Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The struggle of agency and the Atonement

SAN DIEGO — Happy New Years! 2012????? When did this happen??? It honestly scares me. I have too much to do before the end of this year!

I am focusing completely on the work, but every now and then it hits me like a ton of bricks how much I love you and miss you! I know you all have busy things going on and whatnot, but I hope you are taking time for each other. I have had to learn being gone how precious and fragile the precious gift of family is. Everything else we do is so good,  but family is something that is far too often taken for granted, and far too precious not to be cherished.

Speaking of family:

Grandma and Grandpa Morgan and Newman: I got both of your letters, but I haven't gotten the chance to open them yet, and it's our turn to email, so thank you in advance for writing me. You are the best grandparents ever!!!

Chris and Hannah: Thank you so much for the card, for the gift, and for the letter. You are so good to me! Loved the stories Hannah!

Sara: WAHOOOOOOOOOOO another semester. Hope you have gotten everything settled! Can't wait to hear how the start of another semester has gone.

This week here in San Diego has gone by so fast — kind of in a blur. It seems like that's what keeps happening lately. Sometime Sister Kennington and I feel like we are chickens running around with our heads cut off! We are so much alike it is hilarious. We say the same things in the exact same tone and the exact same time, and just today when we were grocery shopping we looked down in our carts and realized we even eat the same food! Scary:)

We have honestly had a rough week. We were talking about it in the car today. I have learned so much about how real God is on my mission, but I have also realized how real Satan is.

One of our investigators, who was going to be baptized this Sunday refused to live the Law of Chastity, even though she told us she knew the blessings that would come from it and the happiness she would have. Another investigator broke the Word of Wisdom on New Years and feels so guilty that he won't talk to us even though he understands the precious gift of the Atonement. Another investigator decided to move to northern California to live with her boyfriend. All of them had baptism dates for this month.

The realization that there is opposition in all things and that agency plays a big role in that came crashing down on me this week. I can't describe what I am feeling right now, only that to watch these sons and daughters of God turn away from their Father hurts really, really bad. Sister Kennington and I were talking about how we can literally feel the weight of their salvation on our shoulders. I am struggling with the weight placed on my shoulders, but I know it is nothing compared to what Christ did for all of us.

It took my breath away talking to my companion in the car this morning about how much weight the Savior carried on His shoulders. I don't have any words to explain it. I can imagine that the heavens watched in silent tears as our Savior bled, suffered, loved, and died for us. I felt a reverence for Him I have never felt before. He lives. I know that my Redeemer lives.

We had Zone Leader Training yesterday and we talked a lot about the examples we are to others and how important it is to be exactly obedient. President has been asking us to make visions for ourselves of who we want to be and so I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Interestingly enough, I was reading about Moroni today in my personal study.
"And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery.

Yea a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings  which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.

Yea, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were and ever would eb like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ. Behold he was a man like unto Ammon, the son of Mosiah, and even the other sons of Mosiah, yea and also Alma and his sons, for they were all men of God."

There is something I have learned here. I used to read that scripture and think, "That would be nice if I could be like that." Now I realize I can. I have a vision of myself. I want to be a Moroni, and you know what? I can be! We are all divine children of God, we have the potential to become like Him. Who are we to think otherwise?!?

There is a quote I love by Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley:

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.

I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

That's the kind of person I want to be, and guess what? I can!

This new year is a perfect time to write down your vision for yourself. Who do you want to become? What do you want to tell people you have done on this earth? What difference do you want to have made?

I beg all of you reading this to realize that you can become exactly who you want to be. Don't settle for less. Please, please please don't settle for less! It, of course, can't happen unless you set goals and write it down, but I promise you, you can be exactly who you want to be.

I love you all, thank you for helping me be the person I am today! Let's start this year off with a BANG!!! Lets tell Satan who's boss!!! We are. We are children of a King! Children of great worth!!!

Don't forget it:)

Love you to the moon and back.

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