Thursday, December 18, 2014

Luke 2

Luke 2

 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

 Luke 2:4–6, Mary and Joseph enter Bethlehem

 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

 Luke 2:4–6, Mary and Joseph search for an inn

 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.


 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.


 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

 Luke 2:6–7, The holy family

 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

  Luke 2:6–7, The virgin Mary with baby Jesus

 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


I, like the shepherds, feel the desire to glorify and praise God and his son, Jesus Christ. I know that God loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son to save us. Christ truly came to this world as a baby. He is our Savior. I love him and am grateful for the opportunity to serve him at this time of year.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Know That He Lives

This morning, I had the opportunity to sit with a group of missionaries and listen to one of our leaders talk about sharing the love of Jesus Christ during this Christmas season. He shared an article from the Ensign (a magazine produced by the church) titled, "I Know That He Lives" by Elder Melvin J. Ballard. This touched me, so I decided to share it with all of you!

"I love to contemplate what it cost our Father in Heaven to give us the gift of His Beloved Son, that worthy Son of our Father, who so loved the world that He laid His life down to redeem the world, to save us and to feed us spiritually while we walk in this life, and prepare us to go and dwell with Him in the eternal worlds. …

"I recall an experience which I had … , bearing witness to my soul of the reality of [the Savior’s] death, of His Crucifixion, and His Resurrection, that I shall never forget. …

"… I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms, to meet a glorious personage, and, as I entered the door, I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds.

"As I approached to be introduced, He arose and stepped towards me with extended arms, and He smiled as He softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into His arms and kissed me, pressed me to His bosom, and blessed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When He had finished, I fell at His feet, and, as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world. The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands, to have His love, His affection, and His blessing was such that if I can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, to feel what I then felt!

"… I see Jesus not now upon the cross. I do not see His brow pierced with thorns nor His hands torn with the nails, but I see Him smiling, with extended arms, saying to us all: 'Come unto me!'"

As I listened as this was read to me this morning, I could not deny the spirit bearing witness to me that our Savior, Jesus Christ, loves us so much! I can't even begin to imagine the day when I will meet him. The Saviors invitation to us all is to come unto him. He desires us to make covenants with him like baptism. This time of year is the most special because we have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone we know. I hope that we can all remember the reason for this season! I love my Savior. I, too, know that he lives.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

He Is The Gift

I remember waking up early one Christmas morning to open presents. I opened up cake mixes, a rolling pin, cupcake pans, and other cooking items. That year I had asked for an easy bake oven. I'm not sure if my parents just couldn't afford it or what, but it hadn't happened. As I opened up present after present, I didn't even think about how I hadn't received an easy bake. Throughout the day I remember baking in the kitchen with my mom all of the fun things we had just gotten. The time spent with her was special to me.

As I have reflected about that Christmas, I have pondered why it is one of my most memorable Christmas'. I have come to understand that it is because it wasn't about what I was receiving. It was about family. It was about love.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

This special time of year is all about celebrating Christ's birth. He was the first gift. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that he sent his beloved son, Jesus Christ, to save us.

Russell M. Nelson said, “Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God’s sacred gift. As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to become more like Him. As we share the gift, we follow in the Master’s footsteps, who invited all to hear His message.”

My testimony is that Christ came into this world to save us from our sins. He is the literal son of God. If we will believe in and follow him, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again one day. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this gift with all those that I come in contact with each and every day. I love my savior.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Mostly, I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for the many blessings that I have been given. I desire to express my gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who is always there to bless me. I am grateful for his son Jesus Christ and his infinite atonement. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit that leads me, comforts me, and warns me. I am grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to make promises with God, like baptism.

I am blessed to have a wonderful, supportive family. Without them, I would not be where I am today. I am grateful for Panaca, and the wonderful people there that played a role in my conversion. I am grateful for talents, food, and friends.

Please know that this is definitely not close to a complete list of things I am grateful for. My heart is full with love and thanksgiving. There is no place that I would rather be than here in Vancouver serving my Heavenly Father and Savior. I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What Would You Give to Know God?

