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.