Monday, March 31, 2014

Natalie's 2nd letter - YOU will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish language.

Hola Familia!!! So, it would be a safe bet to write on Sunday nights
from now on- because they never really tell us when things change haha
We found out on Saturday that we were writing on Monday instead. We're
going on a Guatemala tour tomorrow because all of the Latinos are
leaving and they want us out of the CCM. Entonces, let me explain the
title of this letter! My companera, Hermana Mckee, is REALLY good at
Spanish. She took 5 years of it and remembers everything! I love her
to death! But, I often get pretty discouraged because in lessons I
never can spit out what I want to say- and she can talk forever! Plus,
they don't really teach you Spanish, they just give you a book and
expect you to learn it on your own! Entonces, after a long day this
past week- I was feeling pretty discouraged and went into our room and
I knelt down and began to pray. I said "Heavenly Father, I am pretty
discouraged." I explained everything to Him and told Him how I was
feeling. After my prayer- I got this overwhelming feeling that the
Holy Ghost will be my teacher and that He is the best teacher there
is! I just need to trust in Him and do my part and then He will help
me learn the rest. It was so comforting! I just need to remember that
a Prophet of God assigned my mission call- and in that call it says
"You will prepare to preach the Gospel in the Spanish Language." The
Lord trusts me with Spanish! He knows I can do it! Si se puede!!!
Sundays here are my favorite day! It's a nice break from being cooped
up in one class ALL. day. long! Hermana Cox talked about Enduring to
the End in Relief Society! It was such a great lesson! In Doctrine and
Covenants 14:7 it says "And, if you keep my commandments and endure to
the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all
the gifts of God." The desire of my heart is to live ETERNALLY with
those I love. Entonces, if you have anything going on that needs to be
fixed- fix it! The price has already been paid for us! He did His
part- let us do ours! I love you guys so much and would love to spend
the rest of eternity with you. Heavenly Fathers opinion is the ONLY
one that matters. Ooh! We learned about Captain Moroni this week and
how valient he is! Our teacher said that "If every man were like
Captain Moroni- the gates of Hell would tremble." Whoa! I thought that
was awesome! "Whereever thou art, do well thy part!" I love this
quote! It is seriously so true! Wherever we are- we should be doing
our best. Elder Holland said "Everyday ought to be the start of a new
year and a new life." We can start over EVERY SINGLE DAY! Heavenly
Father will love us no matter how many times it takes to repent. The
Temple is beautiful here! Last pday we went and did a session! It is
kind of small- but, so beautiful! It is right next door to the CCM. We
all rejoice when we get to leave the gates- sometimes it kind of feels
like a prison here... but, in a good way! haha A lot of us feel like
we're still in America- just because we haven't really left here- but,
tomorrow we will! So, it is really humid here! We take two showers a
day! It hasn't rained yet- but, Hermana Burbidge (The nurse) said that
once it hits may- it pours every single day non stop! That should be
fun! I'll be out of the CCM by then! Hermana Santos, Hermana Vave, and
Hermana Rodgers are leaving this week to their mission field! They are
in the same mission as Erica Moore! I've grown so close to them! It
will be sad to see them leave! The CCM is great! I LOVE the food here!
My stomach is still kind of adjusting- but, all is well! Entonces,
Presidente Cox is really big into baptisms. Baptize, Baptize, Baptize
he says! It gets me excited! He said that there is no reason for us
not to have 60 baptisms a month as a companionship. That's awesome!
The gospel is so true! The Lord is truly hastening His work! Mom! You
are so beautiful! The other night I was pretty sick and couldn't
sleep! I was wishing that you were there to snuggle with me! But, it's
okay- just thinking about you made me feel better! Every Sunday night-
all of the NorteAmericanos get to go to Presidente Cox and Hermana
Coxs home! They give a little "Family Home Evening" It is so much fun!
One thing that Presidente Cox told us was "Every time you bear your
testimony- the Lord will forgive all of your sins" I though that was
so interesting! Our testimonies are SO important! We need to be
sharing them always! We have the most important thing in the world! We
need to be actively sharing it with other people! Presidente Cox told
us that every morning when we wake up- we need to say "I'm going to be
the best missionary ever!" then do it. Entonces, this morning I woke
up and said that! I feel like I can conquer the world!!!! Remember
that our daily decisions determine our destiny! Entonces, Choose the
Right and be your best! Always! You know how everyone always says
"Every member a missionary"? Well Presidente Cox always says "Every
missionary a member" I LOVE this! It makes me think about how we need
to constantly be trying our best- because we are STILL members of the
church trying to be better every single day! The Lord is our teacher
and we are His investigators! Don't be afraid to ask Him questions! I
promise you He will answer them! He loves us so much! Lets talk about
the importance of the Sacrament- THE SACRAMENT IS SO IMPORTANT! I
always took the Sacrament for granted. The Sacrament is AWESOME! "And
always have His spirit to be with us" We are promised the Spirit of
the Lord when we partake worthily of the Sacrament! How awesome is
that?! It also gives us the chance to repent of our sins! How great
should be our joy! I've only been here for 13 days! My testimony has
grown so much! I want you all to know that I know The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I know it with all of my heart! I
know that Thomas S. Monson is our Prophet today and that he is truly
guided by the Lord to guide us. If you don't know these things- go ask
the Lord- I promise you He will answer your prayers! I love you all so
much and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about you!

