"I love you more than I know how to feel"

Friday, February 15, 2013

I will love you

I LOVE this song!


Five days and counting...
I had my farewell talk on Sunday. As I said, my sisters and I sang Nearer my God to Thee. We turned it into a three girls part. I thought it went fairly well except for the fact that we were shaky and nervous, especially me since I was going to talk after the song.
I will just add my talk now
I started off by intoducing myself and such 

While I was in my missionary interview with the stake president, one of the things he asked me was “Are you sure you want to go on a mission?” and of course I bubbly said “yes!” and he replied “All the wonderful amazing missionary experiences you hear about? That happens about 1% if the time. The other 99% of the time, it is very very very very hard”
Well…that scared me a little.
And then he continued on to say that those wonderful moments make up for the awful ones.
The closer and closer my mission date comes, the more and more scared I get of everything that is going to happen. And then one day a couple weeks ago, I ran into this talk. It was given by Jeffrey R. Holland and I watched a video of him giving the talk.
It says
The Atonement and the Missionary
Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Those words have brought me so much comfort during this missionary preparation process.  And I hope it gives some comfort to those who are also about to go on a mission or those thinking about serving.
Thomas S. Monson
We cannot know what faith is if we have never had it, and we cannot obtain it as long as we deny it. Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.
Faith and doubt cannot exist at the same time! If we ever are having a moment of doubt, let us pray like we are invited to do so in James: “to ask of God.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him.”
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” 7

President Monson said
This promise motivated the young man Joseph Smith to seek God in prayer. He declared to us in his own words:
“At length I came to the conclusion that I … must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
“So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. … It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.” 8
Now, if we have hesitated in supplicating God our Eternal Father simply because we have not as yet made the attempt to pray, we certainly can take courage from the example of the Prophet Joseph. But let us remember, as did the Prophet, our prayer must be offered in faith, nothing wavering.
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that the brother of Jared saw the finger of God touch the stones in response to his plea. 9
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Noah erected an ark in obedience to the command from God. 10
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Abraham was willing to offer up his beloved Isaac as a sacrifice. 11
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. 12
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Joshua and his followers brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down. 13
It was by faith, nothing wavering, that Joseph saw God our Eternal Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. 14

(Amy moment) What a comfort, to me personally, how Moses was mentioned as an unwavering, faithful servant of the Lord. Moses has been one of my favorites due to his slowness of speech. And I love that because I, as well, have a very difficult time with talking in front of people. To know that Heavenly Father knew that Moses could do what was needed despite his “weakness”, is very comforting and gives me an example of an amazing prophet of the Lord! Moses felt, to some degree, inadequate of carrying out God’s will. And why should he? Heavenly Father knew that he was able to do so or he would not have asked him! When I think about my mission, and all that I need to do, I get overwhelmed and a little scared of not being able to do a good enough job. I feel inadequate and it is so comforting to know of stories like that, which helps me try to have a broader perspective. After all, Heavenly Father knows me best and knows my potential. I am just hoping that Heavenly Father blesses me with my “aaron” companion.

When we partake of the sacrament, we are taking upon ourselves the name of Christ. My roommate and I were talking about how missionary work is a wonderful representation of that. When you are missionaries, you get a nametag, with Christ’s name on it. And we literally put it on ourselves. And where do we put that nametag? We put it over our hearts.
It is such a beautiful and scary thought to me to think about when we have been set apart as a missionary, we are representing Christ. And how can any imperfect person represent our flawless savior? We can only do that through Christ himself.
We, as man, are naturally flawless.
Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them

Once we have realized that we are naturally not going to be “perfect” like Christ, we are humbled and God meets us the rest of the way.

So many of God’s children, particularly those who are members of the church, follow their path of life trying to be “perfect” as it says in the scriptures to be. And once they stumble and fall, they give up and think that it is impossible to try to reach this perfection because it’s too hard.
And that’s what I would like to emphasize on.
Everyone, everyone trips and falls, loses their way, gets distracted, make wrong decisions.
This gospel lets us know that we are able to fix those wrongs.
The best talk I have ever heard about this process is from His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox
Grace Transforms Us
Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.
Grace Helps Us
“But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?
Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they continually feel like they are just not good enough. They don’t understand grace.
There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).
Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now.
Grace Is Sufficient
The grace of Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27; D&C 17:8)—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes. The Book of Mormon teaches us to rely solely on “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we do, we do not discover—as some Christians believe—that Christ requires nothing of us. Rather, we discover the reason He requires so much and the strength to do all He asks (see Philippians 4:13). Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power (see Luke 1:37).
God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’s grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. Seek Christ, and, as you do, you will feel the enabling power and divine help we call His amazing grace.
Amy – With this new understanding and definition of the word Grace, the lyrics to the song Amazing Grace mean so much more to me.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
I have felt inspired to talk about this with you today. I strongly feel like someone in the audience needed to hear it. How loved they are by Heavenly Father. To those of you who have felt lost, felt like you have messed up too much to turn things around for yourself, and those who don’t feel worthy of it, I want them to know how much God loves you. And by grace, we are able to become perfect and return to him, as long as we have a desire to change, and try our hardest to do so.
I have broken the process down
 We need to 1. figure out what our goal is. 2. Figure out what direction we are facing and if it’s towards that goal or if it’s down a different path. 3. Know what actions need to be done to reach that goal. and 4. Make progress towards it.

