Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trains aren't just for transportation

This past weekend I had the lovely privilege to go to Provo to visit my friend Emily!

we went to the BYU vs. Utah game (BYU lost...)

 Walked around the provo temple 

And the beautiful SLC temple
Special thanks to these wonderful ladies for letting me crash their weekend!
      I flew into Salt Lake City Airport on Friday night, and to save Emily the trip and the gas, I took a light rail from the airport to downtown Salt Lake. There I sat and waited for the train that would take me from SLC to Provo. and waited. and waited. And then a train came, and it was retiring for the night so I waited even more again. And then waited some more. Anyways, I sit down on this bench (yes it's downtown at night, but there was plenty of good people there, so I was safe. no worries), and start writing a letter to a friend and this guy comes and sits down next to me. I'm thinking, okayyyyy either he is a creep and will start hitting on me in 2 microseconds or he is just really tired and needs to sit down. I keep writing.When people start asking me about my life, especially people I don't know, I like to put up a wall and give them as little information about myself as possible. But he kept asking questions. And I would give him more and more information slowly. Somehow we start chatting and I find out he is Russian, studying at UVU for his LSAT, and I share that I am going to ASU and leaving on a mission in January. My guess is that he is 24 ish.
      Soon enough I found out that he "has never heard of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons". Literally out loud I say, "There is noooooo way you live here in Utah, and go to UVU and have never heard of Mormons." He just laughs. So my inner missionary is screaming, MISSIONARY OPPORTUNITY. But this guy is 7 thousand steps ahead of me and starts asking questions about my church and what I believe/why I'm going on a mission. WOW. Special thanks to my mission prep teacher for stressing the importance of studying Preach My Gospel, because there is no way I would know answers if I hadn't made a regular habit of studying. The train finally comes. And I'm like-- okayyyyy is he going to kill me and bury me.. or does he really want to know about the church?
     When we get on the train he asks if he can sit by me and ask more questions. So we sit down.. and he drillllllssss me. Hard core. I mean he asks every single question in the book. The 2 questions he keeps coming back to is how I know God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost are real if I have never seen them and why I'm serving a mission when there's 10,000 other things I could be doing. I answered them, I taught about the spirit--the Holy Ghost-- I told him that I wanted other people to know Christ lived and that eternal happiness can be found through his church. The list goes on and on. This was an hour long train ride, keep in mind.
I testified over and over again of the principles he was asking. He asked me about chastity and other standards, the scriptures, prophets, and a billion other things I can't remember. At one point, I start with the restoration, mostly focused on Joseph Smith and the First Vision and I quote the "I saw a pillar of light..." reference from heart. There's no way he hasn't felt the spirit right? I was bearing my testimony with everything I had in me. I almost was emotional at one point (hard to believe from miss dry eyes over here). Pretty soon a return missionary sitting across from us is chiming in too. But my Russian friend didn't really like how complex this guy was putting everything. He wanted short and simple answers. I was slightly discouraged as I felt that I wasn't making a difference, wasn't helping him feel the spirit, wasn't answering his questions. He seemed close minded and unable to comprehend what I was saying to the fullest.
     Long story... That I attempted to make short.... He is getting ready to get off at the train stop right before mine, and as we slow to a stop and he stands up he holds up his hand, and turns a ring around that was hidden. GUESS WHAT THE RING SAID. yeah. "CTR". This dude was already a Mormon. I mean endowed, served a mission, active, temple attending Mormon. He was hard to understand completely because of a slight language barrier, but he explained that he was curious to see if I was going on a mission for the right reasons, so he decided to test me and faked it the whole time. He asked for my number and invited me to the temple with him and his roommate the next morning. I gave it to him, and gave me his... Then he got off the train and I haven't heard from him! And for the life of me I cannot remember his name.

Okay. So if you read all that. PROPS TO YOU. But the point of me writing it all down is because I learned a couple valuable lessons. 
Lesson #1: Prepare. Prepare to be asked questions. Prepare if you are going on a mission. Prepare if you aren't going to serve a mission. Because we will be tested, and we will be asked questions. The spirit cannot draw water from an empty well.
Lesson #2: Don't be afraid. If you have the desire, the spirit will accompany you when you teach. The spirit does the testifying!
Lesson #3: We teach people. Not lessons. If we see people as who they are, who they can become then the power of our testimonies will be so much stronger. 

Lesson #4: If this man wasn't LDS and we had just parted with his mind and heart still closed, my confidence level would have been at an all time low. But a couple days later as I was studying PMG, I read:
"You can know you have been a successful missionary when you: 
1) feel the spirit testify to people through you, 2) Love people and desire their salvation,
 3) Obey with exactness, and 4) Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say."

