Sunday, February 17, 2013

my why

Goodness gracious. 

Time has FLOWN. It feels like yesterday that I got my mission call. No, I’m not just saying that IT ACTUALLY FEELS LIKE YESTERDAY. Now here I am, leaving in less than 3 days.

I set up this blog so that my mom can post my weekly emails and pictures of my progress, yadda yadda, but I want to write this first post directly from me about why I am LDS (aka Mormon) and why I feel the need to go be a missionary and tell people about my church.

Bottom line: I am a Mormon because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon Church) is His true church restored on the earth today. 

I know this with my whole heart. Nothing could make me deny it.  

However, I wasn't always so sure.  

I was born into the Mormon faith and have grown up with wonderful Mormon parents who have always been wonderfully...Mormon. As I was growing up I always (more or less) followed the rules of the church. But that is how I saw it, as following a list of rules. There were times when I would feel REALLY good at church or have times where I prayed and KNEW my prayers were being answered. But, I'm sad to admit that if my parents and friends had decided to walk away from the church I probably would have followed them right out the door.

It wasn't until I read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it that I knew that this church was exactly what it claims to be. I make it sound like it was a one time read the book, pray to God, and instantly know kind-of a situation, but it wasn't so simple. I had to search the pages of the book for years. I had to continue to turn to the Lord in my hard times, I had to continue having faith, and I had to continue going to church.

Gradually, I became more and more positive that this church holds all of the truth about God and about organized religion. Because of my faith: I know that God is real. I know that He loves every single one of us, His children, equally. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. I know that revelation has not ceased. God has not forgotten us in our modern world. He is the same as He was in Biblical times and has the same amount of magnificent power. I know that Jesus Christ truly died for our sins so that we can have the opportunity to live with God, our Father, again. I know that Jesus Christ lived the perfect life and was the perfect example of how we should act as humans. I know that while he was on the earth He established His Church and gave authority to His 12 apostles to further His work. This authority is called the Priesthood and is the authority by which we should be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, and organize churches. When the 12 apostles died, this authority left the earth for a time. I know that Jesus Christ restored this authority back to the earth through a prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was the man He claimed to be and did everything he did through the power of God. He was a prophet, and Christ’s church is still led by a Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. I also know that Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon in our day and age, not to replace the Bible, but to add precious truths to it. I know that this Book is true with all of my heart.

I am a Mormon because I know it is true. I would never want anyone to be a Mormon for any other reason than that.

I decided to go on a mission because I know how much this Gospel has blessed my life. I know that there are people in the world who are seeking answers. I know that there are people in the world who would be SO blessed by the knowledge, fellowship, and joy that the Gospel holds. I want to share this with them.

I am not going on a mission to force anyone to become LDS or to tell anyone they are going to Hell because they are not.

I am going on a mission to bring people closer to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am going on a mission to serve the people of France in any way that I can and to forget about myself. 

Yes. I am leaving my family. Yes. I am missing my dear friends weddings and babies. Yes. I am pushing my college graduation back a year and a half. Yes. I will be on a very strict schedule of sleeping and scripture study. No. I won’t be able to use Facebook, or Instagram, or a personal cell phone for that matter.

But you know what? It’s all worth it to me. Those wonderful people in France are ALL worth it to me.

As a missionary I will give 18 months to the Lord and strive my hardest to do what Christ would do if he were on the earth today. I am devoting my life 100% to Christianity.

And nothing could wipe this smile off my face.

BIG thanks to Katie Wilson for all of these great photos. And BIG thanks to my mom for convincing me to do the classic sister missionary photo shoot that I vowed I would never do.