Thursday, January 23, 2014

So Many Choices!

So True!
Agency. Have you ever thought about that word before? It is an interesting one really. One that is important. Extremely important. But why?

Agency is another common word for the ability to choose. This is something that all of us use on a daily basis. Frequently we use it minutely and sometimes even every second. If we think about this, it really is something amazing. The power to choose and to decide is absolutely incredible.

I am so grateful that I have this ability in my life. We literally have agency over everything. We can choose to be happy or to be sad; frustrated and stressed out or at peace happy. This is something that is part of the daily adventure of life right? We can choose what we are going to wear, what to eat, who to talk to, where to go, what goals to reach, to do homework or not :), and the list can really go on for forever. I am sure that I missed a few good ones in there so please, do excuse my ignorance of...maybe Cheetos or Doritos...oh wait there it is! Anyway, as you can see these choices sometimes are so easy! Then there are decsions which may seem much harder. For example: What career should I choose? Who should I associate myself with? Should I pursue and try to develop a relationship with God? Where should I work? And should I really have that last piece of cake?...okay well the last one maybe not so serious :) Or it could be! But I think that we all get the picture here. Right? I mean we are all faced with decisions. Oh those dreaded or delightful decisions! Sometimes they are pounded upon us. I will be the first to say that making decisions is hard! Let me tell you it really is. It is something that I struggle with! Decisions are so important and they need to be made carefully and that can be overwhelming! I know how it feels to have to make a lot of decisions. It is something that we are faced with daily as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have to decide a lot of things all of the time. That has been a huge learning experience for me!

Something that I have realized though is that all of this decision making is a gift. It is a gift directly from our Heavenly Father. He loves us. He loves us so much that he has given us all, every single one of us, the ability to choose. We all can see the good and the bad that is happening today in the world. Many things are clearly set before us. We can see between the gracious and glorious good works of God and the temptations, doubt, and despair that come from our common enemy the adversary. We all have this right and wrong set before us. It literally is right in front of us at almost all times. We live in an age where we can use our agency and access good and bad instantly at the click of a mouse or the touch of a finger on a screen. A lot of the time in these days we have to be careful. Why do I say that? Simply because things are changing and progressing at a rapid rate. And that means that Satan is too. This age is really his "A game". As many of us can see he is hitting hard everywhere. Books, movies, advertisements, TV shows, and also families. Many things that were once called evil are now called good. Also the good in the world is seemingly almost looked upon as bad and "not fun".

So what does this have to do with agency you might ask? Well it has everything to do with it. Trust me. Our Heavenly Father has given us this gift because it is at the core of our existence. The biggest choice that we have of all is if we will follow in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus Christ. That is most likely the most important decision that we can make in our entire lives. That is the reason why our Heavenly Father has given us this gift. He so desperately desires for us to follow His Perfect and Sinless son. Why? Because Christ is the only way! :) As we love and follow Him we are Happy! Trust me it's true! He is our greatest example. He is our Redeemer. As we CHOOSE to follow Him we will be blessed. That is why AGENCY is important. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He has given us that ability to choose whether or not to follow His son. Why? Because it is just like trying to force a child to eat vegetables! Haha it really is! :) You could force the child to eat them but they wouldn't be very happy about it afterward. So most likely the first the first reaction is no, but as they see the good that comes from it, they are willing to try and then experience the true benefit that comes from "eating healthy". Or in this case being spiritually healthy. As we choose to follow Christ we will be happy. FACT! Trust me! :)

Well that was my little two cents on agency I guess. I had just felt so prompted to write about it. As I did I felt and I learned myself about how much our Father in Heaven really does love us to give us this wonderful gift. As for me I am doing pretty good! There was quite the snow storm here on this Tuesday! It was quite the adventure! We had transfer meeting and I got to meet my new companion! Elder Hooper! He is a great guy and he is from the one and only...Utah! I have realized that all of my companions have been from there! Pretty funny right! Also I found out that Elder Hooper doesn't speak Spanish. But yet I do. This is going to be interesting...As missionaries we are called to preach the Gospel in different languages and mine is Spanish and Elder Hooper is English. So we are going to have to figure something out to do with the Spanish people that we are teaching! It will be an adventure! Anyway we got to do some sweet service yesterday of shoveling snow! It was so much fun! My hands were about to fall off because for some reason my gloves aren't very good at keeping my hands warm. I had a blast though!! We did it in the morning and we had the wonderful opportunity to help out a lot of people in the community! I loved it! We met a guy who had worked in the TV business for 35 years and another who was from Bulgaria and spoke FIVE languages! Super cool! There was snow everywhere! It was great! Cold, but a lot of fun! And I also had the opportunity to eat some Balut! It was quite the day yesterday!

