father, want us to develop the attributes that He has, and the opportunities we have in life, if seized, will help us to do that. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect example. We cannot receive eternal life with God unless we are clean as Christ. He knows we are incapable of this on our own, and this is the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has asked us to live His gospel, and in turn He will cleanse us by His Spirit. This is the course of lasting happiness, and the price that we must pay is so simple. As Christ said, His burden is light, and He invites all of us to come to Him and bear that burden (Matthew 11:28-30).

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm a Spanglish Missionary Now

I had an amazing picture to post, but just wait to hear this. I was looking through my pictures and found one I didn't want. Sadly, I was paying close enough attention. I erased all of the pictures on my camera...At least I have most of them on a thumb drive! No new ones, though. The picture I was going to send was of me with a cat. There is a cat that always wanders around our apartment building, and we don't know who owns it. My missionary companion is a cat he naturally put on his cat bow tie and had me take a picture of him with the cat. I thought it would be a good one to put on the blog, so I also got a picture with our cat friend. I am sorry, I tried.

This morning something weird happened. We went to go use the laundry machines in another missionary apartment, and out of the blue my companion started wrestling me. I've never been a huge fan of wrestling, but I had some energy to let out. In the middle of our squabble, his head hit my chin, and I thought nothing of it. After I successfully pinned him(He has 3 inches and 50 pounds on me :)), I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I think my tooth is chipped a little bit. Actually, feeling it right now, I know it is! It's just a tiny chip though. I can have the dentist smooth it off soon. (Don't be mad at me, mom!)

I would just like to add a piece of my testimony. This past week especially, I have felt God's influence in my heart and in my life. I have recognized more the pivotal role He has played in getting me to this point. Assuming I already have my family (which I wouldn't have without Him) : Without God, there would be no scriptures; no words to guide us. There would be no basis for my family to have taught me the things that they have. There would have been no Savior, no atoning sacrifice, and by extension, no hope for lasting happiness. The more I work to bring my heart closer to God, the more He teaches my what I must do to change. When we start getting comfortable with where we are, that is when we should feel nervous. We always need to be coming closer to God, finding more and more ways to improve. He will change our hearts and it will not be hard to know what to do. Change is a continual, never-ending process. It is not something sorrowful. It is the happiest thing we can do in life, as long as the changes bring us more in line with our Father's will for us. As we make covenants with Him, starting with baptism, and continue to change until the end of our lives, we have the promise of eternal life with our families, The most joyful destination imaginable.