 Sellado con besos,
 Hermana Bullough

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Natalie's 1st Letter from the Mission Fleid

Hola mi familia! This keyboard is pretty weird, so bare with me!
Yesterday I got to spend the day in the Guatemala City hospital! BROMA
(Just Kidding!) They told us our Pday was Tuesday, but that was
actually for the older missionaries in the CCM! My District is
AWESOME! I feel so close to these people and it has only been one
week! In my district is Elder Borlace and Elder Hansen, Elder Wright
and Elder Williamson, Hermana Crouch and Hermana Flewallen, and me and
mi companera, Hermana Mckee! Hermana Mckee is from SLC Utah. She is
great!! We just laugh all of the time! So many funny things happen and
Im grateful that she is my companion! I love her so much!!! She has a
really strong testimony. Mom, remember that blog post I showed you
that girl wrote? Sierra Wise? Well, she is here!!! I had no idea she
was going to Guatemala! It was funny- because I was showing some girls
that post because it really inspired me- and she came up to me and
said "wait a minute! I wrote this!" It was so funny! Elder Wright is
our District Leader! I  love him! He has such a strong testimony! He
told us that he was never planning on serving a mission- and then he
was at the University of New Mexico regfistering for classes- and he
said it was the weirdest thing because he just began to cry and knew
that he was making the wrong decision and that the Lord needed him on
a mission! It was awesome! Hermano Menendez is my teacher in the
manana and Hermano Bonilla is my teacher in the noche. Hermano
Menendex kind of looks like David Archeleta and he never stops
smiling! He also was companeros with one of my friends from BYUI in
Chile! Such a small world! Both of my teachers are from Guatemala! We
have unique circumstances here at the CCM (Centro de Capacitacion
Misional) We get to teach an actual real life investigator!! Her name
is Katerin (Cat-air-een). I would appreciate your prayers! She is so
beautiful! The first night we taught her- Hermana Mckee was sick- so I
went with Hermanas Crouch and Flewallen- the spirit was so strong! The
gift of tongues is real! I bore her my testimony in Spanish- and she
cried! I cried! Everybody cried! We committed her to baptism in tres
semanas. She wants to know more before she gets baptized though. She
said she went to church on Sunday- and that the people there were
mean! So, please! If you ever see someone you don't know at church- go
talk to them! Introduce yourself! You may be the only chance they have
to see how wonderful the Church is! The Church is perfect- but the
people are not! My district made this goal to always speak in Spanish-
we made that goal on our second day here- lets just say that it didn't
last very long and we were all pretty discouraged- but guess what? WE
HAD ONLY BEEN HERE TWO DAYS! We beat ourselves up- but, there are
85,000 missionaries doing the exact same thing! And many missionaries
have done the same thing before us! If they can do it- si se puede!!!
Sunday was awesome! Every Sunday they call a random 5 missionaries
from the congregation to give a talk... in espanol... HAHA I was
praying so hard that it would be me! I'm trying to challenge myself-
but, I didn't get asked to speak. I'm one week down!!! I'm losing
time! 18 months will go by so quickly! It scares me! I love it so much
here! The people are so great! The Latinos have such strong
testimonies!!!! It surprised me! I don't know why- but, it is
interesting having to be the ones wearing the translation headsets. It
makes it easier to feel the Spirit- in Sacrament meeting they don't
trqanslate for us- it was really hard to understand- but, I could feel
the Spirit testifying to me that everything they were saying was true!
It was awesome! I always worry about learning Spanish or teaching the
Gospel- because I don't want to mess up someones chances to hear the
Gospel- but, I need to learn to forget myself and get to work. If I do
that- I will be happier and I will be a successful missionary!
Guatemala and Colorado have the same time right now! It's awesome! All
of the Latinas love me! They are so funny! Sometimes I think they
think all of us norteamericanos are stupid because we probably sound
stupid speaking the little Spanish we know- but, they just laugh and
carry on! We share our room with two latinas! Hermana Bustamente y
Hermana Cuadra! Hermana Cuadra is HILARIOUS! A few days ago- she
flipped on the lights and said BUENOS DIAS and I was thinking in my
head- man! I feel like I just fell asleep! I looked at the clock and
it was 1:40am! haha we were like sister, it's one in the morning! haha
it was so funny! My favorite latina is Hermana Garcia from Bolivia!
She is serving in the Guatemala South Mission. After our missions She
is going to come to Colorado to visit- and I'm going to go to Bolivia
