Sunday, June 30, 2013

Walking By Faith

There comes a point in your life when you are walking by complete faith. The path ahead is completely wild, and dark, but you keep walking because Heavenly Father has told you to proceed. The end of the path may not be what you wanted, and it could be less than ideal, but it's what He knows is best. Well, I don't want to get too personal but I do not know what's going to happen when I come back from my mission. I won't explain what on here, but I feel like I have come to that point in my life. One of the reasons why I was so hesitant about my mission was because I did not know what I was going to come home to. I have noticed more than ever this week that I still do not know if the situation will remain the same, get worse or go back to what it once was. But, I have finally realized that I am okay with whatever the outcome. While on my mission I will be doing what Heavenly Father has commanded me to do, and I know that everything will be ok; one way or another.
There is a hymn that we sing in church that has taken on a completely new meaning to me. I have come to find a lot of solace in it. The hymn is "I Will Go Where You Want Me To Go". There is a verse that has touched my heart, and it says, "So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing that thou lovest me; I'll do thy will with a heart sincere: I'll be what you want me to be". I am going on my mission with complete confidence that it is what I am meant to do at this point in my life. I am showing complete utter confidence in my Heavenly Father, and I have that confidence because I know He loves me. I know that nothing in this life will be constant, but our relationship with our Heavenly Father. But that relationship is completely on our choice to have Him present.
I have made it a personal choice to do whatever I am commanded to do by my Father in Heaven; even if I do not understand why. Trust me, it is a characteristic that has taken a lot of patience to receive, and humility. But, I wouldn't want anything else but to show Him that I have completely faith in His plan. I am already learning a lot from my mission, and I am so glad that I am going.
I walk by faith, and I walk in confidence, because I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are walking beside me.
I am so grateful for a loving and kind Father in Heaven who is mindful of my life, and is giving me guidance to make choices that will ultimately make me happier.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Following A Prompting

Now, if there is one characteristic that I want to get better at is following promptings from the Holy Ghost. Don't get me wrong. It is a huge priority of mine to bless others and become an answer to a prayer. I love being used as an instrument in the hands of Heavenly Father to testify of his love for His children. Also, it makes me happy to serve others, and to watch over them. It's my personality to be a nurturer to everyone I meet.
Yesterday at institute we learned about President Thomas S. Monson, and we talked about certain characteristics that are uniquely his. The first one that everyone in the class agreed on was his ability to follow every prompting he receives. The one story we all talked about was one he shared with the church during a past general conference; the name of the talk was called, "Consider the Blessings". The story was about a prompting he received about an old friend he knew that was in a wheel chair. After going out to see him he found him near the edge of a pool. Apparently, this man was contemplating ending his life, and if President Monson wasn't there he might have gone through with it. Now, I am not trying to say that I want to become a lifesaver for everyone I meet. I hardly believe that I have that much of an influence on people. But, it made me think of how many promptings I don't follow through with.
People always come to mind randomly, and I usually am pretty good at contacting them to make sure they're ok. But, there are sometimes I get a prompting and I justify not doing it for many reasons. I think that I don't want to annoy them, or that I don't want to reach out and have them reject what I am doing for them. As I was sitting in class I began to think what happens when I don't follow promptings I get. I got pretty sad actually when the thought came. I didn't want to be the reason why someone's prayer wasn't answered, or their life was not made easier. I made it a goal during class to try to become better at following promptings.
Every missionary I have ever spoken to always tell me that the key to missionary work is obedience, humility and following the Holy Ghost's promptings; that's the miracle combination. I want to be such a great sister missionary. I want to bless others lives by introducing them to the gospel. I want them to know that no matter what happens in life there will always be one constant factor. That factor is our Heavenly Father. He will always be there for us, and He will never leave. I want to bless their lives, and help ease their lives. I do not expect my actions to be lifechanging for people, but I do expect to make people feel like they are not alone. I want to be a friend to all. I have such a deep love for people and I want them to feel my genuine love for them. This love I have for most people I meet is quadrupled for the people of Peru, and I do not even know them. I just want to do everything I can for these people. I want to do everything I can to become the missionary they need me to be. I have had 21 years to prepare for this moment in my life. I have had 21 years of mistakes, 21 years of hardships, 21 years of joy, happiness, and love for the gospel that has prepared me to become Hermana Macias. The only thing I know I will regret prior to entering the MTC is thinking that I could have done better to prepare. I am going to do my best to prepare, and so far I think I am doing pretty good at preparing; mainly because my heart is in Peru. I am going to my mission to follow what Heavenly Father has told me to do. I am also going to Peru to follow my heart. ¡Que viva el pueblo de Perú!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Struggle

