Sunday, March 31, 2013

I got my scriptures engraved!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

     I am having a really difficult. It is so frustrating wanting so badly to share the gospel with someone in a meaningful way , not just reading off your notes, but not being able to. I know they/re letting this happen so we are motivated to speak the language, but it's been really hard on me.I can't believe I wanted to go foreign speaking!
     But...with all that said....I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I wouldn't rather be at home, or at BYU, because Heavenly Father wants me here. And the spirit is amazing and I'm learning a lot. It's just really accelerated and hard and I am learning lessons the hard way way, patience, communication, diligence, humility, trust and reliance on Heavenly Father. It is all good, just hard.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I found her! My cousin Krystal left for the MTC one week before me. She is learning Spanish and will be going to McAllen, Texas. She is doing so well and seems like she is knows what she is doing already and I am jealous!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Me and my companion Sister Emilie Stiles from Bakersfield California

Hello everyone!
     Hey! First day complete! It really has been so awesome. The spirit is so strong here...It's a little overwhelming but super amazing. My companion is Soeur Emilie Stiles from Bakersfield California. She also was at BYU until last semester and even lived at Wyview where I did. Cool!
     I am pretty stoked to be here. It is where I am meant to be for sure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quick Note!! My Addresses!

OH! I almost forgot! In case you'd like to write me.... Here are my addresses!

MTC Address:

Sister Celina Elizabeth Ferguson
MTC Mailbox #253
CAN-MON 0430
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Mission Office: (after May 1st)

Sister Celina Elizabeth Ferguson
Canada Montréal Mission
470 Rue Gilford, Ste 300
Montreal, QC H2J 1N3

(and for family: my email address is

Also, I'll have my mom post my addresses to my specific apartments once I get there. :) And I'm thinking along with having emails posted here, we'll forward them to those who would like in addition. If you'd like that, send your email address to or probably marylynnferguson@hotmailcom ... It's been fun! I love you all so much!! Write me letters... ;)

My Farewell

Hey guys! I leave tomorrow! It's official! I'm betting that I'll be in Canada, or at leaving to go there around May 1st! ... Pretty crazy. I'll be set apart tonight by my stake president, President Tingey. :) I already know it's going to be such a sweet experience. I'm trying to get my mom to update this blog for me while I'm gone.. Maybe posting pictures and letters/emails I send home.

Thank you so very much to all that came to my farewell to support me, I am overwhemled by how much love I feel for all of you. I admire each one of you, and I know that you've each taught me so much. Thank you for being my friend along the way.... You're so wonderful! (Send me letters! ;)

Below is a copy of the farewell talk that I wrote in preparation for last Sunday. Forgive me for the errors (puctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.)... I didn't write it with the intention of it being read by anyone but me, but several people have asked for access to it/copies. :) Just know that I mean every word.



Why do I want to serve a mission? – Farewell Talk 3/17/13

Exactly five months and eleven days ago, during the Saturday morning session of General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson made an announcement that has, and will change my life forever. He declared that the age requirements for missionaries for the LDS church had been adjusted, and that “able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at a 19 instead of 21, which had been the previous protocol. I had turned 19 just two months before this announcement, so this was particularly striking to me. The mission decision had previously been something I had been contemplating and preparing for, but with an attitude a little along the lines of "anything could happen between now and when I turn 21". Suddenly the decision of whether or not I was going to serve a mission was right before me, and not in some distant time in the future.

                Obviously, choosing to serve a mission, putting your entire life on hold for a lengthy period of time to serve the Lord, is a HUGE commitment, sacrifice, and decision. For a few weeks after the announcement I thought long and hard about what it was that I was supposed to do. I prayed to God, telling him that I was willing to do whatever it was that he wanted me to do, and that I trusted Him to guide me. After a lot of thinking, prayer, and discussion with my parents, I made the decision to begin the process of turning my recommendation papers in. Two weeks later I received my call, to the lovely Canada Montreal mission. This Wednesday I will enter the Provo Missionary Training Center to begin working hard to become the missionary that I know Heavenly Father wants me to be.

