Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Appreciate Elder Holland's Words! - September 2, 2014

Hey there :)

I am staying in Fort Collins for another 6 weeks with Hermana Stratford!!! Crazy! I have never stayed in an area this long or with a companion for this long! I am happy! I love it here and I love Hna. Stratford :)

So have you all heard about the ice bucket challenge that has been going on?? I am sure you have and I am sure you know a lot more about it than I do! haha! But John Bowman got challenged to do it and so we helped him! I got to dump the water on his head! haha!! It was really fun! He challenged us to do it... but I don't want to! It would be funny to see missionaries doing it... hmm... I'll think about it! :)

We also hiked Horsetooth yesterday with John for Pday! It was super fun! I am sore today though... And I am sick... :( It is the worst to be sick as a missionary! I hope I get feeling better quick! Anyway.... the hike was beautiful and it was fun to do something outdoors on the one sunshiny day we have had in a while!!!

Mom- Thank you so much for your letter this week about what you thought about the talk, "His Grace is Sufficient". It is seriously one of my favorite talks! I am glad you liked it and I really appreciated your insights on it!! For some reason before my mission I had a hard time really understanding what Grace meant. But after studying it and after reading that talk I totally get it! And I love it so much!!! Also... thank you sooooooooooooooooo much for the treat sent via Christine!!! :) MADE MY WEEK!!!! (We ate it at the top of Horsetooth!!) I am soooooooo glad you got to meet her at Swiss Days! She showed me your selfie :) She told me she felt like you were best friends getting caught up on the last years of your lives :)

I have been trying to think about what I could write home about this week but honestly it was a tough week... One of our investigatros literally tried to sneak out of his house while we were there for our appointment and we totally saw him - haha! Things with other investigators have been a lot slower because they have started jobs and other things and now can't come to church or to activities... nada! No one was home for other appointments. It has been a trying week. And so, I guess I just want to say that I know that we have trails in our lives for a reason. There is a purpose for everything! LIfe is hard. It is not meant to be easy. We are supposed to have difficulties and we are supposed to struggle and have temptations and ups and downs. If we didn't, we would not turn to our Father in Heaven for his help and his guidance. We wouldn't use the Atonement. We wouldn't understand what true joy and happiness is. This is a lesson I having been learning my entire mission and especially this week. I didn't have the most positive attitude the entire week. I wondered why things were not going well. But I am now trying to remember this! But life is not meant to be hard forever! It is meant to be enjoyed! You can find positives and blessings in every situation. I am also reminded of one of my absolute favorite talks by Elder Holland called, "Missionary Work and the Atonement" He says...

"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
"You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
"Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
"For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
"If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
"The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
"I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, 17 was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.
"On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.
"I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all. 18
"I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. 19 I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world."
I second EVERYTHING Elder Holland said! I know this is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience! I appreciate all of the love and letters and kind and sweet words you send to me! I am grateful for my great family! You are all so wonderful!!! Thank you from the bottom of my corazon :) 
Have a fantastic week!!!!!!!! XOXO

More pics from the week include:

1-2. Waling to Andy Warhol Soup Can with Penny on Campus
3. Katie Fraser :)
4. Mama Juana - going back to Mexico tomorrow :(
Hermana Hannah Mangum :)

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