Monday, December 12, 2011

The Long Night is O'er

A quick disclaimer: There are a lot of thoughts running through my head right now about how I want this post to be. So if it doesn't make sense, I apologize. I just hope you all get the idea of what I am trying to convey! :)

I am so very grateful for this season that we are coming up on! This is by far my favorite time of the year! From the majestic music, to the sensational smells, and to the atmosphere of the season, it is just the best time of the year! Before my mission, whenever I would hear the word Christmas, a number of thoughts and emotions would flood my brain. Of course Christ was amongst these, but I am sad to say that He wasn't at the front. The first thoughts that came to mind always involved traditions like spending time with my family, making gingerbread houses, watching the Muppet's Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and waking up at 6 am to open presents. Obviously, none of these are bad thoughts and feelings to have at Christmas, but they also aren't the best.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liz's Baptism

I have had the great blessing to get to know and occasionally teach a girl from Florida named Liz. When I first met her in August, she came on to chat and asked what she could have her local missionaries teach her. I had only been on my mission for a few weeks so I had no idea what to say. Knowing what I do now, I would have taken a different approach, but I suggested she ask them about a hard topic. She added me on Facebook and a few days later asked Elder Callahan and I to teach her about that same topic. "Great," I thought, "I guess that's karma!" Anyways, she had been meeting with her local missionaries for a long time. She said that she was going to get baptized in April but her parents were going to make her wait until she turned 18 in October. So for the next two and a half months, Liz and I would occasionally chat and we had a few lessons here and there.

I'm a little bit behind here as she was baptized almost a month ago, but still. Her story is great and her testimony is amazing! In her own words, Liz says:

         "I’ve never felt so close to God as I do now. I remember my first time at church. It was all a joke to me. “Why do these people waster their Sunday’s here?” I thought. “Don’t they have better things to do?” I remember I sat there and tried to listen. I didn’t understand much, so I ended up talking. My best friends, Brianna and Laura, sat next to me. I remember when we sang from the hymn book, all I could do was laugh. Singing had felt so weird to me, especially with all of the church members around us. I felt so awkward. I remember everyone was sleeping. I couldn’t understand, you woke up early on a Sunday morning to be here with God and all you can do is sleep. It made no sense to me. Then I learned that they were all praying.
After that, many months went by. I believe it was an entire year, until I was back at the very same church. Brianna told me the church was having a tour. I didn’t think much of it. All I was doing was spending some time with Brianna. The missionaries were in charge of it all. There were four of them. Elder Dayberry, Rogers, Jarvie, and Kealamakia. Once we got to the chapel they all stood there in front of the podium and spoke about many things. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I now realize that they were each speaking of the testimony. One of the missionaries stood out to me the most. It was Kealamakia. He stuttered when he spoke with long “ummmmm” pauses. I look up to him and admire him very much. And on that same day when the tour was all over I spoke to Elder Rogers and Kealamakia. I remember I really wanted to ask them a question. But I thought it was too ridiculous. I truly wanted to know how Jesus Christ and the Lord were related, but I was too embarrassed. I didn’t know what they would think of me. So as I approached them I came up with a question at the very top of my head and so I asked when and how the church had been built. It was funny how I never knew this before. I know so many things about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ now and I can thank it all to the missionaries J

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Smell the Flowers

Two posts in one month! Wow I'm getting better at this! :)

A few weeks ago, on our usual scooter drive up to the temple, I noticed that there were a lot of flowers on the temple grounds. This was the first really cold day of the season and I noticed how warm I felt just by seeing the simplistic beauty of these flowers. We did our stuff in the temple and a few hours I found myself going the opposite direction down that sidewalk and still amazed at how warm I felt as I thought about the flowers. I don't know what it was--it could have been the memories of looking at the huge hibiscus outside my bedroom window at home, or the memories of summer, or even the peace of knowing that I am doing what our Heavenly Father wants me to be doing. No matter the cause, I literally felt warm.

