"Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different--in happy ways--from the women of the world... Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and spiritual growth of the Church in the last days" President Spencer W. Kimball

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Give my regards to Broadway!

Hello everyone! First off, all I have to say is "hide your kids, hide your wives and hide your husbands because Im breaking all kinds of social rules on the subway up in here!" Ok, let me explain a few things about New York that I know and have come to know but dont really care to follow. Number A, what is this business about NOT talking to ANYONE on the subway, on buses, or on the street, etc.??!? Number B, dont look at anyone, EVER and C be as short as possible, WhAT!!?? Im super over it. If someone's hair looks cute you know Im gonna tell them about it and then follow that with a "PS, Im a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is there a time we can meet up with you this week? Have a passalong card...es gratis." Those who know me know that Im not kidding about one word that I just said.
Anyways, everyone always makes people in New York out to be so mean, which I have experienced that but whatevs, again "Have a passalong card." But they really aren't that bad. They just don't care about what you have to say unless its applicable to them which quite frankly that's the best thing ever because then you aren't wasting your time when someone really isn't interested. Not saying that no one is worth the time, but what I am saying is that for them right then might not be the time and Im not even mad. Example: My companion and I were contacting in uptown Inwood until super late. We had zero success as to why we went up there and no one gave us the time, but the desire was there to find someone. After having no luck we get on the subway and head home. As I sit down this young man (perfect because we're the missionaries in the YSA ward) sits down in front of me and breaks out, guess what???? A King James Version of the Bible, booyah! Now of course that had to be a little drop from heaven saying "Im not gonna send you home empty handed." This guy, turns out, has spent his days at the tender age of 23 reading the Bible day in and day out. As I approached him about whether he attends churh he responded with there are too many to choose from, none of which teach the correct Doctrine of Christ. He then learned I was Mormon and was shocked because I was black (he is Dominican), a missionary and that we read the same bible and believe in Jesus Christ. That just goes to show what shinanigans are going around about the Church. Lastly he began to tell me things he had learned in the Bible regarding the Spirit, apostles and prophets, the gift of tounges and the need to endure to the end...so then I hit him with Mosiah 2-3, King Benjamin's address, haha! I love this Gospel and that just goes to show the Lord has a people who are prepared to receive His true Doctrine.
I love it, love it. I love NY... maybe the whole town is in mourning because of the Yankees but hey go Angels right?! (Actually I have no idea how they are doing, someone hit me back with that, jk kinda) Anyways, PDay is coming to a close. You know I love each and everyone of you...especially YOU (imagine yourself). PS Im dying from a gluten OD, I cant find gluten free food that is quick and easy to take with me, wink wink! Dont feel obligated but know its much appreciated :) Loves!

Como Tu Ta!!!!

