Saturday, May 31, 2014

Neck Deep In Debt...

I am in debt... but let's back up 6 years 

It was a normal day of Sunday School at church. I walked in gossiping with my best friends and, being the spunky 12 year old that I was, was an expert at it. It was in the days of simply ostracizing someone who insulted me or my friends. To be honest, looking back, I sincerely feel apologetic to the girls we spoke poorly about or let ourselves become so offended to the point of "casting" another out from our circle, because 100% of the time we were clearly reflecting qualities we didn't like about ourselves onto them, and we were normally wrong about them as well. This happened quite frequently, because as you can imagine in junior high, we got offended quickly and forgave slowly. 

It's no doubt that because we were walking into class gossiping we were asking for it: The lesson on forgiveness and loving thy neighbor. Retrospectively, I wonder if my teacher picked the lesson because she was inspired or because of our rude behavior (or both), but like I said we were asking for it. It was the first time I heard the story from Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant, and that was one of the days that changed my life forever. 

My teacher briefly explained: A man owes the king a large amount of money and begs the king for more time to work to pay off the debt. Not only does the king grant his wish, but he also forgives him for the money he owes. In essence, the man is let off clean, with no debt to his name. Later, the same man seeks out a man who owes him a small amount of money and when the man asks him for forgiveness and time, he refuses his wish. I remember thinking, well what a dumb man, you just got let off free and you can't even do the same for others! My teacher said, 

"When you cast out others because of something they said to you that offended you, or something they did that hurt you, you are the man in this story. Jesus paid the price for every single sin you would ever commit and suffered tremendously for you, but he forgives you every single time you repent. If we can't let others off with little offenses, how can we expect Christ to feel good about letting us off the big ones?" 

I have referred to this story multiple times in my mind when struggling to forgive someone who has hurt me. I love this parable because I think it's perfectly fitting for our times when someone hurts us. But... I never knew a lesson that really hit me that I learned this week in my New Testament class. 

Our teacher gave us rough estimates to how much money the debt would be in our currency: 

(v. 24) The man owes the king 10,000 talents : 
10,000 talents=$15,132,000,000 roughly today

Lesson #1:God knows we can't ever pay back our debt from what Christ did for us, but forgives us when we repent
Back in the context of the story: 10,000 talents would equal about 150,000 years of annual salary from the man. I never realized this, but it was literally impossible for this man to ever pay the king back his debts. His situation was literally hopeless, yet he begged and promised to pay it all back. Did you ever notice the miracle in this story? The king lets go all of his debt. He lets go every ounce. As I pondered this in class I thought, the  king knew there was no way this man could ever keep his promise of paying him back, but got rid of his debt and gave him a second chance. Our Heavenly King wants us to use the atonement because we show appreciation for it, not because we are paying a debt. Heavenly Father knows we can never pay him back for what Christ did, but every time we turn our hearts to him begging for another chance He gives it to us and we become clean and new. 

(v. 28) Another man, owes this man 100 pence
100 pence=$5,000-8,000 

Lesson #2: It Is The Same Money
My teacher taught us, "How do you think the first man got into debt? He probably took that money and started loaning it out to people, like the second man. So if you think about it, when the king let go of his debt, the second man's debt should have been gone as well because it came from the king." 
I pondered this and concluded that everyone is using the same atonement to change, to grow, to learn. When I choose not to forgive someone, I am basically saying that they are not worthy of forgiveness. I am, in a way, limiting the atonement and the way it can change anyone. I am saying, "there is no way the atonement could really change her, she is way too far gone and doesn't deserve forgiveness for what she has done". I never truly thought of it that way. This is all the same money. It would make sense then, why the king would be angry at the first man when he found out the way he treated the later. The King wants us all to use the atonement, and he wants us all to see it as being able to change anyone. Who are we to say someone has done something too unspeakable to change? The funny thing is, Christ is the only one who truly felt the full pain for what they did, and he is the one that forgives and changes them completely. 

These little details really teach me about forgiveness and love, and most important how much God really does forgive me. He forgives me an impossible debt, with love and hope and confidence that I will use Christ's atonement to change. 

I know that I will encounter people on my mission who will say harsh things, or act meanly, at my calling as a missionary. This has taught me to have absolute love for these people and forgive freely. Christ has changed me, even though I'll never pay him back. I know that He truly does have the ability to change anyone who turns to Him, and if we do, our debt will be lifted and we will get an infinite number of chances. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When are there exceptions to having Christ-Like love?

