Sunday, October 16, 2011

Great Things Ahead (and behind)

Last Friday night I found out that I'll be serving in Eureka for at least a few more weeks. I'm happy I'll be here for a while more. I love the wonderful people I've been able to meet. They will be my friends forever. I've also had some interesting experience here. I think one of my favorites was when Sister Nestman and I were walking in Old Town on our preparation day and we saw a sign for a "Glass Blowing" shop, we thought, "Cool glass blown stuff, lets check it out"...bad idea. I was a different kind of "blowing" shop. We quickly left. These past weeks in Eureka I have learned so much about myself and about Heavenly Father. This is the place where, in mission lingo, I was born. I think I'll always have a tender spot in my heart for Eureka.

On the first day in Santa Rosa before I knew, really anything, about the mission, let alone where I was going to serve first, we were shown a sideshow with pictures from around the mission. I remember seeing the pictures of Eureka and thinking, "That would be a good place to go." In all truthfulness, pretty much from the night before (when I couldn't fall asleep), to arriving from the training center at the airport (where I realized that I would have to talk to and teach real people not just my peers and teachers), and then coming to Santa Rosa (and discovering I had not idea what I was doing), I'd felt pretty scared, and sad, and alone, and unsure about, well, everything. When we watched that video, and I saw Eureka I had a strong feeling of peace come over me.

I still don't know why I've come here to Eureka. Maybe I'll figure it out in the next 5 weeks, or possibly in 10 years, or maybe I'll never know the exact reason. But today I do know, and I've known on some level since I saw a picture of Eureka almost 3 months ago, that this is the place for me right now.

I know that just like Heavenly Father knows this is the place for me at this time, He know each one of us. Perfectly. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, our needs and our desires. He has a plan for us and as we turn our will to His, He is going to be there for us and help us in ways we may not understand but which are ultimately for our greatest good. I know that sometimes we may feel like God isn't here because things are not going the way we want, but we have to remember what Nephi said in Nephi 1:1 "I Nephi... having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days."1 This life is a time of trial and experiences, but as we are obedient and faithful the Lord will support and strengthens us through all things.

He knows you, He loves you, He is here for you. Turn to Him, for His arms are extended.2

2. Mosiah 29:20

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Child of a King

I love Disney movies. The end.... No not really. But I truely do. They're the movies of my childhood. I know all the song, I used to imagine myself as Belle, and I remember watching Mulan every day, for what felt like a month, to see if I could out-watch my best friend (I'm pretty sure she won). Anyway, I have fond Disney memories, and one of my favorites is The Lion King. When I watched it as a kid I always liked the songs, and the love story, and, of course, Timon and Pumbaa, but its amazing what I've gotten from it as I've gotten older. As you may know, it's the story of a young lion, named Simba, who's the son of the King, Mufasa. Simba looks up to his father and learns a lot from Mufasa about his future kingdom and responsibilities. Mufasa is killed and Simba is driven away from his family by his deceptive uncle who wants to take over. Simba runs away and ends up living an un-fulfilling life with no purpose. But he's not allowed to continue in that life for long. He's found by someone, Nala, who reminds him that he's not acting the way he should be. Nala brings Simba to a wise leader who shows him that he has great un-achieved potential as the son of the King and he is told to "remember who you are". Simba goes back home to live the life that is his birthright and save his family from a life of sadness.

Ok, so this story is packed full of great things. I actually can't believe how much good stuff is in there. There was even more than I realized until I stated typing it up. Pretty much it's an amazing analogy of our lives. Before this life we lived with our Father, the King of Creation. He loved us, and taught us, and told us what to expect of the future. But we were separated from Him and often we are deceived by Satan to do things that are not befitting our royal heritage. But the Holy Ghost is there to remind us that we are worth more than making bad decisions. Like Simba, we too, need to realize our divine heritage. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."1

We are. Each one of us is a child of God. That's amazing! We are filled with potential and possibilities. No one can tells us we are worthless, or unloved, or not amazing, because we are. We have a loving Heavenly Father who is here for us and whose greatest purpose is to help us to reach our highest potential 2. We just have to remember this and live a life worthy of that heritage and blessing. We're fantastic, we have a great future ahead of us, we are children of God!

1. Romans 8:16
2. Moses 1:39

President Uchtdorf just gave an amazing talk related to this at General Conference this weekend and the Apostles always say it better then me :). You can watch it here.