Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Well you guys… I'm getting set apart as a missionary in about an hour! I head out to the Argentina MTC tomorrow morning. From this point on, my mom will be updating this blog with all of my letters and photos! Also, I would absolutely LOVE to hear from everyone! My email will be firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want to send me letters or packages, my mission address will be:
Sister McKelle Sanders
Mision Uruguay Montevideo
Dalmiro Costa 4635 Bis
God be with you 'til we meet again!!!
Sister McKelle Sanders
Mision Uruguay Montevideo
Dalmiro Costa 4635 Bis
God be with you 'til we meet again!!!
Monday, August 25, 2014
Good morning everyone! For those of you that don’t know, I have been called to the Uruguay Montevideo mission and I am so excited. A little nervous… but super excited!
The topic that I was asked to speak on is following the words of the prophets. Along with that, the bishop gave me a scripture. It is d&c 1:37-38, which reads….. “ “
I have some great examples about following the prophet that came from our lesson in Sunday school a couple of weeks ago.
· The lesson was on the mantle of Elijah, and we talked about him being taken up into Heaven and then Elisha becoming the prophet.
· I love to think of the prophet as a comfort to all of us, and the story of Elisha guiding Israel into war with Syria is a perfect example of that. They were so obviously outnumbered, but the prophet spoke to his servant saying: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
The prophet then prayed and said: “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” And then the Lord opened the eyes of the servant and he was able to see what Elisha could see. He saw that the mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Brothers and Sisters, the Lord WILL always succeed, and when we follow and do as the prophet says, we will be on the Lord’s side and we will be blessed.
Just like the story of Naaman. He was a leper, and he went to the prophet to be healed. When Naaman came to the door, the prophet sent a messenger to tell him to go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and then he would be clean and healed. Naaman left totalyl mad thinking that that was ridiculous and thought for sure that the prophet would come out and do some great thing to heal him, so he ignored his counsel. His servants then came to him and said: “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean?” Naaman eventually did go to the Jordan and washed seven times and he WAS made clean. But just think… what if he had stopped at six? He wouldn’t have received those blessings. It is so important that we follow the prophet’s counsel exactly and precisely, and if we do so, the blessings will come.
At the end of that Sunday school lesson, Bishop Smith asked us to think about what the Prophet, President Monson had told us to do in this last general conference. I felt embarrassed sitting there, thinking, wow… I honestly have NO idea what he even spoke about. I looked around the room waiting for somebody to answer the question, and trying not to make eye contact with Bishop Smith, so he wouldn’t call on me, and then I realized that no one else had remembered either! So it was okay.
Come to find out… he spoke about love and the first two commandments, and he counseled us to speak with a softer voice in our homes and things like that. It really is so easy to forget the little things that the prophet counsels us to do, but we need to remember that those things are just as important, if not more so, than any of the big things that we are able to hear about once in awhile.
When we participate in meetings and general conference where we are listening to the prophet and other general authorities, if we have “real intent” to change, the spirit has full access to our hearts and minds. In D&C 44:2, the Lord reveals to Joseph Smith, “And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.”
We are so lucky to have the opportunity to hear the prophet speak as much as we do. Along with that, we have all of the access in the world to the words of our prophets through the internet and other resources. It really is everywhere!
However, as Donald L. Hallstrom of the seventy stated in his talk in conference in april: “this vastly increased accessibility to the voices of the Lord’s servants, which are the same as the Lord’s own voice, has little value unless we are willing to receive the word and then follow it. Simply stated, the purpose of general conference and of any meeting, is fulfilled only if we are willing to act- if we are willing to change.”
I love this quote by Elder Sheldon F. Child…
· “If God loves us enough to send us prophets, then we need to love Him enough to follow them”
Ezra Taft Benson Said this:
“If we want to know how well we stand with the Lord, then let us ask ourselves how well we stand with his mortal captain. How closely do our lives harmonize with the Lord’s anointed- the living prophet, the president of the church, and with the quorum of the first presidency?”
I think that having a living prophet is seriously thee coolest thing in the world.The things that the prophet tells us is revelation straight from God, as if it were God himself speaking directly to us. I mean, How cool is that?
It’s just kinda funny to think about how if Heavenly Father or Christ were speaking directly to us we would do exactly as they said in an instant. Or even as we read our scriptures and read the counsel of olden day prophets, and how easy it is for us to follow their words. And then it can be so hard sometimes to listen and to obey our living prophet today.
I think that the scriptures really do teach us great lessons about this and about how important it is to have a living, modern day prophet. For example, In the times of Noah, the people had such an easy time believing in the dead prophets, and it was so difficult for them to believe in Noah. Because of that, the people, as we know, did not survive the flood.
So most of you know that I have played tennis for quite awhile now, and I have gone through a countless number of lessons and hours of playing to get to the point where I am now. As I’m sure my family and all my coaches well know, I definitely like to do things on my own and figure things out without any help from anybody else. So I would go to my tennis lessons and get so frustrated when I would be playing bad or making mistakes, and I would be receiving all of this great advice on what to do to improve and things that would help me out, and I would get so frustrated and think in my mind “k I know that, you don’t need to tell me what to do…” or “that makes absolutely NO sense, why in the world would you have me do that?” and I wouldn’t always listen to what they would have to say. Well… turns out that was the biggest mistake that I could ever make. When I would finally let my pride get out of the way and actually listen, I would learn so much and my tennis game would improve tremendously because I had so many people that simply had more knowledge and experience than I did who cared about me and wanted me to succeed. And now that I’ve been able to have that same opportunity to help other people out and share with them what I have learned through my experiences, I get those same feelings of love for them and I get so excited when I can see them progress. And then when they won’t listen to what I have to say or do what I think would help them, it is seriously heartbreaking to me because I’m just like ahh it would help so much if you would just do it!!
