30 April 2014

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

Or rather, when President Taylor throws you a curve ball. Transfer day was today. Transfers are six week periods where we work with our companion in certain areas. After six weeks we can get a new companion or be moved to another area within our mission. On Friday I received a letter saying that I would be transferred to the Portland Heights Ward as an ASL missionary. Basically, I stared at my transfer letter in disbelief. I was not originally called as an ASL missionary. When I went to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) I was trained to teach in English. I haven't used ASL since early December. That may not seem like that long of a time, but it really is. Languages aren't exactly like riding a bike. At least not for me. I've been having to figure out how I'm going to do this. How am I going to teach people in a language I don't normally speak? How am I going to communicate? How am I going to not be a burden to my companion and a waste of a missionary?
Here's what I'm coming to see out here on my mission. With Christ we can do all things. It's as simple as that. That doesn't mean that all things will just come easy to us. It means that as we work hard and with faith, Christ can help us overcome our challenges. He can help us knock those curve balls out of the park. In the Book of Mormon there's a man named Nephi. Nephi has just left Jerusalem with his family to avoid being taken captive. The Lord has just commanded Nephi to build this ship to carry his family out of the land. Now, building ships is not something Nephi has ever done. The amazing thing is, he simply asks the Lord how he can do it. He has so much faith in the Lord that he knows that if the Lord wants it done he will provide a way.
If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?
1 Nephi 17:50-51
Nephi had the faith that all things can be done with the help of our Heavenly Father. I know that if we have that faith in our life, if we ask for the help from our Father in Heaven, we too can do all things. We can do things we didn't even imagine possible. I'm excited for this new adventure. I know that it's going to challenge me and stretch me, but I know that with the Lord on my side I will never fail.

10 April 2014

Can I Make a Difference?

I ask myself this question a lot. Can I make a difference? So many times I've heard "one person can make a difference." But I never think that the "one person" can be me. How can it be? I've never done something truly amazing like start an organization that feeds the homeless or given an inspiring speech that's uplifted so many or changed the world for the greater good of mankind.
I just want to share a story. This story is about one person who made a difference to me, and I'm pretty sure she never knew it. We've all had those hard times in our lives where things aren't going right and life seems so unfair. Where we feel lost and confused and like there's no hope. Those times are hard. It was my sophomore year in high school and I was going through a lot with school and friends and life in general. I stopped going to church, even though I knew that's where I should be. I felt unimportant. But then one of my leaders reached out to me. She talked to me every time I went and looked genuinely happy that I was there. She invited me to parties and activities and when I talked to her I felt like I was important, that she truly did care about what I was saying. For me, she was a role model of what I wanted to be. Her family wasn't perfect, but she seemed to always find the good in situations. Her perseverance and positive attitude were great examples to me. Because she cared enough to reach out to me, my life is different. She made a difference to me.
I just want to tell you (and myself, really) that you CAN make a difference. You can make a difference to one person. Or millions. You can show people by your example how they can be happy. You can uplift someone with your smile. There was a quote on a magnet that my mom got for me. It said, "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." You have the power to influence people's lives for good or for better, all in how you live your life. I want to try to be like this leader of mine, to uplift others everywhere I go and to brighten their days. I want to be a positive influence. And who knows, your positive influence could lead to another person's decision to change.
"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."