Monday, September 12, 2016

Hola,
     There is absolutely no chance I will be able to express a portion of my thoughts and feelings of the last 18 months of my life.
     The last 18 months, and especially the last six weeks, I feel like God has been personally teaching me. I've never understood so clearly the way that our Father in Heaven loves us. Of everything that Hermana Hart and I have seen, experienced, taught, and felt this transfer, it all comes back to His love. In the roughest of all the areas I have ever served, surrounded by the reality of the world that we live in, I have never felt so close to my Savior. I have seen Him reach out to me from everything from my personal studies in the morning in the scriptures, through prayer, to even the seemingly roughest people on the streets. Looking back I can see, and am aware now more than ever that He has been with me every single step of my mission, and of my life.
     I will never stop being amazed at how He knows me, and loves me so perfectly, personally, and unfailingly. He never stops loving us, even with all the things that make us so imperfect. More than ever I understand why we are given challenges in life, and I am forever grateful for them, because I know know it is only a plea from Him, saying 'remember me.'
     This week I was studying once again in Alma 36 about the conversion of Alma. He described the feelings he had as "tormented with the pains of hell, racked by the pains of a damned soul, eternal torment, with all his sins, inexpressible horror, etc.." Yet on the contrary, he explains the 'sweet' contrast he experienced as "joy, marvelous light, exquisite, and sweet."
     As I was thinking about why God 'punishes' His children, I realized that without punishment, or consequences- what reason do we have to be obedient, and to do what is right? Likewise, without positive consequences, or blessings, what reason do we have to follow Him?
     And even when he does 'punish," he does so only through tears. Moses 7:41 "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook."
     This has given me a new vision as I read the Book of Mormon, as I notice the pattern of love and chastening with the Lord to the those people. And I see it in my own life.

     He pleads with us to repent only so that we might avoid suffering for what Christ already paid for. D&C 19:15-18
     "16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent"
     I know that this church is His church, and that the Book of Mormon contains everything we need to know to come back to Him. And I know that He loves us.

I will be forever grateful for the lives I was able to be a part of, and those of you at home who have made the load bearable.
Les amo. Les vere pronto.
One last time,
Hermana Sears






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