It's funny because lately, when things have been hard I have been telling myself instead of "Oh my gosh this is going to be so hard!" I say "Ooh!! Growing opportunity!!" (The majority of the time.. there was one math test I completely just wanted to upturn my desk but other than that..) It's so weird but I do and it makes the hard things not seem so hard it makes them seem more fun and like a challenge that I have to beat, something that is going to earn me points or send me soaring up a mountain and make me happier. It's so weird but just having that mindset has been such a blessing. I really see more now how trials really are blessings, every trial gives us the opportunity to better ourselves, give us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and to become happier. I feel like overcoming these challenges and trying our hardest to be happy and be more like Christ, how we live our lives, is how we show him our gratitude.. we could never repay him for what he did for us but we can show him our gratitude and live our lives in such a way that his sacrifice doesn't go to waste. He died for us so that we could be happy, so that we could grow, so that hard trials would not be the end of us. He died so that we could truly learn to live. How many of us truly live? How many of us have actually felt what it is to live life to it's fullest? I don't thing any of us have to be honest.. imagine.. being so happy having hard times but being excited for the chance to prove yourself to God, learning to laugh at yourself, getting close to heavenly father, reaching our full potential, serving others and truly achieving the pure love of Christ.. that is my goal. That is what I want to work towards. I probably won't achieve it in this life time but seriously what a great goal! What a great ending point to work to! What a great image to keep in mind when the going gets hard! At the end of my life I don't want to have frown lines on my face and the lines of frustration, I want to have smile lines from a history of happiness and trying to better myself.. when the time comes for me to die I want to die with peace, knowing I did all I could to glorify God and live life as it was meant to be lived and for the purpose it was meant to be lived for. I really think that Ecuador, being here, experience the different ways of life, being in the middle of different cultures and people and adapting to it, is what has catapulted me forward is what has sent my happiness skyrocketing. Living my life for Heavenly Father has made it all the more meaningful, knowing I want to see him again and knowing he is there and real and watching and helping me day to day through the worst of times and the best of times makes me feel of worth and my little sojourn worth while.
I really don't know what else to say.. I don't know how to voice my feelings or all of my feelings. I just want to give you my testimony. Any of you who are reading this I want you to know that God lives and so does his son, our brother Jesus Christ. I KNOW they care about us and that we ourselves are the reason why we are here on this earth, to grow, to learn.. all of this is for us! It is what is going to help us get back to them! To our family members who have passed, to our family members who we've never met and be for eternity with our families that we've grown with here on earth. I know that God cares about us. I know we matter to him. I didn't think so before, I refused to believe, but now, I cannot deny what I know. I cannot deny the love I feel even when it seems I'm alone, I cannot deny the feeling I get when I read the scriptures and the peace I feel down in my bones, I cannot deny the growth I can see and the help I have when I go through something hard. I do not walk alone. None of us walk alone, no matter how alone we may feel or how lonely life may seem, someone is always there, God is always there, waiting, hoping we will let him in and believe in him because there is nothing he can't do if we believe in him. He values our agency so much he wont do anything with your life unless you ask him and allow him to. You have to make the choice. Happiness is a choice. Change is a choice. Growing is a choice. Learning is a choice. Living a full life is a choice. It is our decision and he will assist us as soon as we decide to let him in and include him in our plans. He is at the door ready to come in, sit down, and show us the map and the way, but first we must unlock and open the door. He will not force it open. For me, opening the door meant wanting to want to open the door which led to wanting to open the door which led to actually doing it. Things in our life still wont be easy and for a time things might get harder but it is so a million times worth it. I would not trade any experience I have had for anything I have gained experience and knowledge I would not have gained otherwise. I am so grateful for my life. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I know he paid the price for us to come back to him. I know that through them, we are full, we are enough and we always have a home. I love this church and I know it's gospel is true and that it is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, it has changed my life and the lives of so many of my family members and friends. It rescued me in my time of need and has guided me since.