I cant believe its been a week already, I swear it has gone by in the blink of an eye, but my body and the fact that I am (surprise surprise) bone tired will beg to differ. It has been such a great week!
Im here in NY, living in Harlem and just having a good ol' missionary time! My companion and I couldn't be more spastic all the time about everything, you would never guess we're as tired as we are. The area we are serving in is for the Harlem 3 YSA ward. Its crazy cause we are "whitewashing" (aka starting a new ward) this whole new area, plus we are the first missionaries to do it and obvi we're sisters too, booyah! It has been such hard work! We cover from 125th all the way to the top of the island, which for those of you who are unfamiliar with Manhattan that's about an hour subway ride from top to bottom. I dont know that I have ever walked so much in my life, but its great. My comp and I are just getting things started in this new area and getting to know the memebers and investigators who are here. It is the most amazing thing! Everyone has a story and a reason as to why they are here in the city. You have to ask everyone cause the reasons vary from "just kickin it with my fam" to I live in the Trump Towers and am a young high executive for XYZ or whatever company, talk about all walks of life huh?!
So what's been going on you ask, well this last week really was just tracking the boundaries and getting to know our new area. Though I am serving in English speaking I have been hurriedly learning Spanish cause I basically live in little Dominica. Everyone I contact thinks Im Dominican or Panamanian and just instinctively responds in Spanish, so rather than rushing to find my companion who was pulled from a Spanish mission, I am just learning so as to save everyone the trouble. I have got to say that I have never learned Spanish as fast as I am now (b/c you know I've tried multiple times and haven't been so successful), its incredible. I absolutely love the Dominican culture, they are such great people, and dont think I haven't gained like 500lbs eating their delicious food, mmmmmmmm! Its just crazy, everyone we are teaching is Dominican and they are such a riot! We are teaching this one woman who moved from the DR about 6 years ago. She is an architect and is so rambunctious! Every time we talk to her its like fireworks going off. She is darling, loud and speaks Spanish soooo fast. I just love her cause whenever we go over she has this great list of questions for us as well as a table spread of traditional Dominican food, its absolutely the best. Aside from her we have a few others we are teaching. It was so crazy how I found this one young man. So we were walking back to our apartment and had arm fulls of stuff. We see this guy hanging out on his porch and we just walk by. As we move closer to our apartments I turn to my companion and tell her we have to turn around. As I said that she was like "you're talking about that guy on the porch, yeah?" Haha, she felt it too, after justifying that we should drop off our things first we begin to walk some more towards our house and I just couldn't do it. I tell her if we dont do this now, we fail! So we turn back around and find this guy who obviously saw us walk by the first time. I explain to him "I know this sounds crazy..." but in short I had to turn around and talk with you. It was such a blessing and you could tell that he was touched by what we had to say. Man the Spirit is real! And that is just one example of how I have felt the prompting this week, its nuts.
Anyways as many of you know yesterday was my birthday and I am so happy it was, NY is just one of the greatest places to spend number 25!! Whoa, 25 eke! NBD, so I woke up and was attacked with Silly String and my roomies and comp decorated my desk and sang me happy birthday. It was so sweet. We had so much to do so we got going for the day. We had Mission Conference for the first half of the day which was so great. We talked a lot about the Ammon and Aaron chapters in Alma and D&C 84:88 and chapter 100. It was so uplifting and the reality is, those verses are seriously ones to live by. After that we had some appointments and stuff to handle, but come dinner time we decided to find some delicious birthday food! We stumbled upon WholeFoods which was the best idea EVER! As we were in the store Sister Child kept arguing with me about how she was going to pay for my food. Because we are broke missionaries I insisted that we both just pay for our own and fake like she did. Anyways we run into this member who of course addresses us like "sisters! whats going on here?" so we get to know him a bit then go on to explained that we were just out and about for my birthday, and good thing we did cause he showed me to some delicious Indian food he found. Jackpot!!! Anyways, we go on and grab some desserts to top off our dinner and head out, naturally still arguing over who's paying when out of nowhere, Brother Matthews (the member we just met) comes out of nowhere and with his ninja like reflexes swipes his card first and pays for our food! Holy monkey! He was in and out like a flash. Im pretty sure people around us though he stole something based on our reaction. Haha, what a champion! It was a great day full of service and fun.
Im sad I didn't get to spend it with all of you but Im so happy I got to spend it here. Thanks for all the wishes. I love you all so much!! Being here just continues to remind me how much our Savior loves us. He finds ways to succor us in our greatest times of need, I know this because not only do I see it everyday, I live it! He love us, dont think He doesn't cause He does, ha!

