Friday, September 26, 2014

The Struggles of a RM

Oh goodness. That is all I have to say about the past 2 months. Overwhelming, frustrating, and intense are just a few words to describe this time period. I guess I should also include joyful, wonderful and new! Life is such a new experience when you have just come home from a mission. Most friends are married or about to be, generally you end up switching schools or majors, your family has grown up and moved on, and you, well you are still in the exact same place you were except you are a totally different person. It is highly confusing! Finding your niche can be hard. In addition to that you expected to come home and still be "perfect." You think of course I will never struggle with scripture reading or prayer. I will still think church is the greatest thing since sliced bread! I will share the gospel 100 times a day! Or my personal thought, I will never fight with my family again! Unfortunately, reality sets in and with that so does the imperfection. This is probably the hardest part of being an RM.  Not being exactly who you want to be instantly.

I have been overwhelmed and reminded lately that that is exactly the point of life. To fail. Yup sounds a little sad and depressing but its true! If we were supposed to succeed, Christ would not be such a central part of our life. He actually wouldn't be necessary at all, but He is. He allows us to succeed, but it is only through Him. On a mission we get to see more of the perfection side of life. We are literal representatives of Him and have been set apart to be His disciple. It gives us more power and a greater perspective of who we are to be. Then we go home. We lose that power and direct purpose and that ideal life becomes just that. Our ideal and our dream. If we can attain the focus and consecration we have as a missionary then we can really be used as God's tools. Perhaps I simply struggle more then others but I do know that Christ is real and He will be there for us as we struggle through this faze of RM.
Here are just a few things that helped me!

  • You will miss your name tag and still try to introduce yourself by touching it... its ok... just accept it. 
  • Find a planner!! It will be your best friend!! 
  • Go to the temple... weekly if possible! It will make you feel like you are back out in the field.
  • Church can still be the promised land.. You just have to work harder. 
  • Scriptures Scriptures Scriptures... enough said
  • If you don't wake up at 6:30 and exercise immediately everyday it is ok! There is forgiveness in this life... 
  • God still loves you. You did it! Don't forget the accomplishment! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh the things I have learned. . .

logoMy mission has changed my life. It has been my best educator on life, faith, and common sense. It has taught me skills and lessons that will help me with the rest of my eternity! I wanted to share just a few of those lessons learned.

  • Lightning will strike a moving car. Rubber tires do NOT keep you safe!
  • Gas stoves are meant to be in the off position for a reason.
  • Virginia air is like drinking soup.
  • Rain storms are meant to be instantaneous and destructive all at the same time! 
  • Paper cuts can lead to staff infection. Don't ignore them!
  • When you are really loved you will be offered many a family member to marry......
  • Frogs can get inside apartments.... so can black widows and dark fishing spiders, and crickets
Ok now on to the more serious ones!
  • Time moves faster then expected and slower then measured
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ can heal any wound and mend any heart. 
  • My Father in Heaven does love each and everyone one of us perfectly and equally
  • Families are meant to be together for eternity
  • Love will always disperse contention and frustration
  • Satan can not be there when humility is present
  • Change is the best and hardest thing that will ever happen to us
I have loved my mission and I am grateful for the blessings that it has brought to my life. I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I love Him and I am so grateful I have been able to serve Him. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Conundrum of the Phone

My entire time in Warrenton I have had the same phone. This phone is a brick! It has been thrown down a flight of stairs, landed on tile, bounced and hit a steel door, landed once again on the tile and didn't even turn off! It was also thrown down a hallway by a teenage boy with no damage! This has been a useful phone. It has allowed us to make calls and send text messages. . . sometimes. It has service. . . sometimes (the best service is on a random bridge in the middle of Marshall Virginia!!). It turns off only about an hour after charging. Ok so maybe this phone has its struggles but it is a phone that has helped us serve as missionaries.Yesterday we had a miracle occur. We received a new phone! It is shiny and bright! It has a battery life that survives all day!! It rings when people call and it even has service in our apartment!! It is a rockstar phone! We have embraced this phone and all of the latest and greatest abilities that come with it!

This is exactly the same as our role as missionaries. We come to help others come unto Christ by accepting His gospel. We have a message that does improve and enlighten any life. It is not changing the capabilities but it is enhancing and allowing for more of God's blessings to flow into peoples lives. I know that all religion helps to make people better. I also know that through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we can achieve exaltation. It is not meant to take away the truths and love others already have for Jesus Christ, but to enrich and add to the truths already given. There are no questions or confusion when the restored gospel is present. I know this is true! I know we can accept the truth by allowing God to testify to our hearts the reality of the restored gospel. Try it out! I promise you will love the new abilities and dreams you can strive for when you have the ultimate truth!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thank Goodness there are only 3 weeks left of this!!

