Monday, May 19, 2014

He's been there before!

This past week has been filled with so many emotions... First off, I have now been graduated from high school for a year, and it is now the next years turn to graduate.  For some reason this has made me suddenly reminiscent, and I find myself looking back at high school, and all of the memories I had there.  It also causes me to look at this past year, and see how much I have changed since my graduation day. I can look back on my trials and see that they were really blessings in disguise from my Heavenly Father.  He is the only one who can really see who I can become, and because I had done my best to put my life in His hands, He was able to shape and mold me into who I am today.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.
When life is dragging you back with difficulties,
it means you will soon be launched into something great.
So just focus, and keep aiming."

There have been times where I could only feel myself dragging back.  In fact, through most of my trials, that's all I could see.  However, looking back, I can see that I have been launched forward further than I could have ever dreamed. 

Moral of the story?? Keep your arrow aimed straight throughout whatever trial or hardship you are facing, and patiently wait for the release.  It will always be worth the pull back.

The following poem was shared with me by another future sister missionary, and it has really given me some perspective about my mission and the trials that I'm sure to face out there. Enjoy!

“The Alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet 
I grab my companions bedding and pull off his sheets
A groan fills the room, is it already time to rise?
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes.

The morning activities follow- study, prayer and such
When it’s time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven’t accomplished much
“We have a super day planned,” My comp. says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath, “Yeah, if anyone lets us in.”

With the word of God and my faithful twin, we ride off in the street
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat

It’s 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My champion and I are riding home not accomplishing what we thought to do
We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate “air Box”

We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet
It’s past 10:30 p.m. My companion is fast asleep,
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep

In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to Father, but I’m not sure what to say
“Oh, Father” I begin, “What happened to us today?
I thought we’d teach somebody, but everyone was away

My hands, my aching hands- worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we’d have knocked every street”
“Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike

Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it’s very hard to see”
“Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn’t your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff

Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back”

“And what about my family: They don’t have much to say
I’m sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, Why am I here am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I’m sorry but that’s on my mind”

“My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?”
The way he rides his bicycle, I don’t think he can see
Now you have it, I can’t go on, I don’t know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you”

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep starts to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day

I’m standing alone on the hill. The view is very nice
A man walks towards me and says, “My name is Jesus Christ”
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
“Arise,” He states, “Follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak”

My attention’s towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, “Your mission is similar of what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you’re going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I’ve felt the same as you”

“I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don’t like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn’t equipped with 21 speeds”

“I understand you don’t like sweating, in fact it’s something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev’ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don’t like your companion - you’d rather have someone else-
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth”

“It’s hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back”

“Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It’s hard not to hear from home when your family’s not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

“We have a lot in common, but there’s a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me”

He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, “6:30 already, no way!”
I sat up and said, “Come on, I’ll even carry your scriptures today!”

No matter what we go through,
when we feel we can’t take more
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ,
He’s been there before."

I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am so excited to represent Him in EVERYTHING I do, including the small things like carrying a backpack. I am not called to simply serve in a place, but I AM called to serve in the place of my Savior.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Now it's real

OH MY GOODNESS.  These last few months have been completely filled with trial after trial and blessing after blessing.  I made my final decision in January to start my mission papers and find out where my Heavenly Father wants me to serve.  After four long months of filling in paperwork, going to doctors appointments, and going to school I FINALLY got my mission call!! 

Now to backtrack a few years... During my freshman year in high school, my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Norway.  She and I immediately became best friends and just like sisters.  I look up to her just as much as I do my other older sisters.  She stayed for her exchange year, then had to return (sadly) to Norway.  She since then has come back twice more to visit.  I just love this girl SO much!  The most recent time she was here, we asked her if we could invite the missionaries to come  talk to her and teach her.  She said that would be alright, but after the first lesson, she had to go back to Norway again.  I prayed for her, and hoped that someone in Norway would touch her in some way.  We have both teased back and forth about me getting called to Norway on my mission, but I knew that the odds of that were EXTREMELY slim! 

On April 23rd I received my mission call to, you guessed it, the Norway Oslo mission!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading!!! As you can imagine, those faithful water gates of mine opened up and I couldn't stop crying.  I KNOW that my Heavenly knows me and knows what I can do even more than I do.  I never imagined that the answer to my prayers would be me.  

I leave for the Provo MTC on September 3rd, meaning I get to wait another long four months!  In the meantime I guess I can read the Book of Mormon again, shop for some supplies, and maybe even learn a little Norwegian while I'm at it!

I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for giving me an opportunity to share His gospel with the people of Norway.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine! I love my Savior and I am so excited to represent Him and serve in His place for 18 months!