The STLs went to Khovd and all I got was this sunburn… :c
Actually my nose and face have a blistering sunburn on them but it was still a great trip and once again I felt the Spirit so much and learned a lot from visiting this tiny little branch in the middle of nowhere.
One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about was how God mentors us and supports us so that no task is unconquerable (see this 1st Presidency Message).
I remember being in high school and college and thinking my life was a mess. My room was literally a mess, I felt like I was overwhelmed in school work, and I generally had no idea where to start. I was scared to act because I didn’t know what to do or how to break down what I was facing me into manageable pieces. I didn’t really understand my Heavenly Father’s love or the power of the Atonement. Rather than just start and trust that they would support me, I continued to not really progress for fear of making mistakes.
The moment I started really living and understanding the gospel when I chose, after so much wasted time feeling guilty and insufficient, to act. I chose to find out for myself if God was really there, and if so, what I needed to do about it. I started doing things every day that would get me closer to that. At first it was just, “Every day I’m going to read some of the Book of Mormon and pray.” I was not perfect. I fell asleep while reading and had a hard time understanding at first. If it were not a divine book and I was not begging for Heavenly help it would probably have had no effect on me.
But Heavenly Father is there and He’s listening. Christ is alive and His Atonement is active in our lives the second we take that step forward in faith. By beginning to show my tiniest seed of faith (I had very little hope that He was listening) I was given just enough more faith to continue to add more and more good into my life. I didn’t suddenly become ready to go on a mission like throwing a switch. I was simply given the guidance and mentorship I needed to get there little by little by my Father. As I did more and more good the Holy Ghost was able to work in my life and I could recognize those subtle promptings. In turn that helped me understand the scriptures better. Though I had been scared to begin and was still scared at times of my own inadequacies I trusted in the promise that God would give me the strength I need it. I choose to believe it even when I didn’t feel that way until I did.
That’s my conversion story. No miraculous signs or even experiences I can really put into words. Just the every day struggle in faith to be a little closer to knowledge and faith and the truth of the gospel swelling and growing in my heart.
I’ve always loved studying biology because of how intricately and beautifully it’s organized. I can see the hand of a brilliant designer and it makes my heart jump a little bit. I realized sitting in this little branch I was feeling the exact same feeling I had felt so many times in a biology lecture. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I was looking at how beautifully the church is organized. I recognize the hand of that same Master Designer in these programs that allow people to serve and learn and grow at the same time. It works on imperfect people in imperfect situations. The branch has kids running around and callings that are unfilled and all the struggles a developing unit has. But it’s beautiful because despite knowing it cannot look anything like ward in Utah they took the steps to begin and the hand of God and the Atonement of Christ are there qualifying them to meet the task.
So my challenge to you is to exhibit the faith of these saints. Stop worrying about whether you’ll be perfect or whether you’re adequate for the task. You’re probably not. Heavenly Father has a tendency to call us to things bigger than us so we have to turn to Him. But with Him we can do all things. Just begin in faith even in a tiny way. Maybe you can’t change everything at once but you can pick something and start. You will gain the confidence to continue to improve. You will feel God’s love for you specifically. And you will know you are on the right path and feel peace. I promise those things as a missionary who has seen it so many times in people’s live and as an imperfect girl who has made it here because of that divine help. I testify that He is there and He loves you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
PS: You probably mostly care about the events of my weekend rather than musings, so I attached a video that shows it all. :)