Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 23, 2014

I was on a division in Abolição when Sister Lawrence and Sister Porter randomly told me, "Happy Thanksgiving".  

"What?" I asked.

"Happy Thanksgiving," they repeated.

"Thanksgiving is today?" I asked, totally caught off guard.

"Yep!" they said, smiling.

Vish!  I totally forgot about Thanksgiving, as did Sister Baker (another American Sister living in my house, whose parents sent a bunch of stuffing and gravy for Thanksgiving that has still gone unused, but it's p-day so maybe we'll get to try some yummy American food.

I was reading in the September 2014 Liahona that Aunt Annette sent me the other day and found a quote by President Uchtdorf that I liked a lot:

"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.

"When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

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

"Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.

"This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind." -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf ("Grateful in Any Circumstances")

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving a mission here in the foreign land of Brazil, where I never once before dreamed I'd set foot.  I am grateful for the very lovable and loving people here, who Christ loves and suffered for, and who I have been sent to love even more by sharing with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation (Brazil is a very open/loving country.  You can walk down the street and go up to anyone, well woman in my case, give them a hug and kiss on the cheek and introduce yourself as a missionary, invite them to church, and wish them a good morning.  Not anything I would ever do in China or the US. lol.)  

I am grateful for my family and for the fact that I know that families can be together forever (the other day we had a lesson in which the sister of a recent convert who attends a different church told us that she didn't believe in families after death and that everyone would become like God after death, which signified to her that women would "become" men.  How strange and sad! I am a "Daughter" of God and will remain a "Daughter" of God for eternity!). 

I am grateful for the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the small and simple things the Lord has asked us to do here upon the earth to prepare to meet God someday - faith in Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion (by someone who holds the true priesthood of God), receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

And above all things, I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for the miraculous Atonement He made for us, for all the pains and afflictions He suffered so that one day we can return to live with our loving Heavenly Father again.  On my mission, seeing this Atonement used has helped me realize the miracle of repentance and the overwhelming love our Savior and Father in Heaven has for each and every one of us. 

During our life here on earth, it is never too late to see this miracle make a difference in our lives.  Our message as missionaries is free, miraculous, beautiful, and urgent.  For as children of God, we must be prepared to stand before our Savior at the last day and be able to look joyfully into His eyes and say, "I did my best and am forever grateful that You did the rest." 

My Best:

1. Faith in Christ
2. Repentance
3. Baptism (by the true Priesthood power that was restored by God on the earth and given to the Latter-day Prophet Joseph Smith)
4. Reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost (by the true Priesthood power)
5. Endure to the end - make it to the temple to be married/sealed with your family for eternity

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