Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'm In England!

Hello family!  
This is crazy, I am actually in England.  To be honest, it doesn’t seem much different than America, or at least the area I am in.  It is different than what I was expecting at all, but I still love it.  

So we flew here Tuesday (I think, the days are all a blur).  The flight from Florida to England was good.  I took some melatonin right before I got on so I was lucky enough to sleep mostly the whole flight, and I had the window seat, which was so good!  I did notice as soon as I got on the flight that the people weren’t very friendly.  No one would help us get our carry on luggage in the bins; they wouldn't even look at us.  But that’s okay.  They fed us on the flight.  The food was nasty but it was food.  We flew into the Warwick airport, which is an hour outside of London, so I actually haven't even seen London yet cause it's not in our mission.  But I do get to go into London tomorrow!!!!! Quintin L. Cook is doing a mission conference at Hyde Park Chapel so we have permission to ride the train into London for that.  I am so excited.  I'll talk more about that later...

So we flew in and got through customs just fine.  Then we waited for the elders to come pick us up, they were late getting to the airport.  It was the office elders that picked us up in a huge van.  We spent the next 2 hours running back and forth from terminals to pick up the other missionaries flying in.  Then we had an hour car ride up to Staines for transfer meeting.  I was so tired by this point that I really don't remember much of what happened.  I did meet President Millar and he is a great guy!  He vaguely remembers Grandpa Robison, and he remembers Kirk (grandpa Smiths brother) that he went to school with, so that was cool.  I also saw Elder Idso, and he is just as happy and great as he was before.  He told me before I knew who my comp and my area was that I have the best area and comp, and let me tell you he is right!

My companions name is Sister Hickman, she is from Blackfoot, and she is amazing!  The new missionaries go through what’s called 12 week training, so technically I should be with her for 2 transfers, but this is her last transfer :(  I was pretty sad when she said she go homes the end of December.  But that’s what the Lord wants and I am so blessed to have her as a comp for this transfer.  We are serving in Brighton, which is the highest baptizing area in the mission!  We have three investigators with baptism dates in December!  Hopefully we can keep it up!  A little bit about it here, it is very diverse, so that makes it interesting...It means that no one judges though and everyone is accepting of everyone, so people are open to listening to us.  It is right on the coast, so it is super pretty here.  It reminds me a lot of New York City.  Everyone smokes weed, so it smells everywhere.  It is kind of the party place in England.  But I love it!  We ride double-decker busses everywhere, and they aren't as great as you would think.  But it is still an adventure!  

It took me a while to get used to driving on the other side of the road, I would get carsick if I thought about it too much, cause drivers here are crazy!  Kind of reminds me of Honduras and the weaving in and out of cars.  They are super good drivers though!  

I got unpacked into our flat, it is pretty small and old, but it is homey.  And we went and taught some lessons at the chapel.  We take a bus there, and it is about a half hour bus ride.  

Thursday we taught a lesson to an investigator in a cafe, and I heard real music for the first time in weeks.  It was weird, but I kind of enjoyed hearing stuff from the outside world.  I also got a bus pass that day, so I can go on a bus anytime I want!  woohoo #missionarylife 
We taught a recent convert in her house, and she had cats.  They were climbing all over the furniture.  But God loves her, and if she loves her cats then she can love her cats.  She is a really nice lady though.  We also got a full sized fridge on Thursday!  I will have to send pictures of our old fridge and freezer, they were Tiny!  The elders were moving flats and didn't need their fridge, so they gave it to us.  We are truly blessed.  

