Monday, March 7, 2011
Stake Conference, Family, & Miracles
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. It really gives me strength and hope to think of you doing that for me. I pray for each of you too.
This Sunday we had Stake Conference, which was all about "A House of God," how the gospel blesses families. I'm so grateful that I was "born of goodly parents" who have worked diligently to teach our family the principles of the gospel, and set an example that we can safely follow. Thank you, Mom and Dad. Your faith and hope and charity have inspired me many times, especially while I've been here on my mission.
One of the things that really impressed me during Stake Conference was how everything we do to create a strong family (family prayer, family scripture study, Family Home Evening, wholesome recreational activities, and lots more!) is to create an atmosphere in which the Spirit can reside. The Spirit is what brings all the blessings of the Gospel into our lives. We must do all we can to purify our homes, actions, and thoughts to let the Spirit more easily touch our lives both as individuals and as families.
As we drove up to the Stake Center, I was overwhelmed with a sense of strength from being with so many faithful saints. As I saw mothers and fathers with their children, dressed in their Sunday best walking on the streets and towards that building, I could feel the power that comes from being together with the saints. I don't think I've ever felt that so strongly before. Sometimes it's hard to remember you're not the only one out there when you're off in your own area facing the evils of the world every day. It was so refreshing to be back "home." The topic of the conference was fitting, and I thought of how our own homes should be a refuge and place of safety and relief after going out and facing the world as individuals each day. Hearing the prayers of our family members on our behalf is one of those reliefs that gives strength to face our individual challenges. Thank you for your prayers.
This week I've seen a few miracles :) A few weeks ago we started teaching an Indonesian woman (and her friend) working here to care for an old amah (grandma). She can speak Chinese pretty well, but without much religious vocabulary it was hard for us to communicate the message of the Gospel. But we kept teaching, and she said she would keep praying. This week the Elders who work in the office gave us 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets of the first three lessons in Indonesian. It was a wonderful experience to have these teaching materials and to see their eyes light up as we read from the Book of Mormon and they were finally able to really understand what we were teaching! Just yesterday we found out that one of our new members can speak Indonesian, so he'll help us with the lessons too. What a miracle!
Mom and Dad, thanks for your letters. I love to hear the few snippets about what's going on with the family. Dad, thanks for the ice cream story--it really made me chuckle :) Mom, thanks for sharing your insights on talents. It was a good reminder that "talent and ability most often comes when we have a desire to bless others with those skills and to build up the Lord's kingdom."
I love you all soooooo much! I KNOW the gospel is true. I can feel it as I read the Book of Mormon. I can see it as I watch investigators apply the principles in their lives. I know it through a life-time of obedience and dedicated service. There's nothing that could ever get me to deny my testimony-- not when the "devil sends forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [me]... because of the rock upon which I am built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12). I've felt more opposition here than I ever have in my life. But I KNOW the Savior lives and loves me. That sure knowledge gives me hope when there's nothing else. Build on that foundation. It brings more joy, hope and peace than anything else this world can offer.
All my love,
PS. One of the pictures I sent last week was of my companion, me and two of our recent converts--they're sisters, and one of them is preparing to go on a mission!! They took us out to lunch at an awesome Italian restaurant and we had a lot of fun together. Just wanted to let you know cuz I forgot to say last week and it'd be weird to have no idea who the people in the picture were :) LOVE YOU!!