From start to finish it took me about 5 months to receive my mission call. I was 20 years old when the announcement was made that young women could now serve at the age of 19. The only thing that went through my mind was that I had to make a choice now. Before, I could use the excuse of my age to not think about a mission. I had no excuse anymore. I had the hardest time trying to decide whether or not I should serve a mission. My whole life I had numerous people tell me that I HAD to serve a mission, and that really bothered me. I didn't like the idea of being forced to serve a mission, but secretly I was always considering it. I wanted to make sure that if I were going to serve it was because I wanted to, not because I was forced to serve or it was expected of me to serve.
What I decided to do was to ask myself why I wanted to serve a mission. The answer that kept coming to mind was because I loved my Heavenly Father, and I wanted to do whatever He told me to do. I did not care if it was going to be hard, because all I cared about was pleasing my Father in Heaven.
From that moment on I decided to begin my mission papers, and not stop unless my Heavenly Father told me so. Don't get me wrong it was a super tough decision to make. There were times when I would break down and wonder can I really do this. Does Heavenly Father really want me to be one of His many missionaries? The one thing that kept me going was the fact that I had already gotten an answer, and I needed to follow through with it. I have learned that Heavenly Father always answers our prayers and the only thing that changes is our willingness to obey. And I had an answer and I knew what I needed to do. The prophet Joseph Smith Jr. said it best when he described the answer he got in the Sacred Grove. He said, "for I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it". That is what kept me going in my decision to serve a mission. I knew that Heavenly Father had given me an answer, and He wanted me to serve a mission. I could not deny the answer that He had given me. I know that Heavenly Father has called me to become one of His servants. I cannot deny the happiness I feel when sharing my testimony with others. I know that this is what I am meant to do. I know that there will be moments when I will not feel qualified to serve my mission, but I know that I can find confidence in the answer I received.

Strangely Dim by Francesca Battistelli

I've had all these plans piled up sky high
A thousand dreams on hold
And I don't know why,
I got a front row seat
To the longest wait
And I just can't see
Past the things I pray

But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don't look around
Any place I'm in
Grows strangely dim

Sometimes where I stand
On this narrow road
Is in a raging storm
Or a valley low
But oh

When I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don't look around
Any place I'm in
Grows strangely dim

I don't know, I don't know
What tomorrow may hold
But I know, but I know
That You're holding it all
So no matter what may come

I'm gonna fix my eyes on all that You are
'Til every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
Let all my worries fade
And fall to the ground
I'm gonna seek Your face
And not look around
Til the place I'm in
Grows strangely, strangely, strangely dim.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Errand of Angels

