Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Tender Mercy Experienced

Mission: accomplished. Well, not my actual mission, but a surprise that I started to plan and work toward for the past month, at least, and it was a lot of fun.

I gave my final Farewell Address today at my parent’s ward--in Spanish! That is right, en la idioma hermosa de mis padres y hecho eso porque me amo mis padres. I am not fluent, but I know how the words are meant to sound and can read with most of the pronunciation correct, so I asked my friend in California to become a partner in crime and translate my original address from English to Spanish (thank you SO much, Karla!) and read it aloud at the pulpit—this took a lot of practice and I was surprised that I was able to make the progress so quickly. It was such an amazing experience and was told that most of the words came out correctly and that I sounded like I knew what I was saying. It is going to be wonderful when I can make the translation from English to Spanish by myself because I will understand the language as well as I understand English (future goal when I get back from my mission). Now I have an even stronger testimony that the gift of tongues is real.

               I feel like today was a tender mercy from the Lord letting me know that He will help me when it comes time to learning Mongolian and is the difference between where I currently am and what I need to be; all I need to do is put in as much work as possible. It is so similar to the enabling power of the Atonement, but just in regards to language learning, where my effort alone will not suffice, but if I have trust in the Lord and am prepared, the Holy Spirit will bring the message unto the people’s hearts and they will have enough understanding to have the opportunity to accept what is being taught. I feel like today was my witness that the Lord will fulfill His promise to bring the gospel to every people in every language. The gospel has already moved forward in Spanish, but I have never taught in Spanish; now I have.

               Learning Mongolian is not going to be easy nor will I learn the language overnight, but I am not afraid to make mistakes anymore. I want to sound terrible if needed because than the people will know of my strong desire to simply talk with them.

               I am so happy with my life right now and know that it is because I am doing what the Lord would have me do. There are so many terrible things going on in the world, but we have the good news of the gospel and I know that everything will work out.

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Farewell Celebration

I love my family.

I feel like this is one of the most important things that I always need to begin with as they are the beginning and the reason behind why I do many of the things that I do; my family also supports me with their full heart. Today, they were able to show this to me by throwing my Farewell Party--a little earlier than normal, but considering the holiday season, I wouldn't have it any other way.

For the past couple weeks, I have seen my mom putting together the centerpieces for the tables because she wanted the farewell dinner to be as perfect as possible. For the past couple days, I have seen family friends come together to offer their support for my mission in small acts of service and their well wishes when I tell them about what I am learning about Mongolia. Today, it was the culmination of love as my friends, family, and friends of my parents came together for my Farewell Dinner to spend some time with me during this dinner and I felt SO supported.

Everywhere I looked, there were friends, family, and smiles. It was perfect.

One amazing thing that I experienced was the sheer desire to speak with everyone that attended, even the friends of my parents who spoke only Spanish, because I wanted to let them know how much I loved them and appreciated their support. So, one of my tragic shortcomings is that I do not speak Spanish fluently, but that absolute desire helped me communicate more than I normally would be able to do. I feel like this is what it is going to be like when I make it out to the field in Mongolia: I will want to talk with these wonderful people however I can regardless of fluency. In Spanish, I was putting together words and sentences with any words that came to mind in order to communicate my gratitude, not feeling self-conscious any mistakes that I made. In fact, the more mistakes that I make, the closer I get to being able to speak fluently, right?

Being surrounded by members in a family ward also helped to give me a sense of peace about possible scenarios when I come back to Colorado after my mission is completed. I was able to spend a couple minutes speaking with a family near the end of the dinner with their daughter who was in the Young Women program (ages 12-18) and a feeling came to me of how I WANT to be able to be a leader to younger women, this is not anything that I desired before. I think that I will be okay when I come back and have to leave the YSA ward, how could it be otherwise when I know that there are other places that I can serve others.

Basically, this post is about saying thank you to my family and friends. I love you very much and cannot wait to share stories from the other side of the world of new friends that I am making and lessons that I could only learn by the wonderful people of Mongolia and fellow missionary companions and leadership. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Majesty of the Temple

There is a majesty to the LDS temples that is absolutely astounding and makes for it to be one of the most sacred experiences every time that you enter into this holy ground. To enter into this, the House of the Lord, you have to make certain covenants and promises with the Lord and for this reason, you only go through when you are ready; there is no timeline or quota that you must meet, it all depends on the condition of your heart and willingness to live your life at a higher standard. It sounds intimidating, but you will know when you are ready and will feel it resonate within you as witnessed by the Holy Spirit.

I cannot describe the pure peace that you feel! A couple of years ago, back in 2013, I was getting ready to enter the Temple and felt is expedient to just go and sit on the grounds outside of the temple--anyone, member or non-member, is welcome onto the grounds. It was late summer (August, I believe), so there were leaves that were starting to turn yellow, but still all the flowers were in bloom with bumble bees buzzing, and I was able to go there and just sit and ponder on the direction of my life at that time. Just being on the grounds, I felt completely embraced by the love of my Heavenly Father and the feeling that he CARED about what I cared about.

In January 2014, I finally entered into the House of the Lord. Things in life did not exactly work out the way that was planned on that first visit, but when does life ever do such?

After that first visit, I then decided to return again as often as I could and this decision greatly blessed and enriched my life, giving comfort when comfort was needed and direction with future decisions. More than anything, I felt so completely loved. There is this quote by President Packer that describes how I felt:

"There is something cleansing and clarifying about the spiritual atmosphere of the temple. Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once, that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can “see” things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known." (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, (2002), 1–37)

Every time I went to the Temple, I found an answer that I had in my heart. More often than not, my answer was a confirming feeling of complete joy: the kind of joy that makes you want to bounce up and down and share the good news with everyone that you meet. I am filled with so much love, that I know with my full heart that there is such a divine inheritance within every single one of us. We are children of God! Can you imagine if that was how you looked and interacted with everyone around you? This world would be such a better place.

As I am getting ready to serve a mission, I am reminded of that love of God over and over again. He loves us so much, that we are given promises of Salvation, of eternal marriages and families, and most importantly, we are given the promise of the Atonement--that through our faith and the enabling powers of this infinite sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (also known as grace), we will return to the presence of God.

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ that needs to be shared to every person.