Hello all my friends in America and the select few in Russia, Brazil, Belgium and who else knows where! It has been another great week in the land of England.
To begin, last P-day we ran into Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the tube! Do you know how insanely awesome that is? So awesome. We all freaked out just a bit.
Being in a Young Single Adult ward is so fun! Sister Kerr and I have had a busy week getting to know the members of the ward and the people the sisters were teaching. And we have already seen a huge miracle named Yasmine.
Yasmine came into the Visitors Centre on Thursday. She is from Algeria and had just come to London the day before to begin learning English. As she came into the Visitors Centre, we had a powerful experience with her as she said, “I just want to know if God loves me.”
She came back for a lesson with us on Friday. We discussed the Plan of Happiness and showed her the video Because He Lives. After the video, she said how she felt something. The Spirit was truly so strong and we all began to tear up. She then committed to be baptized on November 13.
Saturday we had another lesson with her and I realized God’s timing is always incredible. She was supposed to come at 10am but thought she was supposed to come at 8pm. We just rescheduled, but that messed up our plans a bit. However, as Sister Kerr and I were about to go out, sweet Yasmine walks in at 4pm. We had a powerful lesson and she then attended Stake Conference (all the congregations in the London area meet) with us. Yasmine said, “If I hadn’t come when I did, I wouldn’t have gone to this. And I loved it. The people are so sincere and I love the messages.”
And then she came again on Sunday for church and a baptism! Yasmine has read the Book of Mormon everyday, has the most sincere prayers, and is truly so faithful. Then she asked me, “Why did I have to be born in Algeria?” Her heart is so sweet, but I know God is aware of where we all need to be and when.
Never forget God is aware. He always will be. He knows our concerns and He loves us. If you’re ever wondering if He does, just ask Him. Yasmine has in her simple prayers of, “Do you love me?” And she has felt an outstanding, “Yes.”
Well, tomorrow I will be two decades old! A couple weeks ago I was lying in bed and had one of those, “Who am I” moments. I then wrote to my family expressing how I just felt like I didn’t know who I was. My dad said it might be because I’m freaking out a bit about turning twenty, and I think he was right.
My dad then also replied, “There are parts about your life that are fine, but that you have given up to be a missionary; so you miss that part. You can still be that person, it’s just on pause right now. What you’re developing are stronger spiritual characteristics that will serve you for the rest of your life. That is changing you.
“However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still be the person that wants to jump out of an airplane or be a sideline reporter. That is all OK. If you are comparing that person to the person you are being right now, it will seem completely out of whack. The reality is that you will be a combination of the two people when you get home. You’ll still want to have fun, but you’ll put the Lord first and that will be a priority and you can do both. Right now you’re just doing one of them.”
As a missionary, I have been blessed to devote all my time and attention to the Lord and His children. My education, family, and crazy plane jumping dreams have all been put on hold so I can focus on what is most important. I have been set apart to do a work more important than I can possibly describe, and it has already truly transformed and solidified the spiritual aspect of who I am.
I began to think about what I can spiritually do now to become more of who God knows I am and who I can become. So I thought of twenty things to celebrate turning twenty. This list helped me remember who I am and who God knows I am, but also how I can continue to develop stronger spiritual characteristics.
- Never, ever forget you are a child of God.
- You have divine, eternal potential.
- Your Heavenly Father will help you in your sincere efforts to reach that potential.
- Jesus Christ is the Way. The Lord’s way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel.
- God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season–He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.
- “There is an opposition in all things,” everywhere, for everyone. Through opposition, we can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.
- Get on the path and never, ever give up.
- Obey the Lord and serve wherever He sends you.
- Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.
- We can’t do it all, all the time. Our goal is to do what is most important all of the time and what’s most important changes all the time. Therefore, make sure the Lord leads you to know and direct you.
- Remember to be happy now.
- While in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments.
- You are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.
- You are closer to heaven than you suppose. You just have to keep trying.
- You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine.
- Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness by doing the little things. Attend church. Read your scriptures. Pray daily. They are your lifeline and will solidify your faith.
- The Savior offers you endless chances. No matter how stupid and stubborn I may be, He still loves me and will forgive me.
- There is someone who knows exactly how you feel. Jesus Christ suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.
- Choose the harder right than the easier wrong. Even if you feel like you are standing alone, stand up for what you know is right.
- What matters to Him is that you do the best you can, that your heart is inclined toward Him, and that you are willing to help those around you. If you do the best you can, all will be well. And all is well.
I love you all and hope you can continue to focus on the spiritual characteristics of yourself so you may draw nearer to your Savior. As you do, you will find true happiness and know who you really are. For me, year twenty will be completely dedicated to that.