We hear it all the time in our culture "She's just lashing out because of ___ trial" or "He will help you later after he works ___ out" "I will help you when I pull myself together, I’m having a really rough time." Emotions tend to justify unwillingness to serve at times, and the truth is I’ve never really seen any problem with it whatsoever. We are all human, and we all need solitude and our own time to work things out. But, as I read Matthew 14 the thought came to me that although we might be experiencing "rough waters" is that an excuse to not pull someone up into a boat that is drowning? Some might say, that isn't a realistic example as refusing to help someone with small matters as we are experiencing severe emotional trials, because most of the time it isn't life or death options like the rough waters. But is there a limit, or are there certain boundaries, that Christ-like love only fits into?

Let's explore Matthew 14 for a brief moment. In this chapter we have 2 major miracles: The feeding of the 5,000 and Peter walking on water. Although these are remarkable and great points to focus on, (as pointed out in my New Testament class) we tend to skip over the first part of the chapter. 

John the Baptist is beheaded. Now first, you have to remember that John was sent to be the "forerunner" to Jesus. In other words, he would do certain things before Jesus and prepare his way (like birth, baptism, disciples, and death). Now let's think about this for a moment. Jesus does not only have a very close relationship with John because of their divine roles, they are also related. So in one sentence Jesus, in essence in v. 13, is told that a very close person to him has been killed but because John is his forerunner, Jesus's death is nigh at hand. Can you imagine if someone came to you and said, "Someone you love has been murdered, and you will be next very soon". The weight and magnitude of the situation would be highly unbearable.  

If we look at Jesus's human side for a moment, we can explain his reaction in v. 13 as He tries to be alone and went on a ship to go pray to His father at his destination. In v. 13 and 14 we see that as soon as a multitude saw Jesus leaving, they followed him and waited for His ship to arrive. Now think for a moment, as my teacher put it, if you were Jesus wouldn't you be strongly tempted to tell the people Look I’m having a really hard time right now, but I will come back when I feel better and help you! Yes, of course that would be tempting. Instead, Jesus heals all of them. And then He feeds all of them. He spends the entire day with these people right after his emotional trauma occurred, and never complained once. After the people departed, Jesus told His disciples to get on a ship without Him so He could go pray to His Father in the mountain. Jesus finally had his moment of desperate solitude. 

As I tell you this story and give a little more of a human perspective on it, I don't want you to think I am implying that it is not okay to mourn during a traumatic experience, because it is okay. Jesus did, and He turned to Heavenly Father for comfort and help. But, in the meantime Jesus also helped those in need and that surely did bring more joy into His life. I tell you this story because as we go through terrible things throughout our lives, we might be very tempted to wallow up and stop moving forward. I'm telling you today that you don't have to stop, rely on Jesus to carry you during these times that you feel too weak, and as you strive to lift others as well your strength will increase. I will conclude with a quote from Elder Cook's Talk, "Hope Ya Know, I Had A Hard Time" 

"I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ covers all of the trials and hardships that any of us will encounter in this life. At times when we may feel to say, "Hope you know, I had a hard time," we can be assured that He is there and we are safe in His loving arms...When our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, was asked on his birthday this past August what would be the ideal gift that members worldwide could give him, he said without a moment's hesitation, "find someone who is having a hard time...and do something for them""

It is okay to mourn and to cry and to weep! We are human! But while we are going on this crazy journey we call life, with many trials, let us remember that my strengthening our brethren we will too be strengthened even more. I have heard it coined, "Service is the fastest working medicine... even faster than Advil!" 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Real Miracle: Having Faith After Years of Dealing With a Trial

In my New Testament class last week we discussed and analyzed the different passages regarding the miracles of Jesus. Reading these growing up I always thought that it was so lucky that these people were able to witness all of these physical, temporal miracles more readily than we might be able to recognize in our own time. Although the physical miracles are remarkable, in class we focused on a different side of the miracles that I had never really taken notice of and the effect this side had on these physical miracles to take place. 

The other side of these miracles are the spiritual miracles we can search for within these stories (I will be focusing on Matthew 9). The story I want to focus on is the story of the woman that with an issue of blood.

