Sunday, June 15, 2014

ONEREPUBLIC [I never post about my life adventures on my blog but this concert earned a definite blog post]

Annie, Calli, Rachel, and I are all in the car before the concert. We decided to go get some chick-fil-a before heading up there. Of course, as my typical wrong self I say, "Hey don't worry about time, we have flashseats so we can take as long as we want." That wasn't the case. We got stuck in an hour long traffic. We missed all of American Authors, and half of The Script (which was a big bummer to the rest of the group, but I was mostly just excited to see OneRepublic). We ran in and quickly got some t-shirts and then found our seats.

Danny O'Donoghue, main singer of The Script, came right next to us!!

And then we took some pictures to kill time between the two bands...

And then I found out how much better an actual camera takes pictures vs. an iPhone 

All in all, it was an amazing night!! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dirty Feet

Before I begin my blog post: if you feel like you need a pick-me-up I recommend reading this great blog post done by a girl who is going to my same mission! Her name is Kelsey Davis and she graduated from BYU as an English Major... so her writing is stellar. Enjoy :)


Dirty Feet.

My baby sister loves the outdoors with a serious passion that has the whole family worried (because who knows if she will find a way to get outside without us knowing!?). She spends a lot of her time out in the drive way, tramp, and everywhere around the dirt. When she finally accepts to come inside happily her feet are filthy. Noticing her dirty feet I feel inclined to take her up to the bath and wash them for her because she can't really do it herself.

I thought her feet were gross, until I found out what the New Testament 12 Apostles feet conditions were. In those times it was normal for some people to go for a month without bathing. On top of that, there were animal droppings, improper shoes, and dirt everywhere. If you were a person of certain status, you would have your servants washing your feet. This job was considered one of the lowest, dirtiest, grossest job to have to perform.

John 13:13-14 is after Jesus cleans his disciples feet. I never thought much of this until my class and finding out the context of their "dirty feet". Picture this: The King of Kings, the creator of worlds, the Savior of all, The Prince of Peace, The only perfect person to ever walk this earth... doing the worst job in the


In these verses Jesus teaches "ye call me Master and Lord and ye saw well: for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet."

This story could easily be a lesson on service and helping those around us, because Jesus didn't hesitate to do the worst jobs to help others; However, as I pondered this event I realized this could tie into The Atonement.

The Highest of The High, Goes The Lowest of the Low. 

A person who was perfect, spotless, and was not guilty of the punishments of each of us (or the dirtiest of our feet so to say) but stooped down so low and took all the blame and punishment for us if we would repent, so "our feet" can be clean. This story became much less a story about 12 Apostles, and much more a story about me. If I trust in the Savior and repent, He truly can take the dirtiness and misery away from my life. He can make me clean again, just as clean as I was when I came out of the baptismal waters. The fact that The Savior did this for us doesn't just make a small difference in our lives like cleaning feet. The fact that the Savior did this for us makes all the difference because He cleans our souls.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Unwrapping A Dead Man's Wraps ??

Sometimes we are asked to do things that don't make a lot of sense [for example, from my own personal life recently] : go and give up 18 months of your life and turn it completely over to Lord and His work. 

Most 19 year old girls in the world would find this sort of idea far from normal or peculiar to say the least.

Before I dive more into this recent development, i'm going to dive into a very insightful story from John 11. This is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (which in and of itself is awesome) but until my class this week I hadn't thought a lot about the other characters involved in this story: particularly Jesus and those observing Lazarus arising.

As I have noted in previous blog posts, it is sometimes natural to jump and look only at the physical miracles Jesus performed in the New Testament. Although it is wonderful that He did those miracles, we sometimes forget to look at the spiritual miracles in the story as well.

#1: Jesus Mourns with Those That Mourn (Sound familiar?)
John 11:35 : "Jesus Wept"
Reading this my first time through, I assumed He was crying because He was sad for Lazarus. In my New Testament class we discussed how Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead before He did it. So then comes the question... why is Jesus crying? My professor proposed a wonderful idea, which in summary he said: You guys, we look to Jesus who cries when we cry. When we are baptized we promise to mourn with those that mourn, and Jesus is the ultimate exemplar in this story. He isn't crying for Lazarus dying because He knows He is going to raise him. He is crying because He looks around and sees all of these people that He loves... crying.
This part of the scriptures jumped out to me as it never had before. We are saved by the Son of God... who mourns with us because he loves us. I ask you, how can you better mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort? I know I can do better at sympathizing with others and I will begin trying harder because this story gave me motivation towards doing better at that.

#2: "Move the Rock and Unwrap Him"
John 11:39, 44 : "And Jesus said, Take ye away the stone...Loose him and let him go."
Isn't it interesting that Jesus had the power to move the stone alone, but asked those watching to do it instead? We discussed in class how this was a total leap of faith: an outward expression at their internal faith in the Son's power. The second thing He asked was much harder: to unwrap Lazarus. Keep in mind this is 4 days after Lazarus is declared dead, he stinks, and at this time in history you were considered unclean if you were to touch a dead body. This was a complete separation from any social norm that they were used to. Why? Why does Jesus make us do hard things that are so out of our comfort zone??
I believe it's once again a leap of faith. I also think that He wanted to give these people an opportunity to help Lazarus so that they all can grow into better people.

