Friday, September 25, 2015

Stacie's email and pictures September 21, 2015

Buenas tardes! 

I'm so grateful to be serving here in Tucson. I just can't even describe all of the emotions that are running through me right now as I think about all of the wonderful ways I have been blessed this week. On Tuesday, we took a temple trip as a zone to the Gila Valley. As we traveled, I was able to just sit and ponder about the significance of the temple and the blessings I have personally seen because of the covenants that I've made with my Heavenly Father. This prompted me to do further studies on the temple and related blessings that has allowed my understanding and testimony of the temple to deepen. I am so grateful for the personal revelation that I can receive by going there, and I've made it a personal goal to attend the temple as much as possible for the rest of my life. 

We are working with several people right now who feel the Spirit as we teach, have great desires to grow closer to the Savior, and desires to teach their children the ways of God. For some reason, however, they are having a really hard time acting and doing things that they know they need to do. It's been a real struggle for us. Last night during our weekly planning session, my companion and I were reviewing the progress of some of our investigators that we have grown to love so much, and our hearts just broke. My heart aches for people who know better, but choose not to follow our Savior and keep His commandments. If only they realized how much the Lord wants to bless them! 

With my investigators in mind, I was prompted to study about following our Savior. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus walked on the seashore of Galilee and invited two fishermen (Peter and Andrew) to "Follow me". This is an invitation for all of us. and from my studies, I've learned that the invitation can be taken literally.  In the Book of Moroni, we read about a certain "peaceable walk" that allows the children of men to eventually enter into the rest of our Lord. The only way we can obtain that special promise, the promise of eternal life, is if we walk in the path of our Savior. In 1 John 2:6, we read "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." 

Even with so loving of an invitation and such incomprehensible promises, we still have to CHOOSE to follow Him. I love the scripture in Proverbs that says "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil." (Proverbs 4:25-27) He has set a perfect example for us to follow. He has even warned us that the path is not the easiest one, in fact, it is very narrow and straight, and often times we find ourselves wavering even though we try to do good. That's why I love the encouragement to always ponder on the direction we are going, and being cautious of our actions. It might even be a good thing to regularly ask ourselves the famous question that we teach little children to always ask before making a decision... What would Jesus do? 

The whole point of following the Savior is to help us eventually, and with a lot of effort on our part, become like Him. Later on in 1 John 3, we learn "It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Can you even imagine what that blessing alone entails? Can you imagine what it would feel like to be pure like our Savior? Our finite minds cannot even comprehend how great the blessings that are in store for those who take up their own crosses, and just follow Him. 

I hope this week brings you experiences that help you grow closer to Him. 

With lots of love,
Hermana Townley

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