Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

Thanks for the update!  Before I start, this day was a little strange, and hence I am writing a little later, but for the most part I'll still be writing really early on.

I love that Nathan got to sing, and look his best, I love when he got his new suit and we all thought that he was the cutest little kid.  Thanks as well for sharing what Uncle Dave spoke about at the conference, I wish I could have listened to that, but I'm sure I will get to hear about everyone's experiences with Grandma and Grandpa at some later date.

This week had its highs and lows.  We had Zone Conferences, which went really well.  It was enjoyable to see how they were all planned with the same broad topic in mind, but how each one varied based off different ideas from different people, and different comments throughout that spurred conversation on one topic or another.  

We also received a media referral today and got a new investigator last week!  One step at a time!

Other than that, we were only able to have a couple of meetings this week, and I don't really know why, but my companion and I just had a little bit of tension between us, and when that happens, things just seem to stop.  I don't really know when it cropped up and how, I think it was just after a lesson with an investigator that left an unsavory taste in our mouths.  Anyway, we finally had the companionship inventory on Sunday that we really should have had on Friday (that's been one thing I've had a hard time with, I'm usually the one who talks a lot, and for the most part I have a pretty jovial attitude, so if there's a potential issue, I want them to bring it up so that I don't mistakenly ask if something is wrong if everything is ok).  Anyway, we realized that we had a hard time, because we had been traveling and the week before it was stake conference, and so it was hard to meet any one person in the ward. So, basically my companion hadn't even gotten to meet the ward that we were serving in yet, and we though that after he gets to meet them, then things would probably get a lot better.  It was incredible how night and day it felt, as soon as he could really see the people that we were serving, any and all tension disappeared and we refocused on what we are here to do.  

I got some thoughts today on remembrance from a friend serving in California (shout out to Sister Sorenson), and they were so beautifully put, and just reminded me a lot of the tension that left as quick as it came between my companion and I this week.  I love the Gospel and I am so grateful for the reminder to remember.  Remember the first time we received a testimony of Christ, remember the time that we felt a feeling that could only be described as the peace and comfort that comes from the Holy Ghost, remember all the pile of blessings that we have received in this life.  I know that as we look back in our lives and at our lives now, if we prayerfully think about how God has blessed us, we will be able to see and understand a little better all that he has done for us.  For me, the hardest thing that I have had to remember is that even though the success for us can be hard to see sometimes in our mission, that my success as a missionary or as a volunteer has nothing to do with outward results, but inward desire to do everything I can, and pray to God to bless my meager efforts, so that other people can be blessed.  

This next weekend we will be in Kaliningrad and a man will be baptized who walked into the building about a week or 2 after I left.  It will be an exciting week.  Here are my friends thoughts on remembrance:

The Book of Mormon uses the word "remember" 157 times, and the word "forget" just 20. One of our most important instructions to "remember" come in the sacramental prayer-- that we "always remember Him." I've compiled a list of 7 ideas via scripture that chronologically relate to what I want to remember and how I want to "always remember Him": 

Remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth  (Alma 37)
Remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer (Alma 29)
Remember that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water (3 Nephi 7)
I could remember my pains no more (Alma 36)
Remember that every good gift cometh of Christ (Moroni 10)
Remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true (Mosiah 1)
3 Nephi 27-- Remember the things that I have told you.

1. Remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth

I don't think my parents would have ever looked at me as a youth and thought, "she is... learning wisdom." Quite the opposite, in fact. But I mean I wasn't totally hopeless. I was still learning. Heavenly Father can teach us at whatever stage of our lives.

2. Remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer 

When I went off to college, I became more aware (obviously) of being an individual human independent of mom, dad, same home family ward as the former 18 years of my life. I talked to my YSA bishop, totally dumbfounded at how people my age had the capacity to claim they had a firm belief in God when they had only just stopped shopping in the "juniors" section at Target. I wanted to know two things-- 1) why wasn't that me? And 2) was there actually God? My bishop advised in a way I had heard but also not heard before because it felt more personal than previously: pray, ask God if He is there and if He loves you. Not a complicated thing, but as I prayed  there was this thing that started to grow inside of me: a little seed of faith. 