Conference Weekend

So Friday afternoon arrives and I am shocked! The week has flown by so fast and yet each day feels like a week. I am sorry to keep saying this but they say it right when you arrive here, "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days." The MTC is such a marvelous place in many ways. I have has such a great time getting to know my companions as well as many other great sisters and elders from all over the world. Get this, a sister from Pakistan arrived this last Wednesday!!! Yeah, I didnt know there was a mission there either or that the Gospel was opened up in that area of the world. I guess they only have service missions there and those who want the Gospel are welcome to join but there is no prostlyting. Another sister on my residence floor is from Jordan, and there are elders opening up the Greece mission again. Its crazy, the work is fully on its way, Heavens its so neat to be a part of this.
I have made such good friends here. We are in such a condensed state of mind. I feel like I have known all of these people for ages now! They are such good people and I am grateful to be here with them. As far as New York goes I am the only English speaking sister leaving to the mission this transfer. Its wacky! There are 2 elders that are going with me and they are so stinking hilarious! Elder Dozier, from Mesa, AZ and Elder Beswick from Boise, ID; I cant even count the times we have sat around and laughed at ridiculous things...all inclusive Jay Z and Sasha Fierce, the Bronx and TriBeca, and Yankees games...man this is gonna be unreal! Its hard to explain and its hard to think that next week this time I will be packing my bags for the Big Apple. On Wednesday next week I will find myself on an early flight to the East Coast...a place this "West coast 4 life girl" has only seen a few times.
Anyways, this past weekend was such a treat! Conference blew my mind and being here at the MTC just made it that much more enjoyable (besides the fact that I was not in pj's or on a couch somewhere. Also no Sunday Mid-Session Breakfast!!!) Its ok though, the experience I wouldnt trade for anything in the world. I have to admit I shed a few tears as the congregation said Amen to prayers expressing their thanks and blessings on the missionaries. I sit back and think, "wow! thats me!!" It was such a humbling experience.
A few of my favs were those talks by Elder Ballard, Elder Holland, Elder Lawrence and of course President Monson. Pres. Monson always puts things in crazy perspective. I have to say that his talk on gratitude just took my breath away. I love this man and all that he does. He truly is a servant of the Lord! I am thankful for that knowledge.
Anyway, times up! I will tty next Tuesday, aka P Day for n

Last Week In the MTC, WAYooooHHH!

I can't believe this is my last day in the MTC. I cant say enough how fast it has flown. I feel like I have been here for months, but it has only felt like days...too weird. I guess I'll consider it a blessing :) So the itinerary is in and I fly out tomorrow morning around 8:45 am. There is no time to waste I tell you, it is amazing what you can get done before people even consider getting out of bed. This morning for example... I look at my watch and 4 hours have already flown by since waking. Im packed, fed (physically and spiritually - studied and went to the temple this morning), played a couple of departing pranks on our resident sisters and am now about to finish up my laundry and get the day started. Haha, its too weird.
So this last week was another incredible time. It feels like Conference everyday!! The sister from Jordan I mentioned last week spoke for us on her conversion story. It was the most amazing, inspiring thing I have ever heard. So since she lives in a country where prostelyting is illegal the Church is just there with missionaries who inform people who are interested. So she and her brother were walking around town one day and they found a piece of paper on the floor that was a ripped off piece of a note. The paper only included a number and partial name. She said her and her brother were really curious for some odd reason as to who the number belonged to so she called. The guy on the other end answered in English, "You've reached the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, how can I help you?" He brother didnt speak english so he handed the phone to her in a quick hurry and told her to talk to him. The conversation led to an invitation to come to a branch that was only about 13 members strong, 5 I think being missionaries. And of course the rest is history. That was such an inspiring story. Her and her brother are now serving missions for the Church representing their country, she being the first sister missionary from Jordan.
This place is so awesome, you meet people from EVERYWHERE! You also experience some of the greatest examples of the Spirit testifying to you everyday. So a couple of nights ago I was in my bed, thinking of a quote I had heard when I was in high school. I was so sad because I couldnt remember how the entire quote went or who said it, all I could remember is that I loved it and I wanted it for my quote book ;) so I said a little prayer about it. Jump to yesterday, I am in my class and we are saying goodbye to some of the teachers and missionaries in our district. One of the teachers we saw pass by who we really wanted to say bye to. Though he was already dressed in his street clothes and was heading out the door he stopped and came over anyway. I asked him real fast, "Bro. Beshesti, what are some last words of advice?" and what did he say???..." well, I dont have any words of advice but I have a quote." Oh My!!!! I pretty much jumped out of my seat as he recited from memory the quote that I was inquiring about just the night before. That was amazing!!! The Lord loves me, haha! Its little moments like these that testify to us everyday of the gift we have.
Sometimes we may not know it but we are all channels for the Spirit. I have discovered in my time here that some people come to play investigators and help with the training missionaries because they have real life questions, concerns and prayers that need to be answered. It has been amazing the times that I have had the opportunity to be that channel for their needs. I cant say enough how real the Spirit of the Lord is and how He testifies to me everyday that this work is real. I have such a strong testimony of this work. I know that God lives and loves each and every one of us. It is so sincere. He love me, as he does you. I love all of you. Since this is my last day at the MTC switch to the NY address, I will have more time once im there to write you all back.
I love you all, New York is gonna be the best!...PS, maybe I fell asleep kneeling in companion prayer the other night. Those who know me know that that is a hard thing to do because I am not the easiest sleeper. My companions let me sit there for a while before their laughter woke me up! What can I say, Im tired, but have never been more happy in my life!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hello from Provo MTC

