Momma (& Mary)

Lucky number 7. As of yesterday, I’ve been on my mission for 7 months! I just have to mention that since 7 is my favorite number. Time flies. And less than a week until Christmas! Life is so good. 

This week we noticed how much the holidays impact our work and who we are teaching. Lots of our friends were quite busy or went home. When we went finding, most of the people we met were tourists, going home within the next couple days, or believed they were just too busy. But that’s alright because there are still miracles to be found and work to do!

Jacque is absolutely incredible. She’s from Mongolia and sometimes doesn’t always understand what we are saying. But her faith blows me away. We asked her how she’s been feeling with prayer lately, and she just began to glow with excitement. She loves the Book of Mormon and feels right at home at church and as she prays. I love her.

Laure is also outstanding. Her dear friend Sam who lives in Manchester has been helping us out a lot, and messaged her after one of our lessons. He wanted to clarify that she understood everything we taught her regarding specific commandments, and she replied, “I’ve already been living them once I learned what to do to be a Mormon.” It’s as if we don’t need to teach her! Really though, she makes my heart so happy.

On Sunday I snuck into Hyde Park 2’s sacrament meeting for a bit to listen to Mina sing in church and to hear Reza and Mark talk. They both have recently gotten baptized and Reza shared such a beautiful testimony about his visit to the temple on Saturday. His simple testimony was, “In the temple I felt the spirit the most I ever felt. I feel the temple is the place for all of God’s child. Yesterday I felt I was a true child of God.” Oh how I love these people and their sweet spirits! 

Fun story- we were traveling and I was talking to this sweet old lady on the bus. Then this man jumped into our conversation and when we were getting off the bus, I gave him a #LIGHTtheWORLD card. He then noticed my name badge and got so excited when he realized we were members of the church! He exclaimed his sister-in-law is a member and he loves Salt Lake City.  We invited him to come to the chapel and parted ways. Then we were at the grocery store and bumped into him again! We laughed and chatted for a bit more. And then as we were walking to the bus stop, I saw him a third time! Once again he laughed and we had a great conversation. It was just a fun experience and I know there are no such things as coincidences. 

Also I finished the Book of Mormon this week! Now onto studying the New Testament. I’m super pumped. Guys the scriptures are just so good. Read them. I also just had an incredible experience watching the movie “Testaments.” It is about the people in the Book of Mormon living in the ancient Americas, while blending together scenes from Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament. It was amazing to watch that video as I have just finished reading those parts in the Book of Mormon and begun studying the stories of Christ in the New Testament. It all works together so perfectly! Wow.

Cool side note: last week we got a private tour of Westminster Palace. Andrea, a member of the YSA ward, was doing an internship for parliament, so she took us around. We got to sit in and watch some House of Lords and House of Commons action. Still cannot believe I’m living here! 

Sister Gregson and I have been getting super pumped for Christmas. We had a really fun multi-zone conference with lots of missionaries to get more into the Christmas spirit! Our journey to the conference includes a funny story if you are curious and want to hear about it. Sister Gregson and I also bought a little real Christmas tree and put our presents under it. Our Christmas cards are hanging over the fireplace just like home and I’m so thankful for those who have remembered me in London and sent me cards! They’re my favorite. If you’d like to add to the collection, I’d love to see how you all are doing so send me one please 😉 

Sister Gabriela Fuhriman
England London Mission
England

As I’m sure many of you saw thanks to my mom’s post on Facebook (somehow I mange to stay informed with my mom’s posts cough cough thanks Xhuljo and Alexsander and Sister Mullen), I had the wonderful opportunity to once again play Mary in our live nativity outside the chapel. I watched people rush by, talked and laughed with those who stopped for pictures, and bonded with my Joseph. But it was also a moving experience as I took time to think about who I was portraying. 

Throughout the rest of the week, my mind was constantly thinking about Mary. I thought about who she was and honestly, my thoughts can no better be said than this quote given by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “As there is only one Christ, so there is only one Mary. And as the Father chose the most noble and righteous of all his spirit sons to come into mortality as his Only Begotten in the flesh, so we may confidently conclude that he selected the most worthy and spiritually talented of all his spirit daughters to be the mortal mother of his Eternal Son.”

