As always, I'm not very good at updates - but I'm doing well. This week is my last week here in the Arizona Phoenix mission, and its boggling my mind! Where has the time gone!? Its crazy crazy crazy CRAZY!!!! I'm excited to move on to the next chapter of my life, but I'm also sad to close a chapter that I've loved so much.
Our recent convert, Jazmine is doing amazing. Since her baptism she's been on fire and is preparing to go to the temple now. She's never been, but she talks about it like it's the most important place in her life.... and in terms of living the gospel - it is! 😂
I've been thinking a lot about how much the people on my mission have taught me lately, and Jazmine has taught me something that I'm just realizing now as I'm writing this that's blowing my mind.
Ok - so Jazmine has Incredible faith. She believes so fully in the happiness she'll feel within the walls of the temple even though she has yet to even see the outside of it in person. I realized that... that's like us! Living the Gospel! Of Jesus Christ! We have hope in and we believe in the happiness and divine joy that we will feel as eternal families in the Celestial Kingdom. Like Jazmine, we've never been there. We've never experienced a celestial world - yet it is the most important place to us. That's why we live the way we do. Not only because it brings enduring happiness and also immediate blessings seen and unseen, but because we understand who we are and who we can become. I read a talk by Brad Wilcox, and in response to a friend asking if we believed we had to earn our way to Heaven he replied,
"Oh no. We are not earning Heaven, we are LEARNING Heaven."
I want to bear my testimony that I know that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It works! It can not only make one happy, but enable one to become more than they could EVER, ever, in all of forever possibly make of themselves. Its protected and comforted me, It has brought me security, and it has given me abiding peace as I've worthily lived for the Gift of the Holy Ghost that I recieved at my Baptism. It hasnt been easy, but Its helped me to love more deeply, learn more eagerly, and hope more completely as I'ved turned to Heavenly Father and looked to His Son Jesus Christ and listened to the Holy Ghost in my life.
I've come to understand Gods character more. I know now that there is nothing that God will do to you, your family, or your friends that ultimately isn't for your benefit. One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is :
"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."
2 Nephi 26:24
Jesus Christ's church is back! Its here and its here to stay. Nothing can stop the work - not even a world wide pandemic. The Saviors Atonement has lifted me and strengthened me, and taught me that my target is progression and not perfection. Among the cactus's and tequila bottle street-litter, the Savior has always given me a sunset to look forward to. I will forever be grateful for my time here, not a minute of it would I take back. I treasure the opportunity that was given to me to serve.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.