Monday, January 25, 2016

Rollercoasters of Missionary Life

Hola mis amadas personas! 

This week was insane. I know I say that all the time, but this time I'm not kidding! It was crazy! We had so many meetings, and so many random schedule changes, it actually made me have some anxiety. I didn't realize what a routine I had gotten into until it was different. We also went to a less active member's house on Monday night. His name is Slader, and he's a musician. At first it was exciting because the ward has been trying to get in with this guy for years, and no one could get him to open up, but then I finally was able to use my music knowledge to get in the door. But then it really tripped me out for a few days, because he has a bunch of amazing Taylors and Fenders, a Steinway, and a recording studio, and just a ton of amazing stuff. It was really hard to stay in missionary mode in my brain. All I wanted to do was jam! I was a little thrown off for about two days after that! It was so weird.

We had meetings almost every morning last week, so we didn't get our usual study time right when we wake up. We had to do it in the afternoon instead, and that threw me off as well. There's just something about reading God's word for an hour each morning that really starts your day off well. We also got really stressed out last night. We are having Zone conference in Moses Lake tomorrow and thought we would just be getting a ride from a member, so we drove clear out to this neighborhood on the edge of our area and used up a ton of miles earlier in the week! Last month we ended up with a ton extra so we thought we as well use some of them and visit this neighborhood that rarely gets visited. So long story short, we ended up being told last night that we do have to drive to Moses Lake because of car inspections, so now we are going to run out of miles. It's really stressful, but we are trying to save them where we can and keep up a positive attitude. Hopefully some members can help us out and give us rides. 

Besides the craziness, we have seen a lot of miracles and blessings in Royal this week. We have five new investigators and another one that was a former investigator, who we came back in contact with! She has had smoking and drinking problems her whole life, and we found out a few days ago she has been sober for nine months now! Her next goal is to quit using tobacco and cigarettes. She seems pretty great! Please keep her in your prayers.

Ana is doing better as well. His leg is still recovering, but it's really looking good! It's still pretty black and red, but it's not swollen anymore, and he can wear socks without it bleeding! We also started teaching his brother and nephew by surprise! We stopped by last night to see how he was doing, and the brother and nephew were there. We started talking and ended up getting through all of The Restoration! Another cool thing yesterday was that right after we got the text about the miles and were stressing out and trying to adjust our plans this week to save miles (we were at the church studying), a little boy opened the door and said "Hey, I just saw you guys through the window, and saw you look really upset, is everything okay?" How sweet! It was one of those little mercies, like Heavenly Father is so aware of us. He knew we were stressed out, so the Holy Ghost prompted that little boy to say something to us. 

One of the new investigators we found this week is a less-active member, Nora's husband, Kevin. It was actually so cool talking to him, because he has ADD too, and the way that he thinks and explains things that he thinks about is just like me! I've never met someone so similar to me except my dad. It was so great to read scripture passages with him and see his responses. Nora and Hna. L were both a little lost and Nora said that half the time she can't figure out what the heck he's talking about. But it actually all made perfect sense to me! Kevin said one of the things he's always really respected and admired about the Mormon faith, is that even though people are always preaching against us, and publishing awful lies and anti-Mormon literature and persecuting us, we never say bad things about other religions. He said that always bothers him about other Christian sects because being so hateful against somebody else "just doesn't seem very Christian, now does it?" I was so glad to hear that, because one of the most important things to us as missionaries is to not tear down other's faith, but to build on what they already have. Needless to say, he's awesome, and we have visited him twice already. Nora said she's been thinking about coming back to church, because there's a special feeling there that she has never felt anywhere else. I love it when they share their testimonies with us. 

One of our favorite people to see, Yvonne (we do service for her on Thursdays because she had a heart attack) has actually been inviting her boyfriend, Charlie to church too! It's really exciting to see others involved in missionary work too. 

 Making apple jerky at Yvonne's!

Another thing that helped me feel a lot better this week was listening to the song "This is the Christ." It was kind of random--we just had the music on shuffle, and it popped up out of nowhere. But something about it just really brought the Spirit into the room and helped me feel so much better. If you have a chance you should definitely listen to that song! The Mormon Tabernacle Choir version is super good. My favorite lyrics are "How many drops of blood were shed for me?" CHILLS    Listen here.