Sister Hickman is a Sister Training Leader, and they had Missionary Training Conference Friday in Staines, which is about 2 hours away from us.  We got a call from the office elders that afternoon saying we needed to take a train up to Crawley and stay with the Visitor Center Sisters for the night so she could make it to MLC.  So we rode a train up there, which was fun.  Not what I was expecting, it is not like the trains in Harry Potter, just kind of like a subway train.  We went on splits for that night and the next day.  I was with a sister that got released yesterday, so the day I was with her was her last day in the mission, and she didn't want to do anything.  We literally just sat at the VC all day I think.  It was nice to be able to just sit and relax though.  We also helped the Mission Office organize stuff.  I organized all the passports, and we rearranged the big board with all the missionaries, that reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa Robison’s board in their house.  
It was nice being in the VC cause I got to see Sister O'Grady, one of the sisters that flew with us from the MTC.  She is great and we get along really well.  I really hope we can be companions.  It was nice to talk to someone who understands what I am going through right now.  
For lunch that day and ward member made us some rice with tuna and vegetables.  As soon as she said tuna I was worried.  It was canned tuna, but I decided I just had to think it was chicken, so that’s what I did and I was able to eat it all.  I am going to have to get used to eating stuff like that.  

Once Sister Hickman got back from MLC we had to take the train back to Brighton.  We got to the train station like 3 minutes before the train was going to get there, so we were sprinting through the station in skirts with our luggage trying to make it.  Don't worry we made it, it was hilarious though.

That night we had correlation with the Ward Mission Leader.  That is when we go and he talks about what needs to be done in our area.  Let me just tell you, our ward mission leader is amazing.  He is only 20, and has been a member for almost a year.  His love for missionary work is out of this world and he would do anything for any of us.  We missed the meeting because of the train ride, but he took me and Sis. Hickman out to dinner to catch us up.  His name is Lewis, and he works in London most days.  He found out I am in love with One Direction and GUESS WHAT!  HE WAS IN LONDON ON THURSDAY AND SAW LIAM JUST WALKING AROUND.  I freaked out when he told me that, and he has met 3 of them in London.  So jealous.  And he always teases me about it and starts singing their songs in front of me...its so apostate (that is what missionaries use when something is bad haha).  But dinner was great, we had some good pizza.  One thing that is weird here is that you have to ask for the check when you are done eating, people go to eat and sit, not eat quickly and leave, so we sat forever and waited until he got the courage up to ask for the bill.  And I had a diet Pepsi, There isn't much carbonation in it.  But it was still refreshing.  

Saturday was laid back as well.  We had 2 appointments scheduled, but they both either forgot or cancelled on us.  So we did weekly planning/12 week study instead.  Weekly planning takes forever, like 2-3 hours usually.  We didn't even get it all done.  I also finished the Book of Mormon that day (yes finally, I did it) I would suggest reading Moroni 7, it is an amazing chapter about Faith, Hope, and Charity.  I learned a lot from it and how we wouldn't have faith hope or charity if it weren't for the atonement.  That night we went back up to the Visitor Center for a Fireside.  The sister I was comp with the day before is extremely talented and wrote 22 songs while on her mission.  Her family came to pick her up, so she did one last musical fireside with them there, and it was amazing.  Her songs are so good.  Then we traveled back to Brighton.  

Finally to Sunday, sorry this letter is so long!  So we got to church and it was the Primary Program!  I was so excited cause I missed ours back home.  The only difference is there is only 6 kids in the primary it was a lot different.  They all did so well though and they are all so cute!  We had 3 investigators at church, and one of them was terrified to come, and he finally came, so we were pretty happy!  
After church we ate lunch at the chapel and did more planning (cause we were so booked we had no other time to do it...), then we had an appointment with 2 old ladies.  They say English Ladies talk a lot, but they really do.  They just talked for half the time we were there.  Neither of them is too interested in the gospel though, which is too bad.  But it was still a good lesson.  
Then we had a dinner appointment in New Haven, which is an hour bus ride.  Luckily a ward member offered to drive us so we didn't have to be on the bus for so long.  The dinner was delicious.  A lot of food though.  If I come home fat it is because of this.  They served us:  chicken, 2 sausages (like little smokies), roll. carrots, stuffing, broccoli, cheesy cauliflower, potatoes, and a big slice of chocolate cake.  It was funny though cause this family has 2 little boys, and one of them kept farting, or fluffing as they call it here at the table.  Rebecca’s the mom kept saying how she wanted her family to be a part of the gospel cause member families are always put together, I had to laugh cause I was thinking of our family, and we are not put together at all haha.  

