Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas, Christ más

This Sunday on the way to church my mom handed me her phone and said, “here, watch this.” I didn’t know what it was. My mom has been known to show me everything from jib jab videos to pictures of ingrown toenails…but instead I saw this:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

I love my Savior. That’s really what this whole little post comes down to. I will never be able to fully express the immense gratitude that I feel for Jesus Christ. He is my dearest friend and the only hope I (or anyone) have for joy and peace. In a season that is full of celebration let us remember to be a little more like him. For me that means being more patient, treating myself kindly, thinking before I speak, and being consistent in the things I do that are right (as well as a million other things, but it’s a step-by-step process).

I know that by myself I could not develop the attributes and attitudes I need to be more Christ-like. That is why I am even more grateful that he helps me along the way. Through prayer we can ask for help. With heavenly aid we can change who we are and become better. There’s a scripture in the Book of Mormon that always motivates me to be more like Christ. It says, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19, page 153)

So bring on the wassail and cocoa dusted truffles. I’m ready for wrapping paper tube wars and watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” However, I also pray that God bless each of us as we show our gratitude for the gift of His Son by trying to be more like him and help others along the way.

Merry Christmas
Feliz Natal
Feliz Navidad

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Eternally Grateful

“Hello, this is Sister…Jari…this is Jari”

That is how I answered the phone the other day, and I feel it sums up everything I have been feeling over the last two weeks or so. I am a returned missionary.

What does that even mean?

For 18 months I served as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it was the most incredible experience of my life. So many people have asked me “how was your mission?” All I can seem to offer in response is “it was wonderful!” However, those words do not even begin to describe it. No hallway conversation will ever be sufficient enough for me to explain the incredible emotions that ranged from the most profound sorrow to the most exquisite joy…not to mention all the experiences that caused those feelings.

Any story worth telling is too personal to include on a public blog, but there are a couple things I have learned that are worth stating:

  • God is MY loving Heavenly Father. He does not call us to fail, but to be wildly successful.
  • Jesus Christ is mt Savior. All good things are possible for me because of his atonement. 
  • The Holy Ghost is the perfect teacher, by him we can know all truth.
  • Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God. 
  • The Book of Mormon is true.
  • Obedience brings happiness. 
  • Life never stops being difficult; it also never stops being enjoyable…if we choose it.
  • I have a specific purpose and the ability to achieve it.
  • God answers prayers.
  • Charity NEVER fails
  • Miracles are real.
  • Families are the most important. Period.
  • True love actually does exist, and it takes a lot of work.
  • Sometimes you just have to persevere 
  • I can change! I may not be “super awesome” today, but I can decide to be so tomorrow if I want.
  • The gospel refines us.
  • It is possible to be a dear friend to anyone.

The list goes on and on, as do the stories; but if you want to hear them you’ll have to get me some nutella toast and ask me specific questions because for the life of me anytime someone says “what was the best/craziest/funniest/most life changing part of your mission?” my mind goes completely blank.

As for advice, I have plenty. I have shared this video before, but really it covers all that I could ever hope to inspire in anyone.

All I know is that I am forever grateful for my mission. It is uniquely mine. All the experiences and people seemed hand picked to help me become more the person Heavenly Father promised me I could be. My life is forever blessed for having served a mission.

Now, bring on “real” life. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mission Log: 4 November 2013

                                       That skyline will forever make me miss Jersey City. Forever.
 Me and the Lady, she's a beaut

No words from Jari this week, just pictures. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mission Log: 28 October 2013

Today is the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. I know that it was a really devastating event, oh how much I know about the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but thinking about this day last year just sends me into a fit of giggles. Last year I was in a small apartment with 5 of my greatest friends. We were attempting to make frozen pizzas with no stove. We were playing random family reunion games to keep ourselves distracted from the fact that we couldn’t go out and teach the gospel. We were struggling with the most disgusting of plumbing issues as the bathtub kept filling up with “poo water.” I had just broken our brand new phone. We had no gas. Everything was going not according to plan and there was nothing to do but just enjoy the ride and laugh, and I still laugh when I think about it.
I am mostly impressed by how much I have felt in just a years’ time. I am amazed at how much I have learned to love. I am grateful for difficult moments, moments when I was certain the emotional pain alone was enough to kill me. I am grateful for the chances I have had to come to know my Savior better and to appreciate the atonement. I am grateful for the power and guidance I receive as I depend on him. There are still so many things I need to work on, but I know that if I am humble enough to accept that I can’t do it alone that I will be blessed to see the hand of the Lord in my life. I love the gospel. I love my Savior. I love teaching the gospel and feeling the truth of it myself. Life is so good.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mission Log: 21 October 2013