This decision is huge for me. I can imagine that many, particularly not of the LDS faith, are confused as to why I would decide to do such a thing. In so doing, I am making a lot of sacrifices. I will be leaving my family and friends behind, keeping in contact only through handwritten letters and access to email once a week. I’m leaving my phone behind, my computer, all access to the internet except for the sole purpose of emailing, or helping with family history work. The music I listen to will only be mission approved, I’ve promised to put any forms of dating on hold, and overall… Commit myself 100% to the Lord’s work. To many of you, and at one time or another to myself, this seems like so much to ask, especially of a 19 year old girl. Why would I voluntarily make this choice? Today I am grateful for the opportunity to speak, and explore in depth, the exact answer to that question… why I want to serve a mission.  What you have to understand, is what being a member of this church means to me. It isn't merely just a really great organization that I'm a part of. It's not just an awesome support system that teaches good morals as to how to be a good person. It's so much more than that. My beliefs, my knowledge that this is the one true church and the glad tidings which it contains… is an absolutely fundamental component of who I am. So in considering what it is that has driven me to make this choice in my life, I seem to have thoughts that fall into three components.

I mentioned before that once the announcement was released, I immediately started pray, and converse with Heavenly Father, asking what it was that he wished for me to do. As my testimony and conviction of the truth of this church has developed, I have discovered the validity of a comment by the prophet Ezra Taft Benson, that “men and women who turn their lives over to God quickly learn that he can make more of their lives than they can”. I have learned, time and time again, that when faced with decisions in my life, if I turn to God and consult with him, things will always work out. As members of the church, we constantly try to align ourselves more and more with His will instead of ours. And so in praying about the decision to serve a mission, I was doing just that. I asked to know of His will concerning me and the choice to serve. The response was overwhelmingly, “yes”! I received such a strong witness that He wanted me to serve, and that a mission at this time in my life is definitely included in His plan for me. When we are baptized, we make a promise with God that we will stand as witnesses of Him, and the way that He wants me to do that is by leaving my family for a year and a half, to serve and testify. I think the words of the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” sums up this point pretty well. It reads: It may not be on the mountain height or over the stormy sea, it may not be at the battle’s front my Lord will have need of me. But if, by a still, small voice he calls to paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord… Perhaps today there are loving words which Jesus would have me speak; there may be now in the paths of sin some wand’rer whom I should seek. O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, tho dark and rugged the way, my voice shall echo the message sweet: I’ll say what you want me to say. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place in earth’s harvest fields so wide where I may labor through life’s short day for Jesus, the Crucified. So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me, I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere: I’ll be what you want me to be. And so, the first component of my desire to serve a mission can be explained by simply saying that I know it’s what God wants me to do.

To explain the second component, I ask you to put yourself in an imaginary scenario for a moment. Imagine that you have just discovered the cure for cancer. What would you do once you’ve found it? Would you share it with others? How urgently would you do so? Who would you share this momentous discovery with? Today there are so many rampant and unrelenting illnesses. Not all of them are physical. A lot of them are spiritual or emotional in nature. Addictions to drugs, alcohol or pornography, family struggles, pains from the loss of a loved one, tough challenges in relationships with others, a lack of a sense of purpose, loneliness, purposelessness, emotional pain, hunger, disease, abuse, hate, depression… The list is absolutely endless.  All of these are different ailments that many, if not all of us, suffer from at one time or another. I am here to tell you today, and in three days I will be leaving my home to boldly declare to all who will listen, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christ’s church restored to the earth, the one and only true church is the absolute cure for all of the ills in the world today. As I grew up, read the Book of Mormon, attended church, and studied the teachings of the church… I came to know, to discover this cure. Why I am serving a mission, is to share this cure with everyone within my reach.

Some people out there suffer from the affliction of loneliness, self-esteem problems, or a lack of identity. The message of the true church provides comfort for these people. Revelation given to Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants declares that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”(D&C 18:10). Through the restored church we can know that each of us are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves each of us unconditionally. He loves us and wants to help us and guide us in everything that we do. As you learn about Christ, you begin to understand what God sees in you, and what you can become. Heavenly Father and His spirit can be your constant companion, guide, and comforter. The church structure itself can serve as a healing balm for these ailments. Stakes and wards provide strong supportive units, with home teachers and visiting teachers constantly loving and looking out for the welfare of others.

Sometimes families are subject to disease and corruption, sometimes with symptoms that may include contention, unkind words, divorce, abuse, neglect or abandonment. Again, the church lends a hand to help. Strengthening marriages and families is of utmost importance within the church. The family is the most basic unit of the church, and so much of the church’s daily efforts are aimed at strengthening and improving family relationships. In 1995, the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley revealed The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which articulates the importance of the family, stating that “the family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and women is essential to His eternal plan… Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”. We know through the restored church that families are forever, and that the bonds we have with our loved ones will not be broken by death.

