Monday, February 2, 2015

New Brighton: Week 4 (69) "But all things are done to serve to strengthen our faith in Christ"

This has been a blast of a week! Such a successful, busy, tiring, and joyful week. Emotional swings up and downs were inevitable as well haha. But why is it when weeks are so hard and tiring, that they become some of my MOST worthwhile weeks?! Heavenly Father is still oh so good to us, and HURRAH FOR TENDER MERCIES IN OUR LIVES.

Well, as my email title has given a hint into what I wanted to share, I wanted to share a cool experience that I had this past week as I have been studying more about the Gospel in the Book of Mormon and in the New Testament.

I bore my testimony yesterday in sacrament about a scripture that I found in the New Testament. I was studying that morning and also came across a scripture in the Book of Mormon that basically helped me to refocus on all the little nitty picky reasons of why oh WHY we do certain things in the Gospel EACH AND EVERY DAY. Why do we pray, why do we spend THREE hours going to church each week, why do we study the scriptures why do we keep the commandments and why do we stay strong and suffer thru trials and temptations even though sometimes it is easier to just give up and to live recklessly? The list can go on, Why do we seek to magnify our callings, why do we spend hours and hours over preparing for a lesson or a talk? Why why why do we do so much!? The thought that came to my mind is " all these things that we do are for one purpose. They are to only, and solely strengthen our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ."

And then I read the scripture in the Bible, Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soulsFor my yoke is easy, and by burden is light."

That is why we do all things, because this life is meant to be a test and trial. I need to live the rest of my life recognizing and remember not to be so shocked and taken back when trials and challenges come my way! I should know better by now that they ALWAYS come! haha Easiness thru the Savior does come though! That easiness does not mean that life is a piece of cake all cupcakes and icing and frosting all the time, but that easiness means Peace and Rest unto our souls. That peace of mind, a buoyant peace (isn't that such a beautiful imagery and choice of words) with a light of "eternal perspective that shines on our struggles and trials" that ONLY comes through the knowledge of the restored truths of the Plan of Salvation. I am so grateful for that full eternal perspective. I am so grateful for administering angels that minister to me all day, ones that God has sent, and living ones, and also my family members that have past. They live, and they don't want us to forget them. Christ and God don't want us to forget them as well, they were our family first after all.

A final thought of a tender mercy story that came just last night came from a Less Active girl named Patricia who is in about her mid 20's. Patricia is the best. I have loved getting to know her. She is such an angel and a woman of pure goodness. We met with her last night at the church building at about 6:30pm. It was fast Sunday yesterday, and without knowing, she was still fasting after all her church services and as we had the chance to meet. To be honest, we were not very prepared for her lesson because we had not seen her for a long time and with church in the morning, we did not have a really good study session. Despite all that, as we sat down, with her. We got to talking and just hearing about some of her recent going abouts. She mentioned something about being confused about the proper way to fast, and then Sister Smith thought to the fact that we could share a Mormon message with her. However, the thought only came because Patricia had asked earlier about the YSA Institute's activities and where she could find them. Because she had gone to church earlier that day, her friend Larissa was able to tell her how to find it on, and so we spent some time while we met with her seeing if we could sort it out and find it for her. We went into it kind of halfhearted because we knew that it was always hard to connect to the internet at the church building. But lo and behold, It worked out, she sorted out institute classes on line and then we were able to show her the Mormon message "Hope of God's Light." As we watched it in the dark, we realized how she started to wipe at her eyes, over and over again. When the video finally ended and we flipped the lights back on. The spirit was pressing upon each of our hearts as we just sat in the silence for a little while soaking things all in. Finally we asked, what were your thoughts? A little bit embarrassed with all her tears that she had shed, she said, Heavenly Father just answered my prayers that I had been praying for in the car as I drove here. I went to church today fasting with a specific purpose in mind, but didn't really get any answer, but all I took away from someone's testimony was how they pray and drive at the same time. She decided to do the same continuously praying for answers even as she was driving to meet us at the church. Finally, as we watched the unexpected video of Hope of God's light, so many things were just answered about how she needs to take time and not lose faith over the fact that Heavenly Father did not answer her question right away throughout her fast. She finally even expressed to us how she has felt impressed that she needs to go to the temple to make more covenants with God but how she doesn't want to think about it. We were able to spend some time to answer and resolve some of her questions and concerns, and finally on her way home as she continued to pray in the car, she texted us in the evening to say that she has finally received a resolved answer from Heavenly Father that she needs to get to the temple. Hurrah Patricia! WE are so excited for her and for the faith and testimony that she has built up.