I have started reading the New Testament again lately, and it's crazy how many new insights I have gotten. This morning I was reading the Sermon on the Mount. I'm also really enjoying Psalm 46:5. I have it written on the front of my planner and look at it all the time and it's so good. It helps me have that little encouragement when I need it. 

Something else cool this week was on Wednesday there was a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, which actually hasn't happened in over ten years. It was great! We heard from several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, the Second Counselor in the Young Women Presidency, and some others from the missionary department. One of my favorite quotes I took down in my notes is from Elder Neil L. Anderson "If you're ever unsure what to say, speak of the Savior."

I guess that's about all this week, we're doing pretty great all things considered, and I'm still so grateful every day to be a missionary. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

 Beautiful Royal City Sunset


Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 13

So this week has been pretty great. A lot better than last week, that's for sure! 

Monday Sister Andersen asked me to sing in church this Sunday, I decided to go for something I already knew really well so I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time practicing, so I sang "Miracle from Heaven". I've never done it before but I've heard my mom sing it a ton, so it was awesome. Tuesday was almost 100% Spanish! I was so excited. We worked in the food bank that morning, and there actually wasn't a whole lot of bilingual Mexicans there that day, so I got to use my Spanish a lot! I was even translating at the front desk for a while. It was fun but exhausting. My brain was on fire after that. Then all of our lessons that evening ended up being in Spanish, so it was nice that I had that warm up at the food bank. The branch mission leader, Jesus, said that my Spanish is getting a lot better. 

Wednesday we met a new family, the Russos, and they are awesome!! We also met some new people on Thursday, and Saturday, and Sunday, so in just one week we have like 10 new investigators! A lot of pickers and workers went back to Mexico and Columbia for the winter but are coming back lately to start pruning the trees. So it's so nice how many new people we have met! The vacant houses are slowly filling back up! 

Thursday night we also had an amazing lesson with one of our less-active members, Maria. She usually gets pretty "homie" with us, and it's hard to keep her on task and focused on the lesson, but this time we brought a member, Sis. Eyre with us, and she was so much more focused. She bore an amazing testimony about the atonement. She's going through a really, really hard time right now, so her testimony was so powerful. Hna. L was crying. 

We also started working with a new family, the Butlers, they are Christian, but the dad is a veteran and doesn't believe in God anymore because of his experiences in Iraq. It's really sad, and really hard, but we are praying for him a lot. 

Sunday I performed "Miracle from Heaven" It was really powerful because it made me think of my mom and then I sang with more emotion. Bishop said I had them "In the palm of my hands" I looked out and four people were crying! (yesssssss! That's when you know you're a successful musician) I was pretty nervous because it was one of the only times I have ever performed 100% by myself, and the first time I didn't have an instrument like piano or guitar to hide behind. It was like baring my soul! It went really well though. I am so grateful to be able to share my testimony this way--more powerful than words alone. 

Fun Fact- this morning Hna. L found out in the Bible Dictionary that one of the names of Christ is "Shiloh", which is my dog’s name! It's from a verse in Isaiah. 

Hna. Hall is getting a lot of "boyfriends" this week. Ha ha! First, a recent convert, named Marco, started calling her "Hollie" He is known for having crushes and flirting with the sister missionaries a lot…awkward. So "Hollie" is pretty weirded out about that. Ha ha! She also got a text from a random number that said "quiero ser tu novio" (Do you want to be my girlfriend?) What can we say? She's a babe!

At dinner one evening, we were sharing a scripture, and then the sister started bawling! She said that it was exactly what she needed, and the testimony we bore after was "perfectly soothing” for what she was going through that day. Without even knowing what was going on we said the exact right thing. SO cool! Thank You Spirit!

Liesl is still avoiding us. It’s pretty depressing. :( And Ana (elderly man with rotting foot) is starting to get pretty mean. He's always just stirring up contention and trying to pick fights all the time. We love his wife, but we don't know if we are going to continue teaching him. Please keep these two in your prayers. 

It was kind of spring-ish around here for a few days. It is usually around 7-30 degrees, and this week it was like 50 for three days! It was amazing, the snow melted and the green grass was showing, Royal is actually super beautiful! 

Royal City

Friday for lunch, the four of us decided to check out a local Mexican restaurant, La Casa, and when we went to get the check, the owner came and told us a random lady had paid it for us! How sweet was that? I love missionary blessings. We were able to use that money to buy some gloves, scarves, and beanies for a family we are teaching that has two little kids and they are so poor they can barely buy them clothes. 