Some people lack purpose in this life, or perhaps a peace, happiness or hope that they wish they had in their life. Again, the good news of the gospel provides a solution. God’s plan for us is even often called the plan of happiness. Missionaries know that every person is precious. We know that that all Heavenly Father wants is for us all to return to him. That’s what I want, and that’s what missionaries want. We want for all of us, every single person no matter who you are or where you are to be happy and return with God. That is our purpose. We know that the gospel, the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, is the only way to achieve peace in this life, and eternal salvation and joy in the next. In Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk, Safety for the Soul, he states “Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all trouble in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to ‘come unto Christ” and be perfected in him’”. The Book of Mormon was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the latter days. That is its purpose.  In Elder Holland’s talk he even says explicitly that the Book of Mormon is one of the Lord’s powerful keystones in the counteroffensive against latter-day ills.

There are many other ‘cures’ that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides. The church, the scriptures, and prayer can provide answers to thoughts concerning who you are, where you came from, and where you’re going next. “The word gospel as we use it in English comes down to us through early scriptural language which meant literally ‘good news’ or sometimes ‘glad tidings.’ The ’good news’ was that death and hell could be ecaped, that mistakes and sins could be overcome, that there was hope, that there was help, that the insoluble was solved, that the enemy had been conquered. The good news was that everyone’s tomb could one day be empty, that everyone’s soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life.” (Jeffrey R. Holland- Missionary Work and the Atonement)

Today I want to testify that I have had challenges in my life. There are experiences that I have had that I’ve struggled with and that have been hard for me. But I have also experienced the cure, the amazing healing power of Christ’s church upon the earth. For this purpose I have accepted the call the serve. I go to serve a mission with the sole hope of making life better for other people. I want to witness to the world that I know it is true, I know of its healing power. The analogy that I have used today, discovering a cure for cancer, is a little similar to one of the allegories contained in the Book of Mormon. I’m speaking of the story of the prophet Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life. In it, Lehi dreams that he comes across a tree, “whose fruit was desirable to make one happy”. He tastes of some of the fruit, and remarks that it is more sweet than any he has tasted. Partaking of the fruit filled his soul with great joy, and immediately he had desires for the rest of his family to come and partake. In this allegory, the fruit represents Christ’s atonement and tells of its extraordinary sweetness and joy that comes from partaking of it. The Atonement is really the center of God’s plan; it is what enables us to return to live with Him again. The Atonement, and by consequence, the ability to repent is what gives us the ability to overcome our sins, constantly striving to become perfect so that we can achieve salvation. Partaking of the Atonement, and making it a daily part of our lives, gives us the ability to overcome the pain and sorrow we experience. In my life, I see repentance as a constant thing I am trying to do, constantly working on fixing the mistakes I make, and trying each day to be a little better, a little more Christlike. The Atonement is truly what contains the ultimate healing power. I have tasted of this delicious fruit, and I feel an extremely strong and insatiable desire to share it with everyone I meet. I know that for many of you this may not make sense, but ever since I found out that I was to serve in the Canada Montreal mission, and began to pray for the people within my mission I have felt an overwhelming love for them, none of whom I have met. I am excited to meet those who I will cross paths with, and I already desire for them to know of the truth, to partake of the fruit, to let Christ heal their injuries and cure their sicknesses. Love is what it’s all about. Love for others. I read a scripture earlier that states that the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God… That chapter goes on to say “if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” Growing up I took that scripture to mean that if you labor and bring one person to be baptized, your joy will be great in heaven because of the reward which you should receive. However, since I have received my call, and have experienced a glimpse of how much Heavenly Father loves those who I will have the opportunity to teach… My perspective of that scripture has completely changed. My joy with him in the Kingdom of my Father will not be because of my reward. Bringing that one soul unto Christ will be the reward. I will have joy because I will have brought a fellow brother or sister unto the loving arms of my Father. I will have the opportunity of seeing them become a changed being in Christ, and obtain happiness, and knowledge of their true worth. I now know that becoming a missionary does not entitle me to some great material reward in heaven, I know instead that being a missionary means being a humble servant of the Lord and carrying out His will. I’m going out to serve others, and to serve Him.