This is how I would imagine that the prophet feels with each of us.
Not everything seems to make sense right now and we don’t always know why we have to do the things we do or why we have to go through certain things… But the prophet has so much knowledge and experience, and he loves us so much. All he wants is for us to succeed.
I was talking to someone a couple weeks ago, who was experiencing some trials in her life, and she said, “ya know, life would make so much more sense if we lived it in reverse.” That is so true. If we started life from the end and went to the beginning, everything that happened would make perfect sense, and we wouldn’t ever question why we had to go through certain things. Unfortunately, that’s not how it is, and we have to go through life without that bigger perspective… but you know what the cool part is? The Lord DOES have that perspective, and he reveals through His living prophets the things that we need to know and do. So I know that sometimes it can be really hard to follow the counsel of the prophet and we can question what the point is to any of it, but I know that the Prophet knows our needs and his words come directly from God. If we follow His counsel, I know that we will be blessed more than we can ever imagine.
I have always wanted to serve a mission ever since I was a little girl, but I never knew if that was the right thing for me.
As soon as the age changed, and the prophet counseled the girls that if you have a desire to serve, you are called to the work,
I instantly knew that a mission was what I was supposed to be doing. I had that burning desire to serve, and because I had that, it was my duty to go. The Lord has commanded me through the prophet and the scriptures to serve a mission, and me going is me simply being obedient to the Lord’s Will.
I took a mission prep class my first semester at BYU-Hawaii, and we had to recite all of D&C 4 at the beginning of class every single day. As the semester went on, and my desire to serve became stronger, that scripture started to mean more and more to me. It says…
1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 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.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
Although I went through some ups and downs and questioned whether it was right or not for me to go on a mission as I was filling out my papers and even after I received my call, I always knew deep down that it was right for me. Of course the Lord was going to give me trials to test my faith and desire to serve him, but the more I was tested, the more my faith was able to grow.
A few weeks ago, President Morris shared his testimony with us about missionaries, and he said that we are called to serve before we even come to this earth. My Heavenly Father knew that I would serve a mission in this life, and I know that this is my purpose and that I will be able to grow so much from the experiences that I have and hopefully will bless a lot of people’s lives through serving them and teaching them.
I have a quick poem/story that I want to share that has to do with exactly what President Morris was talking about…
This event took place in a sacrament meeting in Salt Lake City in 1974.
A young man, just before leaving on his mission, stood in Sacrament Meeting and bore, in essence, the following Testimony:
"Brothers and Sisters, as you know, during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my mission call. During that time that I was waiting, I had a dream. I knew it was not an ordinary dream. I dreamed I was in the pre-existence and was waiting my call to come to earth.
I was filled with the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend, he was a dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life...
As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. The letter said:
'You have been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born into the true church, and will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will be raised with many advantages and many blessings. You will be born in a land of plenty-- a land of Freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America.'
My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call, and while we rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter to read out loud. The letter said:
'You have been called to go to earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be fraught with political and social difficulties which will hinder the work of The Lord. You will be Born in Costa Rica.'
My friend and I wept as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, 'When we are down on earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come and find me.'"
Then this young missionary, with tears in his own eyes, said, "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica."
About a year after this sacrament meeting, the Bishop of this ward recieved a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica . The letter had one sheet of Paper in it, and on that sheet in Inch-high letters were four words...
"I FOUND MY FRIEND"
I think that story is so cool, and I truly do believe that we all have our own certain callings on this earth, and if we listen to our prophet and listen to the voice of the spirit, we can always figure out what it is we need to do.
I just want to take a minute and express my gratitude for all of the people that have had a huge impact in my life…
· First of all, my coaches, my trainer, my teachers… I truly wouldn’t be the person that I am today without all of you. Through you guys I have learned diligence and hard work and I will be a better missionary because of that.
· I am so grateful for all of my friends. My good friends from high school, I swear ya’ll are getting married and it’s insane but I love you so much. My Hawaii girls… I couldn’t have made it through that first year of college without you. You’re amazing. And then all of the friends and parents I have met through tennis, you all have seriously been such great examples to me!
· All of you ward members, neighbors, and young women leaders… You have all been so sweet to me and I always feel so much love every Sunday when I come to church!
· Then there’s my family… My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, ya’ll are AMAZING.
· Alex. I know you’re my cousin, but you are so much more to me than that. You are my best friend, and seriously one of THEE biggest examples in my life. You are unbelievably strong and I really don’t know how you do it.
· Nick and Micadyn… you guys are perfect. You are the best example to me of a perfect love. Nick you’ve always been my best friend and role model. And Micadyn, I am so happy to have you as my sister.
· Mom and Dad. I seriously cannot thank you enough for everything that you do for me. I know im the youngest and I’m supposed to get spoiled, but seriously? You guys are amazing. And thanks for letting me ACTUALLY leave you guys for this mission. When you offered me my dream car if I’d just stay home instead I was getting pretty skeptical about whether you were even gonna let me go! I really do love you guys so much.
I just want to bear my testimony that I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I have read that book countless times through and I KNOW that it is true. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our true living prophet today, and that he knows exactly what we are going through and what we need. I know that my mission call came from God and I couldn’t be more excited to serve the people of Uruguay.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.