Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Adversity is Preparation for Greatness"

So I can officially start my mission papers this week. I am so excited. Honestly, I have never wanted anything more in my entire life then to serve a mission. I know this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I have put 100% faith in him, and I trust him to inspire my mind in knowing what to say to people. I do not know all of my scripture stories, in fact I struggle knowing where to find scriptures and remembering what they say. However, I know this Gospel is true with my whole heart. I know it is the key to happiness. I know that if Heavenly Father wants me to serve a mission, then He will prepare a way for me to do it. So I am ready. I am ready to learn and grow and serve. I am terrified but I am so excited at the same time.

I started mission prep several weeks ago. My teacher is great. I really enjoy going to class. I am learning a lot. I am learning that I do not need to know everything. God will prepare me. I just need to be humble enough to let Him do it. In last weeks class we broke into groups and studied different groups of people from the Book of Mormon. After we read about our group, we were to share with the class what attributes they had that helped them to be great missionaries. My group had the Son's of Mosiah. The scriptures we were assigned to read are Alma 17: 2-13. The qualities that the Son's of Mosiah had which made them great missionaries are:

-Trusted in the Lord
-They had the spirit of revelation
-They were strong even during their afflictions and trials
-They were an instrument in the Lord's hands
-Searched the scriptures diligently
-They taught with the power and authority of God

I read our list to the class. After I said that they were strong even during their afflictions and trials, the teacher stopped me. He asked me if it is possible to not be strong during your trials. I told him I believe it is possible. I told him that the Son's of Mosiah had the choice when it was hard to give up. They could have said they tried their hardest and they could have turned and gone back home. Most people would not think any less of them for doing that. They could have told God that they had had enough. There was no point. However, they chose to be strong. They put 100% faith in the Lord. They prayed and they let Heavenly Father know that they were willing to do whatever he asked of them.

I like to think that in all of our trials we have two choices, one is to be humbled and grow closer to Heavenly Father and our Savior. The second choice is to give up, turn away from God and become bitter. We have to choose to be strong through our trials even as the Son's of Mosiah, for surely they were blessed for being obedient and for choosing to trust in the Lord. Life is not always going to be easy for us. I was listening to a talk on c.d. by John Bytheway and he shared a story where he told his institute teacher that he didn't deserve what he was dealing with in his life. His institute teacher responded by asking him if Jesus deserved all the pain he bared, for all the sins he suffered, and all the despair he felt? If Jesus was perfect and he suffered for all of us, do you suppose that you are better than him?

I thought that this was profound. We all have trials. We all have things that we are going to have to go though in this life, that may not seem fair. However John shared a quote from a book he read, it said "Adversity is preparation for greatness." Through all of our trials, we have the opportunity to come out stronger and greater than before. We have the opportunity to grow closer to our Savior, to become more like him. I like to think of this as when we were little. When we were young and we were learning to walk and we would fall. We would get hurt, if only for a short moment, but surely we would get up again. Time after time we would fall. However, eventually we learn how to walk. We had to suffer some pain in order to get there, but in the end it was worth it. If we had chosen not to walk, if we had chosen to lay down forever, then we never would have felt the pain of falling. However, we also never would have felt the joy of conquering the feat of learning how to walk. The happiness we feel when we are able to walk without the fear of falling. Sometimes we have to suffer a little bit of pain, but in the end we will say that it was worth it. Keeping an eternal perspective and knowing that the Savior has been there before, and he is with you now can help us to conquer our trials. He is going to be with us the whole way. He is not going to leave us when it gets hard. He is going to hold our hand while we are "learning to walk." He is going to assist us any way that He can.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 it says "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up."

I love this scripture, this helps me to know that when I am out serving my mission, the Savior is going to be right there with me. He is going on this mission with me. He is going to be there to help me. I will be a representative of Jesus Christ. I represent Him. If He were on the earth today He would be doing exactly what I am going to be doing. I love this! This gives me strength and courage. It helps me to trust in the Lord and know that everything is going to work out for the good!

In a talk by President Thomas S. Monson titled "That All May Hear," It says: "Youth of the church, the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The harvest truly is great. Let there be no mistake about it; the missionary opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you, yours is the privilege to be, not spectators, but participants on the stage of service to others."

Ah... how inspiring is that? I love this quote! We all have the ability to serve missions, to serve others and serve the Lord, he have the choice to seize this opportunity. I am amazed that Heavenly Father would trust me with some of His children. I am humbled and in awe. I don't want to disappoint Him. However, I believe that if He wants me to serve a mission, then He has a plan for me to be a successful missionary. I was telling a couple boys in my class at school that I am preparing to serve a mission. One of the boys told me congratulations that is exciting. I told him thanks, I am so excited I can barely stand it. The other boy became really quiet. After several minutes he looked at me and said..."That is going to be really hard!!!" I responded by saying I know. It is going to be the hardest thing I will probably ever do in my life and also the best thing! I told him I have never wanted anything more in my entire life than to be out serving Heavenly Father.

I kept thinking about what he said for the remainder of class... it's going to be really hard! I started to think about letters I have received from Amanda (Sister Graves) since she has been out in Hawaii. She said this is the hardest thing she has ever done, but it is so rewarding. It brings great joy. You go to bed every night exhausted knowing that you have done all that you could possibly do during the day. I know there will be nights when I will feel alone and I will cry to Heavenly Father. I know that my relationship with Him is going to grow so much over a short span of time. How incredible it is to know that He is right there with me. He loves me and He has a greater plan for me than I have for myself. I know that there are going to be people I will meet on my mission that are going to become blessings in my life. People that I will learn to love so much that I wouldn't be able to imagine my life without them. I am SOO excited to get out there and start serving them!!

In the Ensign of November 1992, Glenn L. Pace gave a talk titled "Spiritual Revival," it says:

"In spite of our obedience, trials and tribulations will come our way. Disasters and tribulation are not always for the punishment of the wicked, but often for the sanctification of the righteous. We admire the early members of the Church for their faithfulness through their numerous trials. It is interesting to contemplate whether they succeeded in facing their obstacles because of their spirituality or whether they were spiritual because of the obstacles they faced.
Into each of our lives come golden moments of adversity. This painful friend breaks our hearts, drops us to our knees, and makes us realize we are nothing without our Lord and Savior. This friend makes us plead all the night long for reassurance and into the next day and sometimes for weeks and months. But, ultimately, just as surely as the day follows the night, as we remain true and faithful, this strange friend, adversity, leads us straight into the outstretched arms of the Savior."

So perhaps the next trial we struggle with, we need to keep in mind that it is leading us back to our Savior. He is the one that can help us through. He loves us and through our trials and afflictions, we are going to become closer to Him. Our faith will grow stronger and we will become more like Him. What a great blessing! Everything is going to work out for our good. We just need to keep our heads high and look for the blessings we are receiving though our Father in Heaven. For they truly are numerous. He is constantly blessing us, we just need to open our eyes and look a little closer. They are there!!