But that was Sunday, it was crazy busy, but it was so good!  I have learned that when you are busy the days go by faster!  I also learned that I need to take the mission one day at a time, I can't sit and think about when I will be seeing you guys again, cause then I just get down cause it seems so far away.  So one day or one week at a time is what I have to do. I do miss you guys’ a lot, and always think about what you would be doing back at home.  But that comes with being a missionary I think.  

Something super frustrating here is that no one is married.  Everyone just lives with their boyfriend or girlfriend, which means they can't get baptized.  We have 2 investigators that want to be baptized so bad, but they aren't married so they can't be.  And neither are planning on getting married until like June.  So frustrating.  
But I may be here for it still, everyone tells me I should plan on being here like 6 months.  I do love it here!  

Some cool stuff me and my comp are doing this month.  We decided we need to be more grateful for what we have.  So every night before we go to bed one of us says a pray of just thanks, it is super hard.  Try it.  You have to really think about what you are saying so you don't ask for anything.  We have only done it for a few days now, but it is amazing to sit down and really think about what you are grateful for and how much you are blessed.  

Another thing is the Church is doing a Christmas campaign, a lot like the Easter #becauseofhim one.  They have stuff in Times Square and everything, which is super exciting.  So from now until Christmas we are studying Christ.  We are sitting down today and writing our testimony of Christ, then spending a little time everyday until Christmas studying about Christ and his life.  We will rewrite our testimony on Christmas day, and then read them both and see how much it's grown.  I am super excited to do this, you should all do this too.  

Well there is my week.  It was definitely crazy, but it was a good one.  I need to work on bus contacting more and talking to everyone I come in contact with, because I'm not good at that. 
And tomorrow we go to London!  My comp has only got to go to London once the whole time she has been here, so I am super blessed to have been able to come into the mission when I did.  It will be so good!  And we have Thanksgiving dinner at the chapel Thursday, which I am excited for.  I miss America.  Everything is so expensive here.  
Me and sister Hickman only have like 8 pounds right now...we have no money.  She only had 4 left from the last transfer, and they gave me 40 when I got here.  But that money was used to buy my bus and train tickets.  So we are so poor right now.  We just have to last until tomorrow though, then hopefully we will have enough money to buy food and stuff. haha, don't worry though, we aren't starving.  

My address is;

30 Bourne Court
London Road
Brighton, Sussex

You can send letters to that address, but send packages to the mission home.  
I had my package with my bedding when I got to the transfer meeting, but somehow my packages from Preston ended up at Presidents house.  So I am getting those in 2 weeks at Stake Conference.  

Well I love you all so much and miss you all.  You are in my prayers everyday.  Sorry, I haven't read your emails yet, so I may not have answered all your questions...but I will get to that. Have a good Thanksgiving and tell all the family hi for me if you see them!  I love you all; this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  There are so many people without the gospel in their lives that need it.  I am happy serving the Lord.


Sister Robison

My Flat

Sister O'Grady

My trainer Sister Hickman

Waiting in Salt Lake City

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SOS I Need Food

Hello Family! Holy Cow this week has felt like it has been a year!  I have so much to tell you.  First off I want to tell you that I am doing great!  I have only had one hard day and that was yesterday...I'll explain why later.  But I am loving it here!  I have changed so much already and have felt the spirit so much! 
So I hope you got my letter about the first day here, cause I can't remember what even happened that day so I'll start with Thursday. 
We had class all day and met our teachers, they are all super great!  One of them is from Logan, and an elder in my district is from Logan too, which makes it fun to talk about back home with them!  Really the only thing I can remember from Thursday is Me and Sister Holley (my comp) got assigned to be the Sister Training Leaders! AHHHHH so crazy!  There is only 2 other sister companionship's in our zone, so its not that big of a deal.  But the branch president told us he choose us because he saw strength in our relationship.  Which is good, and me and sis. Holley get along SUPER well, I am so blessed to be her companion!  

