Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 Years

So, I realized that I have been home from my mission for 5 years this week. The mission was one of the hardest and greatest experiences of my life. It definitely changed me. It was a period of growth for me that I could never forget. As a tender mercy on Monday I met some new people at FHE and 2 of the girls had served in the California Los Angeles Mission. They gave me good news about members that I loved and people I taught. It was a happy anniversary for me. I love remembering the people as well as the lessons that I learned. There were so many.

These lessons have shaped my life since, and I am so grateful for the foundation that was laid for me in who I want to be. All of that happened on my misison. I learned of the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and of the reality and truthfullness of the gospel. I KNOW the church is true. Nothing can ever make me deny it. I know people aren't perfect, but the gospel is. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who created a plan, allowed us our agency and provided his Only Begotten Son to be our Savior and Exemplar. I know that there is living prophet on the earth today. He leads and guides our church. I cannot wait to hear from him again next week during General Conference. I know the power of the Priesthood is real. It is the authority of God on earth. I know and have felt that power in my life. I know the Lord keeps his promises. I know miracles can happen. I know the Lord does not leave us without support, and does lend us the support of angels in our lives to help us when we've fallen down. I know that it is possible for families to be sealed together forever. I know that there are so many possibilities, if we but have faith in the lord Jesus Christ. I know the Book of Mormon is True. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who gave his life so that we may understand the truth of the gospel and the plan of Salvation. I know we are not alone in this world. I know understanding is available if we search for it.I know that we can receive answers to our prayers. I know it and depend upon it. I know the importance of families and how much my own means to me. I know that we must keep moving forward, even when it feels like you can't go on one more day. I know that diligence and obedience leads to blessings, even if those blessings come later, they are worth every second of obedience. There were days I felt like quitting, and in reality, I had my agency and could have chosen to quit. Thankfully I had companions, and a mission president who were there to support me when I felt weak. I am so glad I didn't give up. Most importantly, I learned of love on my mission. I learned what it was like to put my heart out there everyday. As much as it would hurt to do so when people seemed to trample upon it, I was willing to give it anyway. I want all of this to continue with me on to eternity. I hope that I can continue to learn, and grow and understand more than what I do at this point. I hope to one day share that love in an eternal family. I hope to continue to share the gospel, and share it with those around me. What a blessing to serve the Lord! I haven't become much since that time, but I do know that I have grown since the mission, not at the rate as a missionary does, but I have grown. I do know that my testimony is deeper and more a part of me than ever before. I have been able to utilize the Atonement in my life and what a blessing! Words cannot describe the tender mercies that abound in my life. How grateful I am for the atonement. How grateful I am to be sealed to my family. How grateful I am to have an education, to live in this country and to be so blessed. I am grateful for my mission, even though it was hard. I am grateful for the truths abounding in my life. I am grateful for the Spirit which was able to testify to me of the truthfulness and lead me to where I need to be. I am so grateful for my blessings. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have. I am so grateful for everything that abounds in my life. I am not where I thought I would be when I returned home from my mission, but I am trying to get there. I know that everyone can know the truth if they but ask in humility, with a real desire and intent in acting upon the answers they receive. I could go on for pages and pages. I love this. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son. I love my family. I hope to continue to love for eternity.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where Jesus Walked

Here's the second poem as promised, I really do miss Jerusalem, and there are many lessons that have stuck with me, most of all that no matter how much I tried to understand how the atonement happened, and why it happened, all I really needed to know was that it did in fact happen. I know the atonement is real, and you don't have to go all the way to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to know it. I know the spirit is able testify to your heart the truth and reality of the infinite atonement. There are other lessons I learned as well, ask me about the others later :) Here's the poem I wrote for sacrament meeting, I never really finished it so it's a bit rough...

