Sunday, April 20, 2014

Boston and Easter

I haven't written a post in such a long time, so there is much to say. I'll split this post into two parts. I guess you can just jump around to the second part if you want, but I hope you read all of this! My blog is meant to share with you!!

My Mission Call

Dear Sister Knutti:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Massachusetts Boston Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a
period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July -- 2014. You will
prepare to preach the gospel in the Portuguese language.

There it is! I will serve my mission in the Massachusetts Boston Mission from July 2014 to January 2016. I'm incredibly excited for this chance to serve the Lord by bringing the gospel to Portuguese-speaking people in Boston and sharing my testimony with them. I know it will be the most amazing experience, and I hope that I will be able to convey what I learn through my letters home (which you all will be able to see here on this blog!).

Now, I'm gonna tell you all a little secret. When I first read my call, I was honestly a little disappointed that I would be staying in the United States. I thought for sure I'd be going foreign, probably to Europe or somewhere super cool like that. So Boston was a bit of a let down at first. HOWEVER. I still believed God would send me to the exact place where He needed and wanted me to be. But I didn't just accept it and say "Oh well, I guess that's where I should go. Whoop-de-doo." NO WAY! Can you guess what I did?


Of course! If I really wasn't sure for whatever reason if I was really supposed to go to Boston, I could just ask my Heavenly Father, and He would answer me. I have heard stories of people praying and realizing that they need a different call. Weird, but sure, okay, maybe that would happen. So I prayed and asked to know if Boston was really the place Heavenly Father wanted me to go. And can you guess what happened? I got a "yes". There are people in Boston who specifically need to see me and talk with me (in Portuguese?!?) about the gospel. Who knows, maybe I am the only one that can help this person or that person. Or maybe not. Regardless of the reasons I do not yet know about, God is sending me to Boston. I add my testimony to that of Nephi's: "I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7 )

{In case you were wondering, Boston is apparently a hotspot for Portuguese-speakers. In my mission, there are two branches--small congregations--that hold services in just Portuguese. Neat-o! Also, apparently every single person who has ever lived in Boston knows this, but there are a lot of Portuguese fisherman or Brazilian immigrants or whatever, because they picked Boston to go settle. So yes, I will be speaking Portuguese in Boston!}

Boa Páscoa

Happy Easter! Watch this video: 

Okay, done that? Good. If you haven't, do it. Now. Please please please please please. (You are also greatly encouraged to read the following text)

As I reflect on Easter this year, I realize that I honestly have not been focusing on the true meaning of the holiday. I just finished my first year of college, so last week I was completing finals and packing and saying goodbye to friend I won't see for 2 years and flying home... last week was a little crazy. But I really don't have any excuse for not really thinking about Easter. Because, to be honest, Jesus Christ completed the most important thing to ever have or ever will happen--He overcame death and He was resurrected. So what am I doing thinking that my life is crazy so I don't need to think about Easter or thank my Heavenly Father for the Atonement and the Resurrection? I'm being crazy, that's what. 

To keep things a little simpler, I'm just going to share my testimony with you, particularly about Easter and the Atonement. I've learned a few things over my 18 3/4 years, and especially in the last 8 months, and I want to share them with you now.

*         *         *

I know that Jesus is the Christ. He lived. He taught. He loved. He died, just like every other person who had ever come before Him. But what was He the very first to do? Arise from the dead. Jesus Christ was resurrected and HE LIVES AGAIN. I know this to be absolutely true. 

Jesus Christ performed the Atonement as a way for all of us, every single one, to be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven after we have died. The Atonement includes His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as His death on the cross and His later resurrection. "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44) Because Jesus performed the Atonement, we can repent of our sins and become perfected. However, Christ suffered not only for our sins, but also for every trial and affliction we face. He is the only one who truly understands what we are going through. We can always turn to Him for comfort. Even when "no one else understands what I'm going through", He does. Jesus performed the Atonement not only because His Father asked Him to, but also because He loves us. He wanted to understand us in a way no one else ever could. He loves us. So. Much. 

After He suffered for us, Christ died on the cross; and yet while on the cross, He was forgiving. Just as He was nailed to the cross, He asked God to forgive those who were crucify Him--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) He gave up the ghost and died. His body was placed in a tomb for three days. On the third day, Mary Magdalene went to anoint His body, but...

"And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 
"His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
"And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
"And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (Matthew 28:2-6, emphasis added)

The entirety of the Atonement is amazing, wonderful, spectacular, and infinitely important. I love every single part about it, though I don't understand all of it. Jesus Christ lives. He was indeed resurrected. And #BecauseofHim we can all live again. Because of Him, we can find true joy in life. We can become perfect like He and our Father are perfect. They love us with an infinite love that we cannot even begin to comprehend. The Atonement is so real--I've used it so many times in my life, because I know the comfort, peace, and happiness that come with it. I know that Christ does live. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church on the earth today. How do I know this with such surety? I prayed about it. I know that Christ leads this church through real prophets and apostles who live on the earth right now. They are special witnesses of Christ. In fact, they just spoke about 2 weeks ago! {You really should listen to all of General Conference by clicking right here.

Here are what two of them said about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His resurrection:

Please take a look at those talks. They are powerful. I know these men speak the truth.

I know Jesus is our Savior. He lives. Because I know this, I must share the message with the people in Boston. How can I not? How can I keep such great joy to myself and refuse to share it with others? A mission is honestly a terrifying thing, but because God is sending me to where He wants me to be to do His work, I can trust in Him and know that as long as I do follow Him, He will support me and help me to succeed. 

Remember why we celebrate Easter--to recall Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His resurrection, without which we would all be stuck as imperfect beings forever. He loves you. I love you.

Sister Knutti