Being a missionary is tough! It involves a lot of decisions and using your agency :) It is amazing! This is a great work! Helping others receive the knowledge that they are sons and daughters of a Father in Heaven who loves them more than we can imagine is incredible! As we strive to become better daily we really will! And just like the quote says, when we have consistent and simple good habits we will receive so many blessings! This I know is true! Life is great and so beautiful! We are all on a tough journey but if wasn't tough we wouldn't learn right? Just remember that! Thanks for being great, and remember choose wisely out there! :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hi! I know that it has been a while! But the good news is that I am alive! Well I hope that is good news to all of you :) I hope that everyone had an awesome Christmas and a sweet new years celebration! Can you believe it?? It really is 2014! Wow!

It really is so great to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I can't believe what I would do without these experiences that I am having! I am so grateful for every single one of them! :) No matter what may have happened I know that from everything that happens out here it is meant for me to benefit from it. I know that this is so true for all of us in life really. There are things that we go through and we wonder: Why ME? What did I do wrong to have this happen? What did I do to deserve this? Why God, did you do this to me?? I know that all of us have felt this way in one form or another. It is true. It happens to everyone. It is our natural reaction when bad things happen or when things just don't work out. We just always think why??

And the answer I have realized is that a lot of the time it is for our benefit. Then we think "Well how in the world is what I am going through for my benefit??" Don't worry!! If you are thinking that, you are not alone. I know that I have thought that so many times in my life. Especially a a missionary. Missionary work is hard! It really is. I can't lie about that one :) But hey who said it was supposed to be easy right?  Being on a mission you learn so many things! So many things that sometimes you don't even realize that you learned it already. Let me promise you missionaries aren't perfect! We try our best but we think the same things that many other people do! Things like "Why did this happen??" and the many other why questions can easily creep into our minds. But as we take a step back and think "Hey it wasn't easy for the Savior himself, so why should it be easy for me?" That really does help. What helps more is realizing that we can pray for the extra strength that we need to get through the rough times in life. As we sincerely ask help will come. That is why Christ did what He did! :) It is such great news! We can ask for help and it will come because someone has been there before! Christ has. HE has done it all so He can help us when we need it most. I know that is true. SO! When you catch yourself thinking "WHY???" Let this piece of knowledge come to you....God loves you and He wants you to learn from what you are going through :) I love this quote from Richard G. Scott too, he said: “Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding and compassion, which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”

Just to let you all know how life is in New York! It is a beautiful day outside here!  This past week was so great! We got to visit a family who is just so awesome! They have two sons who are just hilarious! The husband who isn't a member is such a great guy! He has been visited by the missionaries for a couple of years and he is so cool! He loves tennis! Heck yeah! It was so cool to be able to talk to him about that! Let me jus say that we get along super well!! :)  We had an awesome dinner with them and then talked about how God loves us. So simple and yet so true. The spirit was so strong in that lesson as we shared how knowing that God loves us can bless. That knowledge is amazing! :) It was such a fun time visiting with them!

We also got the opportunity to visit four less active brothers in our ward and that was so great to be able to visit with them. They are all so different and so funny in their own way! Javier, Juri, John and Jeffrey! The 4 J's! We are trying our best to help them all come back to church! I love them all so much and they are great guys! John is a huge football fan so he keeps us updated on everything that is going on in college and the NFL which is funny! He loves talking about football! Jeffrey is a cat lover and a huge hockey fan! He is super funny and basically never leaves his house except for recently! Because we got him to come play hockey at the church. Now that is sweet! Slowly we are gonna get him to come to Sunday Services again. Juri is an older guy with a lot of health problems. He really is a living miracle and he teaches us more than we teach him! He is a book worm and basically has the stories in the scriptures memorized! Then there is Javier! We just started meeting with him recently! He is a nice guy and he has also even written a book! Pretty interesting! He says he wants to be coming back to church soon which is great! All of these guys are awesome!

That is what is going on here in Little Neck! :) I love you all so much and hey remember when you feel that something isn't right, think of this scripture...  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiates 3:1. It is true! God has everything figured out! So just be patient and love the ride! :) I love you all!