Friday, April 29, 2011

Le Saint-Esprit

This is one of the first chapels built in Salt Lake City.
Having a companion that speaks Spanish has certainly made for an interesting transfer.Especially when you consider the fact that I do not speak a word of Spanish, except for maybe "Hola amigo, como estas." Yes I know, my knowledge of the Latin Tongue is pitiful but it has taught met that regardless of the physical language barrier the Holy Spirit can bridge all gaps. In the Book of John it states, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance...(John 14:26)." When you drive by a local church on a Sunday afternoon you will often see the parking lot filled with cars of all different shapes and sizes. Inside the four walls of that chapel there are families, neighbors and friends gathered together to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Someone who has never heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be surprised when the walk into an LDS Chapel to the sound of kids munching on Cheerios in the back row. The real surprise would come after having sat down for a few moments and witnessed the sacrament, or communion, being passed in complete solemnity or when they hear an ineloquent man speak plainly on his experience with the strengthening power of the gospel. It is undeniable that a special feeling resides there. For many it is a familiar feeling that is often unidentifiable but can be found in moments of prayer, when looking at art or even enjoying the serenity of the outdoors. That special feeling can only be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost that brings us comfort through our most difficult times. It is the Holy Ghost that helps us learn about Christ and His eternal plan for us. It is that same Holy Ghost that can help a non-Spanish speaking missionary know that the words of her teaching companion are true. What a beautiful gift we have been given so that we can know "the truth of all things."

"And I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder them in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:3-5

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joyeuses Pâques

Can you believe it's Easter time already? It feels like just yesterday I was getting ready for finals as I sat in my apartment watching the Easter Devotional on the BYU Channel. It's amazing how time can fly and how quickly things can change. This time of year my thoughts, like many others, are turned towards that infinite atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ.
In my last few posts I've written a lot about choices and how they can both negatively and positively effect our lives. As I think about the role of the atonement in my life my thoughts are once again pulled towards the many choices that I have made. Inevitably we all make mistakes, none of us are perfect but because of the perfection of Christ we can be forgiven of our transgressions and be made clean. My favorite account of the healing nature of the atonement is in The Book of Mormon and it's about Alma the Younger. His father was a prophet yet he went around trying to destroy the Church, destroy Christ's Church. When an angel appeared to him he was struck down and brought to a complete remembrance of all of his many sins. Of this he said, "I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins...I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yeah I saw that I had rebelled against my God... (Alma 36:12-13)" Now we may not be in such excruciating pain as Alma but we are all tormented with feelings of guilt. Elder Scott Grow said, "There is no sin or transgression, pain or sorrow, which is outside of the healing power of His Atonement." No matter what we've done that has brought us the pain of guilt we can be comforted in the promise that there is nothing outside of Christ's healing power. I know that my life has been far from perfect but I also know that as I continue to exercise faith in Christ I can be forgiven of my many mistakes and face each day with a "perfect brightness of hope."

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." -2 Nephi 31:20

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Prophet Gordon B Hinckley once said that "Love is of the very essence of life (The Greatest of These is Love, Ensign 1984)." As my new teaching companion (Sister Nieves - Mercado) and I have been getting to know one another we've been talking a lot about the love that we have for our families and friends. We have also spoken a lot about how we show that love to those around us and we always seem to come to the same conclusion; we all show and receive love in different ways but one thing remains the same, we all need to feel loved. Through out society you see displays of love in all forms. Large statues like the one posted here can be seen in various places all over the world. We can also see young kids helping the elderly with their groceries, we can even see people donating their time to visit hospitals or homeless shelters to help lift the spirits of those with a broken heart. All of these are great way's to show our love for our fellow man, for our brother's and sister's, but the greatest exemplar of love is still our Savior Jesus Christ. Of the love that He showed us President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope. As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit." In the Book of John Christ says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Christ gave us the greatest gift of all, the gift of eternal life, the only thing that He asks of us is to show our love for him by keeping the commandments that He has given.One of the greatest commandments that Christ gave us is in the Book of John as well and it states, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." It can be so hard sometimes to show our love for others but when we do we can find greater joy and peace in this life. Timothy inspired us by saying, " Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou and example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." I pray that as I continue my mission I will be able to grow in that Christlike love and return home to be an "example of the believers."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Le choix

