The Power of Everyday Missionaries

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So back in the day, I used to have a book review section of my blog. So it’s back! And the book is “The Power of Everyday Missionaries” by Clayton M. Christensen. It was the first book I read after my mission, and it totally changed my life.

Do you want to be a member missionary? Do you want to live your baptismal covenant? If the answer is yes to either of those questions, then this is the book for you. I invite you to read it asap. I know that if you do, you will have the tools to more comfortably and naturally be obedient by sharing our message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He regresado

I’m back! I just had the most thrilling, joyful, stressful, difficult, amazing, emotional, educational, spiritual, exhausting, incredible 18 months of my life. I LOVE the Lord. I love LA.

For my first post since my return, I’m just going to enclose a few pictures of some really special people. I have plans for future blog posts, some of which I might even do this week.

Armando:

Armando
Armando's baptism

Hector:
Hector's baptism

Francisco:
Francisco

Elvis and Cynthia:
Elvis and Cynthia

There are way more people I want to pay tribute to, but I haven’t sorted through all my pictures. I really might blog later this week if possible.

Have a great week!

Farewell!

Well folks, I gave my missionary farewell talk today! I’ve only been waiting for this day my entire life. I remember so many farewells of the young men in our ward, and thinking they were so old and mature, and feeling like my farewell Sunday would never come. And it did! I felt so much love and support today, and I know with all my heart that the gospel I’m about to share is true.If you’re interested, I decided to post my talk. It’s kind of long, but you may read if you so desire.

Brothers and Sisters, Aloha!

The topic I’ve been assigned to speak on today is the power of faith, hope, and love through Christ. I’ve really loved studying it, and I’m excited to speak about it today, because the development of those attributes is what builds Christ-centered lives, making us true Disciples of Christ. When we become true disciples, we naturally share the gospel with others because it is such a part of our core, and that’s what I’ve been preparing to do my entire life.

FAITH
The first principle of the gospel is faith, and it is the first and most fundamental step in becoming a true disciple of Christ. Moroni tells us in Moroni 7:33 that, “Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” Isn’t that amazing?

Faith can also lead us to do good works, obey the commandments, and repent of our sins. We can overcome temptation, experience miracles and spiritual and physical healing through the atonement, and have strength and courage to endure trials.

Peter is one of my favorite scriptural examples, and I think the story of him walking on water teaches important lessons about faith. Although he became afraid after he got a little way out on the water, and the Savior had to reprimand him because of his little faith, he had just had the faith to walk on water! He was the only one of the apostles that even got as far as the edge of the ship, not to mention actually walking on water. Peter showed great faith just through his desire to follow the Savior, and we can do that too. We just need to take that first step into the water.

An example of faith from my personal life is my first Relief Society president my freshman year. Her name was Gana, she was from Mongolia, she was a returned missionary, and she was engaged. Things don’t get much cooler in a freshman’s eyes. What was more, she knew my name, and she would call me by name when she saw me on campus, as well as in church on Sundays. Because of how kind she was to me, I committed to be the kind of girl she was—friendly to everyone, including and especially those who are new or seem to need a friend, and aware of the individual. I also decided that if I were going to be like Gana, I would need to serve a mission. That was already long in the plan, but this added to the commitment. Towards the end of the semester, we found out Gana was very sick. Or bishop organized a ward fast, and the next day she passed away. At the funeral, mission companions and friends spoke of the example of a faithful, loving person she’d been, and I decided to try to carry on her legacy as best I could. I will never forget Gana, because she is an example to me of the missionary and example I hope to be. Through the love she showed to be, I have a greater ability to show that love to others.

HOPE

There is a crucial addition to faith in the Savior and His Plan. It says in 2 Nephi 31:20 that “we must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.” It goes beyond faith. It’s possible to be faithful all your life, enduring every trial, plugging along faithfully, and really being miserable. Hope is the gift of the spirit. It is applied faith, not just enduring, but anticipating the joy and rewards at the end. Hope is what lets us feel not only will things are going to work out, but that things will work out great. In Ether 12:4, it says, “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the sols of men, which would make the sure and steadfast, always abound in good works, being led to glorify God.

One experience I had that taught me the power of hope happened during one especially stressful finals week. I had a huge credit load that semester, and I had a bunch of intense finals and performances. Monday morning I decided to go running on the beach, which is one of my all-time favorite activities. The whole run down to the beach I was thinking about all I had to do that week, and worrying about all sorts of things that in hindsight really weren’t that important. When I got to the beach and started running again, I prayed for the strength and courage to make it through the week without dying.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed the beautiful sunrise, and the way it reflected on the sparkling water, brightening the beautiful section of paradise I had the great blessing to live in. I stopped worrying about all that was going to happen that week, and thoughts of my many blessings came to my memory.

I realized that if I didn’t get a 4.0 that semester, or play as well as I’d like to, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Everything would be fine, because no matter what, I had a family back at home that loved me, a Heavenly Father who loved me, and a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.

That blessing of peace, hope, gratitude, and assurance got me through that week with minimal scars. It also strengthened my testimony of the love my Heavenly Father had for me, and gave me a better perspective for the future. I am so excited to share that message of hope with those I teach!

CHARITY

The last step in becoming true Disciples of Christ comes from the combination of faith and hope. As we develop those attributes, we will feel the love of our Heavenly Father, and naturally want to share that love with others. This is the power of faith, hope, and love through Christ.

When Lehi partook of the fruit of the tree, which was the love of God, his first instinct was to look for his family, because he wanted them to share that experience. We know that we are true followers of Christ if that is the way we feel. Because of the wonderful people I’ve been surrounded by my entire life—my family, my teachers, my friends, this ward—I’ve been able to feel that love many times.