to visit. I'm going to miss her next week when she leaves- the latinas
only stay here for two weeks. She is a convert- and yesterday was her
Pday. Her familiy didn't write her :( She was so sad! I'm grateful for
the support I have back home! So GRACIAS! They took our cameras from
us because I guess some Elders a while ago took some inappropriate
sacreligious pictures in front of the CCM and the Templo. They said
wed get them on Pday- but they haven't given them to us- and we can't
take pictures at the Templo or the CCM even if we have our cameras. We
take a field trip every two weeks. So next week we'll get to leave!
They want everyone out when the new missionaries arrive! It will be
nice not to be so new! There are only 62 missionaries in the CCM and
24 of them are Norte Americanos. Did you know that the majority of the
Church speaks Spanish? Not english? It doesn't surprise me- I'm
beginning to think Spanish is the Celestial language! :) There was a
story told on Sunday about a little girl who really wanted to get a
bicycle. Her father told her to save all of her money! When they got
to the store- she saw how much the bike was and then realized that she
only had 62 cents- not enough at all. Her father looked at her and
said "Give me everything you have- and I will make up the difference."
We need to be giving everything we have to the Savior. He will make up
the difference if we do the best that we can do! I loved that so much!
I feel really safe in the CCM. It is gated all around with Guards at
all times! The Elders joke that it's a prison- but, I love it here! I
keep thinking about how I need to enjoy my time here! The food is
great! The showers are cold! But, hey- at least we eat and atleast we
have a shower! Yesterday night- we had the opportunidad to have Elder
Carlos H. Admado come speak to us. He will be speaking on the Saturday morning session of General Conference. He is a member of the 70. His
talk was so awesome! He told us he never prepares his talks and that
he just lets the spirit guide him. He talked about how sometimes bad
things happen to missionaries and they die. He said those things only
happen when the missionaries are doing something stupid haha He talked
about how there was a missionary here in Guatemala who climbed onto a
roof because he wanted to slide down it in the rain. When he began to
fall he grabbed a wire because he realized he was slipping a lot
faster than he thought. Elder Amado promised us that we wont die if we
don't do something stupid haha Some thoughts that I had during his
talk were as follows: How can we serve a God that we don't know? We
need to strive to know Him in order to be truly converted. - Even if
we don't understand the mission rules- we must be obedient. We will be
blessed. -Don't set goals beyond our capacity to fullfill them. If we
set our expectations too high, we will just be discouraged. - The
Lords infinite mercy helps us understand that we don't have to be
perfect. It's okay to maKE mistakes! -Develop yourself. Stand a little
taller, be a little better! - With all of our imperfections, we are
still fabulous, and still worth it! The Savior loves us know matter
how many times it takes! - This is the Lords time. Not mine. I should
strive to be a 24 hour missionary. I know I'm that when I start to
dream about my investigators and the gospel! The flight was so long on
the way here! I didn't really get much sleep because It was
uncomfortable and I was so excited!! Hermana Crouch sat next to me! My
friend from Las Vegas! She is even more cute in person! I didn't think
it was possible! Oh! haha Yesterday- our teacher was teaching an
object lesson and had us go outside and run. All of us sisterrs looked
ridiculous in our skirts! I was exited- because I was winning out of
the sisters! Hermana Crouch was close behind me! She totally face
planted into the ground! It was so sad! But, SO funny too! LOL I
couldn't stop laughing! She handled it very well! I would have just
cried and been super embarrassed- but, she just laughed it off. She
later told me she just wanted to cry! She is so adorable! It was so
sad to see her hurt! Man, this hour goes by so quickly! I have so much
to say! The food here is delicious! President Todd was wise when he
blessed me that I would love the food! I can't get enough of it! It is
so yummy! OOOH! Fun fact! Elder Hodson- in the other district, our
Zone Leader- told me that In Spirit Paradise we won't be able to
remember the sins we truly repented for- and in Spirit Prison we will
only be able to remember our sins. So don't procrastinate the day of
your repentance! It is so worth being embarrassed or having people
hate you. because the Lords opinion is the only one that matters.
Where there is a will there is a way! I love all of you so much! I
pray for you! 18 months is flying by and I don't want to waste any
time! Heavenly Father loves you guys! Infinitetly! :) Love, Hermana