Faith is a principle of power. I think most of us forget that too easily. If we have faith, if we really believe that God loves and wants to help us, if we really believe that Christ is the Savior and has power to uplift and guide us then our actions change. We realize we can do things beyond our own capabilities. I want to cultivate greater faith and watch as miracles happen, because they will.
Have a great week all.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mission Log: 14 October 2013

We went crabbing again!

  the district
we took the train to the temple. it was the first time any of them rode the train. they hated the train :)
Something that I have come to appreciate is the joy that comes from repentance. I spend most of my days with people who have to make big and often difficult changes to put their lives in harmony with God’s commandments. I watch them struggle. I pray from them. We talk and read the scriptures together. They are my friends, more like my family really. This week was one of rejoicing. I listened as my friends told me of the great peace they feel personally and in their families. I listened to their stories of gratitude for the changes they have made and the blessings they have seen as a result. Christ asks us to trust him and repent because he wants us to have joy. I am so grateful to may Savior for making all good things possible for me and for the people that I love. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (Doctrine and Covenants 18: 15&16)
Have a great week!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mission Log: 7 October 2013

These are all the girls I get to go on exchanges with and love to death!

This is Sister Clark...i LOVE her
I don't really know what I was doing here...celebrating my birthday most likely!
I just had the best weekend EVER! I love listening to prophets and apostles testify of Jesus Christ and give instruction on how to follow him and apply our teachings in our own lives. I hope everyone had a chance to see at least some of it. If not, you can still check in out online:
The truth is that the gospel is designed to help us be happy. Sometimes we have to make changes, and sometimes we have to experience difficulty but if we will just depend on the Savior, exercise faith in him and repent we can be freed from our burdens. He offers us hope, the greatest hope of all is that we can return to our Heavenly Father and live with him and our families in peace FOREVER! It is a blessing that our Heavenly Father really, really wants to give us. That’s why he gives us commandments, and that is why he reminds us over and over that we must do what is right. He wants to see us happy, drenched in joy.
I hope you have a great week. I don’t have the time I need to tell you all the glorious stories of mine. Sometime we’ll sit around a fire with some hot chocolate and I’ll tell you all about it ;)
Love yous!

Mission Log: 29 Sept. 2013

The branch!

Birthday cake #1, really early in the morning.
The english sisters, me (in the tiara, classic birthday), and Sister Kranewitter!

The bought me TINKER BELL balloons!

This weekend is general conference. I hope everyone is as excited as I am! We get to hear from a living prophet and apostles as they share with us the things that God wants us to know so that we can be happy and successful. We will learn the things we need to do to protect our families from temptations and how to endure trials. We will receive guidance. We will better understand the scriptures. We will learn how to use the atonement of Jesus Christ more fully in our lives. We will feel the love of God. This is the greatest weekend of fall, and I am pumped!
The more I work with people the more I realize that we all have questions. We all want to know our Heavenly Father better. We all need direction in life. If you will watch general conference and pray that you can receive answers to your questions I know they will come.
In the relief society general broadcast on Saturday night I came with a question on I got a clear answer. Sometimes I make comparisons that rob me from joy, I wanted to know how I can be more happy. As I listened one of the speakers suggested that when we are being self-critical we should ask ourselves “is this how Heavenly Father wants me to feel?” I instantly realized that I am a little hyper and sometimes I hold myself to ridiculous standards of excellence and then beat myself up for not accomplishing them. That’s not what Heavenly Father wants for me. I know that as I focus on the feelings of peace, love, and comfort that he promises me in the scriptures that it will be easier to be happy.
See, easy right. Ask questions. Open our hearts. Receive answers.
Watch General Conference, you won’t regret it.
Love yous,

Mission Log: 23 September 2013

 Jersey is everything beautiful!
I look like wednesday adamms

It’s September! The greatest month of the whole year! The weather is perfect. The trees are beautiful. And this little girl has a birthday THIS WEEK! All is happy in the world.
Sometimes being a missionary means I have to do hard things…really hard things. BUT we can do hard things. Actually, we were created to do hard things. We were created for greatness. We were created to have joy. We were created to learn to enjoy things the way God enjoys them. It’s funny how the great and the wonderful are pretty much always accompanied by the difficult. In times like that I think of the Savior, the greatest of all. His great struggle as he performed the atonement. He experienced every difficult thing so that we could have all joy and all hope. When hard things come up remember that you’re not alone. Pray and call down the powers of heaven to help you. Never give up, never surrender.
“Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:6)

Mission Log: 16 Sept 2013

The young women made us treats. Sister Morrison came out with me.

