Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Now is the Time to Come Home – July 4, 2016

All week people have been asking me what I plan on doing to celebrate my independence day. The whole time I thought they were referring to my PDAY. I was like "clean, buy groceries, help my companion pack, laundry etc." They kept giving me weird looks and I didn't understand why like its pday and we are not allowed to leave our sector what do you want me to do? But now I get it's July 4th! Ha so anyways HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY.. not pday. I hope you enjoy fireworks, American food, and warmth. I will be celebrating with rice, scarfs and coats because Quito thinks we are in December or something, and well we can’t light fireworks but I do have a flash light with a strobe light so that's pretty cool :)

In my personal study the other day I found this scripture "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God. For no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." (1 Corinthians 14:2). So for everyone who said they couldn't understand my Spanish, the jokes on them because I have been speaking mysteries of God. At least that's what I am going to start telling people :)

I have been reflecting a lot lately on my mission. On what I have learned. What I have been through. And where I am going? As I have studied the Atonement of Christ, I have learned something about what it means to love that I have never thought about before. A couple weeks ago I was going through the hardest point in my mission. I keep reflecting back to my time with my last companion. Ever since that time something has, "changed within me. Something is not the same" hahaha but really! I guess my entire life I have given love always expecting in the back of my head to receive some in return. Well those 3 weeks I received nothing.. not even the butterfly pin I thought she gave me but ended up being for the 2 year old which looking back makes a lot of sense. Kind of weird to be walking around with a giant sparkly butterfly in your hair. Anyway, I gave to her and gave to her and at first when I received nothing back I thought "um hey where's my love?" But as I continued to study about charity I learned what it means to truly love a person. To give love freely.

Every one of us has either been in a bad break up, or not received that job promotion we so wanted and thought we deserved. Maybe we put more effort into a relationship with a friend or family member and we feel hurt! We feel upset maybe even a little angry. We feel entitled to the things which we give out. We want that love back! But when we don't get it…we hurt.

The Savior fell on his face due to the pain of OUR sins, of OUR afflictions, of OUR hurt. But he never suffered for your pain thinking " Oh I suffered a lot for you, so you better repent and obey because I did this and this and this for you." He did it totally willingly with complete understanding of our agency. He suffered for each and every one of us knowing that not all of us were going to use His Atonement to repent and come unto Him. He gave His love willingly. He died on the cross with no expectations.

When I think about this kind of love it makes me rethink my actions. Do I love and serve people only to receive something in return. Do I obey God's commandments thinking I am entitled to His blessings? I mean the moment something goes wrong in my life I often am tempted to compare it to someone else's and think "well how come so and so got that and not me?" I guess what I am trying to say is there is a deeper kind of love that I am only just now discovering.

John 4:19 & 11, "We love him because He first loved us.  And if God so loved us we ought to love one another."

I have fallen in love with my mission "like the way you fall asleep at night slowly and then all at once." Hahahaha, but for reals the mission really does mean everything to me. It use to be about wanting to bring people to understand how much God loves them so they can be happy, but now I want to bring people to God so that he too can be happy. These are His children. This is His work. This is the time to come back to the church if you haven't been in a while. Now is the time to get baptized. Now is the time to come home.

You are never alone.

Con amor, Hermana Israelsen

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