“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
― Jeffrey R. Holland

Once we have realized the necessary change that we may need to take, The Lord requires faith in our actions:
Moroni 10:4 says
and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruthof it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I found a beautiful story of faith in action.
 Thomas. S. Monson
Faith in Action
Wherever we may be, our Heavenly Father can hear and answer the prayer offered in faith. This is especially true in the mission fields throughout the world. While presiding over the Canadian Mission, Sister Monson and I had the opportunity of serving with some of the finest young men and women in all this world. The very lives of these young missionaries exemplified faith and prayer.
There sat in my office one day a newly arrived missionary. He was bright, strong, happy, and grateful to be a missionary. He was filled with enthusiasm and a desire to serve. As I spoke with him, I said, “Elder, I imagine that your father and mother wholeheartedly support you in your mission call.” He lowered his head and replied, “Well, not quite. You see, President, my father is not a member of the Church. He doesn’t believe as we believe, so he cannot fully appreciate the importance of my assignment.”
Without hesitating and prompted by a Source not my own, I said to him, “Elder, if you will honestly and diligently serve God in proclaiming His message, your father will join the Church before your mission is concluded.” He clasped my hand in a vise-like grip, the tears welled up in his eyes and began to roll forth down his cheeks, and he declared, “To see my father accept the truth would be the greatest blessing that could come into my life.”
This young man did not sit idly by hoping and wishing that the promise would be fulfilled, but rather he followed the sage advice that has been given of old:
 “Pray as though everything depended upon God. Work as though everything depended upon you.” Such was the missionary service of this young man.
At every missionary conference I would seek him out before the meetings and ask, “Elder, how’s Dad progressing?”
His reply would invariably be, “No progress, President, but I know the Lord will fulfill the promise given to me through you as my mission president.” The days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, and finally, just two weeks before we ourselves left the mission field to return home, I received a letter from the father of this missionary. That father wrote:
“Dear Brother Monson:
“I wish to thank you so much for taking such good care of my son who recently completed a mission in Canada. He has been an inspiration to us.
“My son was promised when he left on his mission that I would become a member of the Church before his return. This promise was, I believe, made to him by you, unknown to me.
“I am happy to report that I was baptized into the Church one week before he completed his mission and am at present time athletic director of the MIA and have a teaching assignment.
“My son is now attending BYU, and his younger brother was also recently baptized and confirmed a member of the Church.
“May I again thank you for all the kindness and love bestowed upon my son by his brothers in the mission field during the past two years.
“Yours very truly, a grateful father.”
The humble prayer of faith had once again been answered.
Through personal prayer, through family prayer, by trusting in God with faith, nothing wavering, we can call down to our rescue His mighty power. His call to us is as it has ever been: “Come unto me.” 15

Come unto Christ. He loves you more than you can comprehend. If you have fallen off the path, know that you are still loved and that Heavenly Father wants you to get back up and to succeed. Make goals and use faith in your actions. Unwavering faith with take you as far as you want to go.
I  am trying to apply this to my life right now as I leave for my mission.  I have come to realize that we may not feel adequate, but part of having faith means stepping out of our comfort zone or into the unknown and trusting Heavenly Father.
I am so very thankful for this loving ward and for so much support I have received about my mission. I am very thankful for my family and the angels who have blessed us and me. I am going to miss everyone but I know that I am supposed to serve the Lord!
I would like to close in the name of Jesus Christ my savior, Amen

I made it through the whole thing without crying! I mean, I almost cried the whole time...But there weren't any tears!
After church, I had an open house at my house for people to come say goodbye and it sure was packed!

My room is almost packed and my three luggage bags are pretty much all done except for a few last things.
My mission is becoming a reality now. It's so close. and it's so scary!