This brings me to my last, and perhaps strongest driving force that has compelled me to make the decision to serve a mission, which is ultimately, to become like Christ. That is my ultimate purpose in this life, as it is for all of us. We are to follow and come unto him, to become like him through adapting His attributes such as love, patience, hope, humility, charity, faith, virtue, knowledge, diligence and obedience. I know that if Jesus Christ were ministering on the earth today, the work that he would be doing would be missionary work. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained in his talk “You Are My Hands” that “Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. He did not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the people, Jesus reached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others. He not only taught but also showed us how to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His Hands, those he touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result.” That is my goal, as a follower of Christ. To follow in His footsteps, to serve others. The missionary handbook, Preach my Gospel promises that “as [I] follow this example, [I] will find those who will receive [me]. Through service, [Me] and those who are prepared for the restored gospel come together in a powerful, inspiring way.”

One of the neat things about being a servant of the Lord is that in reality, I am merely an instrument in God’s hands. Because I realize that He has given me everything that I have, I am willing to give him everything that I have in order to carry out His purposes. As a missionary, what we do every day is strive to be a vessel through which the spirit can work. The spirit is the true teacher. In one of my missionary preparation classes I have been attending, one of my teachers explained to me that when I meet with someone who is investigating the church, there are three groups in the room. Myself and my companion, the investigator, and the spirit. My companion and I are the least important out of these three. What the spirit and what the investigator has to say is the most important. In reality, a missionary is nothing without the spirit. Without the Spirit, he/she has lost their ability and authority to teach the message of the gospel. But with the spirit… Anything is possible. That is how testimonies, or a knowledge that the church is the true church, is obtained; through the spirit. That’s what I think it absolutely amazing about this church. We, as missionaries, are not out there tricking people or using fancy language to convince people to get baptized. We’re saying “Look. Here is this book. Read it! Read it, take some time to really think about it, and pray with an honest heart to know if it is true… And He will tell you that it is. Your life will be changed forever.” The gospel testifies of itself! I love it. I love it so much. I’m so grateful to know of the truth of it, and experience it blessing my life every day. I love my Heavenly Father, and I am grateful that I can pray to him always to receive help, guidance and comfort. I know and love my brother, savior, and redeemer, Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the healing power that he gives to us, because of him every trial in life is temporary, no pain is permanent. I have happiness I knowing that I can be with my family, those that I love the most, forever. I love my life, and as long as I remember to keep the truths of the gospel in the forefront of my mind, I am truly happy. I’m so excited to go to Canada to find people there that are looking for someone like me to help them find the truth… To figure out who they are, why they’re here, what their purpose is… I’m excited to witness their experience as they feel the love that Heavenly Father has for them, and come to know that they are His sons and daughters and He wants them to be happy. I truly believe and know, without a doubt, that Christ’s sacrifice enables us to all change a little, each day, to become a little better, a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more trusting… I know that through that process, we can obtain complete happiness. I know that, and I want to share it with the world. I’m really just sharing truth that brings absolute joy, light and everlasting happiness, and I can’t wait to witness God change people’s lives.



Temple Square - An Amazing Day!

(Note: I wrote this post on Monday, March 11th, 2013)

Man! Yesterday was amazing, and today was just as good, if not better! Absolutely wonderful. :)

So. Backstory. There's a wonderful facebook group that I'm a part of, that's titled "Many are called... but few are sisters"... Which is funny, because there sure are a whole lot of sister missionaries lately. ;) There's about 5,000 members, and it's pretty genius, I think. When girls get their call, they're invited to join (if they're friends with someone in the group), and they can post their call on the page! It's pretty fun, because then other sisters can post and say they're going to the same mission, or speaking the same language.. etc. There's even a google doc on the page that lists all of the calls according to mission and dates! There are 9 other sisters on the page that are going to my same mission that report on the same day! The page is useful for other things... Some ladies that are having a hard time for various reasons with mission related stuff can post and recieve replies and comments of comfort, support, testimonies, and scriptures. It's so wonderful! And it's even useful for other more practical things... Such as... 'Where have you guys had luck finding cute/practical shoes?' 'Does anyone know what kind of bags they want us to take?' ...etc. :) I think it's brilliant. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, a sister posted about putting together a sort of temple tour, during spring break for those that have it. I think the plan is to go to 9 different temples over the course of a week. Anyway, so this sister opened the invitation to anyone on the page to join her on her tour, and asked for volunteers for homes to stay. Since my time is starting to run out (!!!8 DAYS!!!), I commented and said I'd love to join them for the day that they went to the Salt Lake temple, and would be more than happy to open my house to whoever was wanting to go for the following evening! So. That day was today. :)

