Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas and My Mini Mission

Hello Everyone!!!! Merry late Christmas and Happy New Years (soon)!!!! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas surrounded by loved ones and filled with joy! Wow!! I have a lot of neat experiences to share!!!

So first off, Christmas was GREAT!! I was a little worried about it at first because our family wasn't there and it was just going to be me and my parents but NO! It turned out awesome! Christmas eve we went and bought boxes of food and made baskets of treats to those in need. We got everything together and then went to go meet a bishop of one of the wards here in Guayaquil who was going to take us to meet several of these families in need. What we didn't know was that he had also invited his counselors AND the sister missionaries of that area!!! What an awesome surprise!! So we ended up having a big group of people to go and visit with us! Such an awesome surprise!! The only problem was we didn't have much car space.. so I went into the very back seat (which has like no leg room haha) with all the baskets and boxes and a few of the sister missionaries' bags and in the row in front of me there were six sister missionaries crammed into a three person space hahaha it was so funny!! We would sing christmas carols really loud in funny voices and just spent the time laughing even though we were crammed together! So we set of all of us with the Bishop leading us and we started up these tall hills on these roads with no pavement and it was soooo super bumpy and all of us were hitting our heads on the ceiling and bracing ourselves and haha what an experience! When we got to the houses we would all pile out and go into the homes of these needy members. I FELT THE SPIRIT SOOOOO STRONGLY IT WAS SO COOL!!! We gave them the baskets and boxes of food and wished them Merry Christmas and talked to them for a bit, exchanged hugs and then walked down the hill and did the same with a few other members. We drove further into the hills, stopping and meeting some of the nicest people I have ever met and taking boxes and treats to families who weren't going to have Christmas or barely had anything. It was such a neat experience. These people are so humble and kind and just accept us into their home and give warm hugs. These people don't care where you're from or what you look like they give love to EVERYONE and I just felt that while we were visiting with them. Near the end of our little adventure we went to this really poor neighborhood where we were going to give things to people who weren't going to have food for Christmas. When we got out of the car, kids from all around came around us and were asking "Tienen regalos? Tienen regalos? Tienen dulces para mi?" or in other words "Do you have present? Do you have presents? Do you have candy for me?" It was so humbling. Here we all were with things for this one family and there were so many others who didn't have anything. I mean, so many of us have our huge christmas trees and tons of presents and food every christmas and family all around and so much more. These kids had none of that and they were so excited when they saw us and thought we had brought things for them. My heart was crushed, I cannot tell you how bad I just wanted to hand something out to every child. The sister missionaries had to hold the baskets and boxes on top of their heads because the kids would try to reach in and take things. But ohhhh I wish I could have given them something. That was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. When we finally came home haha we came home to a flooded house which was more humbling.. we cleaned that up and then we ate a dinner of salsa chicken and tortillas, skyped our family and opened our gifts. The next day my parents made menudo (a soup with cow stomach..ew), meat, tortillas, salsa and other things and we had the office elders and nurses over for lunch. It was so much fun to talk and joke with them and we just had a great time! After that we got to skype my brother who is on his mission which was so much fun. This seriously was one of the best christmases ever:)