I just adore these two. Sister Dorneles and Sister Schultz. They let me be their companion for 2 days in New Brunswick
This elder is so's ridiculous! 6.9 and not even the tallest in his family. I don't know where they shop for anything!

This was the weirdest week. I was only in my area for 2.5 days. And I got sick so I’m all sorts of hazy and confused.
This I do know.  This week I felt the Spirit. This week I grew in my testimony that Christ is my Savior and that he can heal me from all things both physical and spiritual. I know that I am a growing, learning thing. I was meant to change and improve each day…and I do. I know that the scriptures hold answers to the questions that weigh heavy on our hearts and that if we read with sincerity and faith those answers will never be hid from us.
I know that we can each grow and change each week if we put some effort into it, and we will find joy as we do.
Love yous

Mission Log: 9 Sept. 2013


He's the greatest and we love him!

I love a quote by Thomas S. Monson, “decisions determine destiny.” I love it because it is true. Life will always be crazy. There will always be situations, people, or occurrences that invite us to feel negatively. That’s life. The important realization is that we are not objects. You are not a rock, you’re a person. You and I are acting things and with a simple decision to be happy or to change or to improve we can change our circumstances. Our fate is not determined by outside factors, we determine what happens in our lives and how we feel about it.
In the Book of Mormon a prophet, Lehi, teaches this idea to his sons. He says, “And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon… Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.” (2 Nephi 2:14 &16)
I’m so grateful for the freedom to choose. I hope you are too. Now, let’s all choose to be happy. Let’s choose to love and serve others. Let’s choose to see the miracles that our in our lives each day. When we do our worlds change from being dreary and frustrating to everything wonderful!
Love you!

Mission Log: 3 Sept 2013

We saw a toad in the road and I made Sister Stevens get in a picture with it.
Meet Carlos
It’s September. It’s easily the most beautiful, wonderful month of the whole year. I love it. It is such an honor to have my birthday in such a fantastic month. Realizing how fast this year has gone by has made me want to appreciate moments more fully.
Something I am learning about my life is that it is so easy to feel nostalgia for the past or excitement for the future, but it is sometimes so difficult to be content with the right now. The funny thing is that before I got here I was looking forward to being here (wherever “here” happens to be at the time) and after I leave here I know that I will look back with fond memories and miss it. To quote Mama Santos “be happy while you’re here ‘cause there’s no here there.” She’s very wise.  God wants us to be happy, right now. He is willing to help us to be happy, we just have to choose it.
If we choose to see the many miracles Heavenly Father has blessed us with TODAY I know we will be more grateful and happier. Today I am grateful for fall colors, Chinese buffets, and SPANISH!
Have a great day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mission Log: 26 August 2013

Ice cream on Sister Stevens birthday! She looks great, I look...we'll I'm there.

birthday flann
  Picture is me with Oscar and Lilia
 This is my friend Emily. She's 16 and comes out to teach with us. I basically become best friends with all the Laurel's wherever I serve and make them come teach with us all the time. Anyway, we were teaching Sister Stevens how to make funny faces.
 Cute girls, am I right?
This was the end result of the funny face instruction
I love a quote by Thomas S. Monson that says, “my brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives.”
God does hear our prayers. I think most of us say that and believe it, but only passively. At least I know that is how it seems for me sometimes. It is easy to know that God listens, but harder to act in accordance with that knowledge…especially when things don’t seem to be going our way. It’s all too easy to kneel down at the end of a day and drill off a list of requests ending emphatically with the petition that sleep come quickly. I have learned that when we prepare before we pray we can have a better experience. When we think about what we want to say, when we express gratitude to Heavenly Father, and when we sincerely seek His guidance our experiences with prayer can bring peace and direction.  
I am grateful for wakeup calls that remind me to trust the Lord and work to do things His way. His way is always significantly better than mine, and I’m always happier when I do it. Not much to lose. I know that if you will prepare for your prayers and work to make them more meaningful that you will be more aware of God’s answers. You will come to realize that God really is in the details of your life.