I woke up, got ready, and was picked up by Sister Krebs! We went to do an 10 o'clock session at the Salt Lake Temple where we met the other 9 sister that would be joining us for the day! Every one of us had our calls already!! (New York, South Dakota, Canada, Florida, Ukraine, Slovakia, California...) The temple was amazing... As usual... Then we just hung around Temple Square and City Creek for a while! It was so amazing to have so many excited pre-missionaries in one place. :) We ran into several sister missionaries there (both future, present, and past) who had such amazing spirits, advice, and testimonies. It was so amazing to feel of their spirits and just to get SUPER pumped about joining their forces in a week!! Super amazing, one of my favorite pre-mission days by far. :) The work really is hastening, and what an amazing work it is! Next time you're at temple square... Go talk to the sister missionries, they're super friendly! Go talk to them... And think of me! :D

(Edit: When I started this post... I intended to go into a lot of detail! But I forgot to finish it, and now I'm being set apart tonight and haven't finished packing and.... Simply don't have the time. :) I hope you'll forgive me, it really was amazing!!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Opening the Mission Call

Here's a video of me opening my call. :) Such a long time ago! ...At least it feels that way.
117 days from the day I opened my call, to the day I report... 4 days from now.
As each day comes closer, my conviction that my call is from God grow stronger and stronger. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Divine Call of a Missionary

It's Friday night. :) My farewell is on Sunday, and I leave Wednesday! Five days left.... Wow.
I'm learning a lot about myself and about missionary work as I've been preparing my talk. It's really neat, and I'm grateful for such an amazing opportunity. Hopefully I do well!
I had a pretty amazing day yesterday, visiting with my friends in Provo. I'm going to miss them a lot, and it was hard to say goodbye to some that won't be coming on Sunday... But I find comfort in knowing that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. In my research for my talk I came across this talk, one which I've read a couple of times. It's really neat, and outlines the process by which a missionary receives their call, please watch it! Then you'll know just what events occurred that led to me receiving my amazing responsibility to serve the people of Montreal. It's pretty humbling to think about.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ten days Left! Also, farewells! And Canada!

So, I had a pretty amazing day today. :)

First of all, today was significant, because today marks t-minus 10 days until I report. (TEN DAYS. THAT'S NOT VERY MANY.) So. Things are starting to really feel crazy. I've been having a lot of really crazy experiences lately and just so much is going on. All of my emotions are really close to the surface, you can tell... And tears have been shed pretty often these past couple weeks. I'm not necessarily nervous or anxious... Everything just feels... intense. I definitely feel a lot of pressure to make these last few days count, that's for sure. I keep feeling the urge to micromanage everything so I don't leave anything important out. I think we're just about done with the shopping, I've got my wardrobe all set, and my luggage, and my books, and bag... I'm just missing a couple things that I'll probably get at the grocery store tomorrow or something. It's pretty interesting, this past week and now... Pretty much 100% of my thoughts are centered on the mission. I'm "in the zone", as my dad said. I didn't know I could focus so completely one one thing until now. Really. Every thought. It's kind of weird. And now it's coming! So soon! So soon. I'm still a little in unbelief about it... It'll be interesting when it finally 'hits me'.

