Tuesday, March 1, 2016

You Don't Have to Be Perfect

On my mission, I learned that learning another language was really hard. I felt like I was living in my head for the first few months in Brazil. I felt frustrated and I couldn't share exactly what I wanted to say but eventually, I got the hang of it... I think.

That's why I wanted to train an American as a missionary because I understood how hard it was to struggle and study to speak. That didn't happen and I was a little disappointed but I didn't realize how many people I actually would help with that very thing almost a year later.

Missionaries come into the classroom the first day to language immersion. They are immediately thrown into situations where they have the absolute need to communicate. The first week they rely on Heavenly Father because there literally is nothing else they can do (well that or speak Spanish).

Some of the most amazing experiences were within that first week when they knew and I knew they didn't really speak Portuguese. But still, their words were powerful. Their desire to share their message was such that the Spirit brought the message to my heart, regardless of the non conjugated verbs and pronunciation.

One example that will always stay with me is my experience with Sister Stewart and Sister Brothersen. I was having a really hard time because I didn't understand what Heavenly Father was having me do in my dating life. I prayed and prayed but never really thought I got an answer. Thus, I didn't feel like he really cared about me. I was being their investigator and these two humble and amazing missionaries helped me feel the power of God's love in broken and imperfect Portuguese. When I asked why I was important to God, Sister Stewart paused for a moment and said something like, "You are daughter God". The uncertainty and distance I felt with Heavenly Father vanished in those simple, imperfect, heartfelt words.

It didn't need to be perfect for me to understand the message. "He loves you. He's still here. You're his daughter".

That's how I know you don't have to be perfect to make a difference.

Ramblings of an MTC Teacher

Almost 3 years ago, I got the phone call I had wanted since November 2010.

"You're hired," they said. I was changing my black name tag for a white one. I was hired as a MTC teacher.

I don't think I can ever fully express the gratitude and overwhelming love I felt at that job. I made life-long friends with fellow coworkers and interacted with some of the most amazing missionaries this earth has ever seen. Each and every one of these people changed my life in some way or another.

I was able to teach with my own MTC teacher, meet my husband, and deepen my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This job saved my life. Some times I would be so discouraged about life and I would come into work to be taught by the missionaries about prayer and scripture study and it would renew my resolve to keep enduring.

I miss singing every day in Portuguese. I miss the callouses on my knees from constantly kneeling on that rough carpet. I miss the Spirit guiding me and he would help me share a scripture or ask an inspired question. I miss the insights I received as I heard the testimonies of the missionaries every single day. I miss it. I miss how it helped me see how simple the gospel was.

In an effort to remember and maintain those feelings. I want to review over the next few weeks some of the lessons I learned there as to not forget the incredible experience I had.

Monday, June 30, 2014


I went to the temple the other day to walk around and talk. As I was talking to my friend, she stopped suddenly and asked me if I had been crying earlier. I felt a little shocked that she had known and it must have shown on my face because she then told me how I had a barely visible tear streak on my cheek. 

That's going to change how I make sure no one knows what I've been up to! But then again, I wonder why we want to hide that we hurt. Aren't we supposed to "mourn with those that mourn"? That's a little hard to do if no one shares how they really feel. 

It's a part of life to feel. The sons of Mosiah had "many afflictions" and did "suffer much both in body and in mind... And also much labor in the spirit". They also felt joy and comfort and I'm sure sharing with their brethren helped ease the burden. 

I don't like to think I'm a bother to people and make them worry but I think they need to help me just as much as I need their help and consoling words. 

While the tears I shed were because of sad mormon messages, this experience has made me reflect on the purpose of being where I am right now and on what life is all about. There are those I can help and others who can help me. I'm here at this place with certain people for a reason. How can I complain about having a mission to accomplish before I get a new assignment?  

The game plan for our lives is a lot more than what we can see. Maybe we can't see right now but eventually there may be some insight. Until then let's see what we can do right here and now. 

There is work to do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

House Guest

Flashback to a few months ago...

Russell came to visit us. I don't know him but he walked into my apartment anyways. In fact, no one in my apartment knew who he was. Maybe I should go back and explain.