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Farewell Talk

Tuscany Ward Farewell Talk: “The Role of The Book of Mormon” PMG

            Hello Brothers and Sisters! I am so excited to be speaking to you all today! This afternoon I will be set apart as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Such exciting times ahead!! I’ll be living in poverty, talking to complete strangers, and speaking a language I don’t yet know… but, the thing that scares me the most about all of this is that I have to box up my gorgeous stilettos and put away the sparkly hairspray for 18 months. That’s what scares me! But, it will be totally worth it J I can’t imagine anything better than working to save souls.
            Heavenly Father is truly hastening His work- I’ve discovered that He will hasten it with OR without us- we just need to choose if we’ll help Him or not!
I like this page on Facebook called “Many are called… but, few are sisters”, It’s a page with about 12,000 girls are preparing to go on missions- One girl posted this message: She said:
“Listen up people. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING!!! Can you BELIEVE THIS?!? One of the missionaries I taught in the MTC just emailed me today and said this:
"Sister Donaldson, I am sorry you haven't gotten my first month's worth of emails. I added you, but I wrote your email out wrong. So, my weekly emails were being sent to the wrong Becca Donaldson. She wrote me back this email: 'I don't know who you are and I believe you have the email wrong but just know your emails changed my life and I am talking with the missionaries.' Sister Donaldson, YOU ARE A MIRACLE WORKER!!!!"
Don't tell me that it was an accident that this Sister I taught in the MTC typed out my email wrong (or I wrote my email illegibly). I love missionary work! The gospel is TRUE!”
This quote by President Hinckley really impacted me. He says “Many young women are serving missions, many are preparing to serve, not because they aren’t married or have nothing else to do; but because they have a desire to serve, therefore are being called to the work. The reason so many are going is because in the next generation, Heavenly Father will be sending His Priesthood Army to the earth and wants to send them to mothers who have been properly trained and taught in the Gospel. What better training can a young woman have than that of serving a mission?” I always have the motto “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”… Well, I believe my future self will thank me for this- especially if it helps my children.
Today I have been asked to speak on “The Role of the Book of Mormon” from Preach my Gospel. Joseph Smith taught that “The Book of Mormon is the most correct book of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
I believe this. I’ve read the Book of Mormon four times now on my own- and I truly believe that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I believe that The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ, and that together, The Book of Mormon and the Bible create the fullness of the Gospel.
In Ezekiel Chapter 37 verses 15 through 17 it reads:
15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand
This refers to the Bible (The stick of Judah), and The Book of Mormon (The stick of Joseph)
Imagine there was this infectious disease that was eliminating people by making them really sick. Imagine that you have the antidote. The antidote will not do you any good if you don’t use it. The same goes for The Book of Mormon. We have the answers (or the antidote) to life. Many people are spiritually hungry. We need to feed them.
You know, I’m going on a mission for many reasons- but, four of those reasons I hold near and dear to my heart.
1.      I KNOW that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I ask Heavenly Father frequently- and every time I ask- He tells me “Natalie! You know it’s true!”

2.      I’ve experienced the change of heart that comes from the Atonement and I can’t wait to share the Savior’s love with the people of Guatemala. They may feel like no one feels the same pain they do- but, Jesus Christ knows exactly how we feel. There is this poem that I absolutely love called “He’s been there before”

“The Alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet
I grab my companions bedding and pull off his sheets
A groan fills the room, is it already time to rise?
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes.

The morning activities follow- study, prayer and such
When it’s time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven’t accomplished much

“We have a super day planned,”
My comp. says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath,
“Yeah, if anyone lets us in.”