I am alive and well here at the MTC! It has been the most ridiculous week of my life and that is an understatement! Wednesday was such an incredible day. Jenni Jones came through of course (as she always does) and helped me get all of my last ends tied up. She is such a champion! I had a great family of friends with me as I parted ways with the world at the Provo Temple parking lot. The Hansen Family, Bryce Romney, JG, JJ, Trent, Corey, Dave and Zac were all there to wish me well. So great,t hanks guys!
It is so funny to see the different hello and goodbyes that go on at the "strip" as you see Usher Elders waiting to take your bags and see you to the assembly line that begins the most amazing adventure of your life. Unbeknownst to me my companion arrived right behind me and as we made our way up to our room we realized that we would be companions for the next 3 weeks. She is so sweet. Sister Benson is her name and she is from Vernal, UT. Later in the day after receiving our little missionary tags and taking our picture, we were asked to wait in our classroom for our third companion!!! Yup, Im in a tripanionship, haha!! Its one of the greatest things though. The third is Sister Stephenson from W. Jordan, UT. She is awesome!! So darling, lacross player so she's hardcore. It took some getting used to the first couple of days. Being awake FOREVER and having 2 girls attached to your side at all times. It was absolutely odd to me, but I have grown to love it! Its strange when they are not around which has happened a couple of times when we have meetings and such. I almost get freaked!!
The MTC is the most amazing place I have ever been. It is honestly comparable to the temple! The Spirit here is unreal! We have learned so much in the small amount of time that I have been here and I know that these next couple of weeks will be even better. I have such a love for the Savior and for all that He has done for me to arrive at this wonderful time in my life. I know that the call I received was especially for me and that the work I will do there, no one else will be able to complete it because it is solely for me. Thank you everyone for your support!!! Talk to you next Tuesday...unless you DearElder me, we get those everyday! :) Love you lots!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Beginning

I am now a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'll keep you posted on my events as the 18 months fly by!!! Thank you everyone for your support today and always, its great to be surrounded by family and friends who love me :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


So it has been a very busy few weeks! Work never ends and when that miracle finally comes to pass it seems there is always something to be done.

Anywhooo, a week ago I participated in a good friends wedding; my best friend from high school to be more specific. It was such a dream! I was very privileged to be involved in such a precious event. The joining of two lives together is something that needs to be commemorated as well as celebrated for sure! and nothing could do that better than a big fat honkin' cake!!! JK, as well as being the go to baker for her wedding cake I was also one of her bridesmaids. Quite an aggressive combination of responsibilities but I made it out alive. The ceremony was so gorgeous and the bride was nothing less than a fairytale come true. Its funny cause seeing so many relationships toying with the idea of marriage, sometimes I feel that in this life there is such a series of events that need to take place to arrive at that actual "point of marriage." Age old statistics like "50% divorce rate" lingering in the background lead to the conclusion that there is no wonder the actual marriage percentage has sunk like a bad souffle. I don't know that the planets aligned and the stars fell from the heavens the night my friend and her husband met, but it seems that that is the prerequisite for this union because it is rare to see a relationship so beautiful.

