Last time i wrote, i don’t think there were flowers around yet…it’s been a while. I have a lot to cover this time because I haven’t written but I will try and sum it up well. 🙂
So over the time that I haven’t written, I went on vacation with my mom and sister to Long Beach, California and then to Utah to be at General Conference for the first time in my life! I want to share four experiences that particularly impacted me over this time:
ONE. On the way to California, I brought a Book of Mormon with me and a pamphlet of “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” to hand out to someone on the plane! On the flights there, I met many good people but whenever I brought up my mission or anything that had to do with God, they generally avoided eye contact and ended the conversation, or simply changed the subject. I wasn’t there to force anyone to listen to what I have to say about the gospel, so of course I went along with them and didn’t make them uncomfortable.
We took the flights home, and I had the same kind of situations. A few days later, we flew to Salt Lake City, Utah in order to watch General Conference in person! We had a great weekend, however I did keep in mind how I still hadn’t given away my Book of Mormon. On the flight home, I sat next to someone and said “hi” to them. We ended up talking about life, what we were doing at the moment, and how we’ve seen the blessings of God recently. I ended up talking a little about my mission as well and she told me she had a friend that’s LDS. It was a nice conversation…and then I felt like she was the one who needed the Book of Mormon. I wrote my testimony in the front cover and marked the coming of Jesus Christ to the Americas in 3 Nephi 11. I asked if she had ever heard of the Book of Mormon before, and she replied that she had. I asked if she had ever read it. She had not. So, I asked her if she would like to! She replied, “yeah, i’m open to that!” I gave her the Book of Mormon and shared my testimony with her that I know it’s true. I felt the Spirit so strongly in that moment and I felt genuine love and respect mutually between us.
What I learned that day, is that if we have the desire to share this gospel, we will. If we ask God for opportunities to share it, He will bless us with them. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on giving the copy of the Book of Mormon to her when I first met her….I had no idea what to say, but the promise of the Lord is true–He will give us the words to say in the moment we need them. Trust in that promise and trust in your testimony. The more you testify, the more you feel the Spirit and the stronger you become spiritually.
TWO. I saw some of my friends from my mission at conference. I also got to video chat with a few other friends who had just come home from missions.
This was another thing that impacted me…it was special to see that no matter what we all have been through, what our past is like, what we’re doing now, who we are, where we come from, what we like and don’t like to do—none of that matters if you are living the gospel because that’s what acts as a connecting link. The world and its standards may be changing, but the gospel never does. That is what brings us closer to people than we ever imagined because as we live it, we LOVE others more and more. We grow to find out what true love and true joy is because we can only experience that through LIVING the gospel, applying the Atonement to our lives, and experiencing the purification and change it creates in our hearts.
Now, focusing on this last couple that I video chatted, brings me to point THREE:
This is Cedric Huntington and Brianna Stephensen.
Brianna was my first companion in the mission–the MTC, actually!
Anyway…they are recently engaged and will be getting married this 17th! I couldn’t be any happier for them. They have been an example to me of how if we live righteously and virtuously, we will find someone who lives the same way…and we will both deserve each other!
I was at a wedding reception last night too and it made me reflect more on the subject.
If we say we’re “getting married in the temple” or we “want a happy marriage”…what are we doing to achieve that?! We have to put some action behind those words! We can’t just sit around and say that since we’re good people, God will make it all work out! We have to refine ourselves as well and live a pure, virtuous life in order to deserve those blessings. As we come closer to Christ, and we look for someone who lives righteously, we will find them. What we sow, we also reap. Let us keep that in mind.
FOUR. When i was in Long Beach California, I had the opportunity to meet up with an elder who was in my district in the MTC. His name is Elder Nevins and he is a great missionary! I was on Spring Break, but I decided to go out with him and his companion and teach people. We spoke Spanish, testified of Christ, and helped people see how they could apply the gospel better to their lives in order to be happier, and in the end achieve an eternal family. It was absolutely amazing…I honestly felt the Spirit of God so strongly, and I felt a great love for the people we visited. I understood that night that there truly is NOTHING ELSE that brings us more joy than SHARING THE GOSPEL. That week, I had gone on a few bike rides, ate at some nice restaurants, to Huntington beach, Fashion Island, and even Disneyland! Now, I’m not saying that to brag, but what I want you all to know is that NONE of that was as thrilling, or joyful, or as memorable as going out with the missionaries was for me. Can you believe that? How is it possible that going out and sharing my testimony a few times with the missionaries could be more FUN than DISNEYLAND?! Well folks, I’ll tell you that there is no greater joy than feeling and witnessing the pure love of Christ. There is nothing more invigorating or empowering than sharing this gospel.
I invite you all to search out missionary experiences. Look for people who need a helping hand, or even an uplifting scripture.
I invite you all to reflect on what keeps you living this gospel. Reflect on what makes family and friend ties so strong? Reflect on how you could live this gospel even better.
I invite you to analyze how you’re preparing yourself to receive blessings, opportunities, and joy in the future.
I invite you to go out with the missionaries and watch your testimony and heart grow immensely.
Have a great evening, everyone. SHARE THIS GOSPEL. There is NOTHING that compares to the joy it brings you. I promise.