Mission Log: 20 August 2013

On an exchange with the english sisters. THey let me borrow their clothes in exchange for funny face pictures.

 My girls! (the old ones, we've been here since November)

My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me; I cannot choose the colors, He worketh steadily. Oft time He weaveth sorrow, And I, in foolish pride, Forget He sees the upper, And I the underside.
Not ‘til the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly, Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why. The dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hand, As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned. He knows, He loved, He cares, nothing this truth can dim. He gives His very best to those who leave the choice with Him. ~Author Unknown
I am thankful for a loving God who is far wiser than I. I am grateful for His patience and guidance. I am grateful for a charmed life that is not free of sorrows. I am grateful that happiness is a choice that I can make each day.

Mission Log: 12 August 2013


Quick story for this week:
Sister Stevens and I aren’t allowed to use our car on Thursdays. We set up an appointment for someone who lives 4 miles away and decided that we’d walk rather than ride bikes. While we were walking Sister Stevens saw a bunch of geese and said, “I really want to run through all those geese and watch them fly away.” So I put down my bag and we chased geese for a little bit. Then on the other side of the road we saw a bunch of chickens running around. It’s been a while since I’ve seen chickens, so we went over there to check them out. Then this random shirtless man drove up to us, they were his chickens. It turns out that he lives on cemetery property and also has a huge chicken coop, a couple ducks, and one dog. He gave us a bunch of feed and gave us a tour of the place. I kind of felt like I was living in a horror movie, but it was too fun to pass up.
I love all the random people that we meet. I love how willing people are to talk to us and invite us to learn more about their lives. In the same way I love telling people about the gospel, because it is what brings me the most happiness in my life. More than anything missionary work for me is making a ton of new friends each day and telling all of them the things that make me most happy in life and inviting them to get on the happy train. If it sounds like a party, it’s because it is!

Have a great day.
Love you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mission Log: 29 July 2013

My companion takes funny pictures of me. 

I don’t have any exciting stories or pictures to share this week. I had a wonderful week, but most of what I did probably won’t make for an interesting read. I wish I could just let everyone borrow the feelings in my heart for a little bit. I wish I could let you feel just how happy I am.
I have the privilege of telling everyone I meet that God is their Heavenly Father and that He wants each of us and our families to be happy FOREVER! I met a sweet, older Peruvian couple yesterday. They are strong in their faith and they love God. It was incredible to watch their faces as I told them that they could be together and with their children and other family forever. That the love and joy they find in their family doesn’t have to end when this life does. We talked about a lot of things, but that part of our conversation stood out to me the most. Words don’t do justice to the feeling of hope that I felt with that sweet couple. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again, but I know what I shared with them is true and I know that they felt it.
Yesterday I gave a talk at church. I spoke about how “The Hope of God’s Light” ( I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who offers us light as we may be surrounded by the darkness of difficulty and struggle.
I love you all.

Mission Log: 22 July 2013

ferry to my town.

Me and the Lady
too much sun. hurricane sandy left overs. and new york. and me. all in one picture!

Ellis Island
Jersey is pretty.

This week I was able to serve at Liberty Island. After the hurricane our service at Ellis Island was disrupted and now the foundation we work with is stationed under the shadow of Lady Liberty. It was incredible to be there and to realize how much I love meeting people. I love hearing their stories. I met people from literally all over the world and they would tell me about their heritage and what brought them to the Statue. While we were serving I was reminded of the importance of the family. Most of the people there were on vacation with their family or searching out ancestors who came through Ellis Island or just wanted to talk about their family in general. It was fun for me to listen to them and share some of my own stories.
I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father who created us with such a wonderful capacity to love. I am grateful that He prepared a perfect plan that allows us to be with our families forever if we will be obedient to His commandments. I love my family. They’re the greatest people I know. I am grateful for the lessons I learn from their incredible examples of faith and trust in the Lord. Keeping them forever is the greatest blessing. I love teaching others about how they can be with their families forever.
I live a charmed life.