Random bird we found at our apartment complex!
My companion Elder Price & I
(and some photo bombers)!
What a wonderful time of the year when so many more people in the world remember our Savior and his priceless gift to us--The Atonement. As I've learned to more fully use that Gift, I've been able to feel more joy in my life. I can testify confidently that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ and that They want the best for us. I can feel my Savior's love. It amazes me how Heavenly Father can change us, when we do our best to have a Christlike character and help others around us. Truly remarkable!
Although serving in the Young Single Adults Stake is soooo different than serving in Family Stakes, I am LOVING it!! We cover 4 wards. Our area goes up to the University of Utah Campus, so we cover two student wards! Our area also reaches down to 40th South in SLC, which is about 20 blocks out of the mission boundaries! But we are given permission to go because two of our YSA wards meet down there :) It's so much fun! We are teaching quite a few people. Liz is an investigator from Vietnam. Aubreyis an investigator from Maine. Darius is a recent convert from Chicago! And there many more! We were able go with a recent convert to the Salt Lake Temple to watch her do Baptisms for the Dead for the first time! We were able to do confirmations and be the witnesses for the baptisms :) I love being able to meet new people and for the opportunity that I have to bear my testimony so frequently. I love the mission!
My mission President, President Hansen!
This past week we had our Mission Christmas Party. President Hansen (Mission President) shared a story once told by President Hinckley that I wish to share with you, because it touched my heart. If you have just a second to read it, please do. I promise you won't be disappointed.
“Years ago there was a little one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough that no teacher had been able to handle them.
“A young, inexperienced teacher applied, and the old director scanned him and asked: ‘Young fellow, do you know that you are asking for an awful beating? Every teacher that we have had here for years has had to take one.’
“‘I will risk it,’ he replied.
“The first day of school came, and the teacher appeared for duty. One big fellow named Tom whispered: ‘I won’t need any help with this one. I can lick him myself.’
“The teacher said, ‘Good morning, boys, we have come to conduct school.’ They yelled and made fun at the top of their voices. ‘Now, I want a good school, but I confess that I do not know how unless you help me. Suppose we have a few rules. You tell me, and I will write them on the blackboard.’
“One fellow yelled, ‘No stealing!’ Another yelled, ‘On time.’ Finally, ten rules appeared on the blackboard.
“‘Now,’ said the teacher, ‘a law is not good unless there is a penalty attached. What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’
“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response from the class.
“‘That is pretty severe, boys. Are you sure that you are ready to stand by it?’ Another yelled, ‘I second the motion,’ and the teacher said, ‘All right, we will live by them! Class, come to order!’
“In a day or so, ‘Big Tom’ found that his lunch had been stolen. The thief was located—a little hungry fellow, about ten years old. ‘We have found the thief and he must be punished according to your rule—ten stripes across the back. Jim, come up here!’ the teacher said.
“The little fellow, trembling, came up slowly with a big coat fastened up to his neck and pleaded, ‘Teacher, you can lick me as hard as you like, but please, don’t take my coat off!’
“‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’
“‘Oh, teacher, don’t make me!’ He began to unbutton, and what did the teacher see? The boy had no shirt on, and revealed a bony little crippled body.
“‘How can I whip this child?’ he thought. ‘But I must, I must do something if I am to keep this school.’ Everything was quiet as death.
“‘How come you aren’t wearing a shirt, Jim?’
“He replied, ‘My father died and my mother is very poor. I have only one shirt and she is washing it today, and I wore my brother’s big coat to keep me warm.’
“The teacher, with rod in hand, hesitated. Just then ‘Big Tom’ jumped to his feet and said, ‘Teacher, if you don’t object, I will take Jim’s licking for him.’
“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’
“Off came Tom’s coat, and after five strokes the rod broke! The teacher bowed his head in his hands and thought, ‘How can I finish this awful task?’ Then he heard the class sobbing, and what did he see? Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. ‘Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’”
To lift a phrase from this simple story, Jesus, my Redeemer, has taken “my licking for me” and yours for you."
This story brought quiet tears to my eyes as I thought back to the times when I have so fully depended on Christ to take away my shame and guilt for my mistakes. I have felt the enabling power of the Atonement--the cleansing power. I cannot accurately describe it to you in words. How merciful our Redeemer is, to take our "licking" for us. I am eternally indebted to Him. I know I must devote my life to serving and following Him. It is the least I can do.
We recently watched a video series by Elder Christofferson called "Daily Bread". He outlines the importance of daily scripture study, prayer, and other simple yet essential things to help us keep on track to joy in this life, and on the road back to our Heavenly Father. If you haven't (or if you have) seen these three, 3-minute videos, I invite you to watch them (again)!
Daily Bread: Pattern
Daily Bread: Experience
Daily Bread: Change
So many great things are happening. Life is good. I wouldn't ask to be anywhere other than here in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission. The Lord is good. I hope you have a very merry Christmas and that all is well! Stay close to the Lord and I promise He'll bless you!! :)
My favorite quote this week...
"As I walk daily here on earth,
Give me thy Spirit as I seek
A change of heart, another birth,
And grow, dear Lord, to be like thee." - With Humble Heart (Hymn 171 v. 4)