Well I will give you a basic schedule of what my day looks like:
6:00-6:30 wake up
6:30-7 get ready
7-7:30 eat a disgusting breakfast (seriously, the food is nasty and all carbs, I feel like by body is withering away)
7:30-11:30 sit in class and learn
11:30-12:15 eat another disgusting meal
12:15-3:15 sit in class 
3:15-4:30 personal study/plan lessons/companion study
4:30-5:15 dinner...once again nasty
5:15-8:15 more class time!
8:15-9:15 exercise 
9:15-10:15 shower and get things ready for the next day, have companionship prayer
10:15-10:30 quite time to reflect on the day
10:30 lights out

It is quite the long day!  I counted and we are in class 12 hours a day most days! It is amazing, I have been able to stay focused the whole time though.  I can definitely feel the Lords hand helping me get through classes, cause they are long and can get very boring!!!  

My district is all so great!  Like I said they are all going to Australia, and we all get along great!  Me and sis holley sometimes feel like their moms though, but they make us laugh which is good!  

I literally have no free time so sorry I haven't written more letters.  By the time I have time to just relax at night it is lights out.  I don't even have time to write in my journal, hopefully I will have more time once I get out in the field. 
Speaking of that my visa came!  You probably know that though cause dad probably called a ton.  I leave next Tuesday at 4:35 AM from the MTC and fly out at 10 to Orlando, then to London!  I don't want to leave here yet.  I wish I could stay longer because the atmoshpere is amazing and the spirit is so strong!  

Everyone is super serious here, and my district really isn't.  I think our teachers get frustrated sometimes cause we will just bust up laughing at the most random things.  The other day we had to watch videos about how to deal with stress, and me and sis holley were crying we were laughing so hard.  I decided the MTC makes you slap happy, it is the weirdest thing.  It has been good therapy to just straight up laugh sometimes! 

Well Sunday was great!  We were pretty busy cause we had a tone of meetings to go to for being the STL.  We had branch council, which was cool.  We have a phone too, but it can only call the front desk, if not that would be a temptation.  Then we went to Relief Society.  They have it with all the sisters here at once in the gym.  We watched music and the spoken work before, which was good.  Then the General Young Women's President spoke to us for Relief Society.  It was so cool and she gave such a good talk about how to enjoy the little things in your mission.  Then we had orientation what to wear clothing wise thing.  Lunch, a district council, and Sacrament meeting.  I played the piano for sacrament meeting.  And I accompanied the elders in the district that left this week, they sang We'll Bring the World His Truth, and thanks to Caleb I knew exactly how to count it! haha Keep playing caleb, they need elders that can play the piano, really bad!  Then we went on a walk to the temple which was really nice to get outside.  I saw some friends from school there too that were at the MTC which was nice.  
That night we had a devotional with Spencer Condie, he used to be in the 70.  I can't really remember what he spoke about, but I know it was good cause I took lots of notes!  And then we had the option of going to 4 different films.  We went to one called The Character of Christ.  It is a devotional Elder Bednar gave here on Christmas day one year.  If you can find it anywhere watch it, cause it changed my life!  It was the most powerful talk I have ever heard.  I was all about how we are so selfish and say I want this, I didn't get this, Me Me Me.  He related us to the cookie monster haha.  And Christ always turns outward.  Even when he was suffering in Gethsamene he healed someones ear, he never thought of himself.  That is something that I have been really trying to work on.  

