This was Lauren's letter from last week that I forgot to forward. We got to speak with her on Monday as she was waiting to board her flight to Mexico. She is a bit nervous, but ready for whatever this challenge brings her way. She is very grateful for your letters and emails of support. It has meant the world to her and to us. Thank you!
The Dearelder.com website has recently included letter writing to Mexico for free. So if you want to type her a note over the next 17 months, just log into dearelder.com and select Torreon Mexico. The deadline is Sunday nights at midnight. The mission office will receive the letter midweek. Then it will be forwarded to her specific residence from there.
Thank you again for your encouragement and kindness. It isn't easy being a missionary or a missionary's parent!
Love to all,
HIJOLE!!!!!!! (oh my goodness)
Six days until I am in Mexico.. Que en el mundo?? Commence nervous excitement!
To think I am headed to 100 degree weather, sweat and dirt, beans on beans on beans, Espanol 24/7, minimal communication, and minimal living conditions..need I mention sticking out like a sore thumb? What crazy person would do this?? Oh yeah. Me :)
The knowledge and testimony that I have is more than enough to carry me through all of this! It makes every challenge that I have encountered and will yet encounter WORTH IT. Sacrifice brings forth the best of blessings, whether we realize it in the moment or not. Christ sacrificed His life for each one of us to obtain ours, for eternity! 3 Nephi 27:13-15.
13 Behold I have given unto you my agospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do thebwill of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be alifted up upon thebcross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the ccross, that I might ddraw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me,to be ejudged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been alifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their bworks.
As D. Todd Christofferson said in General Conference this weekend,"Having redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His!"
On Friday I was thinking about how my week had turned into a big lesson on Christlike love. So much had happened that just pointed to Christlike love! AND THEN we have General Conference and Jeffrey R. Holland starts off by speaking about Christlike love!! I found an overall theme of it, as our prophet Thomas S. Monson talked about the exact same thing! Literally right before the Conference began I wrote down my "feelings before" and this is what I wrote, "Feeling Christlike love for everyone and what we are doing! A sincere happiness and joy, and overwhelming feeling of warmth from the Spirit. Gratitude for tender mercies from the Lord :)" Uncanny.
I know that being in tune with the Spirit blesses and guides your life!
I had literally been talking with my companion earlier in the week, about how the mission has already taught me SO much about Christlike love! And how it really is a different kind of Love. It's the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of His children. I know that Christlike love is seeing EVERYBODY as the daughter or son of God that they are.
Christlike love is sacrifice. As Jesus was dying on the cross, He asked God to forgive His condemners..for "they know not what they do". From the cross, He also made sure Mary would be taken care of! Christlike love does not involve yourself. It is purely setting aside pride (sadly the error of the human race) and "turning outward" as Christ.
As Jeffrey R. Holland said, "Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet!..righteousness follows it!" I truly believe it is strong enough to change the world. As President Thomas S. Monson said, "Love is the essence of the gospel and of Jesus Christ...Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness!"
He also said, "The Savior brought a message of love into the world." And I know that as followers of Him, as sons and daughters of God, as Christians, and as disciples of Christ, we CAN and it is our sacred DUTY to keep sharing that same love :)
How grateful I am for a living prophet to lead and guide us today, in the ways of Jesus Christ! Just as prophets of old, prophets in the Bible and Book of Mormon, we ALL have that SAME divine guidance and authority on earth today :) How blessed we are! I know that this is because of the unfailing faith of Joseph Smith, who simply prayed and received revelation from God to restore His church back on the earth! Because God loves His children, and loves and knows each ones of us, and wishes to help and guide us back to Him as WE show Him our faith :)
How blessed my life has been! How privileged. To have a loving and supportive family, to grow up in the truth of the gospel, to know my Heavenly Father, to have an education, and to be lead to this point of blessing and helping the lives of my fellow brothers and sisters of Torreon, Mexico. I thank my Heavenly Father EVERY day. Even when it's been a challenge, because I know that is when He is testing me, and growing me, and strengthening me for things to come!
Ok, so some tender mercies...
The scripture I shared above that was mentioned in General Conference, I had used just that week in a lesson!! Pretty cool. And this lesson was AMAZING. The best we've had so far. It was with our wonderful investigator Nayeli :) I don't know how to retell it all to you (to be honest words probably won't suffice), but the Spirit was felt SO strongly and as everyone's most sincere and tender feelings we shared, coupled with the beautiful doctrine and scripture of Jesus Christ, it just made a change in all of our hearts. It has been with Nayeli that I have truly learned Christlike love. As me and my companion would prepare for our lessons with her, we would always keep her specifically in our prayers. We would always pray that God would have us say what He wants her to know, and what she needed to hear, and what would bless and strengthen her life. I know that all of that happened and she open up to us about her life for the first time, and we in return were able to help her and show her God's love for her!
I know that the message I'm sharing is a message of love, and hope, and joy! A message that is so everyone, everywhere. A message that only blesses and strengthen lives :)
Mi ultimo historia, yo promesa!!
Whenever we go up to main campus, everyone always sees people and friends they know from home or school. I literally had said to the Hemana next to me, "I wish I could see someone I knew." when I then turned around and saw my friend SAVANNAH!!!!!! It was the first time I had seen someone I already knew and I just ran up to her and gave her the BIGGEST hug!! Tender Mercy!!!! She is literally the best. California will be lucky to have her :)
Okay. That was a long one. Lo sinento.
CON MUCHO AMOR!!!!
P.S. I WAS ON TV!!! The David Archuleta documentary they showed before Conference had film from when he came and visited the MTC! The part where it shows the crowd singing and him in the little box conducting, I'm right below the little box on the left...yeah I hope you recorded it :) Have fun seeing me singing! haha LOVE YOU ALL.
|We got our travel plans in the mail!!! SO CLOSE TO LEAVING. crazy.|
|We got our travel plans in the mail!!! SO CLOSE TO LEAVING. crazy.|
|Me, Nayeli, and my companion Hermana Sekona!|
|Me and my friend Savannah!!!|
|Me and some Elder friends who all left for different places in Argentina!|