Oh the places you'll go

Meine gute I have been having technical difficulties but they are resolved now!

One of the biggest highlights of these past weeks was being able to hear from church general authorities in the semi-annual world wide general conference. Let me just say, wow. All the messages prepared and shared were filled with personal, divine messages for me. I've already downloaded them to my phone to hear while I'm on the go! (If you'd like to catch up with any of the talks given click here).

As I've been working with the young women in preparation for girls camp, we touched on this year's theme: Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. We sat around a campfire and discussed what messages we each received from the wisdom Dr. Seuss shares. I was particularly touched by the ending, because it was really the beginning.

Dr. Seuss illustrates a boy's journey out into the open world on his own. This boy takes charge of his life by deciding which roads to take and adventuring into the unknown. On multiple occasions he finds himself overwhelmed with decisions to make, lost, surrounded in darkness, scared, and completely alone. However, after every trial he manages to escape and keep going. He achieves greatness because of his perseverance to keep going amidst the challenges he faces. He ultimately succeeds.

I see myself, and all of God's children, in this boy. We all have the capacity to achieve greatness, we just have to keep going in faith.

I was released from my missionary service yesterday. I felt the same confirmation I felt when I knew I needed to be home. For the longest time I had struggled with accepting God's will for me out of fear for the natural man. As I reflect on my experiences I am reminded of a portion of King Benjamin's address to his people found in chapter 2 of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon:
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. 
 These words bring me to tears because I know they are true. We will never fail to experience true, everlasting happiness when we are where God wants us to be, living the way he wants us to be living. I was studying what it means to be obedient and listen to God; I was touched by the answers I found. Of course God wants His children to obey the commandments he has given us since the times of Adam, Moses, Noah, Isaiah, Joseph Smith and other prophets. But to Him, it matters most when you take that time to learn what his voice sounds like and to act immediately upon hearing it. We obey God as we humbly give our hearts to him and surrender ourselves to his will, not ours.

I am so grateful for my mission. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I had decided not to serve. I know Berlin was exactly where I needed to be, serving as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know happiness comes from living his gospel. Nothing has brought me more joy than discovering for myself and teaching people who God is, who Jesus Christ is, who the Holy Ghost is, why they are important, why they love us, what the purpose of life is, how we can be with our families forever, what happens after death, which way the right way is, how we can forgive and be forgiven, how to find hope, how to develop faith, why we believe in the Book of Mormon, who Joseph Smith is and why he matters. And absolutely nothing has touched me more than to witness people change and decide for themselves that they do want to be a part of all this too.

I have learned that nothing is impossible for God and happiness is not true happiness if you do not share it with those that matter most.

I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the Book of Mormon. I love prayer. Together these three things work to help everyone know if the message of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ is true. I know for myself that it is true.

I know God and Jesus Christ live.

If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or have strayed away from it, I invite you to please, please meet with your local missionaries. You will find that you will enjoy the message that we share and that you have an important role too.

God loves you. I love you.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, faith, and love.

This is nowhere near the end of my mission, but the beginning of my lifelong service to my God.