So after that amazing talk, me and Sister Holley both prayed that night that we would become more like the savior in that way.  And boy oh boy did we learn our lesson yesterday!  We are teaching 2 investigators right now.  Ones name is Tim, and he is amazing.  He is actually our teacher, but he plays the role of someone he taught on his mission.  The first lesson went awesome on Saturday and we committed him to pray.  Then we taught him yesterday and it was kind of all over the place.  We did commit him to come to church and read the B. of M. though.  Which was good.  We felt like we did TERRIBLE, but when we talked with the teacher after he just kept saying how great it was, so maybe we are just really hard on ourselves.  
Then we were planning our lesson for whats called our TRC, its just another investigator that we teach.  And one of the sister companionship's walked by us.  It was Sister Takeutchi and Sister Noaks.  Sister Noaks has had some problems with her legs the past four days.  One leg is 1/2 inch shorter than the other, she went to the doctor and they told her she needs to see a neurologist, so she had to go home this morning.  That was the saddest thing to hear because she is the most Christlike and humble person I have ever met.  She didn't say one thing negative the whole night, if I would have been told I was going home I would have been so negative.  I decided that she is one of the reasons I had to come to Provo not England cause she taught me so much about the type of missionary I want to be.  

After that we had to go teach our TRC Hailey.  That lesson was a total fail.  We didn't know what to say.  We were both mad after that cause we could tell we just confused her.  Neither of us talked for like 30 min.  Then we decided we had to start planning our next lesson, so we did.  She went to the bathroom real quick and one of the elders came and asked me how I was doing and I just broke out in tears.  I feel really bad cause I don't think he knew what to do, I had just had it for the day though.  Sis. Holley and I went in the bathroom and just sat and cried together for a good 30 min.  We talked it out though and figured that that was the answer to our prayers, we needed to be humbled.  We were not following the spirit planning our lessons or teaching them.  So we figured that out and we are trying to change that, it was rough though. 

Then we went out in the hall and the Zone leaders were trying to figure out what we can do for Sis. Noaks.  We decided to have just a zone testimony meeting and it was so cool.  I really feel like we grew as a zone.  Sister Noaks said she wanted a priesthood blessing, so all 16 elders in our district participated while one of the most quite elders gave her a blessing.  The spirit was so strong and it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  It was definitely just want I needed.  Me and Sister Holley needed to forget about ourselves and focus on someone else that night.  
Yesterday is the only day that I have cried though.  I haven't been homesick at all (sorry to disappoint) but they honestly keep you so busy that you don't even have time to think about home.  The only time i kind of get sad is when I think about mom watching tv alone at night, I'm sure she had cried a lot.  sorry for that, but know I'm doing great!  It is amazing how fast you forget about everything that used to matter.  I don't even miss my phone or social media, or tv.  I honestly forgot about all the tv programs I used to watch.  so don't worry about me, I am loving my life.  

Sorry I felt like this letter was so scattered, but I had so much to tell you!  It has been one of the longest, hardest, happiest, and most rewarding weeks of my life.  It is amazing how I am now comfortable teaching anyone any of the lessons.  
We talk alot about what we teach.  what we teach is so simple.  We teach about faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the H.G, and enduring to the end.  That is it, that is the doctrine of Christ.  That is our gospel, everything else just explains why we need those things.  look for those in the scriptures, you will notice that is like the only thing that is taught.  And in 3 Nephi I can't remember what chapter, it is God and Jesus Christ talking and that is what they teach.  Pretty cool stuff.  At least I think so. 

Teaching is hard, but as soon as we get in the room we feel comfortable (well except for yesterday).  It is fun to get to know people.  We are supposed to invite to be baptised on the first lesson, we haven't attempted that yet cause that is super scary.  

I feel like I have so much more to say.  But I am so scatter brained I can't think.  And yes, I am craving real food real bad right now, the food is nasty.  But at least I am only here one more week.  Kind of sad about that, I love it here.  Every time I go outside the gates to the field to exercise or to the temple I look for Bri's car driving by, but have yet to see it.  Its weird to think theres a real world out there, i have forgotten what that's even like. 

Well I love you all and thank you so much for the letters, I love them!  And the letters you put in my suitcase, I didn't read them until Saturday cause I was doing so good about not thinking about home.  But they mean alot to me.  I love you all let me know if none of this makes sense!  

I love my life, being a missionary is definitely the best thing I have ever done with my life, I do not regret it at all! 

Sister Robison (oh and I forgot my name was even Heidi too...

Sister Marshall who Heidi went to school and worked with.

District Selfie

Sister King who Heidi went to school with.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So Long,

When I contacted the bishopric to find out when my farewell was going to be, they told me they had me scheduled for November 9.  I thought that was great, considering I leave on November 5.  I have been waiting a long time for this day to finally arrive but I’m as excited today as the day I received my call.
I have been given the topic of Honoring the Priesthood to speak on today.
Elder Russel M. Nelson said “Now to young men who bear the Aaronic (or preparatory) Priesthood: If you honor it, and prepare for and are worthy of a call to be a missionary, I promise: You will then “speak in the name of God the Lord” and bring His light to searching souls. To them you will be as a ministering angel, remembered with love forever.” 
I love this quote and I believe it can be applied to sister missionaries as well as Elders.  I believe that as I honor the priesthood in every way I can, that I too will be blessed with the ability to “speak in the name of God the Lord and bring his light to searching souls”.  While on my mission I know that I can be a tool in the Lord’s hands, helping others to receive the light and truth of His gospel.  The priesthood plays a major role in the gospel.  Elder Nelson went on to say “Remarkable!  He chose to honor us with His priesthood.  So we honor Him by honoring His priesthood-both its power and those who bear it.  By so doing, men, women, and children throughout the world will be blessed.  A living linkage has been formed between heaven and earth in our day.”  The priesthood is this living linkage; it is through the priesthood and priesthood ordinances that we are able to return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the highest degree of glory. 
One of these saving ordinances is Baptism.  Mathew 28 verses 19-20 read “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  In preach my gospel it explains that our purpose as missionaries is to “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” 
Baptism is a central part of missionary work. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said “We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church.  We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives…We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughter of God.  No one else can do this.”  Baptism opens the doors to the celestial kingdom and gives you the chance to have eternal life in the highest degree of glory.
When we are baptized we covenant to take upon us the name of Christ, always remember him, keep his commandments, and serve him to the end so that we can always have his spirit with us.  I am going to relate each of these to missionary work.
         The first part of the covenant is to take upon us the name of Christ.  This has a very literal meaning to me as I approach my mission.  I will be wearing a nametag with his name on it.  For the next 18 months of my life I want to serve and represent Jesus Christ in England the best I can.  Elder Bednar said to be a “preach my gospel missionary” we must make, “His purpose our purposes.  His interests should be our interests.  His work should be our work.  His ways should be our ways.  His will increasingly should become our will.”
To make his purpose my purpose and his will my will, I have to make my life like his life. To be able to do this, I have to apply the Christlike attributes in my everyday life.  The Christ like attributes that myself and all of us should apply in our lives are Faith, Hope, Charity, Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence, and Obedience.  President Uchtdorf said, “Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They cannot be developed without His help. The one help we all need is given to us freely through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Christlike attributes come into our lives as we exercise our agency righteously.  In seeking to become more like the Savior, we need to reevaluate our lives regularly and rely, through the path of true repentance, upon the merits of Jesus Christ and the blessings of His Atonement.”  I know that I will not be able to become the best missionary I can be and develop all of the characteristics of Christ without the atonement and help from Jesus Christ.  As I exercise my agency righteously and show Christ that I am willing to do everything he has asked of me, I will be able to become more Christlike, but that will only come through complete trust and faith in him.  As we take upon us his name we will become as He is, and that is the way to eternal life.     