So yeah, maybe he didn't commit to baptism (hypothetically speaking), but I did what Heavenly Father asked me to do. I testified of Him and His son. And that's nothing to be confidence shot about!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

a moment of darkness

In my Religions of the World class we have been studying Buddhism for the past week and a half ishh. Today my teacher brought it to our attention that although they believe in multiple gods, Buddhists don't believe in a creator. And I just sat there. Dumbfounded... Literally I almost cried.
What the heck would I do if I didn't believe in a Creator? I think Heavenly Father taught me a valuable lesson as I sat there and began to imagine myself as just that. Here were my thoughts (and they seemed very real) as I imagined myself not knowing there was a God who created everything I know and love:
I began to feel completely and utterly alone. I pictured the entire world, all it's people, and wondered where they came from. How did I end up on earth? I sunk deeper and deeper into this feeling of loneliness and despair. Would I become dust after I was dead? What is the point of doing good or bad if it didn't carry on with us to another life? Again I felt lost. And again, deeper and deeper. Darker and darker. It was a feeling that is literally indescribable. It was like the world was suddenly moving at high speed, while I was in slow motion. The room expanded and the students sitting next to me looked a mile away. I saw everything from a different perspective. I then brought myself back to reality...

And I became so grateful for the knowledge and testimony I have right now. I know I'm not alone. I know where I came from. I know I was created in God's image. I know I am his daughter and that he loves me. I know his Son was sent to redeem the world. I know that there is a reason we are on Earth, to get a body, to be tested, to learn, to grow, and to help others grow as well. I know that I can be with my family forever. I know I'm loved. I know that this life is but a small pinpoint on a line that goes on forever. I know where I came from. I know who I am. I know where I'm going.

I know who I am. 

It amazes me. Amazes me that I'm here on Earth, here with my family, here with these people in my life--- all for a reason. Maybe a reason I don't yet comprehend all the way. But I know there's meaning to everything that happens. For this is his Plan, this is Heavenly Father's plan. And we are all a part of it!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Joy Joy Joy. Joy all around.

So. When I started this blog, I had no idea why I chose the scripture Mosiah 15:30-31 and "Breaking Forth Into Joy" as the title of my blog. Let me back up a little as I explain how these past couple weeks I've recognized why.

I have Stake Conference tomorrow, and I was asked to speak in it (uhhh scary yeah I know) on missionary work and preparation. That is one stinking BROAD subject. I have thought about it every day for a couple weeks, trying to find some sort of inspiration on what direction to go. I sat at the computer countless times, praying and pleading with Heavenly Father for help and guidance. But then I had a solid chat with my dear friend Courtney (shout out to you!) after attending a lecture at school. We talked about our recognition of the sadness and pain of those around us. College is the age of rebellion. No longer living at home, they try new things, searching for happiness in the wrong places. But all they get is short term satisfaction.
They don't know that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father, or that Christ died for them. They don't feel the holy ghost every day, they don't receive comfort from the scriptures, they don't know that Christ's true church is on the earth! The gospel brings me pure happiness. Pure joy. I know that Christ lives. I know we have a prophet today. I know that there is a life after death, that peace will be given to those that suffer, and that we can be with the ones we love forever. I want other people to be happy.

And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! 
D&C 18:16

I'm going to take that one step further. Why do we do missionary work? yes, it's a commandment, yes we are following Christ's example, yes it gives us brownie points. But ultimately we do it because of love. Because we love our brothers and sisters. We want them to be happy. For how great will be their joy in the kingdom of their father. Their joy. not mine.
That's what this gospel is. It is joy! Missionary work is joy! Joy for those we love, joy for those who are lost, joy for those in need of comfort, and most importantly joy in the presence of our Heavenly Father, surrounded by our brothers and sisters. I want them to be happy. That is why I am going on a mission. For how great will be their joy. 

This is why I chose that scripture as my title so long ago. And it took me this long to realize that. And so this is what I finally realized I would write my talk on!

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

One last quote for you from Jeffery R Holland
“An invitation that is born of our love for others and for the lord Jesus Christ and our desire for the happiness of these friends and family members will never be seen as offensive or judgmental. The resurrected Lord’s final commission to his disciples was to teach and to baptize. Baptisms is the essential first ordinance on the journey to salvation the scriptures tell us of the lords joy when we baptize repentant qualified persons. We ought to be eager to do so and bring them that joy. The wonderful thing about it is this is filled with joy for ourselves as well.” 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I got my mission call! Click here to watch!!

It legitimately took minutes to get our mailbox open (as you will see in the video) because it's rusty or something! Talk about the longest 3 minutes of my life. After ages of screaming and kicking I finally got it open!