I remembered when my sister first entered the hospital. I remember the phone call from my dad and the fear that instantly came. I was not fully able to understand the magnitude of the situation. I only knew that my sister was in the hospital and that the baby might be born really really early. I was terrified! I felt a little guilt considering I had told my sister she had to get pregnant before my other sister left on a mission. I also remember the feeling of responsibility in caring for my sister. It became my quest to make her happier. She remained in that hospital for a couple months. Way way too long! I visited her everyday! We would read together, watch movies together (especially the movie zorro...that is one weird movie..), I would make her goodies and I would always make her laugh!! The baby monitors showed that every time I spoke or laughed baby girl's heart rate would increase and Caprise said she would roll around in her stomach! I was the favorite from the beginning! While that time was so stressful and hard it is also some of my favorite memories. Caprise and I became so close!! It really was a tender mercy in the trial.
Now that I am on a mission I am once again facing the crazies of life. I have been struck by lightning, been to the ER for carbon monoxide poisoning, torn a ligament in my foot, had eye infections, had companions with staff infection, 
dermiographic hives, and depression, have been rained on, been covered in water as a car drove by the curb, snowed on, have trudged through snow and received potential frostbite, been yelled at, threatened, stalked, been hugged by drunk men, hugged by sober men, had doors slammed in my face, been far from home and family, missed weddings, birthdays and trials at home, watched people fall away here and at home, car troubles galore, had to leave those I love potentially every six weeks, exhaustion beyond belief and that is just the tip of the ice burg!!! There are definitely times when I think thank goodness I only have 3 more weeks left!! However, these are all trials I gratefully accept as I strive to be a true representative of Christ. How can I ask to be one without facing just a small portion of the pain, ridicule, and joy that He once felt. It is the best way to learn of Him and become like Him. I accept all trials and struggles that come if only I can become and learn more of Him. I am who I am today because of these moments in life! Thank goodness they keep on happening!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Consuming of the flesh

I remember when I was little and we went camping. I was always fascinated by the fire. I loved the way it lit up a dark mountain side, the way the flames seemed to dance around each other and the way that it could destroy pieces of papers and smaller sticks in moments! The whole fire seemed to consume the material and it disappeared as if it had never existed. I have continued to be fascinated by fire and the ability to destroy.
In one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon it talks about a similar power that destroys for the good. It is the love of God. Nephi is proclaiming how weak and sinful he is. He is agonizing of the sins he has commited and the guilt he is feeling. Then he switches and testifies of the power of God. We read in 2 Nephi chapter 4: 21 "He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh." The love of God is similar to the fire. It consumes the sins of the flesh. It consumes our weaknesses that come from mortality. It consumes the very natural man and woman inside each of us and allows us to be free! The love of God allows us to move forward, onward and upward to a better and more cleansed life. I am so grateful for this truth! I am grateful that because my Father in Heaven loves me He will allow me to more forward and away from my sins, as if they never existed.
Later this week I was yet again reading in the Book of Mormon and found this golden nugget!
"O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever." (Jacob 3:2)
Throught the study of our scriptures we are feasing on the love of God. That very love that will sanctify and cleanse us from all transgressions! What a promise! Not only do we now know who what, but we know how! Let us feast on His words and His love! Then will the love of God consume our very flesh!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I couldn't post a picture because it would have made me cry....

Once upon a time on a dark and dreary country road drove my companion and I. We carefully came around a turn watching for cars. My companion turned on the brights in order to see and flashed an image in my eye that I can't seem to get rid of. There on the road was a curled up object. The head of that object lifted as we came close. It looked at us with those beady snake eyes and I went into a full blown panic attack!! I could not breathe, my eyes were weeping in fear, and the laughter that escaped my mouth was nothing short of hysterical. My companion sat in silence as I went through the panic process and finally timidly asked if I was okay. "THAT WAS A SNAKE!!" erupted from my mouth and the process began all over again. The fear I felt in that moment is not one I would like to repeat. I was completely incapable of acting in a normal dignified way. I was a wreck!! I am not sure why the sight of that snake affected me in such a way but it created a memory I am sure my companion will not soon forget.
Often times in this life we face fears that create stumbling blocks. We feel we can not continue forward and the physical action is unbearable. Some of those fears are losing a loved one, getting out of our comfort zone, change, dealing with sickness or depression, or even the simple steps of repentance. These are all normal fears that occur almost everyday. I wish there would have been an animal control worker to whisk that snake away, but that was a fear I have to face alone. On the other hand we have someone who will always help us overcome our emotional and spiritual fears. That is, of course, our Savior Jesus Christ. We can always rely on His help and comfort as we overcome and defeat our fears. As 1 John 4:8 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." The perfect love of Jesus Christ can and will cast away all fear if we let Him in. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the fears He helps me to overcome!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I don't have to know everything!

In general education college classes we are expected to know everything that comes written in a giant text book!! We are asked challenging questions and write thought provoking essays about such topic. About 2 minutes after the final exam 80% of the material is instantly lost! It is gone! It is learned simply for the test and not for the practical application. On the contrary, religion is learned to become something greater. It is meant to become engrained in our everyday actions. There is no final test on the fine line details but an examination on how it is applied.

I love being a missionary. I love the fact that often I do not have all the answers. In fact, often times I don't know much of anything! I simply get to share what I know is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That is enough for me. I don't have to know all the details or remember all the names. I just have to open that book and my life is better. I feel loved, peace, special, and enlightened. Basically I just feel better. That is enough for me. That is enough to jump right out there as a missionary and talk to everyone I see! That is enough for me to be away from my family for 18 months. That is enough for me to get every aggravating and discouraging question out there and still stay true to what I know. It is enough. This might sound niece or foolish but it is true. When I came to know that the Book of Mormon was the word of God everything else fell into place. I want that same joy for everyone else around me!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the church of Jesus Christ. It really is simple. It is here to help us come the closest we can to our Heavenly Father. It is how we find true joy. We know this because of that little Book I was talking about earlier. Please read it. Please pray. And please ask me questions!