This morning started off like most mornings on a mission. I smacked my alarm clock into silence as I rolled off the bed into a morning prayer. As I prepared for the day a reoccurring thought entered into my mind about the choice I made to serve a full time mission. It seems like everything in life is either the result of or the precursor to a choice. Whether we run out of gas on the freeway because we chose not to fill up the tank or we didn't go to a party because we knew it wasn't a good scene, each has it's own consequence. As I continued to think about why I came on a mission and how it has effected my life I started to ponder on how it has effected the life of those around me. It never occurred to me how my service as a missionary would effect others or if it even would. I knew my family would miss me but as for my friends I just assumed that we would just pick up where we left off when I got back. Most of the time when we make a decision we don't fully contemplate the domino effect that our choice will have on others or the future generations. As I continued to think about choice I turned to the scriptures during my personal study and thought a lot about Lehi, the prophet from the Book of Mormon.  He chose to listen to the promptings of the Spirit, to leave all of his possessions, gather his family and flee into the wilderness just before the Babylonians came to destroy Jerusalem. Because of the choice he made to listen and leave generations were impacted and we now have the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of of Jesus Christ. In the Spring of 1820 a young man would make a choice that would change the face of the world forever. He couldn't understand why there were so many Christian churches if Christ had only established one, so he took his question to the most reliable source, God. He asked which church was right and which one he should join, at that moment he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and would later become instrumental in restoring Christ's church back to the earth. Because of a question, because of a willingness to follow lives have been changed forever. Now, I don't necessarily think that lives for generations have been changed because I chose to serve a mission but I know that mine has. How has our decision's effected our future? How will it effect the generations?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

La vie

How do you stay strong in the face of adversity? Life is filled with difficult times. Things that we never thought would happen to us seem to invade our reality at an ever increasing rate. I always thought that while people served missions that they and their families would somehow be preserved, protected for that period of time, nothing could touch them. As I sit here in front of the computer I realize that no matter where we are in life we are in no way immune to the whiles of the Devil. I just received news that a friend from college passed away. Although her and I were never really close, she means a great deal to someone who has meant the world to me. Death of a loved one is never something that one can prepare for but one thing we can take comfort in is the knowledge that this life isn't the end, it's all so much bigger than this world.

A man named Jesus Christ was a carpenter and in His 30's He revealed himself as the Son of God, the literal Savior of the world. From the immaculate conception to the garden of Gethsemane and the finality of the empty tomb, there is no doubt in Christ's divinity and mission here on earth. All these moments in history added up to the single most important event in the world, the atonement. As Christ conquered death and the pain in Gethsemane He opened the door that we too may conquer the grave. It can be hard when faced with the loss of a loved one to remember the gift of a loving Father in Heaven but what a beautiful gift it is. When my Grandfather passed away last year rather suddenly I couldn't understand why at that moment in time did my Father in Heaven take him away from us. He was the glue that always held us together, our foundation. At his funeral we sang a closing hymn that really struck me, the last two versus of "How Great Thou Art" (written by Stuart K. Hine) read:
And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin, 
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"
Death is never easy but as we remember the eternal perspective these unbearable moments may be faced with courage and strength.  I am so grateful for this knowledge that this life isn't the end. Because of Christ and His sacrifice I will be able to see my Grandfather again, as I face trials with this in mind the Holy Ghost speaks peace to my soul. I may be on a mission and unable to assist those I love through their trials but I can go on serving knowing that it is in the Lord's hands, what better place for them to be.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Conférence général d'avril 2011

It has been such an amazingly crazy weekend at Temple Square. Thousands of people from all over the world have gathered in this 35 acres for the semi-annual event called General Conference. Many have had the opportunity to listen to living prophets give us guidance in this crazy world, what a wonderful blessing it is to have a living prophet today! All of the addresses were wonderful and uplifting but one in particular really made an impression on me. Each time I study or listen to conference I begin with a question in my heart and mind that I am in need of an answer to. Every time without fail within the course of the conference or studying I am able to find an answer, this General Conference was no exception. As I sat in the Conference Center awaiting the beginning of the Saturday Afternoon Session I began to think a lot about what I really wanted out of life and how to attain the goals I have of going to graduate school, being a Mom, a Grandmother etc. Towards the end of the session I began to become a little discouraged as I didn't really feel like I was receiving an answer to how I could achieve all the goals I have set for myself. Finally Elder Dallin H. Oaks got up and said just what I needed to hear and what Heavenly Father would have me know. One thing he said that really struck me was, "Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices and choices determine our actions." Almost a year a go I had the desire to serve a full time mission so I made it my priority to prepare to serve, made the choice to go by filling out the necessary paperwork then took action by coming to the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. Since I have been here life has been nothing short of an extreme roller coaster ride filled with unanticipated twists and turns. Now as I sit almost half way through my mission I can't help but think about the next step my life must take when I return home. So there I sat in this giant auditorium with 21,000 people as Spirit reminded me of the commitment that I made as I chose to make serving a mission my priority. In the Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 it states, "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." Elder Oaks's talk was a subtle reminder that I had allowed my priorities to become muddled with distractions of the future. I hadn't even recognized how truly distracted I was as I sat pondering and day dreaming about the future while there was still so much work to be done in the present. How often does that happen in society? How often do we sit waiting for tomorrow when we haven't completed today and how much do we miss out on as we allow the days to pass us by? I pray that I do not get caught in the snare of "what if's" for there is far too much to do in the "right now's."