Matthew 9:21 "For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole" 

The woman in this story had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. As discussed in my class, sometimes when reading this we briefly say 12 years and don't quite take the time to really imagine it. Can you imagine bleeding non-stop for 2 years? How about 4? Can you imagine how many prayers this woman could have said and how hopeless one could feel if they hadn't been healed after 12 years of asking for a miracle? One might define her situation as hopeless, but she didn't. 

My teacher pointed out, and I also noticed, that in every movie attempt of this moment the woman is always sitting down and casually grabs the bottom of his garment. In the scriptures it says she "came behind him" and then touched his garment, which could mean that she was pushing through the crowd and bent down to touch the bottom of his garment. I like to picture a woman, mostly judged as unclean by those around her, anxiously engaged towards the Savior by pushing through the crowd and then reaching him and submitting in humility to His will, and that adds so much power to this story for me. 

This act was a pure act of faith. She still believed after years of waiting for a miracle, and she bent down (could this be symbolic of prayer or humility?) to touch his garment. She was made whole. 

Some miracles and blessings truly take time. 

This story reminds me of a quote by Elder Holland, “Don't you give up. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” 

Some sort of long-term trial might be holding you, the reader, back from truly loving God. It might be causing more shame or anger in your heart towards him for not having immediate results. But I echo the words of Elder Holland and would like to tell you to never give up for blessings will come. Never lose trust in God, even after years and years of possible discouragement. Trust in Him and lower into humility, as this woman did, to more happily submit to His will, and I promise you will be given peace in your afflictions and whether now or later, be made whole. 
Matthew 9:22 "Daughter, be of good comfort; Thy faith hath made thee whole."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hermana Schmidt

My name will soon be "Hermana Schmidt" and I couldn't be more excited. This has been the biggest blessing of my entire life and I am so grateful Heavenly Father is sending me to the beautiful Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I can't wait to learn my Spanish and hit the ground running! I have the opportunity to go to the MTC in Santo Domingo which is a huge blessing considering that my mission will start in the land i'm serving, and I couldn't be more excited to go.

A couple of cool things that happened in this process:

I felt like I should take a Spanish class last semester, as well as buy Spanish scriptures. I didn't know why and I figured it would just be useful to learn, but I know that it was prompted from Heavenly Father now.

I felt prompted to take two bible classes this semester, and lo and behold I am going to an over 80% Roman Catholic populated mission! Which means I really have to study the bible and learn how to efficiently connect it with the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation. I am so grateful I felt that prompting for these classes because it's totally helped with that!

I was lead my entire life towards marine biology and have learned a lot of cool things about the ocean, and guess what!? There are many marine biologists in Santo Domingo, and I will have something to talk to them about! It's amazing how we never know why we are lead down certain paths until looking retrospectively. In one of my blog posts I talked about how God lead me down a whole road just to tell me to sacrifice it all for a different plan, but now I see it was always the same plan! He was always leading me towards this amazing opportunity to serve the Dominican Republic people!

My sister just got a job with JetBlue and can fly to the Dominican Republic for free! Which means we can go and visit together after my mission for free! I hope you understand how big I view this blessing... I am so excited that words can't describe.

I have always had an interest in history, specifically literary history. But, history intrigued me as I love viewing the context of any story because it adds depth and meaning. I am so fortunate to go to one of the most historical places in the Americas! The Dominican Republic was the very first settling place of the Americas done by Christopher Columbus's brother, and Santo Domingo was declared the capital of the American conquest.

I know that the Lord wants me in the Dominican Republic and that the call came from Him. I know that He will help me and guide me as I strive to do my very best as His missionary and representative. The Lord is the one calling every missionary, and every call is perfect for them, if they submit to His will.

I think of 1 Nephi 3:16 and replaced a couple of words (bolded)

"Wherefore, let us be faithful in answering the call of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our call, for behold we will leave gold and silver, and all manner of riches (and facebook, twitter, iphones, instagram, family, friends, jobs, school) And all this hath we done because of the calling of the Lord"  

(Home to the beautiful Santo Domingo LDS Temple) 

I promise you, there is nothing like the feeling of the confirmation of the Spirit when you read where the Lord has called you

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Was the Woman at the Well

John 4:28-29 : The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the city and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 


An appropriate word to possibly describe the woman at the well in John 4 is Outcast. In my New Testament class we learned about this woman by particularly looking at contextual clues that could deepen our understanding of the significance of her story.

