While my summer was superb.. it wasn't as great as it could have been. About a month or two before I had left to Ecuador I had started falling to some of Satan's temptations. Some days I would put off doing seminary until later, while my goal had been to put first the kingdom of God. Then I would put off doing seminary altogether and just read scriptures.. and at night so I was already tired. Then it got worse and I would just read without meaning at all and my prayers were kind of quick and not heart felt. After which I began just reading one verse.. not really caring what it said just doing it to do it which then led to just reading a quote off my wall and calling it good. With each of these declining steps my strength to avoid other temptations fell with it. I started eating more sugar and started procrastinating more in school.. I started making excuses for myself and started being really lazy and tired and bored all the time. I couldn't think of things to write on my blog and so I just stopped for a while. CAN YOU SEE A DIFFERENCE??? I CAN!!! This summer I completely went back to plate 1, reading and praying because I had to and forgetting more than alot. NOT COOL. Looking back, my summer could have been so much better if I had stayed close to heavenly father. Before I had gone to Utah I had told myself I wasn't going to eat unhealthy and I was going to exercise and all that good stuff but when I got there I wasn't doing the things that kept and made me strong and happy so I gave in big time to eating all the crap that was placed before me. I lost my temper easier and got sad easier and worried more than was usual. Ladies and gents, if you will remember back to some of my posts when I was really close to heavenly father you will see that not only was I super healthy, it was easy to be super healthy, I was happy, I was positive, I got really good grades and felt really grateful all the time. This summer was quite different.
As my summer in Utah drew to an end I started realizing more and more what I was doing/ not doing and realized why a lot of things could have gone better or were worse than I had so naively expected. The last couple days in Utah I felt really bad about what had happened.. I didn't want it to be that way.. I realized how much better my life was when I was close to heavenly father.. I wanted it to be that way again. So, I started doing everything with purpose again, I turned back to God and I started trying again. The whole summer, though fun, I had spent worrying about coming back to Ecuador and going back to school. Every time I thought about it I felt so in-confident and sad to leave everything again, I couldn't stop being negative and everything was spiraling downwards with useless thoughts of "What if.." . The last couple days, however, were like day and night. After I turned back I was happy even excited to come back to Ecuador.. to go to school! I felt confident and ready, full of vigor and enthusiasm, even though I was going to be leaving everyone, everything and the most delicious Tillamook Cheese.. I felt hope that I would see everyone and everything again.. I had faith that everything would be alright and that it would all be there when I came back. I had motivation to work hard and become better and started getting excited thinking about what was yet to come and what lessons I had yet to learn. What a difference huh? I in no way think this to be a minor coincidence or a coincidence at all. I know that turning to heavenly father, believing in him and having just the desire to come back is what made all the difference. I gave what I had to him and he did the rest. He can do the same with you. I am living proof that no matter how many times you mess up or fall away you can always come back. I am proof that even if it's never been that great before or there has been nothing before that you can come to him. His arms are open and always will be ready to embrace you and welcome you in if you try and let him.
I've said before that being away from Ecuador has made me more grateful for it and now I can say the same of Ecuador. Being away from it has made me realize how much I have needed it, how much it has taught me and grown me. Being away from Ecuador has made me so much more grateful for it, because I realize now just how much of a difference it has made. Before, I thought I was cursed, that all mission president's kids were cursed for that matter, we were the ones that got dragged to other countries because we didn't have it bad enough. Or right when things were awesome our parents were like "We have great news!! We are moving to another country!!!" and with all the will power we could muster, we smiled just to insure they didn't worry. I seriously thought this was what it was, that this was some burden to all involved but now I know I was clearly mistaken... wayyy wrong. To all of you in the same position, this mission is the biggest blessing heavenly father could give you at this time in your life, you are having opportunities that many people don't get in a life time, this time is a gift if you chose to learn from it. Weather this time is a burden or a blessing to you that is completely your choice. I didn't decide to see it as a blessing for months into it. Chose to see it as a blessing, try to see it as a blessing. You can change, learn and grow so much if you try to see it that way. To everyone else who may be going through something that seems unnecessary, burdensome or hard, think of how heavenly father sees it. Could he be trying to grow you? Could he be trying to tell you something? More often than not that is the case. Be strong!! You got this!! Everything will be okay, you've just got to believe. Believing is the first step in seeing miracles. Belief is the catalyst of miracles. Miracles are not always angles coming down from the sky or hearing a loud thundering voice, sometimes.. most of the time.. miracles are the little day to day things that keep you going.. miracles are the things that build you up and those great "coincidences" you have in your life, miracles are God showing you through every day things that he is aware of you and that he is taking care of you. Miracles happen when you chose to see them.. which really means they are happening all the time.. you've just got to look for them. So chose to believe. I know that Ecuador is a miracle.. that being here is a miracle and that my dad being called as a mission president was no coincidence. This has blessed my life, my parent's lives and my family's lives more than we could ever imagine. When you are going through something hard, remember it just might turn out to be one of the biggest blessings you've ever had:)
I love you all and hope you are doing great. I know God lives and that our savior Jesus Christ lives and that if we turn to them we will progress and find true happiness.. happiness that never goes away. Have a great week and remember to look for miracles and believe:)