Next, the Friday after Christmas I went to go stay with the sister missionaries in an area about 45 - 60 minutes away from our house. THAT WAS SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE!!! I got to see mission life up close and live it for several days! The first day I was with them I was amazed. We woke up at 6:15 and did personal study and companion study, each for about 1 hour. I thought this was going to be so long and kind of boring but NOOOO turns out when the time came for each to be done I was really disappointing and wanting more time!!! During my personal study time I would study preach my gospel lessons and write notes in spanish to help me start thinking and speaking better in the language. I read the book of mormon in english and in spanish and I felt the spirit so strongly and got so many neat insights. During companion study we only speak in spanish, and you know what the crazy thing was??!?!? I WAS ABLE TO!!! I ONLY HAD TO ASK HOW TO SAY A WORD A COUPLE TIMES BUT I WAS ABLE TO EXPRESS MYSELF!!!! HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?!? I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT!!! Just in those several days I was already seeing the works of the gift of tongues!! It was amazing! In our lessons with people I would take notes and write down things that I liked that the missionaries did or things they said. I also wrote down questions that were frequently asked by lots of people and that I wanted to learn more about so that I would better be able to answer those questions when I go on my own mission. At first I was really scared to share my testimony or thoughts because of the different language and I thought I would mess up and I was scared but when I did, I spoke with the spirit and the people listened really intently and I was able to say what I was thinking!!! IT WAS SO SO SO SO SO SO COOL!!!! I seriously have a greater testimony now that if you trust in god he will help you! Holy cow! Next thing, when we ate lunch with this very kind member she gave us A TON of food and I was really nervous because usually I don't eat THAT much and there were beans and sometimes I have a hard time eating beans because the skins get stuck in my throat but OH MY GOSH Heavenly father helped me eat it ALL and even the beans!!! Crazy huh?! Usually when I eat that much I feel like I'm gonna throw up but I didn't!! Holy cow! So cool! On sunday I went to church with them and road the bus for the first time and it was SO MUCH FUN!!! It was so lurchy but so cool, to get on you have to like flag the bus down there aren't just bus stops every where and to get off you basically have to swing from live bar to bar because the bus is still moving and then it will stop all at once and almost throw you!! So awesome! In church (and in all the day before and before church) I was able to understand everything and talk to anyone!! It was so cool!! I haven't been going to young womens because I have been really scared, one of the times I went, or the last time, I was trying to speak and the kids started laughing and made fun of me so I had been really afraid to try again. I went to the investigator class but for the third hour the sisters nudged me to go to the young womens class with one of the rescued members who was a teacher.. I was VERY reluctant and came to the point of almost crying three times because I was so nervous  BUUUUT when class started the girls were soooo nice and I WAS ABLE TO TALK TO ALL OF THEM AND SAY MY THOUGHTS AND I EVEN GOT UP AND TALKED IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS (it was a combined all ages class) IT WAS SOOOO FLIPPIN COOL!!! Can you say miracle because HA I CAN!! It was such a neat experience! Monday I ended up getting sick but it was P day and I washed clothes by hand and the sisters and I went to the mall to get food and then I went home because I was feeling so bad (I was originally going to stay to the next morning but I got really bad stomach sickness and had to go). But holy cow!! It was such a neat experience, I had totally taken missionaries and their lives for granted and underestimated them and missionary work! But now I know it is no easy thing! It takes work and courage and a lot of energy! The first day was so hard for me because I wasn't used to working straight up every hour of the day and walking around for hours and taking cold showers and taking taxis and buses everywhere and eating so much haha and trying things I hadn't before or eating things I didn't like but WOW my eyes have been opened.. in the beginning missionary work is so hard to adjust to but once you do it is the neatest thing ever. I cannot wait to serve a mission. I know it's not going to be easy but it's definitely going to be worth it:)

I hope everyone had an awesome week and is having a great day. Heavenly Father will bless you if you just trust him and take a leap of faith. I was studying in my personal study one day about faith and I was thinking... faith is like a trust fall but with heavenly father.. you have to trust him that he is standing behind you and trust that he is going to catch you. No you can't see him, all you can see is what's in front of you.. but that doesn't mean he is not right behind you. He may be further back or right up close but you have to trust that he is there and take the fall, take a fall of faith knowing he is going to catch you, not crying and fearing on the way down. Yes there is a way down to fall.. but if you have faith in Jesus Christ.. you know that you wont hit the ground but that instead you will land in his arms. I challenge everyone to take a fall or leap of faith this week big or small and see what blessings you recieve for it. I'm not saying it's going to be easy or that the result will be right away, but I AM SAYING that it will be worth it, if you take that leap or fall with the spirit and trust him on the way down. He will catch you and he will lead you home. Love you all!! Have a fantastic new years!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Post!!!!

Hi everybody!!!! Merry Christmas (in like four days)!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh I am so excited!!! I always love Christmas, but this year we don't have family coming and so we are going to go spend it with some of the missionaries converts!! I'm so excited!!! We're going to make tons of cookies and take them to people like old times and skype my brother!!!!! I'm so excited!!!!! I can tell Christmas this year is going to be great, not because of the presents but because of Christ's presence.

I think so many of us so many times forget the real meaning of Christmas. We get so caught up with presents and friends and parties that we just lose sight of what's most important or why we even have Christmas. I am completely guilty of this because most Christmases I've had growing up all I could think about was food and presents even though my parents always taught me otherwise. Now that I'm older... the true meaning of Christmas is more important to me.. I don't think I could say that if I didn't come to Ecuador because I probably still wouldn't believe in God . I want to tell you all why Christmas means so much to me this year.. especially right now.

