Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 49: It would NOT have been better to die in Jerusalem.

Ok, ok. My time is short but I have a SUPER COOL THING to tell you.

First though, thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!! I had a great birthday :) The Ward Mission Leader and his wife let us stay at their house for lunch after stake conference yesterday, and they pulled out their cake from their anniversary I think to use as my birthday cake :) It was so nice! Also, the Spanish Elders had a pinata made of me. Definitely look at those pictures and the video, it was awesome. 

The sisters I live with are the best. They sent an amazing birthday text to Sister Packard (who sends it to the whole mission), they decorated the apartment, and they tried to make my day so good. I love them a lot. Because of them and the members here, I had a great day!

this week was also so great. There are tons of miracles happening here! We extended a baptismal date to Vania, out 17-yo investigator, and she accepted! It's not until Oct. 25, but due to her circumstances and the fact that she picked that particular day, I think it will be perfect for her. She's amazing. She says she likes to ask if the church/BoM is true because it makes her feel good inside when she does. What?

We also are in the middle of teaching AnaPaula & David and their family. So solid! PLUS the Portuguese elders and us found 9 new investigators yesterday alone. If anyone tells me that miracles don't exist, they're wrong. I can see them in every single day. The Lord blesses us each so much.

Stake conference this weekend was also amazing!! I learned a lot about fasting (boy, I need to improve my fasting, that's for sure), getting investigators to the temple, and how to stay spiritually strong through my whole life. I really want to tell you all a lot more about this week, but I don't have a lot of time. But I do really want to share this insight I had this morning during my studies.

I was reading 1 Nephi 17 (when Nephi builds the boat). In verse 20, Laman and Lemuel are complaining again, and they say something along the lines of "it would have been better if we had died in Jerusalem instead of coming here and having so many afflictions. We could have been happy living with our possessions and land back in Jerusalem!"

I thought about that for a while. I remembered the talk "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence" by Jeffrey R. Holland (go listen/read that for sure!!). In it, he says something that applies to Laman and Lemuel. He says it would NOT have been better to just stay in Egypt (he was talking about the Israelites and Moses). It would NOT have been better to die in Jerusalem. 

Laman and Lemuel, I realized, do not understand the purpose of this journey their family has taken towards the promised land. They cannot see how much better life will be for them in the promised land. They do not understand the gospel. They do not understand God's Plan. They do not understand grace. ("His Grace is Sufficient", Brad Wilcox)

Afflictions are necessary for our happiness. Sounds strange, right? But it's true. Many times we cannot see the future. We cannot see our promised land or the plan God has in store for us. But that does NOT mean it would have been better to stay where we were, to be who we were in the past. It would NOT have been better to die in Jerusalem. 

When we go through afflictions and trials, they are the things that move us forward. They help us to change, to grow, to learn, to become better. Without them, we would be coasting. Coasting is not an option in the gospel. We need to grow. We NEED to become better. In short, we NEED afflictions. 

This reminded me of D&C 121:7-8. Read that. We are promised that our afflictions are FOR OUR GOOD and will be but a small moment. We can't see the end, we can't see the future. But God has promised us that it will be so much better than the past has been. 

That's where faith and hope come in. This is where the gospel applies so beautifully. When we see the point of our afflictions and trials, that is when we use the gospel in our lives and THAT is when we progress.

I hope you were able to understand some of that. I can't quite explain everything I understood this morning, but I hope you learned from the Spirit.

I love you all. Sorry my time is short, but thank you so so so much again for all the love you have shown me, and especially for everyone's kindness on my birthday! I am so blessed.

Have a wonderful week and try to trust in God that your afflictions are for your good!!

Also, being 20 is awesome. I love not being a teenager anymore.


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