First of all, you need to know that Jesus finds this woman at a well in Samaria. The Samaritans and the Jews hated each other. As my teacher put it, the Jews considered themselves pure blood and the Samaritans mixed or dirty blood--Similar to Harry Potter with mudbloods. Typically a Jew, and Jesus was a Jew, wouldn't be kind towards a Samaritan, which is our first clue into why this story is so important and shows Jesus's character so well.

Next, if we go to John 4:6-7, we notice that Jesus saw this woman at the well at the sixth hour. This means 6 hours after sunrise, or in other words, around noon. Women in this area during the day normally fetched water from the well in the morning and at night, which would have us guessing that it was a social event. Clearly, this woman didn't fit in with the other women; clearly, this woman was still desperate for water. This is a possibly clue into her being an outcast.

If we then move to John 4:9, we notice that this women was not looking towards making friends as she looks up to Jesus and says, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." As you can imagine, this wasn't a phrase of welcome or endearment.

The last clue is found in John 4:16-18 when Jesus prophesies of the woman's failed marriages and sinful lifestyle full of infidelity. As you can imagine, this lifestyle most likely did not make this woman very popular among the woman of the town.

If you don't mind, at this point of my analysis I would like to insert myself.

There was a time in my past when I was truly lost. I had lost a lot of my friends, turned away from the light, and decided that I could do this "life" thing on my own, as an outcast, living a bare minimum lifestyle. I don't really like to tell this story because we all have made past mistakes and I never like focusing on mine, and would rather focus on the miracle of the atonement. But, for this story's purposes I ask for your kindness and non-judgment as I relate this story to myself personally.

When I first felt the spirit nudging me towards changing, my first response was "you have no dealings with me, I am too far gone" I know that sounds harsh and terrible, but it's true. I didn't want to turn to the light that I had known was true my whole life. I truly thought that positive change was impossible for me at that point. One of my thoughts was that all of the positive influential people in my life had seemed to leave and I was left standing broken, trying to fix my life with no real direction, and essentially began resisting help.

My "Ah-hah!" moment wasn't until a girl's camp when my young woman president decided to talk to me alone about my life. The thing is, you would have never guessed I was struggling with all that I was because I put on a mask to everyone, but the spirit told her to talk to me. She didn't "prophesy" of my mistakes, but I know that the spirit knew and told her to reach out. Suddenly I felt a need to tell her everything and change and come back to the light, but I shrunk with fear. I didn't tell her and I never did, but the fire of desire started growing inside. Little steps were taken soon after which eventually caused me to trust in the atonement and really use it in my life.

Later in the story, the woman in John 4:25-26 learns that Christ, the very man that would save her from (but not in) her sins was the one speaking kindly and softly to her. Isn't it ironic, that the one that would suffer for her sins wasn't the one that pointed them out to her with anger and resentment? Instead, he pointed them out to bring her to Him and to trust Him. Immediately she ran to tell others and brought them to Christ.

It wasn't until I truly understood that the atonement can change anybody and that Christ was real, loving, kind, and powerful, that I changed. It was through little nudges of kindness and love that brought me back into the light, into His love. It wasn't the spirit coming, telling me i'm horrible and need to change, and leaving. It was soft and gentle and I felt Christ in every moment of my process of change.

The reason I tell this story isn't to talk about how awesome I was for changing, or how bad I was before, it is to show you that there are people in our lives that we have to reach out to with love and kindness like Christ did. Had my YW leader not reached out, I don't know if I would have felt God's love as powerful that day at Girl's camp. Let us be a little better at resisting judgments on others, because I, like this woman, was an outcast, and Christ didn't let either of us be excluded from his love. Let us be better at not excluding anyone from our own love, and diligently pray to find the 'woman at the well' in our lives who needs our help to recognize Christ's love.

A lot of time has passed for me since this life story, unlike the woman at the well. But, we are the same in our new desires in life: to bring others to Christ by helping them receive the gospel. Writing this sad part of my life is somewhat bleak to my new adventures ahead, but I choose to look at the past and realize just how much the Savior loves me and wants me to continually rely on His Atonement. I am so grateful that He led me back and found His lost sheep back then, because now I have the amazing opportunity to serve a mission and spread the gospel, just like the woman at the well.