Jumping for JOY!!!!

 I had the gang of family and friends over and BAM--California Rancho Cucamonga Mission, reporting January 15th to the Provo MTC. What an amazing feeling it was--after the initial shock of the randomness of the word Cucamonga-- to know that this is where Heavenly Father is sending me to serve! I have no doubt that it's where I'm supposed to be. There is no other way to describe how I felt, other than PURE JOY and COMPLETE HAPPINESS.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

go and do, hopefully in a new light

I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the The Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. 
1 Nephi 3:7

This scripture is quoted a lot, and I think what happens, (at least for me) when scriptures are repeated over and over, is that we forget how awesome they actually are because they become part of the "norm". But today as we were talking about this scripture in institute, we were asked the question "When have you been less than going and doing?" In other words, how often do we say "oh yeah I go and do whatever the Lord commands" but then we don't pay attention in church, or we dress immodestly, or we cheat on a test, yell at our parents, or skip reading our scriptures and praying a few times. We get in this habit of just plowing through things instead of actually stopping to listen to the still small voice and those precious promptings, and wow am I guilty of that! I like being independent.. doing things on my own. But then after failed attempts on my own I'm reminded that not everything is all on my shoulders, Christ helps to take the load. I just have to change my attitude and say "I will go and do!" Taking a step in the dark can be so hard, but we are promised that the path will be lit for us. Nephi says:

"I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
Nevertheless I went forth.."
1 Nephi 4:6-7

Nephi is such a good example to us! He had no idea what was coming, he has no idea that Laban is about to be delivered into his hands, and he has no idea that he is about to be commanded to do something that he never imagined he'd have to do, but nevertheless he went forth, he went and did. The spirit led him, and he had faith. Faith instead of fear. And I hope that I can do the same.

The hymn Tender Mercies of the Lord also brought some new light to my day:
Sometimes when I'm feeling scared, 
I kneel down and say a prayer
and ask Him to help me through the day
Sometimes when I'm feeling sad
for hard times that I have had, 
I ask Him to help me find my way.
Then a message will come from my Father up above 
in a song or in a dream
or the beauty that surrounds me.
If I try to obey and remember to pray
I'll see the tender mercies of the Lord. 

If you want to hear the song click here and scroll down to the song titled "Tender Mercies of the Lord". It's in ABC order so it shouldn't be that hard to find :) 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

here's the quote

So in my second (I think) post on this blog I mentioned a quote about writing things down, and I couldn't remember it completely. WELLLL here it is:

"Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light."
-Richard G. Scott, "Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 88.

All is Well

Never before have I felt the adversary push against me as much as I have in the past few months. Every day I get pounded with temptations and feelings of inadequacy. Satan tries to lead me to believe that I'm not good enough, or smart enough for school, or prepared enough for a mission just to name a few. But I consistently remind myself that I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him! I will never give into temptation, I will never let others control me, I will never let myself be influenced in a bad way, and  will let my light so shine so all others can see it and say "she truly is a daughter of God." I'm so glad that I've been taught to stand tall and courageously, and I know that I as continue to make the right choices, Heavenly Father will bless me with strength to overcome the power of Satan. I know he sends angels to be on my right and on my left to bear me up. And I know I can rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as the Holy Ghost to lead and guide me! I know that satan is real, and although terrifying it may sound--he plays a major role in the Plan of Salvation.

“Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.” (D&C 76:29.)

And he does just that-- he makes was on us saints. So if we are feelings his temptations, then we must be doing something right? I mean, why would he waste his time on someone who wasn't messing up his plan. Whenever we are preparing to do something good-- such as going on a mission, entering the temple, or even just going to church or doing baptisms for the dead, or something simpler like doing a service project or going visiting teaching--he does everything in his power to stop us! Joseph Smith said: " It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?" (JSH 1:20) 

"President Spencer W. Kimball has assured us that the youth of these latter days are chosen and uniquely called to come to earth at this time. They can find happiness and can achieve spectacular success through living the gospel of Jesus and do more mighty and wonderful deeds for God than any previous generation. “An awareness of the existence, the power, and the plans of Satan, together with a compelling and vibrant testimony of God, of the gospel, and of the plans of our Father, given through Jesus Christ, his Son, and living prophets, can help them achieve unprecedented accomplishments, which will affect their lives eternally.” Yielding to Satan’s influence always results in unhappiness and eventually in failure to achieve our purpose on earth, while obedience to God’s laws gives assurance of peace, comfort, and ultimate success." (

(Also I tried to upload a picture from my ipad and it didn't work.. So here's the link instead)