I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!! I did! We received special permission from our Mission President to stay out and watch fireworks. We had a great evening with one of the families from the Church here. We started with a dinner from KFC and it went from there. There was also another couple there, one of which was baptized just in May. We were able to talk to both families about how they can share the gospel with those they care about. Then we had fun with fireworks! I can't say I thought a lot about the true meaning of the holiday, but I'd like to talk about it now. To me, it means that God has provided a place for us to have religious freedom. Of course there are many other freedoms that come from living in the US, but that is the one that provides the most lasting effect in our lives. It is the one that allows us to make a difference in what happens after we die. Because we can worship God how we see fit in this country, we need not worry about what is going to happen in the next life. We can learn about Jesus Christ and Our Father in Heaven. We are free to practice our faith and live the gospel with no worries about legal restrictions. That is such a huge blessing, because as I have learned to live the teachings and follow the example of my Savior, I have gained a confidence in my personal relationship with God. I do not worry about what is true or how I need to live my life. There are always doubts, but I have a sense of direction, and I trust the Lord to guide my life as I turn to Him. The future is in His hands. I hope you can all take advantage of the blessing of living in this country. A prophet foretold of this in The Book of Mormon, which was written on this land in ancient times and has come to us to confirm and clarify the doctrines taught in the Holy Bible. Jacob was one of the first prophets on this land around 550 B.C. He wrote:
" But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God. For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words."
-2 Nephi 10:11-14
If you feel that you lack "light" in your life and you need a better vision of the future, turn to the Lord and serve Him. It is no wonder to me that those who place more priority on careers, fashion, entertainment, recreation, etc. than on God lack a sense of real purpose to their life. A life not headed by God will certainly lead to doubt, eventually if not immediately. We can be confident that we will have success in our careers and all aspects of our lives if we put Him first. He cares about our needs first, but our wants as well. He knows we want to be happy, and He will show us how to achieve that. But, true and lasting happiness will only come with self-sacrifice. I have learned that to be true as I have lived and observed others. It is clear to me the Jesus Christ is the only 100% unfailing foundation for our lives.