I have such faith in family. It is one of the only things that we can take with us after this life (auf wiedersehen to "til death do you part," Im speaking about the eternities). No matter what we do we are only given one. This realization has been such a blessing for me the past few months. I didn't get to choose the family I was born into and I have come to believe this is for my benefit. Sometimes we find ourselves disappointed or frustrated with those in our family but it is this love and learning to love that helps us understand the love the Lord has for us. So many times I have belittled myself because of the mistakes I have made, thinking "wow, I have surely disappointed my Heavenly Father." but it is the understanding of His love that helps me to know that though I may not have made the right decision at the time, it will not be held against me. This life is a time for me to move to correct my errors and go forward to choose the right, and the Lord's never changing love is the tool we are blessed with to help me gain my reward in the end: an eternal family.

For all those friends who are married I continue to wish you all the best. As we move away from our born families and continue onto our married families I hope that we can remember the Lord's blessing of having our loved ones with us for all eternity. It may not always be the easiest, best, sweetest, enjoyable, content, blissful time in our life but if we learn to love as the Lord loveth we will gain our eternal reward.

Of course I will have to wait for a few months, 18+ to be exact, and so it is...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Preparatory Work

This week was wicked busy once again, but I feel so repetitive saying that so I'm over it, its a hair flip.

This week was fun. Well, I don't know that you can really call the whole week fun but it averages out above a 5 so it works :). Hmmm, Monday...Wednesday, Thursday, found it! FRIDAY!!! was a great day. Geralene and I woke up early and made our way to el Temple (you know I don't speak spanish, but I try hehe). It was a great time and sadly the last time before Newport closes for the next couple of weeks, sad day; I guess Im just going to have to go visit Marci in San Diego, which I'm never mad about. Anyway, It was a nice time and not too busy so that's alway a plus. Leaving we found that the sun finally decided to come out. It's weird. We are not getting any sun at all this summer which is really making me sad. Not that I would be at the beach everyday, but the thought is always nice, haha. So on our way home we decided to stop off at some grocery stores to pick up , in my case, greatly needed food supply...good thing we did cause we discovered this amazing Persian grocery along the way!!! I have to say, its been a while since I've had falafel and hummus that good. The produce was great and the variety was soooo ridiculous; anything you could imagine they had. Uh, just another reason I culinarily prefer CA over some other places, ie Utah. My palate just gets spoiled and treated to all the varying tastes of the world!

Moving forward, so later on that day the missionaries had called me to help out with a first discussion they were giving that night. They call me every once in a while so that I have the opportunity to experience some of what I will be doing for he next few months :). We had an appointment with a guy named Nico. The story of how this appointment came about is the missionaries were walking back to their apartment one night and one of the Elders put his thumb out as they walked along, just joking of course haha. Low and behold, the young man Nico we were going to teach pulled over and shouted out "Hey Mormons, want a ride?!" No introduction needed right?!! So as they drove they talked about how this young man was just thinking earlier in the month how he felt there was some soul searching that needed to be done. As he later stated during the lesson, "he felt there was more out there."

So I had the privilege of teaching the first discussion with the elders to this willing young man. He was so inviting of the Spirit and ready for the message we were sharing with him that night. As we had introduced him to the church and filled him in on a bit of background, in turn we were delighted to know that he had known some LDS members in the past. He expressed his past opportunities of getting to know the church had come and gone and that he was very excited about this new availably he had to go to church with us. Though he has work for the next couple of Sundays, he was very interested in us returning and teaching him more about the Gospel. We even set a goal of August 28th! It was great to see how touched by the message of the First Vision he was. The Spirit speaks truth loudly when the heart is softened.