There is a story in the Book of Mormon that I love. There is a missionary named Aaron who is preaching to a group of people called the Lamanites. In this particular chapter, Aaron is teaching the Lamanite king. Found in Alma chapter 22 of the Book of Mormon, the king expresses to Aaron that he does not know who God is. After bearing testimony to the king that there is a God, Aaron begins teaching him about the opportunity to live with God again. I love the kings response:

This particularly struck me recently as I read this. The king was willing to give up EVERY WORLDLY POSSESSION that he had to know God and to learn how to live with him one day. A few verses later he prays to God:

This time the king expresses that he will give up things that spiritually hold him back from God. As I studied this chapter in the Book of Mormon, I could not help but think to myself, "What would I give up to know God?".

What kinds of worldly things keep us from knowing God? Is it our jobs? Material things? 

What is holding us back spiritually? Are we reading our scriptures? Praying? Attending church?

The Lamanite king had an amazing, spiritual experience that solidified a testimony of God. Most often, we don't have a miraculous experience that brings about a testimony in us. We usually have to put in effort to know God. It means we have to do all things spiritual like reading the scriptures, praying, attending church, and every good thing. We have to align our priorities and not allow worldly things to clutter our time. 

I didn't have an amazing experience to a gain a testimony of God. But through different experiences in my life, I have been able to learn that I really do have a Heavenly Father that loves me. He is aware of each and every one of us. He wants us all to know him. The best way I know of to come to know him is to pray. Ask like the Lamanite king did, and you will come to know that he is real.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Singing Praises to Him

Many who have watched me grow know that I have participated in choir's, musicals, and all other kinds of musical events my entire life. For those who know me well, know that this was NEVER my favorite thing to do. Don't ask me why I did the things I did. Simply put, it has just never been something I enjoy doing.

Just recently, the missionaries in my area were asked to prepare for a meeting by inviting others to participate with us in a large choir. Maybe I shouldn't confess my sins over a blog post, but I groaned a little bit inside when I heard this. Like I said before, singing has never been my thing. As I have learned about what we will be participating in, the spirit has confirmed to my heart that this is in fact something that the Lord wants me to do.

1 Chronicles 16:9, "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works."

Psalms 96:1, " O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth."

Isaiah 44:23, " 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel."

 1 Nephi 21:13, " 13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted."

D&C 25:12, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."

These scriptures, along with many more, show us the nature of singing like unto prayer. In the First Presidency Preface to the hymn book, it says: "We hope to see an increase of hymn singing in our congregations. We encourage all members, whether musically inclined or not, to join with us in singing the hymns. We hope leaders, teachers, and members who are called on to speak will turn often to the hymnbook to find sermons presented powerfully and beautifully in verse."

So this is what I have learned--its not about how well you sing. Its about singing praises to God. Its about the DOCTRINE found within the Hymns. The preface to the hymn book says, "Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, “and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads.”

It is my testimony that we are to sing praises to our Heavenly Father. It is another way that we can pray to him. We can learn so much from the hymns. I know that singing is the best way to feel the spirit. Singing can help us conquer temptation and bring an increase of the spirit into our lives. I know that the hymns were written by inspiration and will bring us closer to God.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Quest of a Lifetime

There have been times in my life where I have needed to know that a certain principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. At times, it has been frustrating when I pray to God because I feel like he hasn't answered me. This last general conference, President Uchtdorf said:

"Your testimony of the living Son of God and His restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, may not come as quickly as you desire, but I promise you this: if you do your part, it will come.

"And it will be glorious."

I can add my testimony that I know this is true. Coming to know these things are true may very well be a quest for the rest of my life. I don't know everything is true, but I have faith that it is. I love this gospel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meet The Mormons

I had the most amazing opportunity to watch "Meet the Mormons" this last week. I love this movie. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have been able to experience the joy that this gospel brings. This movie perfectly portrays the lives of many wonderful members of the church.

I would encourage everyone to see it! For more information click HERE! :)



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Your Faith Securely In Place

There are times in our lives when we question what we know to be true. I have questioned what I know to be true. This last weekend in General Conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen gave a very wonderful address that touched my heart. He gave gave two words of advice in our times of doubt:

1. Find scriptures that you know are ABSOLUTELY true.
2. Read the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Even record it in your own voice and listen to it in attempt to gaining a testimony for yourself.

