Monday, August 8, 2016

The Atonement

Wow. I don't even know how to express my thoughts from this week.

Since I became an STL this week I had the opportunity to go to missionary leadership counsel on Tuesday. This meeting changed the way I look at missionary work.

The entire meeting was focused on the Atonement. The Spirit was strong and at any given moment you could look around the room and see tears in somebody's eyes.

I've been reflecting on it a lot this week. And I learned something.

I learned that the church wasn't restored so that we could have a Prophet, the church wasn't restored so we could read the Book of Mormon, the church wasn't restored so we could go to the "true church."

The church was restored so that we, through the priesthood, could have access to the Atonement.

The Atonement means so much to so many different people through the world, but for me it means we can change. It means that each of us have the opportunity to become better and to become stronger. Word's can't express exactly how I feel about it, and I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job of explaining through text what the Atonement means to me, but I just want all of you reading this to know that I know the Atonement is real.

I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can find peace. Lasting peace. The kind of peace that can only come through knowing there is something bigger than ourselves that we are a part of. The kind of peace that comes from knowing there is a plan that was created by the best planner that ever planned.

The kind of peace that can only be found by accessing heaven.

So I know that the Atonement is real. I know that it works. I know that no matter how far we think we are, how many mistakes we think we've made, or how impossible it looks to come back, He is always there with His had outstretched to pull us to shore.

And that's why I'm here. That's why I've left my family for eighteen months to move across the country to a people I've never met. Because I know the Atonement is the best thing anyone can ever use in their lives, and I want others to feel that same joy too.

So come, find out more.

Monday, August 1, 2016

For the Beauty of the earth

I've been thinking a lot about the beauty of the earth lately. There are so many days that go by where the sun comes up and goes down before we ever take the time to soak in the wonder of this world. The earth was created to be beautiful, but I think all to often, we are preoccupied with other things that we forget.

The other day we were driving down the open Florida Highway as the sun was starting to set in the distance. Palm trees were rolling past us and I couldn't help but think about the handful of moments in my life that I really soaked in the beauty of the earth.

The time we sat on the Peter Whitmer Farm in the warm New York air next to the place where the Christ's restored church had been organized and I offered a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity I've been given to be a part of it.

The time we ran up Adam's Canyon as a group of friends and sat on the rocks as the boys ran under the ice cold waterfall and I thanked God for friends that share my same beliefs in the gospel.

The time we walked through the Sacred Grove and prayed about weather or not God really had visited that place and received an answer.

The time my mom took me zip-lining in Provo Canyon and I realized God wants us to have joy.

The time my siblings and I held hands and ran fully clothed into the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast and I smiled because I knew I could be with my family forever.

The time my friends and I drove through the frozen December air doorbell ditching our school mate's houses leaving cookies on their doorsteps and I learned that the best way to feel God's love is to serve others.

The time we stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon and realized that maybe we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.

The time we climbed Multanoma falls and felt the mist of the falls that reminded us that God does love His children and that He created this beautiful world for us.

The times we made early morning trips to the Bountiful Temple and left the temple right as the sun started to come up on the horizon and I was grateful to have a temple and its blessings so close to home.

Now, there have been hundreds of these moments. Thousands of times I've looked that the sky and thought "well isn't this world beautiful? And isn't God so good?" But I will admit that sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget how beautiful it all really is because I get distracted.

But it seems like God is always there ready to slap me in the face with a beautiful sunset or waterfall or mountain as a reminder that He's still there, that He still loves His children, and that He still has a plan for us.

So as I looked at the big Florida sky I was wonderstruck again. Because at the time I was serving as a missionary and was headed to the house of a person who didn't know God, who didn't know He made all this for us, and who didn't know He had a plan for us

And I had the opportunity to help them see it.