Well hello everyone! Im doing good here in ECUADOR! I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be here! I know that this is an experience of a life time and a blessing. I'm serving a mission but its funny because I think this misison will serve me throughout my life! And its important that we make the best out of this life right?
I Believe that many of us know that ¨this life is the time for men to prepare to meet god...¨(Alma 34:32). And we can learn in 2 Nephi 2:25 that ¨men are, that they might have joy¨. Awesome! So we are here to prepare and to be happy! I like that! Learning and happiness sounds pretty good to me! Who wouldn't love to learn and have joy doing so. I am convinced that we all learn one way or another whether we like it or not. Now applying what we learn is another thing. To be frank, I invite all of us to not be dumb and to apply what we learn. Ok, so we know that we are here to prepare. We must learn and apply. But the Joy part? I'm pretty sure I've said things like smile, be happy, Attitude is Everything and what not. Now I hope that we are all smiling, being happy, and having great attitudes! Thats what we want right. But as we know there is someone, a fallen angel of God, yes the devil himself who seeks ¨the misery of all mankind¨(2 Nephi 2:17-18). Now just think about that! All mankind!!! Whether your name is BillyBob, SallyLoo, elder Jacobsen, Bryce, Angelina, Chase, Jacquelyn, Whitney, Miles, Gardner, Brent, Elizabeth, Corey, Thom, Kate, Austin, Lilian, Shelby, Josh, Rindi, Maddy, Collin, Ben, Lauren, Julia, Kari, Sam, Cindi, Rob, Paul, Cathy, Scott, Jake, Macee, Mackenzie, Jill, Dylan, ryan, Samantha, Heather, Greg, Luke, DJ, Dan, Briar, Jacob, Haylee, Steven, Chloe, Emma, Jessie, Autumn, Alexandra, Suzette, Blake, Shannon, Nate, Chad, Anne, Marshall, Amelia, Nadine, John, Kyle, Dru, Brock, Cole, JB, Or whoever! He wants you!!! Satan wants you and me to be miserable! Just like him! We're not just talking about being a little sad or bummed. We´re talking Misery! From the most Recent Newborn child to the oldest. With saying that, Lets never ever forget who that most recent newborn and the oldest person on earth are. Lets never ever forget who WE are! Children of an Almighty and loving God! We are his children and he literally loves each one of us. He wants us to have joy and prepare to be able to return to his glorious presence. So if we know what God wants and we know what the devil wants, lets ask ourselves. What do we want? God or the devil? Angels or demons? Light or darnkness? Peace or contention? Love or hate? Rightousness or wickedness? Repentence or guilt? Forgivness or Condemnation? Truth or lies? Hope or Fear? Joy or misery? A good Shepherd or a bad shepherd? Whose side do you want to be on? Ask yourselves right now! Whose side do you want to be on? I testify that true happiness comes from chossing the Lord's side. And not just choosing with your lips but also your thoughts and actions. Choosing rightousness! Choosing to repent! Choosing to love others! Choosing hope over fear! Choosing patience and kind words over contention. Choosing the right is what brings joy! Leraning, and might I add learning from mistakes and then applying brings joy.
Now I ask a question. Does having joy and being happy mean that Satan ceases to exists? NO! he is part of this. I really appreciate something that my Dad wrote me once. He told me that ¨Everything about the gospel is good and true and from a loving Heavenly Father that wants nothing more than for us to return to him refined and ready for the next stage. In fact, he loves us so much that he allows Satan to test us and confuse us so that we become stronger because of it. I have always thought it ironic that satan is actually making us stronger by him doing his job. One day he will hate the fact of how critical a role he played in creating this strong army of our Heavenly Father.¨ I love that! We can be happy! We can be so grateful for the opportunity to learn, grow, improve! We can be grateful for repentance and happy for the opportunity to refine ourselves. I have made many mistakes in my life. Some bigger some smaller! But I am learning! And I am so grateful for the Atonement and the hope we can have as we strive, repent, learn how to make better decisions, and become better! I have a long ways to go. A ton to improve on, a ton to learn, a ton to apply, and a ton to be so grateful and happy for. So while we have a TON (because this life is full of just so MUCH) may we all choose to be joyful! Always! Let us be humble, accept and learn from consequences with positive attitudes even when its hard, embarrasing, not the funnest, and just do our best! Don't ever follow satan or his ways down to misery! If we get knocked down or lost physically, mentally, or spiritually, lets GET UP, and if we get knocked down again, and again, and again, and again, and how ever many times... Lets get up, put ourselves in the right direction and with and through the Atonement stay as close as we can to the Good Shepherd!