Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Strength Doesn't Come from Within It Comes from Letting God In - January 25, 2016

I am now in Ibarra! I know nothing about it so I cannot tell you anything. My comp is Cuban but she is from Florida :)

Sometimes I wonder if there is ever going to be a point in the mission where I am like "Hey, this isn't so bad?" But I know that when we are comfortable we don't grow. "Man’s extremity is Gods opportunity." Sometimes there are people in our life who you think that their main goal in life is to tear you down. Like you are going out of your way to be mean. Why? Why do we do things when we know it hurts another person? I mean don't we all want to feel loved? Don't we all want to be happy? If we all want that then the question becomes do we want that for other people?
We talk of Christ, we believe in Christ, but do we believe in the power of Christ's Atonement? Do we believe it has the power to help us overcome laziness, sin, bad habits, and addiction? I was the LAZIEST person before my mission. I mean was it that hard to walk down the stairs and ask my mom a question? Yes, I had to send her a text or call her even though she was just down stairs. Instead of getting up from the couch to change the TV channel I would use couch pillows, blankets, or anything within my arms reach to try and reach the TV remote. "I don't have time," it's the biggest lie that I told EVERYONE! I don't have time to help you today because I have to watch my favorite show on Netflix and I am sorry I just can't cancel that. I remember being so worried before my mission about having to wake up early every day, or not getting naps every day. So as members we believe in Christ, we talk of Christ, but do we believe in the power of Christ's Atonement? 
In the movie ELF Santa's sleigh can only fly according to the belief of children. The more kids that believe in Santa the more power the sleigh has to fly. But when the kids don't believe in Santa the sleigh no longer has power to fly. Growing up my mom told my sisters and I that every December one of Santa’s elves comes and visits us to make sure we are behaving. He would stay with us until Christmas Eve when Santa would pick him up. His name was Tonto and was the root to many school fights with other kids, who didn’t have their own personal elf, up until I was 13 (I was a diehard Santa believer same with my sister haha). But I remember the excitement of believing in something, this magical fat man that brings presents, I mean it's pretty creepy but I went with it! "Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing." - Santa Claus the movie. This quote has stuck with me ever since I was a little girl. Fear is an illusion, if we really truly believe in the power of Christ's Atonement we can take comfort in knowing that HE WILL BE WITH US! "Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." - Cinderella Story. We are all going to have changes in our life that sometimes feel uncomfortable, but I promise you new beginnings are the best thing to ever happen to us. "Look to God and live." So are we living to the potential of our faith? Are we sacrificing enough for the Savior? Are we making time to visit the elderly lady across the street, or leave the house a little earlier to pick up the kids so you can stop and talk to the old man who sells overpriced wood furniture but always waves and smiles to everyone? Are we making the most of our time here on earth? 
I realized I had such a hard 6 weeks because I wasn't sacrificing enough. I couldn't fully forgive or love my companion because I wasn`t serving her enough. There is a reason that Charity came from the greatest sacrifice of all time, the Atonement of Christ. If you don't love helping others or making time for others it's because you aren't sacrificing enough. There is a reason they say you love those you serve. Because service is a sacrifice and those little sacrifices you make every day provoke love. What I regret most in my life are the moments where I failed to be kind. "People will forget what you said, what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Love overcomes all things. Christ overcame the world because of His love for us. Kill them with kindness, smother them with love, and see someone through their parent’s eyes. I am learning that strength doesn't come from within it comes from letting God in.
Believe in and have faith that you are never alone.
Con amor, Hermana Israelsen
PS I am so sorry I forgot to clarify that Arnold is my parasite not my boyfriend. I don't have an obsessive attached boyfriend just an obsessive attached parasite :)

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