With the word of God and my faithful Schwinn, we ride off in the street
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat
It’s 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My companion and I are riding home not accomplishing what we thought to do

We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate “air Box”
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet

It’s past 10:30 p.m. My companion is fast asleep,
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to Father, but I’m not sure what to say

“Oh, Father” I begin, “What happened to us today?
I thought we’d teach somebody, but everyone was away
My hands, my aching hands- worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we’d have knocked every street”

“Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it’s very hard to see”

“Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn’t your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back”

“And what about my family: They don’t have much to say
I’m sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, Why am I here am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I’m sorry but that’s on my mind”

“My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?”
The way he rides his bicycle, I don’t think he can see
Now you have it, I can’t go on, I don’t know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you”

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep starts to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day

I’m standing alone on the hill. The view is very nice
A man walks towards me and says, “My name is Jesus Christ”
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
“Arise,” He states, “Follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak”

My attention’s towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, “Your mission is similar of what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you’re going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I’ve felt the same as you”

“I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don’t like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn’t equipped with 21 speeds”

“I understand you don’t like sweating, in fact it’s something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev’ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don’t like your companion - you’d rather have someone else-
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth”

“It’s hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back”

“Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It’s hard not to hear from home when your family’s not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

“We have a lot in common, but there’s a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me”
He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, “6:30 already, no way!”
I sat up and said, “Come on, I’ll even carry your scriptures today!”

No matter what we go through,
when we feel we can’t take more
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ,
He’s been there before."

Elder Troy Whittle
Texas Houston Mission

3.      Heavenly Father wants me to serve a mission.

This one believe it or not came to me after I received my mission call! I have always WANTED to serve a mission, but I didn’t ever really know that Heavenly Father wanted me to serve a mission. Before I got my mission call and about a week after- people were always asking me “Natalie! When did you know that Heavenly Father wanted YOU to serve a mission?” My response was always “I love the gospel and I love sharing it with other people! I might as well do it full time!” Plus, the scriptures say that if ye have a desire to serve- you are called to the work. And I, my friends, had a desire. A burning desire! But, I had never gotten a crazy confirmation that Heavenly Father wanted ME to serve a mission. On Tuesday, November 12th, just six days after I had received my mission call, I was in my choir class. I was sitting next to this girl who had served her mission in Brazil. She was telling me a bunch about what to expect going into a foreign mission and she was giving me a ton of advice too! The last thing she said to me before we left that day was “Natalie, there are going to be some really tough days on your mission. On those days when you want to give up and quit- you need to think back to your confirmation that Heavenly Father wanted you to serve a mission.” When she said that- I was thinking to myself, “Oh no! On those hard days when I want to give up- I’m just going to give up because I have nothing to think back to!”

That night we had some guys over and one of my roommates was there too. The guys were saying some of the rudest things (and thinking back- I realize it was satan trying to discourage me from going on a mission). They were saying things like: “Guatemala is a really scary place!” “You’re in for a rude awakening!” “Guatemala has worse drug problems than Mexico!” and “You’re going to the ghetto!” After one of those guys said that- I said “Good! Those people need the Gospel too!” Well, that was a mistake- because one of my roommates lives in a really ghetto place and she started yelling at me “Natalie! You shouldn’t be excited! You should be scared! The ghetto is not a good or fun place!”

Everything that these people were telling me scared me! After my roommate flipped out- I left the room! I went into my bedroom and tears were flowing from my eyes. I couldn’t help but add what the girl in choir said to all of these comments. I was being set up for failure. My immediate roommate was in our room. I was hiding my tears from her- I just knew that I needed to go pray. I grabbed my scriptures and left the room. The only unoccupied place in our apartment was the bathroom. It’s the most pathetic place I’ve ever prayed before. I kneeled down on the floor and began weeping and praying to Heavenly Father. I said “Heavenly Father, I’m scared. Am I supposed to serve a mission?” That was the prayer that I offered to my Father in Heaven. I then flipped my scriptures open to a random page. I opened them up to Doctrine and Covenants section 99. I read the whole chapter- but, the first verse says “ Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant, John Murdock—thou art called into the eastern countries from house to house, from village to village, and from city to city, to proclaim mine everlasting Gospel unto the inhabitants thereof, in the midst of persecution and wickedness.” I began to cry harder. I said “Heavenly Father? Is this a coincidence? Even so- this isn’t my call to serve this is John Murdocks call to serve. Am I supposed to serve a mission?” Once again I opened up my scriptures to a random page. This time I opened up to Doctrine and Covenants 4 vs 4 and I read the first sentence “The field is white and already to harvest.” This is my confirmation! Heavenly Father wants me to serve a mission! And even though I may be terrified- Heavenly Father will protect me!