Maybe it'll hit me when it's the day of my farewell. Eeks. I got my topic a couple days ago: Why I want to go on a mission... Using Alma 17 and the talk by Elder Nelson, 'Ask the Missionaries'. Oh boy. That makes me nervous. So nervous. I'm probably going to start writing it today, although I've been thinking about it a lot already as I've been studying Preach My Gospel (the missionary handbook of sorts) and my scriptures. Oh man. Nervewracking. There will be SO many people there. Just family alone will be huge. I have 6 siblings, 5 of which will be there their families. Plus my mother has 4 siblings and my dad has 3, and I bet they'll come with their families. Oh my goodness, so many people, and so much pressure! I want so badly to be eloquent and express myself adequately. Especially to those that aren't members and don't really understand a lot of what's going on in my life right now. I want to be able to express myself and my testimony properly. I feel that is is so important to do that. I feel the need to prove that I know what I'm doing and I am a fully informed member of the church. I am not naive, sheltered, or even brainwashed. I have studied and searched and pondered and prayed and found it to be the truth. I haven't been leaning on the conviction of my parents, I haven't been that way for a long time. I think so many of those present may be thinking otherwise.... Maybe they think that religion is something I'll grow out of, almost like finding out one day that Santa Claus isn't real. I want so badly for those present to know that I know. My testimony and conviction of the gospel is so strong, I deeply and fiercely love my savior, and the gospel fills me with such unbelievable hope and happiness. I'm just worried that I won't be able to express that like I want to because I'm not that articulate, especially when it comes to things I care about most. I hope that I can be prepared enough and worthy enough to be a vessel in His hands, so that the people that I love so much who are there can be touched by the spirit, and feel the truth in my words. I do know, despite my nervousness, though... That Christ is aware of my concerns and my worries.. I know that if I do my best to prepare and be ready, He'll take care of the rest and everything will work out. :) That's his role, as Savior... To take our best, to take our efforts, and make them enough, make them fit for what is required. Pretty amazing. I just need to keep remembering that this next week as I prepare...

Speaking of farewells! I went to my cousin Krystal Larrabee's farewell today. She's about four months younger than me and we've had a pretty amazing relationship. We've grown up and have always been pretty close, usually having multiple sleepovers together, going to girls camp together... etc. We both felt the impression to serve a mission when the announcement came, and it's been pretty cool these past few months. our calls were issued on the same day, which is pretty special I think. :) We got our calls a day apart. She's going to the Texas McAllen mission, speaking Spanish. (It's actually kind of funny. Her dad went to Brussels, speaking French, and my Dad went to the Uruguay/Paraguay mission speaking Spanish! It's like their daughters got switched.) Her farewell was today, mine is a week from now. She reports on Wednesday, I report a week later. :) I hope I get to see her in the MTC (missionary training center). She was absolutely stunning today. She looked so happy, so full of the spirit and a very visible strong testimony. The musical number for the meeting was Savior, Redeemer of My Soul... (Go here and press play... Amazing.) One of my very favorite hymns. It set the mood perfectly for her message. Her message was about repentance. She did so well, and it was so amazing to hear her speak. Just listening to her I know she's going to be amazing. She treated the topic with an amazing amount of love. She has such a kind and caring heart, it's one of her most prominent qualities. I know the people of her mission will be blessed by her sweet heart. She's such an amazing example to me, I want to be just like her. :) If I speak on Sunday with half of the power, compassion, and amazing spirit that she did today... I will consider my job well done.

Also! Krystal's brother-in-law, Jaims, told me at the farewell that he served his mission in Eastern Canada as well! I didn't know that! I guess he served in the mission just east of mine, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswik, Prince Charles Island, Prince Edward island... Other places. Anyway, it was so fun to talk to him. He was so excited for me to go. He said that Canadians are SO nice! "I don't even think there's crime there..." Haha. :) He gave me a tip to brush up on my Canadian history, because a lot of times they think Americans are arrogant because they know our history, but we don't know a lick of theirs! (Note to self: Their first prime minister was John A. Macdonald.) He told me to memorize the song Un Canadien Errant, which is a very patriotic song that they love which is about the Lower Canadian Rebellion, when the British colonials exiled the French Canadians to the United States. We also talked about their money, their churches (can you imagine church with talks and hymns both in English and French?!) and some other things. :) It definitely got me even more pumped, and gave me a confirmation that I've been called to the perfect mission for me. Pretty cool!

I'll keep you updated! My LAST week! Pretty crazy. I'll be woking on my farewell, getting one last shot, cleaning the house, bathing the dog... All in preparation for family coming to visit, late Friday night. Then Sunday is the farewell, then there's Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon, I'm off!

