My family and loved ones! How ARE you guys? Did you have a upper awesome week in this new year of 2014? I sure hope so. On Friday I turned 21 years old. Can you BELIEVE it?? I feel so old! But my birthday was so wonderful :’)
I received new garments, a hair bow, candy, scrunchies, gum, Nutella from Kooper, a card from Grammy, a magazine for after the mish, a tiger stuffed animal, an AWESOME video from my FAMILY and a dress typical de Nicaragua that is so gorgeous. OH my gosh. (Oh and a shot glass of Coca-Cola cause I’m 21… haha my companions are HILARIOUS)
We had a special birthday breakfast with some members who made American French TOAST (oh my GOSH), the district bought donuts, some of our investigators sang an EFY song for me that they had been practicing for weeks, the Galo family organized a happy birthday arrangement with a guitar, and the Ocon family surprised me with a BEAUTIFUL cake that said Felicidades Sarah :’). I can easily say, my birthday in Nicaragua was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. It was VERY humbling to feel so much love :’). I cried that night thanking my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such wonderful people. Thank you EVERYONE for making my 21st birthday one that I will never forget. I love you guys.
Sunday night we were teaching my favorite Nicaraguan family of all time. In fact, it was in their house a while ago when I fell in love with Nicaragua while sitting on their floor eating spaghetti (a story for another day). This time we were sitting on their floor eating rice and eggs when we asked them about the love that God has for them. I felt God’s love for them very strongly so I was sure they would respond positively when she looked at me and said “God does NOT… love me… If He loved me, why did he let my 4 year old little girl die? Por qué?? Why.”
After a moment of silence I reassured her that God loves her very much and that her daughter was in peace in the spirit world with Him. With tears in her eyes she replied ”But I don’t WANT her to be with God. I want her to be with ME!...” Her husband then went off about how life isn’t fair and that justice in all things will NEVER be served.
It was then when the pains of this family who I cared so much for, came upon me. It was in that moment when I realized I am a literal representative of Jesus Christ.
I went home that night very sad. Not being able to sleep, I looked through some old notes for comfort and came across a quote by Bruce R. McConkie which read the following.
“I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Master and He has chosen me to represent Him—to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done; to say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling.”
How great is my calling indeed. This poor family doesn’t believe anything is this life is fair or just, and the truth is, it’s not. Life itself isn’t fair. If I’ve learned anything out here on the mission, it’s that life is very very hard. But through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, EVERYTHING is made right, pure, just and perfect. It is through the power of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we can be happy, because of the mercy and love He has for every single one of us. I know that Christ lives. I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer. Out here on the mission, I have truly come to know Him. (That’s the REAL purpose of a mission. (Don’t tell anybody that but it’s the truth.))
If it take 18 months to 2 years, every missionary come to know Him while walking in His footsteps. If it be through dirt, mud, sand, snow, in 100 degree weather or 100 below- I know that this truly is the work of the Lord. Before I know it, my time here will come to an end, but the things I have learned and experiences I have had will stay with me forever, never to be forgotten, making me the person I am.
I love this gospel so much, and I love YOU guys so much. Me and my 21 years of age will talk to you soon. Have a WONDERFUL week! The church is true and I love you.
PS: And Happy Birthday Matthew!