Some funny Mexican things I have noticed lately, #1 Mexicans only ever use spoons! Never forks or knives, just spoons. #2 If the house has broken blinds, you can be 90% sure they are Mexican. #3 All the stores only sell black and dark brown hair dye! A few people in the ward have started calling me Goldilocks- the nickname is spreading! haha. There's not a lot of blondes around here. 

We were so excited to find a grocery store in Royal. And everything's in Spanish!

I forgot one thing- I had injured my back a few months ago, and I did something kind of dumb while we were playing basketball at P-day last week... and sort of re-injured my back. It's not as bad as last time, but it was really painful. I have to take heavy duty ibprofen, and do ice and heat packs four times a day. It's been a pain (literally) but it could have been a lot worse. It's starting to feel a lot better the last couple of days, so that's good. I can't play sports at p-day today though, so that's a huge bummer :( 

I think that's about it this week, I love you all so so so so  much. Hope you are all remembering to keep a Christlike- Character! 

-Alison <3

Monday, January 11, 2016

Transfer Week!

CONGRATULATIONS JULIE BRAZIEL HALL!!!!!!! WOW (Our good friend who got married this week)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNIE!!!!!!!! (Youngest sister, turned 14!)

Hermanas Luevano and Knight

SO anyway, to explain my header, we had transfer calls on Saturday, and… (drum roll please) I get to stay in Royal with Hermana Luevano for 6 more weeks!! Woo hoo! We have so much work still to do here. Most of my friends are staying too, except for our Zone Leaders, because Elder Pullman is going home after two years today, and Elder Tanner is moving far away :( 

 Goodbye Elder Pullman!

 Othello, Washington Zone 1/9/16 

We've had a pretty rough week full of a lot of disappointments. First the Phil's dropped us. I love them so much and it was really sudden. Definitely had a good cry over that one. Then, I got some really sad news in my email last week. (Cried some more) and then Liesl started avoiding us.... SO depressing. She was doing so, so, so well, and I don't understand what happened.

So this week has had a few crappy moments, but we also had some great ones, and we are really trying to keep a positive attitude. We finally got into Jolene's house this week! She was meeting with the missionaries a while ago, but she's really busy so we couldn't get in. She is so, so sweet and her testimony of the atonement is amazing. She has a chronic illness, but she was saying how she's so grateful for it because she was able to stay home with her daughter while she was growing up. She also told us her and her husband's love story, which was honestly so sweet, inspiring, and exactly what I needed right then. The spirit was so strong in her home. 

We also had a mini miracle with Liesl earlier this week (before she started avoiding us) We went to her house and were talking about prayer and how Heavenly Father is always there for us, and wants to help us. As we were talking, her dogs started to wander off and ran away! She started getting worried because last time they did that one of them got run over by an onion truck and almost died!! So we were like "Hey! We should say a prayer that we can find them!" so then Liesl prayed with us and we went out searching in this corn field for her dogs, It took some time, but then we found them. We then said a prayer of gratitude. It was something so simple, but so powerful and sweet. She told us we are like the big sisters she has never had. 

Martins' Baptism

Another miracle this week was that the Martins got baptized! They have been meeting with missionaries. Ana (elderly man) is just as stubborn as ever, but he also had a mini miracle this week as well. His leg has been pretty much rotting off the last few months, just all swollen, painful, and black and the doctors can't figure out what is wrong. Last week during one of our visits he said he would be baptized if God healed his leg, and guess what? Yesterday when we went over, it was looking SO much better!! 

Last night a sweet girl from church, Aleisy came out with us teaching. We taught a family, the Busters, about Family History! Tonight we are going back to help them set up their Family Search and accounts! I am SO excited. (Shout out to my Grandma!) 

Saturday we had an awesome Zone Training meeting, where we learned so much about goals and plans. Something awesome Elder Gaburel said that I wanted to share: There is a difference between a goal and a vision. A vision is like "I want to get the members more involved in investigator's lessons" a goal is "I want to invite five members to come with us to lessons this week" Just something to think about with your New Year’s resolutions!