I LOVE SISTER MISSIONARIES! Really, I love them all so much! I believe that sister missionaries play a crucial part in spreading the gospel. I say this because most of my life I have been surrounded by many beautiful, amazing, and sweet sisters. I also believe that those very sisters that I mentioned prior have played a crucial part in my decision to serve a mission.
Sister missionaries have a tenderness, and sweetness about them that can reach homes that many elders would not be able to. Naturally as women Heavenly Father has given us certain traits that are especially unique to us. Those traits in particular are the key successes of a sister missionary. I have personally experienced this with many of the sisters I have met in my life. Now, why are sister missionaries so different? Well, first of all sister missionaries were called of our Heavenly Father to be representatives of Jesus Christ. Second, they are women of God, and as women of God they are different in a beautiful way. Sister Margaret D. Nadauld gave a talk titled, "The Joy of Womanhood". In this talk I believe she explained very well the reasons why sister missionaries are so special when it comes to missionary work; "Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity".
Now, sister missionaries have played a crucial role in my decision to serve a mission because of their example to me. Ever since I was young I looked up to the sisters so much! I thought they were the most amazing girls I could have ever met. I wanted to be just like them! I drew a picture once when I was 11 years old and it was a picture of me as a sister missionary. I loved seeing them everywhere! They were my idols. As I got older I began to become really good friends with the sisters. I was able to see the side to them that was uniquely theirs. If it wasn't for that bond I developed with the sisters I would have never begun to go out with them and teach lessons. I enjoyed all of the moments I had with them. Once I graduated highschool and I started college at Brigham Young University-Idaho it finally hit me, "wow, I can actually hang out with them as just normal people, and they have first names!'. My friendships with these sisters continued after their missions. I loved being able to talk to them, and see another side to them that I didn't see on their mission. As I began to contemplate about my mission I was able to confide in them, and they gave me the best advice. They had so many words of encouragement for me that allowed me to continue in my decision to serve the Lord. Now that I have my call and I am anxiously waiting to serve my mission I have their examples to motivate me. I want to be a sister missionary just like them. I want to love the people like they loved me and my family. I have a special place in my heart for all of the sisters I have ever met. They have changed my life for the better, and they have influenced me. Their decision to serve a mission is having a large ripple effect, because I am now serving a mission and I will hopefully bring others to the gospel. Everything I know about sister missionaries, and how to connect with my investigators I have learned from them. I hope I can be like them, because if I am then I know I will be a successful missionary. I hope that they know how much I love them, and how much I still look up to them. They are some of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure to meet. This also applies to all of the soon-to-be sister missionaries I have met thus far in my life. The humility they demonstrate is inspiring, and motivating.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Lord Qualifies Those He Calls

I absolutely love it when Heavenly Father teaches me lessons through others! For the past few weeks I have been writing my roommate Kailey letters in preparation for her mission. This week's letter was very special to me, because I learned so much from studying, and writing the letter.
There are some days when I do not trust in my capability to become a servant of the Lord. I have so many flaws, and I am such an imperfect human being. How in the world am I suppose represent the only perfect person to have existed when I am so imperfect? The thought scares me to the very center of my being. I want to bring justice to His name, and of His memory, and there are days when I do not feel like I am good enough.
I have come to realize that the Lord is preparing me to serve His mission in so many ways that I never considered. This has been the most humbling experience in my life, and I am so glad to be starting the journey. I have come to the realization that I can truly do nothing without my Heavenly Father, and my brother Jesus Christ. Everything I accomplish in this life is a manifestation of His reality, and His love towards us. My ultimate goal while on my mission is to give all glory to my Father in Heaven. Every good thing that will come from my mission is because of His love, His mercy, and His attentiveness. The key to missionary work is humility. When you are humble you are willing to be taught by the Spirit, and align your will with Heavenly Father's. In missionary work, if you are not humble, then you are not capable of being taught, and if you are not teachable then you will not be used as an instrument in the Lord's hands. Ultimately, isn't that the whole goal in a mission? I believe it is! The whole reason you go on a mission is to teach people the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and to be used to bless lives, and testify that He lives.
As I mature in the gospel, and strengthen my testimony I have come to understand that I am the happiest when I am sharing the gospel. There is no other way I would prefer to live my life other than living it for my Savior and my Father in Heaven. President Heber J. Grant once said, “I believe there is nothing in all the world that can compare with the joy that a man feels when he realizes that he has been the instrument in the hands of the living God of reaching some honest heart, inspiring in it a love of God and the desire to serve Him”. I love this quote! This quote I have had on my facebook since I was 18 years old, and I don't think it could have been said any better. True joy in this life is experienced when you are bring used to share the gospel, and bare witness to others of the love of God. I have come to realize that I learn the most and prepare the best for my mission the more I recognize that I can do nothing by myself.