Because of her conversion this result came:

John 4:39-42: And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believe because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of they saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Glorious Inconveniences

My answer seemed to always be the same: Go to BYU Hawaii and major in marine biology. I went to different marine biology camps growing up and volunteered at the aquarium, and because of those, opportunities seemed to present themselves in this area of study and it seemed that my life was set in stone. I was adrenalized and enthusiastic because this path seemed illuminated by divine approval. 

On October 6th, 2012, my life turned upside down. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints lowered the age for sister missionary service from 21 to 19. I found out as I was driving to Einstein's Brothers to get bagels for my family with my sister. We were listening to conference on the radio and as I listened to this monumental occasion, it seemed time stopped and there was a feeling telling me that Heavenly Father wanted me to go. Although on social media and to my peers I exclaimed my excitement and surety on this new path, I was absolutely terrified.

That night I prayed to know if I was correct in my assumed feelings, and felt strongly that I was. The next couple of weeks I prayed to know if I should in fact apply to BYU in the coming weeks, or BYU Hawaii still. Through fasting and prayers, I realized that to fulfill this desire of going on a mission, my best option would be to attend BYU. Sadly, as most might not guess, this was devastating for me, but I decided God knew what was best and would guide me the whole way through. 

All that I had ever worked for, all that ever had seem to fit for my future, suddenly dissipated and I was to start school here and take 18 months of my life to give up a head start on my career, internships, experiences, and my educational goals. One thing didn't make sense, why had God lead me all the way down this path, and then suddenly changed His mind about what he wanted from me? 

I wish I could tell you the answers came clear to me but they didn't. In fact, the answer to this question didn't happen until this week while in my New Testament Class discussing a story between Jesus and Peter. 

The story occurs in Luke 5: 1-11. The way my professor described the story (from his interpretation) gave me great insight into my own story. He talked about how the fish would come out at night the most, and very likely peter and the other disciples had been fishing all night long, and had caught nothing, when Jesus entered his ship. He asked him to cast out and put his net into the water. My teacher described a possible thought Peter may have been having "Jesus, you haven't been fishing your whole life! I've been up all night and I just need some sleep. How about we get some rest and then try this whole cast out another net thing?" But as the scriptures go, Peter says he will do it "nonetheless". Basically, if you imagine yourself in Peter's shoes, He doesn't really want to keep fishing but chooses to follow Christ. Immediately tons and tons of fish were caught, and could have possibly been the biggest catch ever made in the Sea of Galilee. After getting on shore, if you think about it, Peter could have become a very popular fisher. He could have been given money and prizes and all sorts of recognition, but what does Christ do? He tells him that he wants him to leave that all behind and be a fisher of men. 

It wasn't until Peter had to sacrifice something so important to him that Jesus asked him to be a missionary and follow Him. Peter could have had the same thoughts that I did, why did you give me the biggest catch, and not let me pursue the course that lead ahead because of it? But in class we discussed that it could have been a confidence builder, had Peter not been able to catch fish, how could he feel confident enough to theoretically catch men? Also, Christ could have been emphasizing that His work is the most important and most rewarding work on Earth. Can you imagine the blessings Peter was able to participate in because he walked and talked with Jesus every day?

This suddenly opened my eyes that I had to give up my “fish” literally (haha) and figuratively to experience the joy that I knew Jesus had in store for me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve. I can't wait to get my call next week, and like Peter, have opportunities like this to sacrifice my wants to bring others what they need. 

When we choose to sacrifice something temporal to follow Christ, we will find that His route will never fail. These inconveniences will always turn out to be glorious. We will feel Christ's love and direction more fully every day, and like Peter we will develop a better relationship with him. His work is the most important work, and we have to sometimes sacrifice a seemingly fine path to participate in a golden-paved, heavenly one.

Luke 1:10-11

"...Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men... and they forsook all, and followed him" 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Who is Jesus Christ?

A popular game that featured Disney trivia came out when I was young. This video/board game was highly entertaining as you had to take on many different challenging activities throughout the game. I loved a certain challenge called "guess who" the very most. Guess who is played by the system giving different descriptions of a character (starting from broad characteristics to specific ones) until the guesser can guess who the character they are describing is. The reason I loved this game so much was because Disney characters are really easy to distinguish because their stories, habits, physical looks, and other traits are all so different from each other. To me, it was easy points. 