I loved his quote, "You won't be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place." We can be a source of help to others in this crazy world. In my own life, when I start to have my doubts, I always ask myself, "Do I know the Book of Mormon is true?" and "Do I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet?". If we cannot answer yes, it is my hope that we will do as Elder Andersen suggests. Find scripture that you know to be  absolutely true. Then review the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. If we can come to know of these two basic truths, all our doubts will disappear.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Because I know this, I know that the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth again through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that we have prophets and apostles on the earth today that lead his church. I know that God will never lead his chosen authority astray. This is the true church on the earth today. If you have any doubts, I challenge you to do as Elder Andersen invites. Try it, see what comes from it!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Daughters in the Covenant

This coming Saturday is the General Women's meeting for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I have been preparing myself to hear the words of the inspired leaders of the church, I studied a talk given by President Eyring. His talk is entitled, "Daughters in the Covenant". One of my favorite quotes from his talk says, "You were tutored by Him before you came into this life. He helped you understand and accept that you would have trials, tests, and opportunities perfectly chosen just for you. You learned that our Father had a plan of happiness to get you safely through those trials and that you would help bring others safely through theirs."

I know that we were with our Heavenly Father before this life. He tutored us and helped us prepare for what we would face in this life. God doesn't do random. We have been given our specific trials because we knew that we could handle it. We were prepped for this. We can have faith that God is aware of us and wants to help us through all of our trials.

He ends his talk by saying, "I have a sure witness that God the Father watches over you in love. He loves each of you. You are His daughters in the covenant. Because He loves you, He will provide the help that you need to move yourself and others upward along the way back to His presence."

I know that these words are true. Never forget how much your Heavenly Father loves you! We will live with him again one day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Modern-Day Prophets

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in modern day prophets. We believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He called prophets in ancient times, and continues to call prophets today. Preach My Gospel says:

"One important way that God shows His love for us is by calling prophets, who are given the priesthood—the power and authority given to man to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. Prophets learn the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation. They in turn teach the gospel to others and testify of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer. The teachings of prophets are found in sacred books called scriptures."

On you would find the following:

"Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are committed to honor and follow God’s will, which comes through His Prophet and Apostles. This means we prayerfully listen to their words, support them, and pray for their well-being."

The Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of
        Latter-day Saints
Coming up this October, we will have the opportunity to listen to the living, modern day prophets and apostles. I love to hear from Thomas S. Monson. I know that he is a prophet of God! He holds the authority to reveal to us things that Heavenly Father would want us to know.

In the New Testament in the book of Matthew chapter 7 it says:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

What this scripture tells us is that there are many that may come to us claiming to be prophets. The way that we can tell if they truly are called of God is to look for their "fruits". By the way they talk, act, and advise, we can come to know if they are prophets. I would like to invite everyone to watch General Conference. As you hear the prophet of the world, Thomas S. Monson speak, you can come to know that he is a prophet of God. I know that he is. By his fruits shall ye know him! I can testify of that!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Service, Service, Service.

I was in a meeting this week when I heard this word repeated three times in a row: Service, service, service. Thinking about all of my time I have spent as a missionary, this completely sums up what I have tried to do. Of course, I'm not even close to being done yet. I am only given 18 months to give up practically everything to serve my Heavenly Father. 18 months is a really short time. There is so much I want to do, and so little time.

Mental, physical, spiritual, emotional--we have many needs. In this meeting, I was reminded of a story in the bible it is found in John 13: 4-17.

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of service. The perfect example in everything. As I have tried to emulate his example, I have fallen short. But I still feel the approval of my Heavenly Father. I know that he is proud of me. I know that he has accepted the small sacrifices I have made.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Day

I have been blessed with a wonderful earthly father who cares about me very much. Since I have been out on my mission, I have known when he misses me most when he sends me Taco Bell gift cards. Let me tell you, that's real love. He has been a wonderful provider, great listener, and disciple of Christ. I am so grateful for his example in my life.

Like many other girls, I would be blessed with the opportunity to go on "Daddy-Daughter Dates" with my dad. Now, they usually weren't pre-planned and specific to spending quality time together, but they were special to me any ways. In fact, they were often trips to St. George Utah for doctor appointments, dentist appointments, etc. What I loved most about these trips was just being with my dad, talking, and always making a stop at Taco Bell (hence the gift cards).