" I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way"
1 Nephi 3:7

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's A Family Affair

There are those days when I just don't think of my mission... like at all. Nothing comes to mind. I feel like I am an empty vessel of a person aimlessly walking/existing. BUT! Then precious Monday comes around, and I get a reminder from my Father in Heaven as to why I decided to serve a mission. One of the many things that I love about this gospel is our view on service! It is absolutely pivotal in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This quote by President Spencer W. Kimball sums it right up perfectly, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other." Now, you might be asking yourself, "what in the heck does Monday have to do with this?". Well, Mondays are usually P-Days (Preparation Days) for Mormon Missionaries. On P-days they are allowed to run errands, and email their family and friends, and I have two brothers and both are on their missions!! My older brother is serving in the DC South Mission speaking Spanish, and my younger brother is serving in the Managua Nicaragua South Mission. Everytime I receive their emails I am reminded of how amazing serving a mission is! It changes lives, and it changes you. 
I can say that both of my brothers have become better men, better priesthood holders, better brothers, and better servants of the Lord because they have decided to serve missions. They have come to understand a little better the love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ has for us. I aspire to understand and love my fellow brothers and sisters better. 
I get to read my brothers emails, and see how much they love their investigators. They speak about them with so much love, and concern. They are more than just a number to them they are people they have come to love, and care about almost like family. 
As I read their emails all I can think about is, "WOW, I am so excited to write my brothers when I leave on my mission and tell them about my investigators." I strongly believe that us serving our missions at the exact same time was no mere accident. Heavenly Father has a plan for my family, and for all of the people we will come into contact with. 
All of the Americas are blessed lands to our Heavenly Father, and it was preordained to receive the restored gospel(2 Nephi 1:4-7). I think that this is being fulfilled in our day more than ever before. One example, is the simple fact that my whole family is being spread across all of the Americas to do the same thing: Teach people about Jesus Christ. Aldo is serving in Washington D.C (North America), Omar is serving in Nicaragua (Central America), and I have been called to serve in Peru (South America). My family will not be together for 3 years, but our sacrifice will never go in vain, because we are sharing the gospel with people. 
I can honestly say that I have never felt any closer to my brothers than I do right now that we are separated by thousands of miles. We are all growing together in our testimonies of our Savior, and Redeemer Jesus Christ. 
I look forward to March 2015 when me and my older brother return home from our missions, and we will be anxiously received by our parents, and our younger brother who will be an RM by then. But, as of right now, I hope that day doesn't come anytime soon.... because I already love my mission, and I haven't even left yet. Most importantly, I have found my first convert: myself. I find myself becoming more, and more converted to the gospel as I prepare to become "Hermana Macías". I have always known of it's truth, but I am becoming more aware of how much I love this gospel. I just want to talk about it all the time, and I have come to realize that I am the happiest when I am sharing my testimony with others. 

Elder Omar Macias in Nicaragua

Elder Aldo Macias in Washington DC South

Thursday, June 6, 2013

He Loves Us Perfectly

It is amazing to think that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, while still knowing our deepest faults. Really, think about. Can you truly say that you love somebody completely, and still know every imperfection in their life, every mistake they've done, and know every thought that has ever past their mind. Can you really say you love them endlessly while knowing all that? I believe that no one other than our Heavenly Father can love us more perfectly, because He knows everything about us. I love to quote things (Like really I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to quote everything and anything). My all-time favorite person to quote is Mr. C.S Lewis! He's the best! One of my favorite quotes from him says, "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because He has forgiven the inexcusable in you". I love that! Because it is true. Our Heavenly Father  chooses to love us despite how flawed we are. He chooses to always see the potential we have in our future rather than dwelling in our past. The best thing about His love is that He is always willing to give a second chance.
I had a religion professor at BYU-Idaho once say in class, "If you get God wrong, you get everything wrong". I never truly understood what he meant by that until the semester kept going, and this is a perfect example. I know the true nature of my Father in Heaven. I know that He is a caring, gentle, loving, endearing, and merciful Father who loves His children. Heavenly Father's joy is founded on our success, and our safe return to live with Him once more (Mosiah 1:39 ). If that doesn't say love, then I do not know what does. I have a very deep relationship with my Father in Heaven, because I know that  He loves me, and I love Him. I know who I am to Him. I am not just another spirit that He created and sent to this earth to suffer for the "original sin". Rather, I know that I am a "beloved DAUGHTER of a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love Him". I also know why I am here on earth. I am here on earth not as a punishment, but as a gift from my Heavenly Father. Thanks to my decision to follow Him and Jesus Christ's plan I was given a body, and this mortal existence to succeed and hopefully one day become like Him.
This fundamental truth I hold near, and dear to my heart, because I know it is true. I know who I am, and most importantly, I know what I mean to Heavenly Father. I mean the world to Him, and more. Nothing I do, no mistake I have or will commit can ever take away my Father's love for me. This knowledge brings a confidence in my life, because it is something that no one can ever take from me. No matter what I encounter in this life I know that I am never alone. He is always with me, and I can always trust in Him and know that everything will turn out fine. I know it's true, because I have felt His love for me everyday in my life, and I am excited to share this with the people of Perú.