One powerful experience I had where I felt the love of God very strongly was in the hospital a few years ago, after a surgery. Once I had recovered enough to be aware of the other children in the neural trauma unit around me, I became completely overwhelmed with the trials they had, and how they would affect their entire lives in very significant ways. One night I was so distressed that I was just sobbing in my hospital bed, and praying to Heavenly Father for them. In answer to my prayer, He told me that although they couldn’t necessarily pray vocally, or do the kinds of things I could do, like go on a mission, or go to school, they could still communicate with Him and feel His love. At that moment, I committed to try to show that same love to as many as I could, because I had felt its great power and intensity, and I couldn’t keep it to myself. That is why I want to go on a mission.

Alma 26:16
Therefore, let us aglory, yea, we will bglory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his cmercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

“B” as in “Bravo”

You know that funny lingo pilots and flight attendants and airport workers use to refer to letters? I’m amazed by the lack of originality. If I was a flight attendant, these are the words I would use:
A- Aisle
B- Bacon
C- Czar
D- Destiny
E- Europe
F- Filibuster
G- Gnarly
H- Honor
I- Iridescent
J- Jalapeño
K- Knowledge
L- Luminosity
M- Mnemonic
N- Neverland
O- Onomatopoeia
P- Pterodactyl
Q- Queer
R- Raucous
S- Skiwampus
T- Terrific
U- Umbrella
V- Voila
W- Wrinkle
X- Xerox
Y- Yodel
Z- Zodiac

The Cunning Plan

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Okay, I need to preface this by saying that I DETEST that expression. For one thing, it sounds totally tacky. Also, we know that it’s completely untrue, and is in fact a considerably irresponsible mindset. You do not only live once. Also, I hope this doesn’t sound preachy or self-righteous. It’s just some thoughts I’ve concocted over the last few days.

Anyway… In Sunday School last week, my teacher mentioned that some people are upset that others who party and mess around and do whatever they want may ultimately achieve the same reward as those who live righteously. She said they “kind of get the best of both worlds” because they “get to do both”.

That really puzzled me, because I can’t think of a single sin that I’d be happy I “got to” commit. The truth is, there is no such thing as a worthwhile sin, there is no such thing as an action without a consequence, and there is no such thing as forgiveness without repentance. No matter what we do, or how small the sin is, we still have to repent, which is indeed a process and must be completed by everyone, no matter who they are or under what circumstances the sin was committed. Alma has plenty to say on this.

The response of one member of our class was that when we get to the other side and are able to see our lives, we will see both the good and bad, and only wish we’d been able to do better. In short, we will never at any time be glad we were able to sin. That’s that. If YOLO, then this would all be different, and nothing would actually matter.

I just want to say that I’m very grateful that we know that YDOLO, and we have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. 22 days until I take off to share that message!!

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be bmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

2 Nephi 28:7-9

One of Those Lives

The other day on my bus ride to work, I had the unusual experience of sitting near a man without any legs. When I walked past him, I tried to smile, but he scowled back at me. At the next stop, the driver accidentally opened the wrong door twice, and in her embarrassment, said, “I guess it’s just one of those days.” and to those close to her, “Ever have one of those days?” In response, that man said, “Ever have one of those lives, where every day is one of those days?”

Awkward.

Most people don’t talk on the bus, so nobody responded to him, but what he said stuck with me all that day. One of those lives? Talk about sour attitude! I wanted to walk over to him and share words of encouragement, and discuss the Plan of Happiness or something, but my stop was next, so the opportunity was lost. In hindsight, I guess I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage anyway, because he was pretty darn grouchy.

Although I wasn’t able to talk to him and learn his story and why he’d come to feel about life the way he did, I was able to reflect on my life, and how it’s one of those lives where every day is my best day so far. Why is that? It’s because I know who I am, why I’m here, and where I’m going, and I have a clear understanding of what I need to be doing. What a blessing! Because of that, I’m just about to embark on a journey dedicated to sharing that message with as many people as I possibly can. I can’t wait.

Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God.

Being a Nerd

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I’ll say it straight up: I am a nerd. I acknowledge it, I accept it, and I embrace it. To some, this title might be insulting, and some intend it as such. But if you are a true Nerd, you will a) hesitate beginning a sentence with “but”, and b) never be phased such a gentle reminder of the passion within you.

Passion. “Nerd” is actually code for “Passionate”, and should be considered a compliment. I say if you aren’t “nerdy” about something, you’re a boring person. In fact, anyone who is truly great at something is so-called nerdy, because you have to be in order to attain that greatness.

I identify myself as a music nerd, which is inevitable as a Music major. As a college student, you are forced to become a “nerd” at whatever field of study you choose to pursue, because you are completely immersed in all things pertaining to that subject, appropriately yielding the title of Nerd, unless you are just mediocre at, and mildly invested in what you do.

I am also a Harry Potter nerd and a grammar nerd, two categories that are commonly associated with said title. Why aren’t pro athletes graced with the nerd association? Why do only certain categories of nerdy people have that privilege? I could also be a running nerd, a religion nerd, a pie nerd, a missionary nerd, and any number of other sorts of “nerds”. I would gladly accept it.

We need more nerds in this world. They are what make this world interesting.

The Fiddler in the Subway

the fiddler in the subway

This has been my airport book for the last several years, and it serves that function quite well, because it’s a collection of various feature articles from the Washington Post, none of which are related.

Let me just say that the writer– Gene Weingarten– is a complete genius. I feel like I become more intelligent, and a better writer, with each piece of his I read. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and has been called “The best writer in American journalism” by Dave Barry. (As seen on the cover.)

Read this great book.