 I've been going through a really hard time lately.. I've felt pretty lonely.. I've been going through the life evaluating process all over again and I've had some pretty tough decisions to make. Christmas seems particularly special to me this year.. not because I want stuff and because I finally get two weeks off of school (that is VERY nice though), but because I need the true gift of Christmas which is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was God's gift to the world, he was/ is the perfect gift and he is a gift that will never brake, be lost or wear down with time. This gift died for us, he understands us, he loves us back, he knows our thoughts and can help us. Jesus Christ is unlike any gift we will ever receive not only because he loves us, cares for us and understands us but he is exactly everything we need and can make us everything we were meant to be. What toy,, makeup, or electronic device could do that? None of them could.

I can just imagine all of us in Heaven at Jesus's birth, surrounding him, crying and singing and laughing and jumping for joy that he would save us. I can just imagine myself in Heaven, knowing my life and my plan and the things I would go through and being so happy that someone would be able to help me through it all. Being down here on earth now in this life, he has helped me through so much. He has helped us all through so much and we don't even realize it. Jesus Christ understands us, loves us, is always there for us, will never replace us or forget us and he will never leave us alone, even when we try to push him away. He is the perfect friend and brother, the perfect example and the perfect savior. I am so grateful for him. Right when I feel like crying because I feel alone or let down or lost, Christ's image pops into my mind and I know that even though I feel all these horrible things, none of them are true, because he is here. When all else disappointing us and everyone leaves us alone, when things don't work out the way we want them to, he is still there with his arms stretched out to us.

So many people can't grasp a father with perfect love or a son who would die for his siblings. I couldn't believe that. It is hard to understand and we may not ever fully comprehend it in this life. But the truth is, our father does have a perfect love and his son did die for us, to SAVE us because he loves us. Can you imagine Marry, Jesus's mother and that long journey to Bethlehem? She was probably in so much pain! No pain killers and for days on foot or on the back of a donkey! How uncomfortable! I wouldn't last an hour! But, the pain she and Joseph went through was so worth it. I am so grateful to them and to Heavenly father. How hard it would be to travel for days on foot and to give your son to the world to be endure pain of EVERY KIND, and killed? That would be so hard. I can't even imagine. I am so grateful. I am SO grateful.

Looking at it all, Christmas isn't about gifts, it is about a gift. Christmas is about sacrifice and love and hope. When all hope seems lost, if we look to Christ, we can find it again. That is really all I can say about the meaning of Christmas. My heart is so full and I am so grateful for this gift God has given us. If any of you feel alone this Christmas, if any of you feel like life is not worth it, like you can't go any further or feel like "what's the point?", look to Jesus Christ, go to him, and everything will become clearer. With him, everything just makes more sense.

What do you give to someone who has given you their life? You give them your life. I don't mean that you have to die to pay Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ back, no. What I mean is, we use our life to help others, to do the lord's work, we spend our life giving love and sharing the gift we have been given. In my house at Christmas we hang up a white stocking for Jesus. Whenever we do something for others or share our time and help with others we write it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking. On Christmas day we look in the stocking and read everything we have done for Jesus Christ. We try to continue doing things the rest of the year but around Christmas it is especially symbolic. So, this Christmas I want to challenge everyone to do something for someone else out of pure love and pure gratitude. I promise you, you will feel so good, heavenly father will bless you, and you will start to understand even more the true meaning of Christmas.

Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father love you all so much and they know your heart and what you are going through. They will never leave you  or stop loving you. We mean so much to them and always will. Merry Christmas everyone. Don't forget the gift. He never forgets you.

Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season. Thomas S. Monson

Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus. ~ Neal A. Maxwell

Christmas Decor Wise Men still seek Him Wall Decal vinyl lettering religious decorations. $15,00, via Etsy.

I'm in love with this poem!!!!!! Best Christmas poem ever! Awesome for kids too!!!!!!

Find more Christmas Inspiration at ShabbyMe.com

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! I hope that everyone had a wonderful day and ate lots of good food! I also hope you all took a little time to reflect on the amazing things that you have in your lives... I know I have so many that I many times take so much for granted.. I think thanksgiving is a good little reminder to all of us that we have more than we realize and it kind of gets us to start thinking a bit.