Once I began Junior High, those kind of games simply weren't as entertaining or addicting as they once were. Until a day in class that I'll never forget. The teacher put together a class "guess who" where anyone who volunteered would go up and describe (nicely) someone else in the class. I remember they started and I was stumped almost every time. Because everyone seemed so similar. 

You might be wondering, why in the world I am talking about silly games when my title is about our Savior. It is because I believe we sometimes like to tackle the lesson of teaching who Jesus Christ is as a checklist of the things He said, did, and was. We combine all of the stories from the New Testament, especially the first four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and try and create our own "guess who" list from the stories and attributes given of Christ. This becomes problematic because sometimes we lose important key concepts that really differentiate between Christ and anyone who might have claimed to be Him. I guess this is only fitting because most of us have not had a personal face to face conversation with Christ, and we are all trying to figure out who he is from a different party of clues and suggestions. 

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I feel I have been taught about Jesus Christ more than anything. One thing I feel I have been deprived from however, is a full study of the New Testament. We learn from multiple church leaders that together the Book of Mormon and the correct translation of the Bible together are the fullness of the gospel. I wonder why we sometimes cram together all the stories of Christ from the New Testament, when we rarely do this for the Book of Mormon. 

I have begun a New Testament class at BYU and this week we studied a rhetorical analysis of all the four authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and why they should be studied differently. The article consisted of who the authors intended audiences were, the language they chose to use, the highlights they chose to emphasize, and mainly the why questions for every book. Reading the article really opened my eyes and lead me to a deeper desire to study each gospel independently to come to know my Savior more than the perspective I have been gained from a limited study. 

As an example of the importance of the important lesson I learned from looking deeper into the gospels separately, I will give a new important detail I studied from independently looking into Matthew. In the essay, at the end of their discussion they talk about John the Baptist and how he told Pharisees that their salvation wasn't secure and they were required to repent or else "The coming one" would cast them out. Later in this Gospel we find John in jail sending one of his disciples to find Jesus and ask him if he was truly the "coming one" that John spoke of to the Pharisees. When Jesus replied, he replied with telling John that he was the coming one that was healing the blind, lame, death, and many others. 

Why would Jesus not take on the title of the "coming one" as portraying him of casting people out who did not repent? One day he will do that, as the article discusses, but why did Jesus focus on his healing miracles instead? I like to believe that Jesus wanted them, and us also, to focus on the changes and healing He can help us with. He desires us to see His love and His grace. He wanted John to know him as a healer. 

What does this have to do with me and you? So often we focus on Judgment day for the reasoning behind why we must repent. Of course we have to repent if we want to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, the highest of all the degrees of glory (more info on But is that all that Jesus wants us to see through his healing? I like to believe that, just like John, Jesus wants us to come to know Him personally as the healer, which we can do as we repent. I believe that because Jesus loves us, He wants to heal us because He Can. He was letting John know He can perform miracles on the seemingly hopeless cases, just like He can do for us. So in essence, as we use the atonement we come to know Christ through his healing and love. If we only look at Christ as someone who punishes, our eternal perspectives will be highly limited, because Christ wants us to see His love, feel it, and use it. 

These little details in stories are normally ignored as we "timeline" Jesus's life by compiling all four gospels into one. These little details could change everything for someone. I know on my mission I won't be able to convince every person I talk to that they need to be baptized, although I wish that was the case. I was inspired by Chloe Isaac's farewell talk when she said, "my goal isn't to baptize everyone, it is to let every person know they have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love them". This will also be my mission goal. 

In conclusion, I challenge all those who are currently striving to come to know Christ to: 
1. Use His atonement. Apply it every day in your life! Strive for the comfort you need during trials, and peace you need during repentance, that can only come from Him. As you diligently try to repent and become more like Him, you will know more about Him. 
2. Study about Him more fully by taking every account of Him separately and dissecting them all. Ask yourself why there are certain things included in some scriptures, and others not. There are certain thing emphasized in every account that you can come to know Him. This will help with your testimony that yes! There really was a Savior who came down to Earth and atoned for every single person, and yes! He lives today!! 
3. Be patient and listen to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will teach you more fully who the Savior is and how he loves you. One of my favorite quotes comes from a book called "suit up!" One of the authors say, "His hand is always open for us, we are the ones that must turn and grab onto it". We must seek him to come to him, and the Holy Ghost will be our companion in our journey. 

Here is a link to the intriguing article I read: