These last few weeks I have realized how much I DON’T know about English; when I use a word, I know what it means, and then at the same time I can’t define it. So I have been using the “define” and looking up in the dictionary the meanings of certain words, and the word “joy” has caught my eye a lot recently. According to the dictionary:
JOY= rejoice, feeling of great pleasure and happiness
Pleasure= a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment
Happiness= state of being happy.
And we read in 2 Nephi 2:25 that “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.”
And how do we find joy? Elisa Lopez [former companion] shared this quote with me this morning and I really like it. “J.O.Y. is putting Jesus Christ first, then Others and putting Yourself last.” And how does Jesus Christ live with joy? “He [Jesus Christ] doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him” (2 Nephi 26:24). Joy is selflessness. Joy is having peace of conscience, of having hope in Christ, in having our feet planted and stead fasting walking in His path. Joy is in the Plan of Salvation. Joy is in the journey. 🙂
As I’m here on my mission I am learning a lot about myself, about my relationship with my Father in Heaven, and what the Atonement really means. Saturday night Hermana Flores and I had an unplanned companionship inventory because I was struggling again. You know what she told me? “You teach others about the power of the Atonement — now use it.” It struck me — I don’t need to go around carrying the baggage of making mistakes. The Atonement allows us to learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them. And He paid that price so we wouldn’t have to (Matthew 11:28-30). We don’t want Him to have suffered in vain (D&C 19:16-19). Yes, I still have a ton to learn, but I can repent each day and continue to grow. It’s difficult for me to say I’m not perfect. It hurts. I don’t want to do what is wrong. I don’t like it when I fall down. But it happens. Nevertheless, the test is if I will just stay down in the misery or get back up and keep walking in the light. Not only do I as a missionary help others experience the Atonement in their lives, but I am experiencing it changing me as well. And what is my goal? To return without regret. To be able to look back at these 18 months knowing I was a faithful and obedient missionary, learning from mistakes, and never giving up.
Yes, I am doing better. I don’t feel that burden on me anymore, and I am experiencing JOY as I am here — MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY, and I just need to recognize and acknowledge them. Last night as I was writing in my journal, I thought back upon the things that happened that day and started writing down miracles I saw, and the list just kept going! And I felt at peace.
Yes, I am SO looking forward to General Conference that is just in a few weeks. What an amazing blessing it is to have a living prophet on the earth and to hear the words of God, what we need to know NOW to help us strengthen our families with our foundation in Christ.
Thanks for all the time you spend writing letters and emails to me. What you guys say each week is exactly what I needed at that time to keep my head up and continue forward. The Lord works in marvelous ways, and I know that He is anxiously and actively engaged in His work. Thanks for following the spirit. And keep sharing your testimonies! It can change the destiny of many generations to come. Just think of Nephi and Sam — Nephi helped his brother come unto Christ by sharing his testimony with him (1 Nephi 2:17), and think of all the generations that choice affected! 🙂
Sé que las escrituras son las palabras de Dios. Sé que nos ayudan a mantener nuestros pasos en el camino de Dios. Sé que el sacerdocio fue restaurada y que el Presidente Thomas S. Monson es el portavoz de Dios en la tierra en esta época. Dios no nos ha dejado acá solos y sin dirección!
[Translation: I know the scriptures are the word of God. Be that help us keep our feet on the path of God. I know that the priesthood was restored and that President Thomas S. Monson is God’s spokesman on earth at this time. God has not left us here alone and without direction!]
Oh, and right now I am enjoying some strawberries! (Okay, yes, caught red — haha, I mean, strawberry — handed.) I bought 6 pints. They were 98 cents each. And I am a happy little girl right now. 🙂