Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday To Me

Sister Kelly - May 1996 

Hello Everyone!

It's my birthday today. I'm now 20. 20! How is this possible? I still feel like I'm 17 yrs. old most days. I also still act like a 13 year old, so there's that too. 

Since I'm a missionary, I decided to read the Book of Mormon at a certain pace so that I could finish on my 20th birthday. I thought it would be a fulfilling gift for me as well as for Heavenly Father since He's had to put with me for 20 years on this earth. 

This week was once again another blur. I really don't remember much...probably because we get home late and I never have time to journal...or even do laundry for that matter. On second thought I totally remember surprising Whitney for her 17th birthday (had to get permission though) and almost getting hit by a car....and almost setting the apartment on fire. Oops.

Oh, also, on Saturday we went to the Arlington National Cemetery to pick up dried up flowers that they placed on the graves for Memorial Day. There is such a special spirit there and I loved taking care of the graves. I was able to visit one of my dearest friend's sons, Christian Pike, who was killed in combat 2 years ago.  His mom used to live in Franconia but she is moving. I promised her I would visit Christian's grave. I am so grateful I found him! 

But, back to the Book of Mormon. I know it's really, REALLY cliche for missionaries to all of sudden develop this "dramatic" LOVE for the Book of Mormon. But, whatever. I totally fell victim to this cliche and I have to say, I really LOVE the Book of Mormon. So instead of giving a stereotypical answer as to WHY I love the Book of Mormon, I am going to give you 20 reasons why  YOU should read the Book of Mormon through things that the Book of Mormon taught me and WHY I am grateful to have read it. 

1. Courage is not easy to obtain. In the very beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi and his idiot brothers had to obtain the brass plates that contained scripture from a wicked king. Our Mission President pointed out to us that Nephi kinda chickened out and he didn't really sacrifice much towards his calling in the beginning (1 Nephi 3:11, 22). It wasn't until he had to slay Laban that he became truly consecrated to the Lord.
2. So out of all the stories in 1 Nephi, I am especially moved by the story of him breaking his bow--especially his reaction vs. his family's reaction. If Nephi can have his bow break with a starving and murmuring family and still be grateful to the Lord at the end of the day, then we have no reason to complain. (1 Nephi 16: 18-25, 39)
3. Our purpose in life is to have joy. So despite all the hardships life has to offer, we must always keep in mind that life also offers happiness. (2 Nephi 2:25)
4. We need to pray all the time. Even if we don't feel like it. Even if we don't feel worthy enough. Even if we feel like we don't need God right now. He still wants and needs to hear from us, and we need to make that a life habit. (2 Nephi 32:8-9)
5. It's okay to "wrestle with the Lord" in your prayers. It's okay to have your soul be "hungered". Enos did it and he felt pretty great afterwards. (Enos 1:2-6)
6. I'm pretty sure every political leader needs to be like King Benjamin and if you're currently in a leadership role, you should definitely read his words to his people. I am always so amazed at his character and his advice!! King Benjamin pretty much told me I needed to get my act together, and for that I am forever grateful. (Mosiah 2-4)
7. If we are faithful and diligent, we WILL overcome our trials. The trick is that it's in the Lord's time which sometimes takes a while. But I have learned that the Lord's timing is always at the best time. (Mosiah 7:33)
8. Sometimes we sacrifice a great deal for something or for someone and we never get to see the result of it. I feel like that all the time as a missionary. But I am always comforted by the story of Abinadi. Here he is getting burned alive for preaching the gospel and he thought that NO ONE listened. I can't even imagine how awful that must have felt. But little did he know that someone (Alma) was listening, became converted, and baptized hundreds. All because of his sacrifice! (Mosiah 11-13, 17-18)
9. Sometimes being a missionary is HARD. On a lot of levels or a lot of reasons. I definitely get discouraged or burned out sometimes but from the Book of Mormon, I realized that no matter how "depressed" our hearts are, we need to have patience knowing that Christ is watching out for us and we WILL succeed. (Alma 26:27)
10. SHIBLON. We need more Shiblons in the world. I absolutely LOVE Alma's address to him. I want to strive to become like Shiblon. (Alma 38 and the April 2015 General Conference talk : "Truly Good and Without Guile")
11. While we're on the subject of Alma 38, one thing that really struck me as I was reading, was that by putting trust in God, everything will work out eventually. Trust is easier said than done sometimes, but if we show that type of commitment, we will be so blessed! (Alma 38:5)
12. I also was really moved by Alma's address to his other son, Corianton. Corianton is known for being the naughty son who had a serious rebuking session with his dad, But, I love how as you read on in the Book of Mormon, you find out that Corianton repented and was forgiven. He even held a leadership position. This proves to me that the Savior WANTS to matter how badly we mess up. And the best part is that part of the Atonement is bouncing back to who you are supposed to become. (Alma 39, 42:31, 43:1-2, 48:18, 49:30)
13. The Savior coming to the Americas is a huge highlight of the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite passages from that account is where Christ is telling the people that God takes care of them. If God tends to plants and animals, then why would He not tend to you? As children of God, we need to all remember that from time to time. (3 Nephi 13:27-34)
14. Learning how hope is an anchor to the soul was life changing. Also, wishing for a better world is a good thing. Simple as that. (Ether 12:4)
15. I think a lot of times, people get mad when they pray for something and God doesn't "appear to them" or answer them, right away. But in Ether 12, I learned that we don't receive a "witness" until AFTER the trial of our faith. I'm actually so grateful for that that is how God works. God would cease to be God if He didn't make us work and learn a little bit :) (Ether 12:6)
16. AHHHH Ether 12 is my favorite as if you couldn't already tell. But verse 27 is my very, very favorite. When weakness is shown unto us, it means Christ loves us. He wants the best for us and the best us! The scripture means so so much to me. (Ether 12:27)
17. I asked my dad who his favorite Book of Mormon prophet was at the time and he mentioned Moroni. So I decided to really study him. Wow, that guy was amazing. He faced so many challenges. Loneliness, fear, war, name the trial, and he probably had to endure it in some way shape or form. But, I love his simple testimony he shared in the very beginning of the Book of Moroni. (Moroni 1:3)
18. Charity is the lure of love of Christ and if we can strive to develop faith, hope, and charity...we got it. Plain and simple. FHC is real people, it's real. (Moroni 7)
19. Perfect love casts out all fear. So I guess if I start to love crackhead hobos and snakes....I won't be afraid of them. (Moroni 8:16)
20. So all in all, this Book of Mormon has changed my life. It kinda took 20 years for me to realize that. From having a scowl on my face during family scripture study to risking my life (literally) for the sake of inviting people to read this book. Christ loves me and He loves you. That's why He gave us tools like the Book of Mormon for us to reach back to Him and our Heavenly Father. It has made me a better person. It has made want to become the person I know God wants me to be. That totally sounds corny but it's really true. I am grateful to wake up at the crack of dawn to work 14 hours a day in sweat to preach the gospel and to introduce people to this Book. It's true. I know it is. 

And that's my bday wisdom :) I'm starting to realize how long this if you read through this whole thing, you're a champ. 


Sister Kelly

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