As the night ended, we concluded with a prayer and an invitation to some of the activities that were going on in the upcoming week, which he greatly accepted. It was obvious the Spirit had been preparing him for this moment for some time now. It just goes to show we are not in this work alone. For those who "ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ" (Moroni 10:4-5), he will deliver his message to you. The work is real! and amazing at that. I just look forward to more instances like this in the near and coming future. :) Time is dwindling down to none, and so it is...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Remember Who You Are

The days just seem to roll into each other. I never realized how hard it is to keep track of the day of the week it is until now, where all of my days hold the same schedule; wake up, work, sleep. Haha, of course not as mundane but getting close. Luckily this week had an eventful trip to the Orange County Fair. I have to admit this was my first time in all my life ever attending "The Fair." Its nuts cause I remember every year me being so excited to go, only later to realize it had come and gone. Not this year!

Lovely Jana was visiting from Utah this week and brought to my attention the Michael Jackson Laser Show that was playing. Naturally hearing this news changed that usual comment of "I want to go" to "I'm going!" with a passion so intense I bought tickets nearly on the spot. This show was a spectacle of MJ's greatest hits mixed with dancing and lasers! It, hands down, was the most awesome event going on at the fair, and for fortunate consumers like myself changed history for me... I can technically can say that Michael Jackson made me go, and thank heavens cause boy have I been missing out on some of the most gluttonous moments of my life. Never have I seen so many fried foods that should come NOWHERE near a fryer, case and point "fried butter," double yuck! But the thought that follows that is, "someone had to have wanted it or have eaten it for it to be sold," ...weird. Anyways, it was a great night and a real treat to go dance, play and eat (tons of ridiculous food) with my family and friends.

Anyways, onto the next... So this week was filled with the realization that I'm getting a bit nervous to leave. Not that I'm hesitant to go, I'm just going over my list of things and keep hitting speed bumps. I am a little overwhelmed with, ready for this... shopping! Ok, so of course I love shopping and I think everyone can agree when I say that purchasing the most hideous clothes is a sister missionary's MO, but I have been greatly informed by my secret spies that this is not the case in the mission that I have been called to. There are some wrenches in the system that allow us a little more freedom, but I think this has backfired for real! The guide book is of no help at all and because of that I am going on pure suggestion. First, and mainly only item of concern, I hear the winters in NY are sooooooo cold. I'm from CA, what do I know about freezing cold winters (Utah doesn't hold a candle to the the winters of NY)??? And PS, lets not forget about my frostbite ordeal of '07, haha I would love to keep all of my toes this time. Im just saying, any advice I can receive would be more than luxurious at this point. It's a shot in the dark for me.

Other than that, with my bit of anxiety I am exponentially more excited! Today in sacrament meeting Brother Brian Andre did what he always does best, and that is bring animation to life with a spiritual twist. "What do you mean by that you say?" well, to my great amusement he was speaking about the relationship we have with our Savior, how we are our Heavenly Father's children and how we had the prime example sent to keep us on track. If we just remember who we are then we will be great. Of course it was paired with a simile: Rafiki and Simba...(and cue Ash's overwhelming excitement). In the Disney movie The Lion King, taking place at the waterhole Rafiki is speaking to Simba. "Look down there...No, look harder. You see? He lives in you." Now naturally he was not speaking in the same sense that a Latter-Day Saint would, but lets be honest, it hits the nail right on the head, yeah??! Everyday we have a living example in the way we portray the words we preach. If we can keep about us the Spirit we will always know and feel the presence of our Heavenly Father. It sometimes is a challenge personally for me to keep my thoughts focused but when I really think of who I am and my purpose here in this life it becomes more evident the work I am to do. An example is easy to follow, but then again it is easier said than done. It is definitely something I'm striving to do more of. I just feel that like the mission prep, with life there is a huge list of things to do. As long as I keep pushing toward accomplishing those goals, while remembering who I am, I will be successful in accomplishing the things which are the most important.