         The next part of the baptism covenant is to always remember him. 
  Dallin H. Oaks said “We should always remember Jesus Christ:  He is our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Teacher.” He goes one to say “And so we see that He whom we should always remember is He who gave us mortal life, He who showed us the way to a happy life, and He who redeems us so we can have immortality and eternal life.”  As we always remember Christ we will be able to stay on the straight and narrow path on the journey to eternal life, but if we don’t always remember him, it may become very easy to slip into the habits of the world.  Elder Bednar said “Please remember him in all that you think, in all that you do, and in all that you strive to become, and represent him appropriately to all of Heavenly Father’s children with whom you interact now and always.”  If we always remember him we will be able to always be a representative of Christ and show others the light of Christ.  We will be able to “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, confident that his power and love for us will see us through” as Elder Christoferson said.  Always remembering him will guide us in the way we should live.  The words to the once popular song Try to Remember says, “try to remember, and if you remember, then follow.”  That is what we have to do, remember him and follow him. 
          The next part of the covenant is to keep his commandments.  There are a lot rules for missionaries and some may seem more important than others.  But these rules are there for a reason, just like we have the commandments for a reason.  President Uchtdorf said “Faith in Jesus Christ leads to action. When we have faith in Christ, we trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments—even when we do not completely understand the reasons for them.”  Heavenly Father knows how we have to live in order to return to live with him again, so he has given us the commandments as guidelines for how we should live our lives. 
While going to school up at BYU-Idaho I had to agree to always follow what they call the Honor Code.  For those of you who don’t know, the Honor code includes things like no wearing flip flops, shorts or capris on campus, having a curfew, going to church a certain amount of times each semester, and obeying what has been nicknamed the “chastity line” which is that the opposite gender can’t go to the back part of your apartment, if they have to use the bathroom they have to go down to the lounge or back to their apartment.  You get the point, lots of rules that to others may see as pointless.  Many people ask me how I survived up there with all of the rules, but what I learned is that these rules were set for a reason and to protect us.  Yes we have our agency, but we still need guidelines to help us use our agency wisely.  I absolutely loved BYU-Idaho and didn’t have a problem with all of the rules.  I went in with the attitude that some were pointless (like no wearing flip flops) but soon realized that the Honor Code was given to us for a reason and for our safety, so I was going to obey them, just like the commandments are given to us for a reason.  Sometimes we may not know why we have to follow certain commandments, but I know that if we do follow them that we will see the blessings and reason for it later in our life. 
President Uchtdorf said “The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. To follow Him is to apply correct principles and then witness for ourselves the blessings that follow. This process is very complex and very simple at the same time. Ancient and modern prophets described it with three words: “Keep the commandments”—nothing more, nothing less.” Blessings will come as we keep the commandments.  If you have a positive attitude about following the commandments and know we have them for us to become the best person we can be, then it won’t be hard to follow them. The song keep the commandments says “Keep the commandments, keep the commandments, in this there is safety, in this there is peace.  He will send blessings, he will send blessings, words of the prophets, keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.” I know that as we keep the commandments, and as I keep every mission rule that blessings will come.  They were given to us for a reason, and I know that the reason is to help us become the best person we can be.
Lastly is to serve Him to the end.  D&C 4 verses 2 and 3 says: “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.  Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.”