The most worthy and spiritually talented of all God’s spirit daughters to be the mortal mother of His Eternal son. Can you imagine? That sentence blows me away. This is the mother of the Son of the Highest. Through her, as Elder James E. Talmage once taught, Christ inherited the ability to lay down His life voluntarily. “The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents–one immortal and glorified–God, the other human–woman.”

Quite naturally, I turned my studies to Luke 1 as the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and informs her that she will bring forth a son, who is Jesus. He begins by telling her, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

Once again I was reminded of the divinity of Mary. But as I read on, I was reminded of how she was still human. I can only imagine how dumbfounded she must have been as she was encountered by a heavenly messenger. Therefore the scriptures explain how “she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” 

Gabriel who is quite aware with her astonishment, calms her and reminds her to fear not as she has “found favor with God.” He then continues on explaining the purpose of his visitation, as she will “conceive in [her] womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Again, I imagined how she must have felt. But once more her next response shows her human traits. She says, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” I don’t believe she was questioning or doubting, but I am sure she was trying to understand. On this subject, I feel I can relate greatly to Mary. Lately I have been trying to understand God’s ways. But I love during Gabriel and Mary’s conversation, Gabriel reminds Mary how her cousin Elisabeth of old age, who was once called barren, is in the sixth month of pregnancy with a son. He shows her “with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Those few scriptures helped me realize in my own life that I need not question God the Father’s method to accomplish His purposes. I need to to remember the words of Isaiah. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). It is perfectly acceptable to ask questions and seek understanding, but as President Harold B. Lee taught, “Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more.”

The visitation between Gabriel and Mary continues, and Mary’s final comment signaled her complete willingness to accept and fulfil her sacred role. She says, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” 

Her faith, obedience, and humility sets a standard and example for all of us. The news she just received could have put her in extreme danger. Mary was espoused to a righteous man who could have subjected her to a public divorce and perhaps execution. Her betrothal agreement with Joseph also could have been privately annulled.  However, she submitted herself to the will of the Lord. She trusted Him and did according to His word. Her soul did magnify the Lord.

Mary’s example of eagerly accepting her opportunity to be a mother gave me an entire new perspective of the divine potential I have to be a mother someday. It also brought me to a new respect for my dear mother and the magnificent role she has done in fulfilling her calling to be a mother. 

Sister Julie B. Beck’s counsel further impressed this on my heart as she said, “Oh, that every girl and woman would have a testimony of her potential for eternal motherhood as she keeps her earthly covenants. Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here. A woman who treasures motherhood on earth will treasure motherhood in the world to come, and ‘where [her] treasure is, there will [her] heart be also’ (Matthew 6:21). By developing a mother heart, each girl and woman prepares for her divine, eternal mission of motherhood.”

I’m sure all you men reading this are thinking, “OK we got it, stop talking about moms of becoming moms.” But on Saturday as part of #LIGHTtheWORLD, the topic for the day was, “Jesus cared for His mother and so can you.” No coincidence there that my studies for the week on Mary just happened to finish with this challenge. So guys, your mom is awesome, and I hope you care for her! 

I could go on and on with how blown away I am by Mary. After Mary “brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;” (which fun fact she was still a virgin after she gave birth to Him) she has many powerful experiences. “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). Another lesson to be learned from Mary. Her actions demonstrate the importance of treasuring sacred experiences. 

I know that was a lot, but Mary is awesome. It’s that simple. I admire her. Last week my studies were focused on the roles of our parents, but especially regarding the aspect of our Heavenly Father. This week I once again felt closer to my dear mother through diving into understanding the characteristics of the most divine mother to walk the face of this earth. I look forward to the day when I can meet the mother Mary, but for now I am thankful for her example and the lessons I can learn from her. And I am especially grateful for my angelic mother herself. Someone go give her a hug for me. 

I love each and everyone of you. You’re in my prayers. I hope you have the most magical Christmas on Sunday. What a beautiful day to remember our Lord and Savior, the greatest gift we have ever been given. And I hope you can love your moms a bit extra too! I know I sure will as I get to Skype my momma in 6 days- WOOHOO!

Merry Christmas my friends 🙂 

Love,
Sister Fuhriman

PS- Watch this video about Mary. And fun fact- the gal who plays Mary in these videos lives here in London and was Glinda in Wicked. https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/mary-the-mother-of-jesus?lang=eng

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