(See also, the end of Romans chapter 8. Specifically verse 28. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Mormon Worldview

(Quick note: This is an article that I found today on the Mormon Newsroom website that I really like! The underlined portions are ones that I thought were particularly neat. I think it does a good job of answering the 'why' of Mormonism. Oh! And here's the link to the original article)

A Mormon Worldview

While so often the debate about Mormonism centers around the peculiar and controversial on the one hand and the banal and unimaginative on the other, Latter-day Saints are animated by a much grander vision of life. Journalists often ask what differentiates Latter-day Saints but rarely investigate what inspires, motivates and moves them. As is the case with any religion, the transcendent side of Mormonism cannot be captured by caricature and stereotype. For example, much media attention has been devoted to such topics as the precise location of the Garden of Eden and on which continent Christ will reappear without examining the over-arching worldview that gives them meaning.
However, as an exception to this rule, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life hosted a substantive conference aimed at exploring the larger picture of Mormonism. One reporter initiated a thought-provoking discussion by asking Mormon historian Richard Bushman, “What is the question that Mormonism answers?” Bushman replied: “What Mormons really try to do is to offer a story – a story of human existence that begins in the world before and comes to this world. It answers the classic questions of whence, why, and where. It’s not just something that stands above Mormons, but is imbued into their minds.” This broad view of humanity stirs the inspiration of Latter-day Saints, elevates their earthly aspirations and gives poetic meaning to their eternal longings.
Accordingly, the journey of human life originates in a pre-mortal existence, where each individual exercises free will and progresses spiritually by learning from a loving God the principles of truth and happiness. To further that progress, God provided a mortal existence in which His children could prove their faithfulness and fulfill a very individualized destiny. His personal guidance and mercy, manifested in the Savior Jesus Christ, give each individual more than ample opportunity to succeed. Participating in this mortal test is a choice each person makes freely. And the choices made in this life determine one’s station and activity in the eternities, where God reserves a unique place for all of his children. Throughout this process each individual maintains a core identity and possesses immense capacity for growth and progress. Above all, the main purpose of God’s numberless creations is to allow his children to be happy.
Anything but earth-bound, the most deeply-held desires of Latter-day Saints constantly stretch towards eternity. All earthly disappointment and loss can ultimately be redeemed, thus providing a surety that the most precious things in life – human associations and personal character – can continue forever. Mormon scholar Daniel Peterson wrote in the book Why I Believe: “I am convinced … that our spiritual yearnings will not and cannot be fully satisfied in this life, however desperately we may seek to quiet them with inadequate substitutes.” “And the gospel speaks,” he continues, “with special eloquence at times of death, when … those who depart do so into a very real and concrete world in which social ties and family relationships flourish even more richly than they do here, and where learning and growth continue into boundless eternity.”
This transcendent worldview affirms both a broad perspective of eternity and a focused concern with the immediacy of the present. It motivates actions into civic involvement by extolling the inherent worth of the individual and urging mutual responsibility between all humankind. It exalts the attainment of intelligence and knowledge, and not only in this life — these will continue to increase and serve wonderful purposes in our eternal journey.
Latter-day Saints embrace the acquisition of knowledge as a spiritual mandate. Joseph Smith proclaimed: “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” And, according to revealed scripture, “whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life” will follow us in the hereafter (D&C 130: 18). Thus, all human striving blends seamlessly into eternity.
Writing about religion involves the difficult task of capturing the ineffable individual and collective spiritual experience of a large group of people. Getting at the heart of Mormonism is best undertaken not by narrowly focusing on controversy and getting mired in esoteric theological debates, but through a more imaginative examination of the worldview that inspires its members.

Friday, March 1, 2013

19 days left...

It's March 1st!!!


I leave SO SOON! My farewell is on the 17th and I leave the 20th! I won't be back home for 18 months after that. Pretty crazy. I'm just about all the way ready, I've got my wardrobe put together, I've got my luggage, my umbrella, alarm clock, scriptures, some envelopes and notepaper to write letters... And I really don't need much more than that. Pretty crazy.

I'm so excited, and nervous, and it really hasn't hit me yet, the exact magnitude of what I'm doing... But I know it's going to be amazing!

I'll be in the MTC for 3-6 weeks, learning the French language, and then I'm off to Canada!


Moments that Matter Most

This is one of my favorite videos of all time. :)

" My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most... As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(for the entire address, go here!)

Here Am I, Send Me!

The announcement:
(Particularly starting at 4:28)

My reaction: 

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What am I doing?

I'm going on a mission! So what does that mean?

I'm going to be leaving my home and family (and friends and school) to teach the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's it in a nutshell. A lot of people may get the wrong idea about what my goals are in this decision.

Hopefully this post can clarify, at least a little.

I'm not going up to Canada to try to force people to something that they don't really want. I'm not going out there to find people to swindle or bully or manipulate to be baptized. Rather, I know that there are people out there who are looking for someone like me to help them to find the truth... to figure out who they are, why they're here, what their purpose is and learn that they are loved, they are sons and daughters of a Father in heaven who wants them to be happy.