I had a desire to serve God, but it recently escalated to a desire to serve a mission.  My decision to serve a mission didn’t come easily; I tried and tried to push the prompting that I was supposed to serve out of my mind.  But it wouldn’t leave.  It all started back in April when my parents and I went on a Humanitarian trip to Honduras with a group called Smiles for Central America.  Looking back now, I can see the Lords hand throughout the past year getting me ready to serve a mission. I had prayed about it over the year and some days I thought ‘ya that is what I’m going to do’, but I would never stick with the decision. Over Christmas break my dad received an email from this group saying that they still needed a few more people to join their trip in April.  You were supposed to be signed up a couple months before, but they just happened to have enough spots left that me and my parents could go.  We acted fast and decided we would go, because I want to go into Dental Hygiene and needed hours of experience to apply for school.  Never did I think that it would affect my life the way it did. 
What this group does is they travel to different countries in Central America and set up dental clinics in a church to do all the dental work that the youth need to go on missions.  They also do their physicals, haircuts, help them with their papers.  Basically they get everything done in one day that they may need to go on a mission.  I was put in the X-Ray station, so I got to interact with every kid that went through the clinic.  While there we also had the local missionaries helping us.  One day I remember looking over and seeing the missionaries talking and joking with the young men waiting to get their x-rays, and it was then that I realized that missionary work is so much more than just walking the streets all day and knocking on doors.  You really do get to know the people you are around and you develop relationships with those you come in contact with. It is then that I realized it isn’t about where you serve but who you serve on your mission.  You can change people’s lives when you serve missions, wherever you are called to serve.  Seeing the missionaries and the influence they had on these kids sparked an interest in missionary work for me, it made me want to serve a mission so I could get to know people and influence others lives for good.  I prayed that night to know if I was supposed to serve a mission, thinking that I already knew the answer because I had prayed about it before. 
The next day was Sunday.  About half way through Sacrament Meeting, I realized that every speaker had spoken about missions and the blessings of missionary work.  Then that night we had a fireside with 2 of the members of the Presidency of the Seventy for all the kids we were helping throughout the week.  They had told us previously that they weren’t going to go easy on these kids, they were going to lay it out how it is, and that is that they needed to go on a mission.  So of course, all of their talks were about missionary work as well, but I felt like they were talking to me.  During one of the talks, the speaker was listing all the excuses people may use as to why they can’t go on a mission.  One of the excuses was that they couldn’t read or didn’t like to read.  Now if you know me, you know reading is something that I really do not enjoy, I haven’t read a book in I don’t know how long.  It was then that I realized he was speaking directly at me, and that I have no excuse to not serve a mission.  I was freaking out because I didn’t want to serve a mission, I didn’t feel capable or qualified too.
         The speaker suggested that we start by reading Preach my Gospel if we don’t like to read.  And I did just that.  I started reading it every night before I went to bed, and there was something about it.  I didn’t care to sit and watch Netflix before bed anymore, I wanted to study preach my gospel.  I wanted to become a better person, and it was through preach my gospel that I was learning how to be more Christlike.
         Before going on this trip I had been accepted to BYU.  This has been a goal of mine for most of my life.  When I didn’t get in my freshman year I was devastated.  I had been trying to decide if I should stay at BYU-Idaho where I knew what I was doing and had friends, or transfer to BYU, somewhere I had always wanted to go.  I prayed and prayed about what I should do, but I never got an answer.  I didn’t feel strongly about going to either school, and I was so confused.  It all makes sense now.  I wasn’t supposed to go to either school right now, I am supposed to serve a mission.  This is not what I had planned for my life right now, I was going to be done with school in 3 years, married, and travel the world, but Gods plans are always better than my plans and I am so excited that my life has taken this path.  I know that serving missions is not always easy, and that there will be times when I wish I would have stayed at school and ignored the promptings I had to serve a mission.  But I also know the joy and blessings that will come from serving a mission with far out weigh the hard times.  This is the only time in my life that I have to fully devote all of my time and effort into serving the Lord and I couldn’t think of anything more rewarding or better to do with my life right now.
         As we take upon us his name, always remember him, keep the commandments, and serve him to the end we will always have his spirit to be with us.  I will not be able to be a successful missionary if I do not always have his spirit with me.  D&C 84 verse 88 says “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face, I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”  How great is that?  To have his spirit surrounding you in all that you do.  This scripture gives me so much peace as I begin my mission.  I know that I will need the help of the Spirit every second of every day on my mission, so I am going to do everything I can to keep it with me at all times.
         I know the importance of the covenants we make at baptism, and I know that as we honor them and honor the other priesthood ordinances that we will be blessed.  The priesthood is a gift to us on this earth.  As Elder Nelson said it is “a living linkage between heaven and earth” so we need to do all we can to honor it.
         Testimony and Thank You's