Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Word of Wisdom

So I have the amazing opportunity to sit in while the Elders teach a wonderful lady the discussions at my house. This lady is truly amazing! She is pretty much family and has such a desire to learn and grow in the gospel I LOVE IT!

Well, this past week the lesson was on the Word of Wisdom.

First, let me just say that all I do is sit in on these lessons. That’s it. I don’t say anything. It’s pretty lame.

I really do love this opportunity though to watch missionary work in action and watch how the people learn and change for the better. To be able to see them develop a love for the gospel and a testimony is so awesome. I've had this opportunity a few times and it’s great. But I am too scared that I really don’t say anything or contribute to what is being taught. I just sit and take everything in.

Anyway, this week the Elders taught the Word of Wisdom. They went about reading out of pamphlets and the scriptures and it was just a great lesson. My mom also joins these lessons and contributes a lot. In this particular lesson I feel like her input was extremely important since she and this lady could relate and my mom could share her testimony about this topic with experience, my mom being a convert to the church.

We began talking about living the Word of Wisdom and how breaking old habits can be hard but with Heavenly Father and a support system it’s very possible. This sweet sister gave an example of past addictions and how she was able to overcome them. She had struggles with an addiction that controlled her life but she woke up one day and decided that she didn't want to live that way anymore, and just like that she changed. And she knew she could do this with habits she had now.

I thought about what she said and her struggles and I related it to me. I am going on a mission, I am scared to death, I am not good with teaching or sharing my feelings—everything you have to pretty much do as a missionary. But with Heavenly Father and a support system, I know that overcoming my fear is very possible. 

Now I know that this isn't a very good comparison but think about it whether it’s a fear or addiction or anything if we have people supporting us and we know that Heavenly Father is there than anything is possible. If this one person could go through these kinds of trials and come out happy and just amazing then I should not let my little fears or trials hold me back in any way.

So the lesson continued. The missionaries taught, she and my mom exchanged stories, my mom bore her testimony, and I read when I was asked to.

At the end of the lesson the missionaries asked: “Will you live the Word of Wisdom?” and this sister answered, with a smile, “I would love to!”  HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS THAT?! We were all pretty dang excited about that happy, willing, and honest answer! After the lesson ended, we all sat there and talked a little longer. My mom asked about if she had a desire to be baptized and without any hesitation she answered with a yes! WOOHOO!!!  The missionaries then asked her if she would be willing to set a date for baptism and work towards that, and again her answer was a happy “Yes”.

Eventually everyone left, but this sister and I sat and talked. On the previous Sunday I had invited her to our Branch Temple trip that is coming up, in hopes that I would be able to go through the sites with her before I leave for my mission, and she very excitedly said she’d love to join! We started talking about Palmyra and all the amazing sites. I told her how excited I was to be able to go with her as she would tour and learn more about this amazing gospel and where it all began. As I was talking to her about the sites and some of the history I had the passing thoughts of: “Whoa, how did I know this? Why am I sharing all this right now? Man, I am talking A LOT!” I got so excited about our conversation and then even more excited because in about 15 days this is what I would be doing every day!

And maybe it was because it was just me and her that I was able to talk more and share things that I wasn't sure I really knew, I don’t know, but it was truly amazing to me that at that moment all my fears went away and I was able to share what I knew. And maybe I taught her something she didn’t know.

This gospel is so amazing and every day, no matter how scared and nervous I am to serve, I know more and more that I have made the right choice to serve and that Heavenly Father will continually help me overcome the fears that I do have about serving.

Well it gets better—is that even possible?—my mom returned before the sister left and they started talking more about the lesson, then about the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and eventually about baptism.  My mom asked something about if she was serious about setting a date for baptism and her response kind of blew me away, she said: “YES! If I could I would get baptized tomorrow!” WOW! This lady is SO ready and willing to change and be baptized. How awesome is that?! So she and my mom started calling the elders and seeing what all had to be done so she could be baptized as soon as she could. Then her next comment was: " If I get baptized soon enough, I could go in the Temple and do baptisms on the 29th, right?!" UM WOW! How amazing is it that she already has a desire to enter the temple?!