Zone Training Meeting

I almost forgot! Sis. Hirsche broke her wrist at P-day last week! It was pretty crazy. Not fun!
And Hna. L lost her voice for two days this week! That was pretty interesting too, but was kind of a blessing because I was able to practice my Spanish so much more! The "Gringo Filter" doesn't work as well when you're companion can't talk! haha It was pretty funny but I'm so glad that her voice is back.

I don't have much writing time left, so I'll just close by saying my faith is growing so much this week. Faith that even with all the ups and downs, Heavenly Father has a plan. Everything has a reason, and sometimes no matter how hard I work, there's nothing I can do to help people change their hearts. Please keep Liesl, Ana, the Busters, and the Phil's in your prayers. As well as Sis. Hirsche, that her wrist can heal soon! 

I love and miss you all :)

 Brother Winder, who always offers to drive us! He is the funniest!

 Lunch at "Time Out" after our zone training meeting

 My cute roommates!

 We got the Baby Jesus in the la Rosca

Sweet note left for me by Hermana Hall

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ten Steps to a Miracle!

This week has been amazing. First and most important, on last Monday while I was at Walmart, I saw my first unibrow. Hahahah It was hilarious! I was like, “Hermana! My first unibrow! I've never seen one in real life!” And she was just cracking up. It was great. #peopleofwalmart 

Tuesday Hermanas Hall and Hirsche went on exchanges with some sisters in Moses Lake because they are the Sister Training Leaders. But when they got there they found out that Sis. Fox was on her way to the hospital because she had slipped and fallen on some ice. The four sisters, as well as the district leaders in Moses Lake ended up at the emergency room all night! Sis. Fox has a concussion :( No bueno.

Real life Lincoln Logs! (shout out to the Deorockis)

I have to give a shout out to my dad for doing a really great job on my Christmas presents this year. I love my new speakers! I can listen to my iPod wherever I want to now! I also love the headbands! Good job Ploddie!

I also put my picture wall up from Libbie! I love it. It is so cute and the pictures are perfect. Thank you Lib! And the picture book is perfect to carry around, so I can show people pictures of my family. Hna L wants me to not forget to thank Mom for the fuzzy socks. She is obsessed with them. 

 Cute string of photos from Libbie

I love my headbands from Dad!

Thank you Momma Cox for your letter! And congratulations to Kim!!! Welcome to the best club ever! 

Random awesome quote Elder Najarian told us in District Council this week "A goal without a plan is just a dream" -Remember this for your New Year’s resolutions!

Happy New Year, by the way! It was pretty funny, because we had to go in early on Thursday night and be in our apartment at 6 pm for safety reasons (I just cleaned with my extra time. lol I am my mother's daughter). We still had to have lights out by 10:30, so we just celebrated Texas and Mexico New year at 10 pm ha ha! Hermanas Hall and Hirsche got out some sparkling cider and the three of them drank it (I had water!) and we toasted to the new year.

 Roasting Hot Dogs on New Year's Eve

Soaking our feet together in the tub on New Years. It was squishy but fun.

My goal this year is to be more purposeful. It's something I have had in the back of my mind for a while now, but I really want to focus on it this year. Have a purpose behind everything I do, and have my purposes be rooted in scriptures. I thought it was going to be really hard, but so far it has been good. 

My scriptural heroes this week are Paul and Moroni. All of Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians are just golden! And Moroni is just the best. Alma 48:17 pretty much sums him up—“Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” Another awesome scripture/ quote this week is from Pres. Hinckley, "Proverbs 16:32--Love flies out the window as contention enters."
 My new planner for January. I do like decorating them but we are really praying for iPads soon.

Corinthians is like a rainbow, because I love Paul's writing style so much!!
In other news, Hna L and I are both pretty sick this week. Fevers, coughs, and loss of voices all around. Two cool things though, are that first, every time we are teaching- we feel fine! And our voices work perfectly. Second, we ran into Bishop and Nancy (our second parents) at the church a couple of days ago, and then Bishop went to the store and bought us some medicine. I feel so, so, so much better now! 
So this week Hna L and I have been experiencing each other's food a lot. I have shown her Shrek shakes (she LOVES them), white cheddar popcorn, and baked sweet potatoes, and she gave me goat, and this nasty cucumber stuff that's like cucumber, lime, and really spicy chili powder.... not a fair trade if you ask me.
The weather here has been crazy. We have been getting so much snow! We try to be wise in our driving and parking, but I think Hna L has had to get out and push every day!