Where Jesus Walked:

Though hesitant at first and fearful of the unknown
I took a step and followed the prompting shown.
It led me to a place of conflict as well as diversity.
And so, in the Holy Land I attended the Mormon University.
I was determined to learn all that I could,
And like most students, buy something nice made out of olive wood.
Though I knew the itinerary, I did not understand what lied in store,
for deep down my heart would be changed to the core.
As I walked through historic places
They became for me, sacred spaces.

From Egypt across to Jordan and up to Galilee,
From Dan to Beer Sheva and of course Gethsemane,
The Garden Tomb, the Temple Mount
There are too many memories for me to count.
Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Dead Sea
From Shepherds Field to Mt. Sinai, these places came alive for me.
I cannot express the feelings of my heart
But with gratitude I thank the Lord, for from the start,
He's led me down paths I could have never known,
He's led me to places where I have grown.

More dependent on Him than ever before
And searching for enlightenment I asked for more.
I realized I could never walk where Jesus had walked,
For he alone could travel the path where he would be scourged beaten and mocked.
He would heal the sick and give sight to the blind,
Bring life to those dead, and teach all those he could find.
But His greatest gift was his love for you and for me,
And oftentimes we fail to see,
That he would lay down his life
And that he might willingly give it up for all mankind.
This thought of grace brings joy to my heart and my mind,
For I never walked the path that Jesus walked,
Yet thankfully,
He's walked mine.

I miss the Holy Land

So this week I have felt really old, and I realized its been 3 years since I left for the Holy Land. I miss it alot. I miss the growth, even though sometimes I felt really alone out there. The things I learned and the things I was able to see, and the amazing people I got associate with whether they were students, teachers or vendors on the street who could tell we were students and would cry "mormons! mormons!" at us are things that I really miss. I miss the amazing sunsets we would see every night, especially those on the Sea of Galilee. I miss the knock out bars and the poprocks chocolate. I miss the beanbags and the shalom shack. I miss the oasis and all the fruit they would have for us everyday. I miss the schwarmas and the pita, oh the pita! I miss Abdul at the little convienence store down the road from the lower gate of the center. I miss being able to ponder in the garden of Gethsemane on Shabbat. I miss the super attractive IDF soldiers that would take pictures with us and thier AK47's. I miss the spices, and the view from the chapel, and my balcony. I miss the olive trees, olive wood, and the olive picking. I miss hearing "bus 2" I miss the amazing lectures from Professor Draper. I miss my JC family. I don't miss paying to use a public restroom, but I miss just about everything else. I searched through my records and I found the poem I wrote for the memory book. I know I never got to see the finnished project, and so many people would never see the poem I wrote for it. So in memory of the Jerusalem Center, and all it's amazing lessons, here's two poems, the one I wrote for the memory book, and the other I wrote for a sacrament meeting right after I got back from Jerusalem. Happy 3 year anniversary!

Memory Poem:
From the moment we heard "Bus 1 and Bus 2"
We knew we would be guided like cattle all the way through
Field trips and flies, beautiful sunsets and skies,
And even a sunrise view of Sinai.
Through friendships forged and made,
We hope our memories will never fade.
Sometimes we'd guess what they'd have in the oasis for dessert at dinner.
We all knew we weren't getting any thinner.
Senior couples and teachers are here to help and bring joy each day
Learning in our classes in the morning, then we're off to the old city to play.
Everywhere we go a familiar question is asked,
"Are you mormon?" after each merchant is passed.
"Good price for you and half off too!"
They can tell we aren't Muslims or Jews.
Some say it's the light in our eyes,
But we know there's something more that shines.
The light of the gospel can't be supressed.
Though most of our time is spent in jest
Fighting for bean bags or having a snack at the Shalom Shack,
Poprocks chocolate is the best treat to pack
For the long bus rides to distant places
It always brings a smile to our faces.
Ancient cities and numerous tels
Or on the Red Sea or Mediterranean collecting sea shells,
We've spent much time studying and playing together
We know this is a special time and our hearts become tethered
To not only a sense of understanding and love,
But also to the One who pours out blessings from above.