I have so many things I am grateful for.. I can't even name them all. Heavenly Father blesses us all so much.. I just don't know where to begin. I guess I'll start by saying how grateful I am for my family. My family is one of the greatest blessings I have in my life. We are just like a group of friends.. we are always talking and laughing and we can always talk to and get advice from each other and learn with each other.. it's really amazing and such a blessing. I think that so often lots of us take our families for granted.. I know I did..  big time.. I used to be so mean to my family. Part of this was because I was so depressed and didn't like talking but whenever they would come to our house, I would hide in my room or stay silent or get really irritated really quickly. I took them so much for granted.. I always took their love and their help whenever I wanted but I never fully appreciated it or gave it back. Now that I am in Ecuador and have had to live with out them and gotten over my depression... I feel so grateful for them and I love and appreciated them much more than I ever would have if I had stayed at home. They do so much for me all the time and they are always there for me, cheering me on, giving me advice, sending me things, laughing with me and just being a friend or a shoulder to cry on. I love them so much. I am so grateful that heavenly father sent me to my family and that I have a family. There are so many people in the world who don't have families, who don't have that support or that love and don't have that safe environment and I wouldn't understand but I'm sure it's hard and kind of depressing sometimes... some people may not even know what they are missing out on because they have never experienced it. It's really sad. That is why I am so grateful for my family. They are gems.. they are rare and special.. and not to be taken for granted.

Next, I am so grateful for my friends. ALL of my friends, young and old of all different backgrounds. I have learned so much from all kinds of different people that I have come in contact with, each person teaches me some kind of lesson.. whether it's by their example or by their words.. I am so grateful for the wisdom that I can take away from each of them and for the knowledge and experience they share with me. I am so grateful for my friends in Utah who haven't forgotten me and who still talk to me and love me. I cannot tell you how much that means to me.. it's so hard being away from people because sometimes.. you feel like they are going to forget you or they are going to leave you behind.. I guess that's how you tell who is really there for you and who isn't. Distance is a really good tester of friendship and I'm grateful for all of you who have stuck with me and kept me in your thoughts and prayers.. it means the world. I am also so grateful for the friends I have here in Ecuador. So many of them are so different than me but yet they still continue to amaze me with their kindness and their positive outlooks... they are friendly and warm and they teach me so much in ways they may not realize. I am so grateful for all of you. Friends are such an important part of our lives.. they impact what decisions we make, who we become and where we go in life. That is why it is so important to choose good friends and I am so blessed to have good... GREAT friends who are lifting me up and helping me to be my best self. I am so grateful for people who understand me and people who don't because I learn from them both and they both help me to become a better person. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!

I am so grateful to be here in Ecuador. I never would have guessed that I could be this happy. When I was back in Utah before we came, all depressed and sad, I didn't know that I could ever be happy here in Ecuador. I was so worried that I wouldn't have friends, that I would become more depressed, that everybody would forget me and that I was going to get so homesick. It was very hard in the beginning.. SO HARD.. and for a while it did get worse and I felt sadder. I can now testify that it always gets worse before it gets better. Before we came to Ecuador, I wasn't sure I believed in God.. not in the sense that he was there.. I believed the he was there but I didn't believe in him in the way that he loved us all and was there for us and listened and watched out for us.. I just couldn't wrap my mind around it.. and it didn't make sense to me because I was so sad. Now, I have gone through really hard things.. living with your parents in a foreign country on an LDS mission is not the easiest thing in the world. It is actually really hard and takes some getting used to. But, the experiences I have had here have shaped me into an amazing person. I have been able to see through experience that heavenly father cares for me and is listening to my prayers. So many times I would cry in the bathroom stalls at school because I was homesick or culture shocked and I was so tired. I finally decided to put down my pride and pray and tell heavenly father how I was feeling and when I did.. it was like a whole knew world. I felt at peace and I felt calm.. not thrilled but getting better. I was strengthened and I began to understand more than I had before. I read the Book of Mormon for the first time all the way through when before I couldn't even get past second Nephi and didn't want to. I began to understand it and receive insights and I could feel the spirit stronger than I ever had before. When I would do my home study seminary and read the scriptures and be asked to think and be asked questions that made me think and got me wondering.. I got deeper into the scriptures and began to build a testimony. By the time I finished the Book of Mormon, my life had turned completely around and I was basically a different person. I have become closer to my parents, to my heavenly father, to my siblings and to others.. I would have never thought getting out of my comfort zone would change me but it did and it made my life 300% better. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I've had to grow here and share my testimony and my joy with people I have come to love. I am so grateful for all the hard things.. they have made me tougher and made me think and made me come alive whereas before I felt dead and useless even though I was very much alive. I am so grateful for coming to Ecuador because it has taught me that you can be alive but that doesn't necessarily mean you are living. You can be growing physically but emotionally and spiritually you could just be shrinking and gasping for air. There is so much more to life than we think.