4.    I love my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. So much.

There is this movie I absolutely love called “The Saratov Approach”. It is about two missionaries who were kidnapped in Russia. They were beaten and held for ransom. There is a scene where one of the missionaries is talking about how he really didn’t want to serve a mission and he wasn’t going to. But, he had gone to an institute class one day where they were talking about how Jesus Christ did NOT want to perform the Atonement- He even asked Heavenly Father to remove the cup. But, He also said “Not my will, thine be done” Jesus Christ took upon him the sins of the universe for you and for me. He did it because He loves Heavenly Father and He loves us. Infinitely.

This is why I WANT to serve a mission! I know that Heavenly Father is preparing people in Guatemala for ME. I need to find them. A young man just before leaving on his mission stood in sacrament meeting and bore the following testimony: “Brothers and Sisters, as you know during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my mission call. During the time I was waiting, I had a dream. I knew it was not an ordinary dream. I dreamed I was in the pre-existence and was waiting my call to come to Earth. I was filled with the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my Mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend, he was a dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I’ve never met him in this life…
As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter, I knew it was my call to go to Earth, in great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. The letter said; ‘You have been called to Earth in a special time and a special land. You will be born into the true church and you will have the Priesthood of God in your home. You will be raised with many advantages and blessings. You will be born in the land of plenty- A land of freedom. You will go to Earth in the United States of America.’
My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call and while rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to Earth. My friend gave me the letter to read aloud. His letter said; “You have been called to Earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be raught with political and social difficulties which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica.’
We wept, my friend and I, as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘When we are down on Earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come find me.’
Then this young missionary with tears in his own eyes said, ‘Brothers and Sisters, I have received my Mission call, I am going to Costa Rica.
There is a sequel to this story. About a year after the sacrament meeting, the bishop of this ward received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it with just four words written. Those words were ‘I FOUND MY FRIEND’.”

I know that there are people in the world who are spiritually hungry. We need to feed them. They don’t know the truth- and WE HAVE IT! We need to find our friends!

One of my favorite scriptures is found in 2 Nephi 32:3 “Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do”

Robert D. Hales says that if we are to feast upon the words of Christ, we must study the scriptures and absorb His words through pondering them and making them part of our everyday thought and action.

I promise (because the Lord promises you) that if you will do these things- Then He will qualify you to share the Gospel! The gospel is the greatest gift ever! We need to share it with everyone every chance we get!

In Doctrine and Covenants 88:62-63 it says “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

If we will just come unto Him and follow His commandments- He will draw close to us! We will be stronger because of it and we will be able to listen to the Spirit easier!

In The Book of Mormon, in Moroni 10:3-5 it reads:

“Behold, 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 it 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.”

Heavenly Father promises us that if we will just try to know- that He will let us know. If you don’t know- go try!

Jeffrey R. Holland said “For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” 10

There is a quote I love by Jeffrey R. Holland that says this “You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to its fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it. All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you’ve ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave it everything you had, even when you didn’t think you could, and especially when you didn’t want to. Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you… run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep on going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord; if you don’t do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you—their failure to come to Christ will be partially upon your head. Come out of your mission proud of what you’ve done, and this experience will bless the rest of your life.”
This is the kind of missionary I want to be. I don’t want to miss any opportunity to save a human soul. We are ALL missionaries! We don’t want to miss any opportunity to share the Gospel.

I am going to work this hard- because it is that important!!! How great will be my joy if I bring just one soul unto this Gospel!!
There is a story I absolutely love where there is this man on the shores of the ocean. He is walking along picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. Another man joins him and says “What are you doing?” The other man looks at him and smiles “I’m saving the star fish!” The other man looks at him like he is ridiculous! He says “You know, there are thousands of beaches and billions of starfish! You won’t make a difference!” The man then kneels down picks up a starfish and throws it into the ocean. He says “I did for that one!”

I can apply this to missionary work and the Atonement. We are all missionaries. We need to make a constant effort to bring souls unto Him. Even if it is one person- we have made a difference.

The Lord is our ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. When we do this- we will draw nearer to thee and be happier.

“Hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, … and they teach all men that they should do good.”