10 degrees today! It was 7 a few days ago, but we forgot to take a picture.

On Saturday we went up to Mardon (yes Dannai, I have been there often! And I have been to the restaurant where you worked!) and met three interesting new people. David is a new investigator who reminds me so much of my uncle! Weird... Then we met Diana and Jorge who are from Rockwall Texas! What are the chances? It was so cool, because Diana is actually a less-active member and was really uninterested in talking to us, but then when we found out we had that in common they let us come in, have a lesson and talk for almost two hours. Thank you, Heavenly Father! 
Okay now Sunday was the best part. We had a miracle with our new golden investigator Liesl! Here are the 10 steps:
1) We were impressed to knock on her door and met her three younger siblings, Anna, Lizzie, and Manny. They let us in, and we taught them and they invited us back. (Story I told last week)
2) We came back two days later and met Liesl, who was so perfectly prepared. Liesl invited herself to baptism, read the Book of Mormon, and quit Coffee.
3) Liesl didn't come to church yesterday and we were really sad. We prayed all through testimony meeting to find an answer of how to help her. 
4) An elderly member, Bro. Nelson, randomly came up to us after the meeting was over and starting bearing his testimony of Priesthood power. He shared two powerful stories from his life and ended up with all three of us in tears.
5) Bro. Nelson didn't know why he needed to tell us these things, but he said he just needed to. 
6) We realized that we needed to get a Priesthood holder as a member present for Liesl's next lesson. It was our answer. 
7) Uncle Larry (our other second dad) offered to come with us to a lesson with the Phil family (my favorites!!) because he and their dad grew up together. They were all sick though, so we decided to go to Liesl's house. Larry asked if he could come too. 
8) We got to Liesl's house, and her older brother and parents were there. Because Larry was there he was able to get the parents and older brother involved in the conversation and they stayed for the lesson. 
9) The mom invited herself and the family to church this Sunday, she said that what we were teaching just made sense. 
10) Now we have three new investigators, and Liesl can come to church!!!!!!!!!!! 
ISNT GOD SO GOOD? It's so amazing how all these puzzle pieces came together. He's just so good. 

I love you all so much!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Turn Outward

I wanted to share some great spiritual knowledge and enlightenment I have learned over the last two months on my mission.

I'm just so overjoyed with the light of Christ and I want to share this light with as many people as I can, not just to the people of Washington.  Our Missionary purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ" and so far, doing this has brought me so much joy.  Lately I have been learning and studying a lot about the Character of Christ.  It started with a talk I saw at the MTC from a devotional a few years ago by David A. Bednar.  It's called the "Character of Christ".  I watched it about three or four times because I love it so much and have about ten pages of notes about it in my study journal, because every time I see it, I learn new things.

So what is the definition of Character?  Character, in the words of Oxford English Dictionary is "The sum of the moral and mental qualities which distinguish an individual."  In the words of Elder Bednar, "Character is revealed in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we, ourselves are suffering."  In the words of my companion, Hermana LuĂ©vano, "Character is what you do when no one is looking."  Christ's character is this: He always looks and reaches outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and inward.  The Savior is the perfect example of consistent charitable character.

One of the great examples of this that Elder Bednar pointed out was in John 14:25-27 during the last supper.  The night before He would perform the atonement (which was the single most selfless act in the history of ever), He speaks to His disciples about comfort and peace  Can we even comprehend this?  How could He reach outward?  Elder Bednar said it perfectly, "Jesus, who suffered most, has the most compassion for all of us who suffer so much less."  Then in Matthew 26:39 after He's already been disappointed by four of his disciples (three because they can't stay awake while He's in the Garden, and one because of betrayal), He says "O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."  Where the natural man would turn inward selfishly thinking, "I don't want to do this!  No way!"  He turns outward in love and compassion or the entirety of mankind.  He continues going back all night to suffer for all the sins, pains, afflictions, illnesses, griefs, and sorrow for every person who ever walked the Earth.

