Dear Family,I love change! (only sometimes though) And I love Auburn. I'm serving here in the White River ward. It is such a different place. I am so grateful for what I learned in Maple Valley-it is invaluable knowledge about the gospel of Jesus Christ that I can never replace. But I am so grateful for this opportunity to start over in a new and different area and to learn even more! One of the best parts is that there are people everywhere here, and most of them will at least take a few moments to talk to us. It is refreshing to be able to be so bold, and to not be afraid of what people think. There is so much diversity here as well. We meet all kinds of wonderful people everyday. I also really enjoy being companions with Sister Evans-Bottoms. I can already tell we will learn a lot from one another. We have a lot of the same struggles and ideas about things. We are excited to work together and learn how to be missionaries in Auburn, which is quite different than both of our last areas! By the way, we are white washing, which means we are both new to the area and have to start blind. But it's great! We love it!
What I am most grateful for is the power of prayer and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord truly helps us become who He wants us to be when we turn to Him and rely on His Atonement. I can promise you that I am a different person than I was 10 months ago-more sure, more confident, and more driven. (I still have so so far to go!) But I know I am moving in the right direction. All because we have a merciful Savior who will help change us and who can bring a joy and light into out lives that we cannot on our own. Elder Bednar talked about the Atonement in his talk in conference, how it is not only for the redemption of our sins, but it is there to provide us strength and to help us become more Christ-like. One example of this in the scriptures is when Nephi was bound by his older brothers and left to die in the wilderness. 1 Nephi 7:16-18.
"16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to passthat they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did abind me with cords, for they sought totake away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.
17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me fromthe hands of my brethren; yea, even give me astrength that I may bburst these bands with which I am bound.
18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stoodbefore my brethren, and I spake unto them again."
Nephi understood the enabling power of the Atonement, which can strengthen us spiritually, physically, emotionally. Christ has suffered all that we have suffered, and He knows how to help us. Nephi did not pray for his circumstances to be changed, but because he understood the Atonement, he prayed that he might be changed to overcome his circumstances.
I loved Conference. It went by way too fast. One of my favorite talks had to have been President Uchtdorf's talk about Gratitude. I have been wondering how I can be more filled with happiness. I felt like his talk was written directly for me. If we become grateful to the Lord in all things, whether easy or hard, we will be happy. Rather than being grateful for selective things, we should be grateful for all that the Lord sees fit to give us. I want to develop gratitude as a greater part of my character. All of the words we heard at conference were amazing! You cannot help but feel the Spirit as you listen to the words of those who are called by God to lead and guide His Church. I cannot wait until I can go back and re-study the talks. We are so blessed to have a prophet of God on the earth today.
I am so grateful to know that God lives and that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die and atone for our sins. I am grateful to know that we are never alone, and that we are God's children and He loves us infinitely. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I am grateful to know that families are forever. I love my family!!! I hope you have a wonderful week. Remember to rely on the Lord in all things. He knows what He's doing much more than we do!