Well folks. 2014 has come to an end.
|Alaina and "Mag Dawg"|
How very odd.
I set a couple of goals this year.
One-read Don Quixote in Espanol.
Two-learn how to make Pupusas
Three-go back to Belize. (Loving life Á.Merino)
But really. I got super nostalgic New Year ’s Eve. Why?
Because I really, really, REALLY loved 2014. It was the year of the mission! A year of serving and loving and teaching and getting wet and getting angry and meeting new people and laughing and growing through faith and trials. It’s fun to look back on all the stuff you do in a year. I learned more this year than I probably ever have before. In any other year! I was a little reluctant to kiss her goodbye.
2015 will be just as lovely. And just as busy. I’m already learning lots.
For example, we fasted this Sunday. In the mission, we go hardcore. It’s a 24 hour fast from all sides. No water. No juice. No food. No gum. No mints. Nothing.
And I was dying this one. Mostly from thirst. So when we broke our fast Sunday evening, I chugged a liter of water in like 30 seconds on an empty stomach.
I quickly learned that that was a foolhardy decision. Lots of water on an empty stomach equates to lots of pain.
Apart from that, the teaching and the finding and the adventuring continue.
This week, considering the new year, Mag dawg and I decided that we wanted people to reflect on some goals they could set and on a new life they could achieve...always of course...though the gospel of Jesus Christ. And more specifically through baptism.
New life! How awesome is that thought. To start over. To forget what we were and to become something new. I think this is my favorite theme of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is always hope. There is always a new beginning. Well then Mag dawg, my ever faithful companion, showed me this awesome video that came out in April that I missed because as a missionary, you’re so cut off from the world that you don’t even know what your own church is doing.
WATCH IT. Even if you’ve viewed it before.
But holy hannah. That is a powerful video with a POWERFUL message. I’m so grateful that He gave so much so that we can start again. I’m grateful for this time of year in which I can reflect on things I’d like to improve and start doing.
We showed the video to one girl who is super awesome. She is a member but has gone inactive. She expressed difficulty in believing that we are really going to resurrect. She lost her mother and her aunt and used to believe they would see each other again, but recently has lost that hope.
I reflected on her situation for some time. And I came to an interesting conclusion. I believe that many people believe they are acting independently--neutrally you might say--when they abandon a faith or a belief that they once cherished. They believe they have reached a middle ground or superior reasoning. Although it even may be painful to desert those beliefs they once held, they feel that they are facing reality.
But there is more than one force at work in this world. The moment we stop doing the things which are necessary to cultivate faith and to nourish it, we are not reaching neutrality. In its place, we give room for another force--that of Satan--to start working on our minds and hearts, and to convince us that there is no God. There is no possibility of a resurrection, and that faith is a human creation.
How faulty is that line of thinking! The reality is that there is a creator, and that He loves us and that He sent His son to live and die and resurrect for us.
So. I’ve set a goal this year to acquire more attributes of Christ. One of the most powerful testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel is the principles it requires us to live. Because I know of no happier people than those who put in practice the teachings of the gospel. Those who truly strengthen their faith, repent, and follow the Lord WILL receive a testimony of the truth of these things!
I love the gospel. I love my Savior. I love you all. I love El Salvador. I love Belize. I love President Hintze. I love new year’s.
Set some goals. Be good.
I love you all.