It grew as I prepared to serve a mission, and life started working out more than before. It's not even that my grades or musical performances of athletic endeavors worked out better-- I just felt more joy, and more at peace with not being everything I wanted to be  all at once. 

I felt that Heavenly Father heard my prayers, and got me and my family out of the rut that was all of high school. 

And then things fell somewhat apart at once at a very inconvenient time-- 3 months before my mission. Family went from smooth sailing to a little stormy, friends went from contactable to unreachable (partly cuz they became missionaries), working and school became more challenging and started earlier in the day. I kept preparing for a mission. 

Which is good. I loved the MTC, I was excited to serve a mission. Then I got here and my brother left the church. And then a few months later my family member passed away-- the one thing I asked Heavenly Father to not do, to take someone I loved from me before I got home. 

So I had to remember what the Lord had done for me, and how He had heard some of my first sincere prayers as a freshman in college. 

3. Remember that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water 

Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. Even through what my heart and mind were batting, Heavenly Father gave my companions and me people to love, teach, and help to be baptized. But none of them would have been baptized without repenting, and none would have repented without having faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. Remembering my purpose was my lifeline, and even though I still felt like I was drowning I knew I could at least do what Elder M. Russell Ballard directed-- "stay in the boat and hold on." As I tried to stay afloat, I began to feel what Peter felt when seeing the Savior walk on water--

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Remembering the Savior gave me faith to teach, and reminded me to help others remember Him, too, through helping others through the path to Him. 

4. I could remember my pains no more... and oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain 

I still remember how I struggled and fought, but through the healing power of the Atonement I don't feel the darkness like I did. Through reaching for the Savior during my trials I was able to bear what was happening, and through helping others understand and apply the gospel and atonement of Jesus Christ I found conviction and strength. 

I remember the circumstances, I remember the challenges, but I also remember the equivalent joy and light that came with it.  

5. Remember that every good gift cometh of Christ 

Back to last night's "Miracle Drive". Looking back on my mission I'm not even going to try to count the gifts, blessings, and miracles. Whether it's serving at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site-- which, in itself, has been an incredible blessing-- having companions from all over the world, learning more about who I am and what I'm capable of accomplishing, or meeting soul after soul after soul and testifying of the Savior, His gospel, and the blessing it is to know and apply it. Every good thing has come because of Him and having His name so close to my heart. Every good gift cometh of Christ. 

6. Remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. 

Whether I was sitting on the floor of my freshman dorm room, the back of the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, or the ancient desks in our ancient apartments doing everything I could to make up for lost time and really "treasure up the word" of the books of scripture, I want to remember that what I've been teaching others for 18 months is true. And that the records we have are true. 

7. And, finally, the Savior's words: "Remember the things that I have told you."

I will have a lifetime of learning, and the gospel in its simultaneous complexity and simplicity will be foundational in my decision making. The Savior taught anciently to the people in the Eastern Hemisphere, He taught anciently to the people in the Western Hemisphere, and as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father-- as disciples of Jesus Christ-- I can remember the things He has told me. 

 I can remember the parables, the stories. Most importantly, however, I can always remember Him. I can always remember His example, His love, His goodness. I can always remember His joy, and His pain. I can always remember His Atonement-- His suffering, His death, and His resurrection. He is more than a man, but He has descended below anything any other man so He can lift every other man and woman if they remember Him. 

My hope for myself is that I will always remember Him. My hope for you is that you will always remember Him-- that you'll remember your brothers and sisters and invite them to come to Christ. Whether by your example or your invitation, I hope you'll remember the things He has told us to love Him, love our neighbor, and love ourselves. 


 I love those thoughts so very much, and I pray that we all can remember all that God has done for us in our lives, and remember all the wonderful things that we have been given.  I know that as we do so, we will receive greater peace, knowing that as we pass through trials right now, we will be able to recognize and remember how God has supported us and that he still is.  I love you all so very much, and I hope you have a great week!


Elder Belnap

No comments:

Post a Comment