I am so grateful a home. I am so grateful for clothes and for food and for my five senses and for electricity and for the technology that allows me to keep in touch with people even though they are thousands of miles away. I am thankful for smiles and laughs and for warm hugs and kind words (and mean words.. not in the moment.. but ultimately we can choose to learn from them).I am so grateful for the colors of our world (think of how boring it would be if everything was just in black and white:/).I am so grateful for books and for my talents.. I'm so grateufl for all the hard things I've been through that allow me to help others. I'm so thankful for my values and beliefs that keep me happy and safe. I'm so thankful for everything... well.. not everything.. I cannot say I'm grateful for spiders or ants or foot problems but.. I'm sure they have a purpose.. in one way or another. I'm so grateful for a purpose.. and for the knowledge that everything has a purpose.. everything just makes more sense.. obviously but I just.. it's comforting to know that.. even though something is hard or scary or unusual.. it has a purpose. Some things compel us to change, somethings make us think.. somethings cheer us up and some things guide us or simply entertain and interest us to help us keep going.

I hope you all know how much I love you guys and that your heavenly father is there for you and watching over you.. he is blessing you all the time, even when you don't realize it:) Have a wonderful rest of the day! You are amazing! Don't forget it! And don't forget everything that you are thankful for! Thanksgiving is just a reminder to be thankful.. it shouldn't be the only day we think of our blessings or what we are thankful for:)

Good to think about.

Beautiful Quote from John F. Kennedy

Chocolate on my Cranium: Gratitude & Service FHE Ideas

Gratitude can transform regular days into thanksgivings. #givingthanks

Give thanks {free printable}

LDS Quote | Dieter F. Uchtdorf #gratitudequote #thanksgiving #attitudequote http://sprinklesonmyicecream.blogspot.com/

"We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count." ~Neal Maxwell

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gained Testimony..

You know you're growing spiritually stronger when Satan has been throwing crap at you all week from all different sides and you stay happy. That has been me this week. This week I have gained such a testimony of fasting and of going to the temple. Those two things coupled with prayer are so powerful. I've had a pretty rough couple of weeks.. things have just been going down hill in a lot of ways and at first I was really scared and sad. I was feeling so alone and so tired.. I wasn't feeling much energy and Satan was tempting me with so many different things.. some days I just cried. But it's amazing, the minute I went to the temple and stepped inside those doors every worry and every fear crept out of me and left at the door. As I prayed and read the scriptures in the temple, I was filled with this deep peace and this comforting feeling that eveything was going to be okay.. one way or another things were going to turn out fine even if it wasn't how or when I expected or wanted. And it's strange.. I felt at peace about it. Usually I kind of pout when I feel like heavenly father gives me a "no" or his will is different from mine.. but not this time. I fasted on Saturday and Sunday and this whole week I've felt so calm and happy.. even if physically I am alone or being really tempted or find out something scary (some scary things happened to a few of our missionaries and I thought it was going to haunt me for the rest of the week.. they are just fine now but still it was weird and I thought I would think about it all week but I haven't.. I'm okay and so are they:)).. I have just felt this deep feeling of peace. I have never had such a strong testimony of the temple and of fasting and prayer until now. It's not what I expected and originally not exactly what I've wanted but it's turned out better for me and I can feel my heavenly fathers love and I feel like whatever his plan is, I am going to be okay. I really don't have much more to say than that.. He is guiding me so much and helping me so much.. all the hard stuff is just shaping me.. and I'm so grateful for it now. I hope that I will learn even more before I go home. I want everyone to know, that if you have faith and trust in heavenly father and keep his commandments and do what he says we should.. you will be happier than you ever thought possible.. even if it seems impossible at the time. I love you all and I can honestly say that because you are all children of God going through your own hard trials and living this crazy life. We are not alone. God is with us and we are with eachother. Stay strong my friends. If little, weak, old me can do it, you can do it too:) *Hugs all readers collectively* I just thought I would share that! Don't give up guys!! God doesn't always give us what we want.. but he always gives us what we need:)

This applies to pretty much anything!