I truly believe and know, without a doubt, that through Christ, through his sacrifice that enables us all the change a little, each day, to become a little better, a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more trusting.... through Christ and his enabling sacrifice, we can achieve complete happiness. I know that, and I want to share it with the world. I'm really just sharing truth and light and happiness, and I can't wait to witness God change people's lives. :)

I found a website that explains what I'll be doing even better than I have been able to. :) The article is great, but even better is the video at the bottom. Watch it! That'll be me!

"As a missionary I have been able to watch people. As they begin to learn about Jesus Christ, they begin to understand what God sees in them."

"If the worth of a soul is great to God, I have a pretty big reason to help someone else. It doesn't matter what kind of help they need, I'm just there to help them."

"Every single person on this earth is precious. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to find happiness in this life, and eternal life in the life to come; to eventually return back to live with our Heavenly Father. And that's what he wants, he wants us all to return. That's what I want, that's what we as missionaries want. What we want is for all of us, every single person no matter who you are or where you are, to be happy and return to live with God."

Our missionaries are not salesmen with wares to peddle, rather, they are servants of the Most High God, with testimonies to bear, truths to teach, and souls to save. Thomas S. Monson

Canada Montreal Mission Map!

Hey! There has been some confusion as to what area exactly my mission covers. My mission is the Canada Montreal mission, but the actual area itself covers so much more than that. Here's the official map! :) This whole mission will be split up, I believe, into a bunch of districts, and then into smaller areas. I will only serve in one area at a time, but as the 18 months pass I will be moved around. I hope that makes sense!

To see a larger map... Go here! (and click on the map... it'll magnify)

An Infographic about the Life of a Mormon Missionary!

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A Mission?

 I'm going on a mission!

18 months! From March 2013 to September 2014!

I will leave behind many things, cell phones, the internet (except to send weekly emails home), tv, movies, dating, most music, as well as other things which aren't coming to mind right now...

Why in the world would I choose to do this?!

In the October 2012 General Conference President Monson made an announcement that has completely changed my entire life. He declared that the age requirements for missionaries for the LDS church had been adjusted, and that female missionaries could begin serving at age 19 instead of 21, which has been the previous protocol. I turned 19 just two months before this announcement, so this was particularly striking to me. The mission decision had previously been something that I had been contemplating, but with an attitude a little along the lines of "anything could happen between now and when I turn 21". Suddenly the decision of whether or not I was going to serve a mission was right before me, and not in some distant destination.

Obviously, choosing to serve a mission, putting your entire life on hold for a lengthy period of time to serve the Lord, is a HUGE commitment/sacrifice/decision. For a few weeks after the announcement I thought long and hard about what it was that I was supposed to do. I prayed to God, telling him that I was willing to do whatever it was that he wanted me to do, and that I trusted Him to guide me. After a lot of thinking, prayer, and discussion with my parents, I made the decision to begin the process of turning my recommendation papers in. I have since received my call, to the lovely Canada Montreal mission, reporting March 20th.

This decision is huge for me. I can imagine that many, particularly not of the LDS faith, are confused as to why I would decide to do such a thing. What you have to understand, is what being a member of this church means to me. It isn't merely just a really great organization that I'm a part of. It's not just an awesome support system that teaches good morals as to how to be a good person. It's so much more than that. My beliefs, my knowledge of this gospel (and when I say gospel, I mean the 'good news', entire message of the church) is such a monumental component of who I am. A lot of the things that are posted here summarize what I'm trying to say pretty well. It really is like finding the cure for cancer. I want to share the message of the LDS church with EVERYONE! The beliefs of the church are the cure for all of the ills of life today.

I could talk for days about why I'm serving a mission... and the good news is... That's exactly what I'm going to do! Every letter I send home will be a testimony of why I'm doing what I'm doing, and it'll be put up here for you to read.  I hope you can make some sense of it, and know that I'm doing what I'm doing because I want to serve other people. I want to do all that I can to make them happy, to give their lives fulfillment, and share this wonderful thing that I am so lucky to have in my life.


What do I believe? ... No, really?

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No. But really. You think you might know what I believe, but you probably really don't. :) At least, please take a minute to refresh yourself on my beliefs so you know why the heck I'm doing this crazy thing for 18 months.