Then (in Luke 22: 47-51) after Judas betrays him and the guards come to take him, Peter cuts off one of the guards' ear, and what does Christ do?  "His character activated a compassion that was perfect." (Elder Bednar) and He healed the guard.  Where the natural man would turn inward in selfishness because the ear was such a superficial and unimportant wound compared to what Christ just went through, bleeding from every pore.  (Luke 22:44 ; Mosiah 3:7).  Christ turns outward in love and compassion to a man who was just doing his job  Even during the crucifixion--during the actual action of being killed--He wasn't selfish.  He worried about the welfare of His mother, and made sure she would be taken care of.  He told the two thieves on the crosses with Him that they would be with him in paradise.  He even plead to the Father on the soldiers' behalf, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:24 ; John 19:26-27). He turned outward.  "The consistency of the Lord's character across multiple episodes is ultimately the most instructive and inspiring" (Elder Bednar).  Just imagine how many millions and billions of times better this world would be if we all turned outward in love and compassion towards each other!

Some other amazing examples of Christlike Character that Elder Bednar shared in his talk came from a series of experiences he had several years ago when he was a stake president (local church leader).  One day he got an urgent phone call from one of the sisters in the stake.  She told him that there had been a terrible car accident involving three of the young women in their stake.  At that point she knew that one girl had been pronounced officially dead, and the other two were at the hospital in critical condition.  She said she needed his help--she needed him to go down to the hospital and identify the bodies of all three girls.  As he was on the phone with her he realized that she was on the phone with somebody else at the same time.  She was using two handsets, one on each ear; one with President Bednar and the other was with an LDS nurse who worked at the hospital the three girls had been taken to.  As he listened tot his conversation with the nurse he found out two things.  First, that the sister who called him was actually the mother of one of the three girls, and second, he heard though the other phone the mother was holding--the voice of the nurse informing this mother that they had positively identified the deceased girl as her daughter.  Now get this--at this horrible moment, when the natural man would turn inward and fall into despair and grief, this woman turned outward in love and compassion for others.  The mother paused for a moment, but then the first words out of her mouth were these: "President Bednar, I need your help to tell the other moms what is going on.  They need to be with their daughters."  She thought of the other mothers  What a perfect example of the Character of Christ.

A couple of days later, the other two girls passed away.  One of them had been the only child to a single mother.  Right after Elder Bednar received news of this second girl's death, he got a phone call from her mother.  She said she knew her daughter's body had been badly mangled in the car accident, and that she was planning on a closed-casket funeral, but that the workers at the mortuary had done a really good job fixing her body up and made it look a lot better.  She then invited Elder Bednar to come see her daughter's body at the funeral home that evening before they closed the casket, so that his lasting memory wouldn't be the gruesome and disturbing scene he had seen at the hospital.  Where the natural man would have turned inward, losing herself in her grief, this mother exemplified the Character of Christ, turning outward in love and compassion for Elder Bednar.  She was worried about him, not herself.

The next day, this second mother, who was also the Relief Society President of her ward, received a phone call from a very whiny and entitled woman in the ward.  This sister began to chew the Relief Society President out, because she had a cold and nobody had brought her any meals yet.  It was the very morning of her only child's funeral, but instead of turning inward, the Relief Society President turned outward in love and compassion.  On her way to her daughter's funeral, she stopped by a  local bakery and took this whiny, entitled, "Natural man" sister some breakfast.

TURN OUTWARD.  Turn outward in love and compassion for others and you will be so blessed.  But not because you're seeking for blessings or trying to earn the blessings.  You will be blessed by being unselfish.  The biggest lesson I have learned on my mission so far is that it's not about me.  It's not about a mission helping me grow spiritually, or learning a second language, or being the best missionary ever.  Its about others.  It's about helping my brothers and sisters come back to Christ.  It's about finding those lost sheep and bringing them back to the fold.  It's about serving my companion and my roommates.  It's about serving Heavenly Father.

One thing that has been so encouraging and inspiring that someone pointed out to me the other day is that by going on a mission, each of us are changing the lives of thousands of people.  That doesn't necessarily mean I'll bring thousands of people to baptism, (although that would be sweet!).  I might only bring one or two, but then there are their kids and grandkids, and what if their kids and grandkids go on missions too?  And then the people they help have kids and grandkids and those kids and grandkids go on missions, too!  It's so crazy and cool to think about.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ in my life as my perfect example, my Savior, and my brother.  I want so badly to be like Him.  I want to have the Character of Christ.  Pure love, true friendship.  I am so grateful for the knowledge I have because of His gospel.  I'm so grateful for His atonement and the knowledge that no matter what I'm going through, no matter how I'm feeling, or how alone I am, He is always there, He always understands, and He never stops giving us another chance.