I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July. I know we did. It was so awesome! Nearly all the missionaries here were in red, white, and blue and we had a special Independence Day Celebration. We got to watch “17 Miracles”, which was amazing because that was the one movie I was most sad that I did not get to see before my mission. It was so great, and missionaries of all sizes were crying. Then, as a special treat, we got special permission to stay up later than our bedtime and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks! That was especially fun as we ate our ice cream and sang some patriotic songs together. I love our country so much! 🙂
As I was watching “17 Miracles”, I was struck by the faith and courage of the Saints that came to Zion. There truly were miracles along the trail, and it reminded me how much I need to have that faith because the Lord can and will bless his children, even to help them learn a new language. I’m not perfect, but I am doing my best to exercise my faith and believe that the Lord will bless me. I know that if we believe and trust that the Lord will catch us when we have to step out into the darkness, that he will be there and that he will hold us up. Sometimes this is easy to forget, but I know this is true because I have seen it already in my short time here in the MTC. It may not come all at once, but it does come. I am so grateful for the Lord’s blessings!
So this week I’m going to claim my first baptism while I’m a missionary. My youngest sister is getting baptized on Saturday, and I have spent most of this week thinking about it and helping our “investigators” come to understand it’s importance. We were teaching our investigators about the Plan of Salvation and how Heavenly Father loves us so much that he gave us a plan to come back to live with him someday. Baptism is the gate to enter in order to begin our journey, and this week my sister is entering that gate. I was reading 2 Nephi 31 where that scripture is found and it just gave me exceedingly great joy that she has decided to take that next step in becoming more like her Father in Heaven! One of the most important blessings of baptism is that we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, who is there as a comforter and guide for our journey through life. This is possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who took upon him all the pains of the world so that we would be able to return to him if we accept his sacrifice and keep our covenants, including the covenant of baptism. We have the opportunity to apply the Atonement in many ways, both for repentance of what we have done wrong, and to receive the comfort and help that we need in times of trial. I love Alma 7: 11-12 in the Book of Mormon because it talks about how Jesus Christ suffered “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities”. This means he has felt the pains and heartache of every single person on this earth, and that puts him in the unique position to know exactly what we need and how to help us. At times we may feel like he does not hear, but that is when we need to exercise a particle of faith to know that he will bless us if we are faithful. I love Alma 36:21 where Alma is talking about how Jesus Christ succored him. “Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy!” (emphasis added) That is what this gospel is all about! Finding that joy in Christ, and exercising our faith so that we can return to live with him again. I am so excited for my sister to enter that gate of baptism so that she may experience that joy and complete happiness that the gospel brings, and I challenge you to study the chapters I have mentioned in the Book of Mormon so that you can learn more about the blessings of baptism. I am serving a mission for the Lord so that others may taste of this joy that I have felt. The church is true, and this joy is real! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I want you to know how much I love you, and I am grateful for your prayers. I can feel them working as I continue to press onward. Thank you so much for your love. I know the Lord will bless each and every one of you!
All my love,