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles. -Charlie Chaplin

Your plans are better than my dreams life quotes quotes quote god dreams life inspirational motivational life lessons dear god
I'm sure if we new what his plans were.. if we knew our full potential.. those plans and our potential would be our dreams and our goals..
~Paulo Coelho

I need to remember this more often

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning to Fly

Hello!! My goodness it has been a really long time since I have written! Gosh a lot has happened. My life has just been going up and down over and over again. So on the good side I had my birthday in October, that was super awesome! What cool people I have in my life! We have two little baby birds that hatched above our door and we have watched them grow (I’ll talk about that later) and heavens my testimony has grown a lot, but not because things have been easy. They definitely have not been. I really wish I could write all of my experiences I’ve had here and I really want to but some of them I can’t, however, I have something in the works that I am going to start working on :) . But since I can’t share all of my experiences online I always share the outcome of them and what I learn.
Sometimes I feel like people think I’m perfect or that I’m always happy or always close to heavenly father and always super spiritual. That’s really not true. By nature I am very spiritual and deep, that’s partly true but not always in the same way. Just like everybody else I have my ups and downs and I get close and also get distanced from heavenly father. When I came back from Utah this summer that is what happened. I started falling for the temptations to not read every day and not pray or just really quickly and sometimes not even kneeling down, I got angry easier because I didn’t have the spirit with me and it was just a mess. At school I felt alone and would get sad easier like in the beginning but not as bad and I just got stressed a lot. Several weeks ago I completely collapsed. I had been having physical and spiritual turmoil. I wasn’t getting even five hours of sleep every night, I was really struggling in math and homework was just piling up like nothing else. I would spend five or six hours a day doing homework, three of such hours doing math because I wouldn’t understand it in class so I had to watch videos and basically learn it by myself. This stressed me out so bad. I have a.d.d which doesn’t help anything and makes my mind wonder EVERYWHERE. So, this one week, on a Monday I completely broke down and for the first time since I came out of my depression I had an anxiety attack. Everything was just to much, I was so unbalanced, my mind was completely fried and I couldn’t think. During my classes that day I couldn’t keep my mind straight and every time I did something wrong I’d be at the brink of tears because I was so mentally and physically tired. In chemistry, I knew the formulas and knew which numbers to put where but even though I knew I put numbers in completely different places because my mind couldn’t stay focused. So each time I’d go up to the teacher to check the problem and got it wrong I got more and more frustrated. After that class ended I went and cried in another teacher’s classroom for all of lunch and felt so depressed. I went to the councilor’s office and then to the nurses office when I started getting a migraine and my mom took me home. That week I went back into almost full throttle depression like I had had before I came to Ecuador. I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to hurt myself like before and I didn’t feel unloved but I just felt so dark and so scared and so tired it was almost debilitating. I kept asking heavenly father, “Why? Why do I have so much crap in my life? Why can’t I just have some time, some energy, some sleep?” I rarely felt the spirit that week. Other things happened that I’m not going to talk about but to sum it up, this week was one of the if not the most horrible week of my time in Ecuador.
A couple amazing things happened though because of this experience.. on the Thursday or Friday of that week, I started to try to come back to heavenly father and to have faith in him again. I didn’t know what else to do. Just like it did before, the moment I read the scriptures and prayed, I came out of being depressed and was able to have faith. Something great happened that I never thought would happen, and it didn’t happen until after I had faith. In the U.S, or at least where I’m from, you only need three math credits, ninth grade, tenth grade and eleventh. So, I was not going to have to take math my senior year. My mom had the idea to take me out of math this year and just have me take it when I got back home. Originally we didn’t know it the school would let me do this, but, thanks to God and the kind staff I was able to be taken out and have not had such an overload since. Even though I still have about two or three hours of homework every day I feel like I can do it and I’ve even had spare time. Because of that horrible experience I’m trying again to come back to heavenly father and stay close to him. I truly have a testimony that if we stay close to him EVERYTHING in our lives will turn out fine.
The next amazing thing that happened because of this experience was that I was reminded of how it feels to be depressed. Now, you may be wondering, “Why would you want to be reminded of that? Isn’t it horrible?” And my answer is yes, yes it is. But, because of this experience, I have a deeper desire once again to stay close to my heavenly father and I have been able to empathize for others, for a couple of my friends who are now going through the same things and feeling the same feelings that I once did. I am able to help them more and understand them more and truly feel a more pure love for them and appreciation for what they’re going through. Tell me I could have done that without that experience. Tell me I could have felt all these things without going through the bad. Tell me that God is not there and that all these bad experiences aren’t working for my good. No, don’t EVER tell me those things, because I will know that they are just not true. 
In Utah, before coming to Ecuador, I always wondered why I wasn’t happy even when I tried to live the gospel. I always wondered, “Why is it, that if I’m going to church, I’m thinking about god and I’m reading conference talks that I’m not feeling happy or getting all the blessings?” Now I know. You cannot just live part of the gospel or live it lightly and expect to receive all the blessings that come to those that live all of the commandments. You won’t. If you do not live all of his commandments, of course you’re not going to receive the happiness and testimony of those that live all of them. It doesn’t work like that. You may be blessed and grow some, but in the long run, it is not going to do anything for you if you just obey the commandments selectively. That is why I didn’t believe in the church, that is why I thought it wasn’t true, because I was only living part of it and was upset when I didn’t receive a fullness of happiness or a fullness of blessings. In some ways, when I got back from Utah this summer, that is what I was doing. Only living some of the commandments or only doing them because it was a commandment not because I wanted to or felt the spirit when I did it. Friends! Brothers and sisters! That is not any way to live. If you want to feel the spirit and have a surplus of joy don’t just live part of the gospel, live all of it and do it because you want to not just because you should.
We all have our ups and downs, we have our weaknesses and things we need to work on. A couple of mine are pride and having faith, but I’m getting better and that is what matters.  
Another thing I would like to tell you about is the baby birds that have hatched and grown above our door. The mother, had one baby before and so we’ve been able to notice a pattern as we’ve watched them every day. The mother lays her egg and then sits on it for days. She doesn’t leave and so that daddy bird has to bring her food (What patience huh? I would have left my nest after five minutes to go get something to eat haha). She sits all day and when they finally hatch she feeds them and watched them and sits on them. Whenever she would see us watching out the window at her she would watch us until we left as if to say, “Nuhuh you aint having my babies for dinner.. heck you aint even gonna touch them!” haha she is VERY protective. But as we’ve watched, after the babies have grown a bit and get bigger, the mom will push the nest of the ledge and the baby birds will either have to flap their wings to stay up or jump. After that the mom doesn’t stay around the babies as much, she’s gone more often and she doesn’t sit on them. After a time, the babies start to fly, they go out flying with their mom or come back or they don’t come back at all depending on if they’re ready. One of the babies hasn’t left at all yet, he just sits there and I’m kind of nervous for him.  
Our lives are very much the same. I have become so grateful for a family. In the beginning Heavenly father keeps us under his wings and we receive food from him in our families. We are protected by them and given a safe place to grow up and to be nourished weather it is our ward family or our real family or both. After a time we have to experience life without them, they are still there coming back to us but we have not quite left the ledge. This is kind of like adolescence and leaving on a mission, not quite gone off on their own just yet but getting ready to. Finally, heavenly father takes off the nest and we must either learn to fly, jump, or fall with the nest. That is a test. With that, some of us learn to fly and are off, out by ourselves providing for ourselves and leaning on our own testimonies and away from the constant protection of our families. Some of us take longer and maybe are afraid, but sooner or later we must fly.
I kind of feel like the moment of the falling of the nest is different for everyone. Sometimes we are still in the home but we begin to take flight already by ourselves and sometimes we wait to take flight until we are compelled to do so. So many symbolic things in nature. :)

