Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!

Easter was really good. We had a bunch of people come to church. It was really packed. And a lot of people that we are teaching came, which was good. Sacrament meeting was really good. The primary kids did a special musical number, Gethsemene, which really brought the Spirit into the room. I am grateful for the reverence that is so present at church. I know a lot of people worship with loud music or loud speaking, which is good because they are at least worshiping the Savior, but sitting in Sacrament meeting and feeling the Spirit through the reverence makes me really think of how the Savior must have been. He wasn't loud or boisterous. He was calm, peaceful, confident, and full of the Spirit. There is just something special about being in Sacrament meeting.
For dinner, we ate at the Mitzel's. They are an awesome family. Sister Mitzel is from Thatcher, Arizona. Their 10-year-old son, Owen, wanted to go on splits with us. So what we did was he taught the dinner message with Elder Smith while I listened to it with Brother Mitzel as my companion. It was fun. He did a really good job and even dressed up with his suit and everything! He was super excited to do it. So that was fun.

Celebrating the Savior at Easter should really be a daily thing! President Nelson told us in General Conference that becoming a powerful disciple of the Savior is not easy. It's not easy to look unto Christ in every thought like it says we should in the scriptures, but as we do that we can draw upon the power of Jesus Christ in a very real way. I definitely have a testimony of that. The past week, the Savior has really been changing my heart, desires, and thoughts. As I continue to pray and really try and think of the Savior I have felt His love begin to change me. I have only tasted a tiny bit of this light and understanding, but it makes me want to really continue to focus on the Savior because the joy that came with this change was pretty indescribable. It's so cool that His gospel has been restored to the Earth! That he very literally guides this church because it is His! I'm really grateful to Heavenly Father and the Savior for blessing me with this light that has started to fill my mind this past week. The way I view people and things are starting to change and I know it is only because of them.

I think missionaries can really experience this. Especially if you are obedient. When you are obedient, you really begin to draw upon the power of the Savior and He changes you. I think obedience is the only way that a real lasting change will occur on your mission. It's the only way to allow the mission to go through you, rather than the other way around. Everything we do has an opportunity to point towards the Savior and our Heavenly Father. This week more than ever, I am finding myself looking at people and thinking, "how would the Savior handle this situation? How would He show His love for them?" I really liked the talk in Conference, "Then Jesus Beholding Him, Loved Him". Charity and seeing others through the eyes of the Savior was a huge theme that stuck out to me in Conference and is something I am really working on. Preach My Gospel says that charity is a gift and as we receive that gift in our lives, through our actions and obedience, then we will really experience a mighty change of heart.

We saw a lot of miracles this week! So many that I can't really write them all down because I don't remember them all off the top of my head. The Amyda girls, who's mom is a returning less-active and who's brother is on a mission in the Philippines, committed to be baptized on May 6th! We are really excited for that. We feel really confident that they will make that date. Their father, who isn't a member, is also interested and is sitting in on the lessons. Their family is awesome. They had us over for one of their daughters birthday dinners and we had so much food! Aishia is also progressing a lot towards baptism. Hopefully in this month. She has been to church 13 weeks in a row! And she is doing awesome. The light of Christ is continuing to grow and grow in her countenance. It has been really cool to watch.

Being with Elder Smith has been fun. We are both really excited for the rest of the transfer. We are working hard and talking to everyone. We both have a desire to grow closer to the Lord and we are working on it. We are trying to really learn how to be obedient and how to be ourselves. I feel like a lot of missionaries don't think obedience and fun can coexist, but I feel like the fun and joy only comes when we are being obedient! When you are being happy, being yourself, and being obedient it is really fun. And especially if you take time to just ponder for a moment or two a day and think about how blessed we are. To think about how cool it is to know of the Plan of Salvation and of who the Savior really is. It's fun. I'm starting to look at people and think, "they already chose Christ before this life! They would not be here if they didn't choose His plan in the pre-mortal existence." And it is really changing my perspective.

It was a good week. I am definitely grateful to the Lord for being able to serve in His vineyard and help others come to know the truths of eternity.

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