First, I want to talk about how much I absolutely LOVED General Conference. It was so amazing. It definitely strengthened my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and that our church really is led by apostles and prophets called by God! My favorite talk was given by Elder Pearson in the Sunday Afternoon session. He talked about enduring to the end and that "hang in there" is not a principle of the gospel. He reminded us to read the Book of Mormon "every day, every day, every day!" For those who remember, he told a story of being called as a mission president. His firm didn't appreciate his decision to leave, and questioned him as to when he made this commitment. He responded, "I made this decision as a 19-year-old boy, when I made sacred covenants with God in the temple to follow the Savior. I’ve built my entire life on those covenants, and I fully intend to keep them now." WOW. What power! His talk really struck me to the core. He also warned returned missionaries not to "do a swan dive back into Babylon..." I'm not sure if he was talking to me, but It sure is good advice! I'm so grateful to know that I can listen to and watch General Conference and receive so much truth that will enrich and bless my life.
What a blessing it is to have a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have really started to appreciate more how my testimony affects every part of my life. I thank my Father in Heaven for it everyday and for the opportunity He has given me to serve Him. This whole experience being on a mission has just given me so much. I honestly think that I've learned more about life, the gospel, and myself these past 18 months, than I have my whole life leading up to it! There is one quote that comes to mind. One of my Zone Leaders always used to tell us, "You can never fully grasp who you are, until you come to understand whose you are." I'm not sure if he came up with that or if he heard it somewhere else, but it has always stuck with me. I know that on my mission, I have come to more fully understand "whose" I am. I am a daughter of God. I am His servant and disciple. He loves me so much. Because of that knowledge and assurance I have gained, I now feel like I have a greater understanding of who I am. I am confident in myself, and I know what my potential is. I can rely on my Savior as I try to make the changes that are necessary.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this mission has given me the tools, if you will, for the rest of my life. I haven't reached my potential--I haven't become really who the Lord wants me to become... but now I know how to work on it. I've learned really what repentance is all about, and I've prayed more fervently than I ever did before. I study the scriptures with the intent to receive revelation. These are all things that I was taught to do my whole life, but I guess I really had to experience them on a consistent basis to truly apply them. I needed experiences that would drag me to my knees almost daily for the support of my Savior. My mission has been the hardest thing that I've ever done. It's also been the most fun, enriching, learning, growing, tiring, uplifting, strengthening, best choice I've ever made.
I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love them so much. They are so forgiving and patient as I try to be my best self. I just want to make them proud. I know that God is aware of me. He knows how hard I have worked these past 18 months, and He knows my heart. I feel so close to Him.
I love you all, too. I know that God has put each of you in my life to help me learn something. He is so gracious. I am so blessed.
Exchanges with my home-girl!!
Elders being weird...nothing new here.
Hiking Tablerock. It was so awesome!
April Fool's dinner!! Try to figure out what the food actually is....
Sister Kingsolver and I had to do a training at a Special Sisters' Meeting about stress, and learning how to deal with it. We decided to do this crazy object lesson with eggs under a cement block! I might have to demonstrate it for you all when I get back!
Happy Easter!! We woke up to a cute little basket from the Schroath's
More Elders being weird and taking selfies
Saying goodbye to people at the Sisters' Meeting!! Bitter-sweet.
The flowers at the temple are gorgeous as always!
On exchanges, we volunteered at the homeless shelter... I spend 20 minutes scraping boogers off the wall and felt very humbled.
I love Sister Morris! I couldn't go through all of this without her! She goes home with me and has been a huge support :)
Departing temple trip with President and Sister Winder! It was so great.
All the Sister Missionaries I came out with! I can't believe we made it!! I love them all so much.
BECAUSE HE LIVES.....
Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers! It's been another amazing week, here in the Idaho Boise Mission! I know Brooke already sent out the new Easter video, but if you haven't seen it already, it's amazing! If you saw last year's Easter video "Because of Him," it's pretty similar, but I love it! You can find the video (and a lot of other amazing stories & resources) at Helives.mormon.org Go watch it! Then, share it! Everyone deserves to know what's possible because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There are a lot of people in the world that don't know Him and even more who have forgotten what they once knew. It's our job to find them and help them remember. In answer to Sam's question, that is my favorite thing to do on my mission--especially recently! I love to help people understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and everything that He did for us. It's the most important message that we have! Let's go share it!
Thank you so much for everyone that asked me questions! It's so much easier to find things to talk about when I have some direction. There is just so much that happens in a week, that I have no idea where to start! I'm also going to see you all so soon. I know that I'm going to be telling you all these experiences and stories in just a few weeks, so sometimes it seems a little pointless to write a whole long email! I know that I need to, though, and that you love my emails just as much as I love yours. Nadine asked what my favorite month was (weather wise) in Boise. I actually have to say that it's probably this one!! March has been GORGEOUS, and it gets prettier everyday. Some people really don't like it because allergy season is starting, but I've never really had allergies, so I love it! I definitely think that my mission has helped me adjust to the cold, though. I still don't like it, but being a missionary forces you to be out working in it instead of hiding under my covers (which is what I used to do.)
I hope everyone is as excited for General Conference as I am! It's going to be so great! We took a member of the YSA ward with us to teach an investigator, and when we invited her to General Conference, Sami (the member) told us the best idea ever. She talked about the story of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, and how the people listened to the prophets in their tents. She said that it's been a tradition in her family that they set up a tent in the living room to watch the talks on TV! I thought that was genius! It think it should be a new family tradition, but we should make a huge blanket fort instead of the tent. Feedback? Yes? No? I'll probably do it by myself if no one wants to do it with me because I'm so excited.
Right now is just an amazing time to be a missionary. We have Easter. We have this great video/initiative that was just launched. We have General Conference coming up. The weather is amazing. I love my companion. I love my area. I just feel that the Lord is blessing me so much at this last part of my mission. Some missionaries have a hard time working hard, focusing or continuing to be obedient toward the end of their mission, but I just have so many blessings!! I can't help but love the work because it's so much fun! It's so great to be a part of building the kingdom of God! Why wouldn't you want to sprint to the finish? That's what I've been trying to do, and with so many amazing things going on, I don't think it will be very hard. It's all possible Because He Lives!!
I love you all so much, and I pray for you often. Thanks for everything you do for me!
Our GPS broke... so we had to buy this huge map to get around Boise. It gets pretty intense.