Monday, April 7, 2014

Swoosh! The Spirit shoots and scores!

Well, well, well, there is no other way to start this email then to shoot a big CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FREAKING AWESOME BROTHER ZACH, who just got his mission call to Vina del Mar, Chile!!! I am so proud of you, oh I just cant get over it. On Wednesday, I was trying to hold in my excitement, but I kept thinking of places you were going. I wrote this in the letter I sent to you this morning by the way, but I was thinking Canada, then Kansas, then New Zealand. I felt super good about New Zealand. My companions were getting irritated, with what I call  my "prophecies" I kept saying, "Guys, where do you think my brother is going?" Ah, and then I didn't find out until 10:29, one minute before exact obedience would have failed!! So, I laid in my bed pondering on Chile!! Chile! It felt so right, and I just knew this is the place you need to serve. Oh, you are so needed there! One of the missionaries guessed that you would get called to Nashville, and I got so pumped! I was like, " That would be awesome, because we would take down the mission together." But, hey I know the Lord has a plan that is a lot less selfish than mine! Even though, I couldn't be there, I want you to know that I was praying a lot, and my Spirit was lingering somewhere in the room! I am just grateful for he way that you have lived your life, and your willingness to serve. Serving a mission is not easy, oh no, it's not, but I am learning more than I ever thought and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Some of my mission thoughts have been filled with words like, "Humility, Love, PATIENCE, Kindness, Service, Obedience." All things that I need to work on, and all things that I know would greatly bless my life. I will be the first one in a room to yell out that I am weak, oh so, weak and I need help. I guarantee that would be me, and I thought that because I knew that fact that I was pretty humble. Well, slap, if you think you are kinda humble, think again. Ha ha, I sure have. I studied humility this week, and I realized that it doesn't mean realizing your weaknesses. That is a part of it. But true humility is calling upon God, to strengthen you and being courageous enough to do his work in Faith. It is a lot harder to trust in God to push through your weaknesses, than it is to wallow in your natural man. Wallowing is so easy, but miserable. Random tangent, but its true right?

And as I was walking down the street with my companion, a little discouraged, we saw two teenage boys playing basketball. My companion yelled out, " Hey, her brothers are almost like professional basketball players. Super good..." And the conversation went on from there. We found out that they were from another faith, which is almost ALWAYS the case here in the South, and I invited them to our Church Tour that we do every week. Almost as soon as I said the words, "If I make a shot, will you two promise to come to the church tour, this Thursday?" I regretted it! The boys were like, sure yah, and passed me the basketball. They picked a spot on the driveway, probably right under the 3 point line if there was one. I was praying so hard in my heart. Why did I say that! This is the most pressure I have ever felt to make a shot. THEIR ETERNAL SALVATION IS AT STAKE!!! So, I said a short, emergency call to Heavenly Father, hoping for a miracle. I could my companion praying like none other. And when I shot the ball, I must say, it didn't feel like I shot the ball. There was no natural stress in my arm, like usual. The ball flew perfectly into the air, and then next thing I knew, "SWOOSH!" I jumped up in pure joy! The boys were shocked, heck I was shocked. They promised to come, and after we walked away, we stopped and said a prayer of thanks. It might seem like a little thing. But it is moments like these that keep me going out here. The Spirit is real! Even if the boys didn't show up to the church tour (which they didn't) that we did all we could to invite them and show them the truthfulness of our message. So, that's my promise, the Spirit Shoots and it Scores!!

The Holy Ghost is definitely the coolest gift that one could ever receive! It is what has kept me out here on my mission, every day. When I pray for different things, or when I need strength or comfort, it is always the Holy Ghost that manifests itself to me. I will walk away from lessons, or frustrating situations, or from personal study and realize, "Wow, thank you Spirit. That was not me!" And there are so many times where I have realized that I didn't follow the Spirit or even realize it was there at the time. Preparing for General Conference this weekend, I actually had the coolest study. I have been struggling lately in personal study staying focused, and making it meaningful. I will fidget and get restless, and want to just get all my energy out. But, Sunday morning I decided to study and ponder the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was overwhelmed with the Spirit. That hour flew by, I was mesmerized by reading scriptures in the Bible. I had never really taken the time to realize the importance of the Resurrection. And then in conference, Elder Todd D. Christofferson's talk was EXACLTY what I studied. I was dumbstruck! The same scriptures and everything. What are the odds? I gained such a love and deep appreciation for my Savior and Redeemer yesterday.  I wish you could have heard my excitement telling my companions about it. They looked at me, like I was literally mentally insane. But why do we have to look serious and bored when we talk about Jesus Christ!  I feel like the Spirit speaks to me, through the way I get so pumped off the gospel. I just start talking with my hands, and energetically. Because, People, IF the gospel of Jesus Christ is real, if what he did for us really happened, Why aren't we smiling ear to ear all the time. This is something to get excited about. I sound so Southern...bless my heart! And I know it is real. Jesus Christ was tempted, tormented, and ultimately crucified for all of us! And then, he proved to all the world that he really was the Son of God, when he was Resurrected three days later. I feel like I have taken that knowledge for granted too much throughout my lifetime. This isn't something everyone knows or realizes. Even though it might be everyday knowledge, it shouldn't lose meaning and significance.

If I am crazy for getting excited about this knowledge, you know what, I am happy. Will of you just be happy with me? And realize the truly amazing love our Savior has for us personally. He suffered so much for us to never have to be alone. If everything else in life is horrible, miserable, unfair, whatever, at least we will always have one thing to be happy about and grateful for.

I know that Jesus Christ died for me, so that I might be free of my sins, my afflictions, my sorrows, my pains, and my weaknesses. I know that and love that more than I ever have before. I really am humbled, and grateful for all that I have been given in this life. Thanks Mom and Dad for always taking the time to teach me with patience. Even when I was and still am a stubborn soul.  I am grateful for my brothers, and that they are constant reminder to me of the courage I can have, and the person I can be. I am grateful for all of my cousins, uncles, and aunts, and the love they constantly showed me. You have been there for so many great memories with me. I am grateful that I am out here on my mission, because I am learning so many things I would have been too stubborn to see or to change without it. I am grateful for my brothers decision to serve. I look forward to hearing all of the miracles he finds. I am grateful for my trials, because gosh, without them I wouldn't have learned so much, and realized how much I need my Savior and my Heavenly Father in this life. And you know what, when you have the Spirit, you will be able to get through anything. In the words of Jeffrey R. Holland, "Don't you give up, Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead...It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."

That's all the deep thinking I could handle this week! Talk to y'all next Monday!

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