These trips mean so much to me now, because it really bonded me to my dad. Looking back, these days spent alone with me and my dad were exactly what I needed to secure a good relationship with him. I can now see how this quality time allowed me to have a deeper relationship with him that most people crave to have with their parents.

Recently while reflecting about this, I thought about how this exactly relates to keeping the Sabbath day holy. Our Heavenly Father has set aside Sundays for us to rest. But most importantly to me, he has set aside time for us to worship him. On it says:

"Besides giving us a rest from the stresses of the workweek, keeping the Sabbath day holy shows respect for God and reminds us to slow down our busy lives to give thanks to our Creator. Sunday is a day to look forward to, one when we get to enjoy the things that really matter."

I love Sundays! Let me tell you--I need that day of rest. But the reason why I have come to enjoy it most is because it is my personal "Daddy-Daughter Day" with my Heavenly Father. It is the day that I devote ALL of my time and attention to strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Don't get me wrong, I am constantly trying to improve my relationship during the week, but it is a day that I especially work at it. It is a day where I attend church to renew my commitment to him. Its the day where I try to serve others. It is the day where I spend quality time with my earthly family that he has blessed me with. It is the day I spend devoted in prayers of gratitude.

I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father has set aside Sundays as a day of rest and worship. We need this time to renew each week. The world is just getting crazier, so we need this day to step back and re-charge. I know that this is the day where we can especially spend that time improving our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I truly love it!

Mark 2:27, "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

You Matter To Him

From ages 12-18, I attended "young women's" during the third hour of church every Sunday. At the beginning of every meeting we would recite what is called the "Young Women Theme". It says:

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge •
Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
 We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
As I recited this every week and completed Personal Progress, I came to know that my Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. I was blessed to be able to increase my faith and become the best woman that I could be. Every single one of the values played a significant role in helping me become the person I am today. Recently, I have been reflecting on some of these values. Something that I would like to talk specifically about today is the value Individual Worth. I hope that I can portray my feelings in way that is not too scattered! :)
Almost my whole life I have watched as people close to me have struggled with their individual worth. When I speak of individual worth, I am referring to not only your worth in this world, but your worth to your Heavenly Father. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 it says:
Let me testify to you that I know this is true. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. He has a perfect plan. Within his perfect plan is an exact purpose for us. PLEASE UNDERSTAND. You are a child of God. He loves you.
President Uchtdorf puts it best:

"My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! If you ever doubt that, consider these four divine principles:
"First, God loves the humble and meek, for they are 'greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'
"Second, the Lord entrusts 'the fulness of [His] gospel [to] be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.' He has chosen 'the weak things of the world [to] come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones' and to put to shame 'the things which are mighty.'
"Third, no matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.
"Fourth and finally, please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him. Have hope and faith in that promise. Learn to love your Heavenly Father and become His disciple in word and in deed."
One of my favorite scriptures is found in the Book of Mormon. It is found in 1 Nephi 11:16-17:
Here Nephi is asked a question: Knowest thou the condescension of God? His response (paraphrased): I may not know everything, but I know God loves his children.
So let me ask you: Do you KNOW that God loves you? I can promise you, that if you pray to know this for yourself, almost any other concern we may have, whatever challenge, can be dissolved by knowing that God loves us and has a plan for us. So please, pray to know. It can change your whole outlook on your own life. And that is what Heavenly Father desires for us.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grateful in Any Circumstances

This morning I was studying a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled, "Grateful in Any Circumstances". Let me just tell you, I really needed it. Something he says in his talk really hit me:
"Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.
"We can be grateful!"
"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for‍ things, we focus on being thankful in‍ our circumstances—whatever they may be."
Now, I am the first to be negative in a situation. I will admit it. I have always struggled with the idea of being positive, when everything around me just seems to be negative. Something that I DO know to be true, is that Heavenly Father loves us. He will never give us anything that we can't handle. As we exercise our agency and CHOOSE to be grateful, Christ's Atonement will make everything right. I definitely know this to be true. It is something I hold onto every day.

Here are some other quotes that I really enjoyed from his talk:
"We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
"This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer."

"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after‍ our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"


"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
"Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless‍ and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
"The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
"How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."