Though I am alone a lot of the time now and rarely do things on the weekends, I know that my heavenly father is there and for that reason, I don’t feel alone. Even when I feel scared to stand up for something, share my testimony or go out of my comfort zone, the spirit gives me the little push and strength I need to learn to fly. I hope everyone knows how much God loves you and how much he really is looking out for you. If you don’t harden your hearts, if you open your minds and have the desire, God can show and teach you great things and he can enlighten you and grow your understanding. Trust in him and keep trying. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. :)

Isaiah 66:9 - hope for the future of our sanctification in times of trial or pain, The Lord is good to finish the work he started in you

Maya Angelou

Never was more truth in a statement.

"In the sight of the Lord it is not so much what we have done or where we have been but where we are willing to go." -Elder Edward Dube #ldsconf #ElderDube #lds #christian


Jeffrey R. Holland

"Obedience is a choice between our limited knowledge and God's unlimited knowledge and power." - L. Tom Perry

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Birthday Post - Trust Heavenly Father :)

Hello everybody!! Happy October!!! Guess what!??! Today is my 16th birthday!!! It has been the best birthday ever!!! Yesterday I had a party with my friends and that was way fun and today conference was amazing, the best gift I could have gotten, the office elders came over for cake and ice cream and my sweet brother josh who is on his mission texted a kind lady in his zone to call and sing me happy birthday. What a great surprise that was! I never EVER thought I would say this but I love Ecuador, I can't imagine anywhere else I would rather be and I can't imagine leaving. I love the people here, I love the language I love school even though sometimes it is tough I love it here and I have grown so much. I could have never known in the beginning that this was how it was going to be, that I would come to call this place my home and learn to love it so much. Especially in the beginning when things were so hard and all I could think about was going home, after going to Utah and missing here I realized I now prefer to be in Ecuador!! How is it going to be when I HAVE to go back to Utah? Oh gosh.