And I had the strongest desire to smell them flowers. So I stopped and smelled one of the flowers. As soon as I did, a wave of emotions and memories came flooding into my mind. I remembered pretty much every experience I have had that involves flowers. I remembered my grandma and how much she loves plating and watching flowers grow. I remembered going to school dances and having to but the corsage. I remember going to a flower garden this summer with my siblings and their families. Overall, it reminded me how much the Lord loves me. He has given me all of those things in my life because He loves me. And the crazy thing is that they all came back to my memory from something so small.

Monday, October 10, 2011

General Conference

I love General Conference! It is definitely my favorite weekend of the year! The only down side is that it only happens twice a year. This year, I enjoyed Conference a lot more than I have in the past. I don't know why that is, but I learned a lot more this time than I think I ever have before! There are a lot of things that I know contributed to my enjoyment  of Conference including

  • I was much more prepared to listen to the Saturday morning session than usual. aka my dad didn't wake me up ten minutes before it started and I wander up the stairs and start eating breakfast as the first talk was being given. This time I was up a good three and a half hours before it started! And I was in a much better position to listen and learn.
  • I actually wanted to learn. I wanted to find and hear things that would make me more prepared to teach this gospel and spread the joy that it brings (and I definitely did learn some awesome things!)
  • My mom suggested that I write down three questions before Conference started and during the talks to look for the answers. That definitely helped me to stay focused on all of the talks! :)
  • Just the fact of being a missionary I think was a big help.
  • And I came up with a pretty good system of taking notes. People make fun of me for my many pens that I have, but  they all came in handy for Conference!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Art of the Defect

I have the opportunity to serve my mission with some very unique people. We have all overcome the trials we have faced and decided to serve the Lord. I myself have Muscular Dystrophy. My form of Muscular Dystrophy is called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, named after the three main scientists who "discovered" it. It is an inherited trait. I got it from my dad and I have another sister who also has it. The three of us enjoy sharing stories about how we stub our toes and don't feel it for a good 10 seconds later, or fun accidents that we have. We have some good laughs about some of the things that we do!

Because of my disability, I have had a few surgeries in my short life. The first one occurred when I was a junior in high school and the most recent was this past May. Due to my disability, and with no help from being in casts for 6 weeks, I kind of became an outcast in the eyes of the large majority of people I went to high school with. There were a few that were really good friends, but they seemed to be the exception, not the rule. In this time of trial in my life, I often ate lunch alone and found solace and comfort in my music.

I came to love Jack Johnson because his music was so comforting. Whenever I was having a bad day, whenever I was feeling bad for myself, I could listen to Jack and immediately a wave of peace and calming would settle over me and I knew that everything would be alright. In high school, one of his songs inspired me. It is called "People Watching". As I ate lunch, I would go to the second floor of my school which had a perfect view of the cafeteria. As I ate, I would watch my peers--watch how they treated each other, watch how they really acted, and discovered what kinds of people they really were. Throughout these weeks of watching, I longed to be there with them. I longed to be accepted for who I was and for them to be able to discover who I really am. Unfortunately, that never happened while I was in high school. But then college happened.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why the background?

    Hello! As my profile says, I am a missionary and this is my missionary blog! On this blog, I will share my own experiences of how I have come to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church and how that knowledge has benefited my life. I also hope to share the experiences of those who also come to this knowledge. This is my first blog ever, so you may have to bear with me for a while until I get the hang of things.

    I have only been out for about six weeks now, so I still don't know entirely what is going on. I have already had some amazing experiences and I have also had some huge struggles and disappointments. In the end though the good has outweighed the bad thus far. Hopefully it remains that way for the next two years!

    One cool thing that I love about being a missionary is that I wear a name tag that has my name along with that of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing thing to literally be a representative of Him. It can be hard at times to remember that I am currently sharing Christ's name, but the fact that I am always dressed up helps me remember that fact. Remembering that I am His servant helps me to remember Him more in my life. It truly is a spectacular responsibility to be called to help God's children remember Him and remember who they really are.

    As I was setting this blog up, I had a hard time picking a picture for the background. There are so many beautiful pictures that I would love to set as my background, but something caught my eye about this one. Partially it was the fact that there is such a green overtone to it and green is one of my favorite colors (the other one is orange if you couldn't tell by the totally matching color scheme I created!). But part of it was also the meaning it has to me.