Having said that: MJ, Disney, life and love. And so it is...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quite A Few Days To Go

I woke up this morning really tired. I have worked everyday this week save Wednesday and today and am running on E. Sometimes its hard to think of all that I have to do: fitting in activities and obligations into my day, work, study, play, etc., but then I think, "who am I racing against?!?" I have had this problem often where I set such high standards for myself. I mean, of course setting goals is healthy and often recommended but I have the want to do everything and more. Its funny cause the talk from the last General Conference given by Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, seems to be nipping at my heels these days. I read it once more this morning, taking away from it this; "A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all the people or do all the worthy things her heart yearns to do." This here is not an excuse or a dismissal from trying but it is a great insight to the importance of prioritizing.

After having said that, for those who have not been directly included in my preparation let me fill you in on a few things. After submitting my papers back in April I followed that by moving from Provo, UT to my hometown of Lake Forest, CA, a fast move to say the least. This has been such a switch for me. Shortly after arriving home I was met with much opposition, the most taxing being the cancer scare with my brother, Tony. I could not have experienced a bigger miracle than receiving the long waited news of "negative" on his medical scans, after having been told he was going to die!!! The degree of prayer, patience, faith, and heartache experienced during that month of waiting was enough to bring anyone to ends but it was such a testimony builder for sure.

In other events I received my call May 13th, in the midst of my my brother's ordeal. It was a bittersweet moment learning where the Lord would have me serve knowing that there is much work for me to do here at home. At the time there was no telling how much time my brother would have living on this earth and I was often faced with the question "With your brother being so sick, are you still planning on going on your mission?" to which the answer was always yes. May 22 I attended the temple for the first time. There are very few words that can explain an experience like that. It is just an additional tender mercy from the Lord extending His love to those here in this life. Since then I have been successful in attending the temple every week, allowing me to get better acquainted with the work therein. It is such a blessing and learning experience. It is evident why they have missionaries do this work before going forth to do the Lords work.

So now lets talk about literal preparation. This is where I will refer back to the beginning where I said I wish I could do more. Right now I have such great resources to study from. I have made plans to finish the Book of Mormon once more before entering the MTC (ward 90 day youth challenge), study up in Preach My Gospel and read as many of the Great Works as possible. How that's going...well life gets mad busy! Haha, I love the challenge. Im a bit disappointed that I have not been as diligent as before I had a full time job, but hey I do what I can right? I am currently about a third of the way through the Book of Mormon and have been truly studying Chapter 6 of PMG. There is so much amazing information in that book, its no wonder Elder Richard G. Scott sings its praises. I am currently living with the Beckett family in my ward, they are so great in allowing me to stay with them while I prepare to leave. They save all the BYU Devotionals on the TiVo for me which has been super fun to watch and take notes from, among other great uplifting activities they allow me to participate in.

These last few months have been so great yet challenging. I have come to know that in life it is key to have our eyes single to the Lord in all aspects whether preparing for a mission or not. A gentleman in my ward today reminded us of the days of the pioneers where they guided the entire city of Salt Lake based on the positioning of the temple. He then went on to say that this should be our goal in life as well, to guide our lives after the teachings of the Gospel as well as the workings in the temple. I have been tried and tested often throughout this period of my life but it is my knowledge that this is what I am here for. Where much is given much is required. I have been greatly blessed with a growing testimony of the love the Savior has for me. I know that this is the true and living Gospel. I know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel to this earth, I know that there is a living prophet to guide us to day, even President Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Lord accounts for his missionaries (D&C 84), I know that this will be a great growing experience for me, and I also know that there is no place else I would rather be than New York for the next 18 months. I have been called to an area that is specific for my qualifications and I know that it is a true calling from my Heavenly Father. These things I am sure of.

I love the Lord, I love my family, I love my friends and invite all of you to join me for the next few months as I take this adventure.