#3: Miracles don't change people, the Holy Ghost and personal conversion does.
John 11:46 : "But some of them went there ways to the Pharisees..."
I can't reiterate enough that physical miracles do not cut it. Sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don't; what really changes a person is faith and conversion through the power of the Holy Ghost. So many people demand signs and wonders to believe in God but this story alone tells us that even raising a man who was dead for 4 days back to life does not equate to a perfect and lasting testimony. These were amazing miracles, but let's try our hardest to focus on our internal, spiritual miracles in our own lives: because those last an eternity unlike physical miracles that eventually die out.

I love this story because as I studied the different characters and the things Jesus asked them to do, it teaches me that I will be asked to do hard things. I can choose to follow Jesus, or I can choose to follow someone else. But that someone else can't motivate me, change me, or love me the way that Jesus can and does.

When I got my official call from the Lord to serve my mission, I was ecstatic beyond what words can say. Although it was really exciting, those moments only briefly lasted before opposition slapped me in the face. There have been really great moments ever since getting my call, and really hard ones as well.

I can not tell you enough how much the knowledge that :
a) Jesus asks me to do hard things to change me into a better person,
b) I have been asked to "unwrap" people in the Dominican Republic from the bondage of the blindness of the world. In other words, I have been called to help people feel free, whole, and complete, by teaching them how they can use the atonement of Jesus Christ in their own lives.
c) I have being lead by a perfect being; one who loves me, mourns with me, and rejoices with me.

Has helped me in my own moments of peril when I am thinking: Why in the world am I doing something so hard and out of my comfort zone? 

As you go through your moments of wondering how in the world you are going to do something out of your comfort zone that God has asked you to do (like a new calling, a new job, a new major...) remember that you are being lead by a god who loves you, who stretches you, and most importantly who changes you.

Last I ask you: How can you help those who are wrapped up in hard times? Who feel like there is no escape from their own wrappings? There are angels around us, and sometimes you are one of them.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Here's To The Blind:

"I once was lost, but now am found. 
Was blind, but now I see." -Amazing Grace 

I won't sugar coat it: Having eye problems my whole life has not been easy. Over and over again I heard the phrase, "Hey, it could be a lot worse. You could be completely blind, or not have eyes at all!" Yup, I agreed every time and I still do because in reality it could always be worse. But sometimes, in my moments of eye pain or frustration I find it really hard to pretend it's not there or not "bad" enough to cry over. 
One of the only joys I've really been able to find from this life-long trial is the fact that I have huge glasses, so when I pull them away from my face it makes my eyes huge and makes other people laugh (especially my baby sister). 

2 years ago my life was so different, and my eyes took a bad turn for the worse. I woke up on the fourth of July, 2012, with red eyes that I could barely open. Sunlight was torture and any bright light was agonizing. For once, I felt what it would be like to be completely blind because I tried keeping my eyes closed as much as possible. I remember that morning falling on my knees, begging for a miracle for my eyes to be healed, but to no avail. What was once a prayer for help, became a prayer of grief. My heart broke as I prayed for what seemed like eternity about my eyes and how hard it was to live with them. 

Because it was a holiday, mostly every single eye-doctor wasn't at work. My pain was worsening throughout the day and my frustration was growing because I was so confused on what was going on with my eyes. I kept praying for a miracle that a doctor could be working, and for the first time that day my prayer was answered the way I had hoped. I was able to go to an appointment at LensCrafter while they examined my eyes. They discovered a huge ulcer on the top of my right eye and the beginning of another one on my left. Some makeup had gotten on my contacts, and when I accidentally fell asleep with them in, the makeup scratched my eyes. I remember walking out of the appointment that day completely discouraged, closing my eyes I began to pray. 

There are some trials that are hard enough individually, that imagining the fact that "it could be worse" doesn't actually help you feel any better. But there is something that does make us feel better, Jesus Christ and His Atonement. 

Mark 10: 46-53 tells the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man in Jericho. The story goes that as Christ was passing by he began calling out to him for mercy and help, even though the other handicapped people surrounded him rebuked him. Jesus hears him, and then stands still. He then asks others to bring Bartimaeus to him. When he arrives, Jesus asks him what he desires and he asks for his sight. In vs. 53 it reads, "And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." 

As I studied this story in my New Testament, this old 4th of July experience played back in my head. As I was closing my eyes, that I began to pray to know that Jesus knew how I felt, and I felt so much comfort and peace that I knew that He went through all of this eye pain so that he could truly love and help me. 

That moment reminds me of the end of the story of Bartimaeus. No, my eyesight was not completely cured like Bartimaeus but that day my eyes were completely opened. Christ tells Bartimaeus to go his way and what does he do? He makes his way Christ's way as he follows him. I believe that we have 2 main choices in life that effect everything: If we will go our own way, or Christ's. I believe that the choice I made that day to trust that Christ knew how I felt changed my life forever. I'm not perfect at it, and it will be something I will work on my whole life, but I found solace that day by applying the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life.