"Though our feelings come and go, God's love for us does not"- C.S Lewis

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Spirit Speaks In All Languages

I love sister missionaries! I have had the blessing of working with the sisters serving in my family ward since I was 16 years old. Last Sunday, I decided to go out with the Hermanas in the ward, and teach an investigator. This man was the ex-husband of a member in the ward. He was not a member, and his ex-wife has been a member for less than a year. Apparently he had been having a very hard time, and expressed that to his ex-wife. She told him that she could ask for the Elders in her church to give him a blessing of comfort. Luckily he accepted the blessing, and asked to take the discussions from the sisters (his home was in the Sisters' area). This man's name was Luis, and he was explaining to me and the sisters that he had been having a very hard time lately. He explained that when he was younger he was active in his church, but as he grew up he stopped attending. He figured that nothing in his life was going right, and that if he got closer to Heavenly Father maybe things would change. Now, keep in mind this is all going on in Spanish. I am fluent in Spanish, but sometimes I forget how to say certain phrases or expressions because I do not use them often. The sisters decided to ask me out of the blue if I had anything to say to Luis. I was caught off guard, but proceeded to talk. I expressed to Luis that I knew that Heavenly Father loved him, and was mindful of him. I said many other things that I felt prompted to say by the spirit, and it seemed to touch his heart. But, I quickly disregarded my feelings because I thought, "What do I know I'm only 20 years old, and I can barely communicate myself in Spanish effectively". After teaching the discussion the sisters and I left, and they explained to me that what I said in there was perfect! They felt like they were struggling in making a personal connection with him, but until I spoke the spirit was not very present. I did not think much of what I said, but apparently it was perfect! I feel like whenever I bear my testimony to somebody I find that I get happier, because I know the things that I am saying are true.
So there is a second reason why I felt like writing about this topic since this experience happened a couple days ago. One of my best friends is preparing to serve a mission as well. She had been called to serve in the New Zealand Temple Visiting Center in Hamilton, and she reports to the MTC a week before me. In the winter semester at BYU-Idaho her and I would talk a lot about our missions. She really wanted to go Spanish speaking, and since I spoke Spanish we decided to start teaching her the language. The first thing we thought was necessary to learn was how to bear her testimony in Spanish. We would practice all the time, and at one point she had it memorized. But, as time went on, and both of our calls came and she was not called to speak Spanish so we stopped practicing. Fast forward to April of this year, and she came down to visit me in California. She couldn't really remember how to bear her testimony, but she could get a few words out. Now super fast forward to today! I talked to her a little, and she informed me that she was able to go out with the sisters in Idaho Falls. But, she didn't tell me that they were the Spanish speaking sisters! She told me that she went out with them, and was able to bear her testimony. It had been months since we last practiced. This is a reassurance that the Spirit will always testify of the reality of the things that we say. No matter what language, or our fluency in it. The Spirit will always allow us to express ourselves. 

Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare aglad tidings of great joy unto this generation.

Monday, June 3, 2013

I am NOT Blog-savy.

Hey everyone! I am new to this whole blog thing. So please be patient with me, especially if you see something that is wrong. Here is a quick explanation as to why I started this blog. In case you have not realized, but I am preparing to serve a LDS Mission. I received my call on March 26th of this year, and I have been called to serve in the Huancayo, Peru Mission (aka best mission in the world). This journey has been one of the most difficult that I have ever embarked on, but I have come to realize that it is also one of the most rewarding. I have grown in so many different ways, and in ways that I did not think were possible. I have always believed that I had a strong testimony of the gospel, and I have realized how much stronger my faith is becoming as I prepare to become a sister missionary. Everyday I find myself becoming more personally converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I find even more reasons to prepare to become the missionary that the people of Peru need me to be. I strive each and everyday to become an instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father to answer prayers and to bless lives. I know that this is only the beginning of a story that will never end. The things that I am learning now are things that will stick with me my entire life, and I know that the work I will do in Peru will touch many lives.