All of you mission president's kids, all of you children of God who are going through any hard times, or having to leave your homes and families and friends behind, God knows what he is doing, he has your best interest in mind. You need to trust God. I could have spared myself so many sleepless and tearful nights if I had only trusted him to begin with. I have met to many amazing people and have had so many amazing experiences I can't even count them! I am so blessed. We are all so blessed. Satan doesn't want you to see that, he wants you to focus on the bad and he wants you to worry and be anxious. DONT GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS!

I know times can be hard, I know at times we think, "How can I go on? What is the point in this?" But, there is always a reason for everything we go through and there is always a way to get through it."And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Heavenly father has provided a way for you, he knows the way which you should walk, he knows the road blocks and the rapids you will encounter but he also knows of the flowers and the beautiful skies that will come. He knows of the rainbows that will come after the rain and he knows of the growth that will come from the downpour. We must trust him. While there is a lot of hardship to come and while hard things have happened there is a lot of beauty to come as well as a lot of beauty that has been. He knows our hearts, our desires, our worries, our hopes and our dreams and he is ready to help you, vanquish your doubts and secure your hopes but you must first take his hand in faith. I wish I had learned this earlier on, I wish I had trusted heavenly father before and when I first got to Ecuador, most of my time was wasted thinking about going home. When I finally went home for the summer I wanted to go back to Ecuador. I promise you that if you go with heavenly father and you try your hardest to follow him, take on his example and have faith, you will not be dissapointed and you will feel his love prominently in your life. He loves you.

A while ago my school had a week of "outdoor school" it's a week that we spend outside of the school doing community service in different parts of Guayaquil. One of the days, our class stayed in the nature reserve where we were volunteering and camped out. In the morning of the next day we woke up to go on a four hour hike mostly up hill. We were all tired within minutes and had to take breaks every five minutes because of the intensity and some people didn't want to be there or even wanted to turn around and go back, but what we saw and experienced was so worth it (in my opinion haha). Getting to the top of the mountain you could see the whole valley, rivers, lakes, trees and the sky line, howler monkeys and their babies were in the Ceibus trees above and birds flew and squawked everywhere. It was gorgeous. When we finally finished our going up we obviously went back down the mountain, but the breeze and the ease felt so good. What would have happened if we hadn't gone up the mountain? Some might say, "You wouldn't be so tired or sweating or dying of exhaustion!" Others might say "You wouldn't have been bitten by so many mosquitoes even though you sprayed!"(I really was) but what I say is, I wouldn't have seen that gorgeous view, I wouldn't have gotten to see the cute howler monkeys and their babies and seen how they live. I wouldn't have seen the gorgeous birds, I wouldn't have felt so peaceful and I wouldn't have had such a great workout! While some of this may not seem that great, in person and in reality it is extraordinary if you think about it. I wouldn't have been able to see the beauty this mountain had to offer if I hadn't first climbed it. Similarly, we wont receive the blessings that we receive from fighting the war, we wont receive the blessings we receive from conquering our fears or our weaknesses, we will not gain strength that we did not first have to suffer for. All hard things have something beautiful attached weather it be an experience, a memory, a lesson or a spiritual or temporal blessing.

I heard this talk once from this lady that said that she liked to live with her hands open and palms up. She said though life rains hard things on us it also rains beautiful and great things. If we close our hands because of the hard things we will not catch the great things either. How true! If we close ourselves up because of the hard things and don't trust God, we wont receive or see the beautiful things even if they do come because we are scared. We can't be scared, I'm not a perfect person and I know often times I am scared too but we need to work together on this! It is important! We cannot be scared to take risks in life, to go forward and move on, give second chances and forgive, fail but try again. We cannot hide in a cave! We cannot close our hands to life. We need to open them, catching the hard and the beautiful, because we know that both have the potential to make us happy if we view them correctly. I can't remember where I heard this, but somewhere not too long ago I heard someone say "whenever I see a penny on the ground I look at it and it is a reminder to me to trust God." How cool is that? So this is my challenge to you, for the next two weeks (or longer if you decide or want) Whenever you see a penny, pick it up and look at the words "In God we Trust". In that moment, remember where your trust belongs and where it needs to stay, remind yourself not to worry and that everything will be okay. You've got this! And heavenly father has got you:) I love you all. Have a wonderful week and live with arms and hands wide open!

Jesus says: come to me and I will give you rest. And He most certainly will!

AND OBEY HIM! "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Romans 6:16.

This is a test...

Psalm 27:14