My roommates were participating in a dinner group one particular evening. On this night, people were coming and going and I had no idea who they were. I didn't feel too bad because it was still close to the beginning of the semester and it was still okay to ask everyone what their names were. As I sat on a couch in the front room with a friend, we would occasionally see someone poke their head in the open door and walk to the kitchen. It almost seemed normal after the first few times so I didn't think twice when Russell peered in the apartment and sat down on the other couch.

I thought that was a funny place to sit  because the food was in the kitchen but deciding to be friendly, I asked him what his name and decided to make some chit-chat. He seemed nice enough but after a minute we asked if he was there for the dinner group. We were nice and all but didn't he want food? His face went a little pale when he asked if we were there for a business meeting. We shook our heads no and he then excused himself to make a phone call. 

He never returned.

And that's why I get nervous to visit a house I've never been to before. You never know what you're going to get but you can decide to smile and laugh at yourself if you accidentally walk into someone's house you don't know and sit on their couch and make conversation. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Altar

There are certain times in my life when I have been blown away by how amazing God is to us.

Genesis 22.

God told Abraham to go up into the mountain and build an altar. He and Isaac did just that but Abraham must have had a heavy heart knowing that the Lord had asked him to put his most prized and longed for treasure on the altar as a sacrifice. Now that was Abraham's view. But what about Isaac?

We don't really know the story but I imagine he must have had a lot of faith that if that was the only way, it had to be done. Can you imagine what Isaac felt when the angel appeared? Relief? Joy? Elation? He no longer had to be offered up to the Lord. However, something still needed to be offered because that was a requirement of the Lord. So a ram caught in the thicket nearby was slain and was sacrificed.

We are saved from being killed because there was a sacrifice already offered that was sufficient. The ram was enough. The atonement of Jesus Christ was enough. Because of him, we need not die. He has given us another option. That of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

May we remember the reason for the season and give thanks for the sacrifice of the only begotton of the Father.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Red Vines

Missionaries have the opportunity to practice with their teachers every single day to learn how to help people come closer to Christ. For the last few months, missionaries have drawn things out for me, used scriptures, and have given a powerful witness of the things they know. Nothing really unconventional has happened... until last week. I could have never guessed how a package of Red Vines could have changed my life. 

Last week, two Elders entered the room with a package of candy. I smirked to myself then thought something like, "Well bribery has never happened before." We began with a prayer then one of them ripped the package opened and offered one to me. I took it and bit into it wondering how this was going to play a part of the lesson. As I did, the other Elder got down and started doing push-ups. He came up from the ground a little winded. I felt a little alarmed to say the least! What was going on? These thoughts ran through my mind as they said to follow them into the hall.

We walked out the door and encountered a sister. The one Elder offered her a treat and she declined. Much to my surprise, the other Elder went down to the floor again and started doing push-ups. He arose from the floor winded once more and this time a little red in the face. As he finished, once more the Elder offered me a Red Vine. Not wanting the poor Elder to go down one more time, I refused, only to see him quietly kneel down and start doing it all again. I felt frustrated that nothing I did helped the Elder.

We walked back into the room and I pondered about the things that just transpired. We sat and they explained to me about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They told me that regardless of if we want it or not, he suffered, bled and died for us all. Christ has already paid the price and now it's our part to take it or not. A warm feeling entered my heart as I heard them relate the activity to what Christ did and who he is.

The day after, I reflected on the character of the Lord as I reviewed the incident. What a selfless act to be done! He did not perform the Atonement to get praise or honor. Here was an example of the Savior of the world, who gave everything to a people who often don't recognize what they have been given. What an example of selflessness and charity and pure love. Why those characteristics? Because it was an act given regardless of how it would be accepted to every person who has and will walk on this earth.

2 Nephi 2:9 says, "Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved." (emphasis added)

We sometimes might not want a Red Vine or think that it's for us, but it is. It's always available because we are children of God. So think next time someone asks, "Do you want a Red Vine?"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everyone should have one of these....

and that would be a Gilbert Blythe.


Because it's having someone...

who is your best friend.
who gives you a little competition.
who inspires you to be your best.
who might make fun of you a little.
who gives you a little wink.
who jokes with you.
who puts up with your romantic ideas.
who lets you think you are winning.
who is real.

Who could say no to that?