This is extremely exciting to me. To be able to see her grow in the gospel and in her testimony is so special!  Seeing that she truly loves our Heavenly Father so much that she is willing to change and anxious to join His kingdom is amazing! And it contributes to the excitement I have for serving a mission and being able to help others realize the joy and happiness this gospel brings.

“Your problems [fears] may be big, but our God is much bigger”. No matter the problem, fear, struggle or trial you have, never forget that God is there. Never forget that He knows and loves us each individually. Never forget that He doesn't give us anything that we can’t handle. And never forget the joys and blessings that this gospel brings, it’s truly something to rejoice about.

Monday, March 17, 2014


“As we give, we find that ‘sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven’. And in the end we learn it was no sacrifice at all.” –Spencer W. Kimball

So I have been thinking a lot about sacrifice lately. And I think it’s crazy how much people are willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish the things they want; how much they are willing to give up for their hopes and dreams.

While thinking about this, I asked myself how much I’d be willing to sacrifice to achieve my hopes and dreams…or if I would be willing…I’m kind of a lazy person sometimes. My original answer, to myself, was that I would just have hopes and dreams where I didn’t have to sacrifice anything that I really loved...but how realistic is that?!

I am going to be a missionary. I have always wanted to be a missionary. But with this comes sacrifice.

I love my job, my friends, my family, and being in the comfort of my home and company of my family.

I am the middle child of seven kids, I love being in a big family and don’t know what I would do without them. I love my family and am extremely close with my mom (when asked what I like to do in my free time I answered with “I love hanging out with my mom”). One of my biggest fears in serving a mission: how on earth will I survive living away from home for 18 months where I will only be able to call my mom twice a year?! Serving a mission means sacrificing time with them.

I do really love my job and finding a job that you truly love is rare--I work at a hair salon as a tech/receptionist--I love the ladies I work with, I get along with them quite well. So, leaving this job and knowing it may not be there when I return is a huge sacrifice.

It’s kind of crazy for me to think that I actually started sacrificing things in High School. Ever since I was young, I knew that I wanted to serve a mission and that’s when I began giving up things for that goal.
I was one of only a few members in my high school which meant that there were many temptations, especially since I was in a group of friends where I was THE only member.

I often felt left out of certain activities or parties where the rest of my friends would be. Let me tell you though, it wasn’t always easy to say no to an invitation to a party where all your friends will be attending and a few times I considered going. I even had a whole game plan on how to be able to go without my parents knowing that there would be drugs or alcohol. But in the end it never felt right and I ended up staying home, and honestly having tons more fun with my family than I would have with my friends at some party.A huge struggle of mine in school was caring WAY too much what others thought of me and often times I worked to impress people who I’ve recently come to realize won’t matter whether I get their approval /acceptance or not.

This Gospel has helped me know that I truly am a Daughter of a King and that I should act as such. That I should act with confidence and integrity, being an example not only through my words but also through my actions. Showing my friends and family that I know who I am and what I stand for and I cannot be swayed. This Gospel has brought so much happiness and countless blessings to me and my family (immediate and extended) and I am so grateful for that!

But why do I want to sacrifice 18 months of my life to serving the Lord? Well, when I was little, two amazing missionaries taught my mom about the Gospel and for two years worked with her and eventually she was baptized. That’s where it all began, that’s when all the miracles and blessings came flooding to my family! Because two dear Elders (and two became many more) sacrificed two years of their lives and changed mine. And I’ve seen people change in miraculous ways for and because of this Gospel and that’s what I want to do; change lives, bring joy and maybe have an influence on a little girl who will someday want to serve a mission because of my sacrifice and desire to serve the Lord.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thoughts about My Call

“Sister Owens:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Washington Kennewick Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English Language,”

WOW! Isn't it amazing how one letter can change your whole life? I finally received this amazing letter on November 23, 2013 and I will be serving the Lord for 18 months in Kennewick, Washington! It’s so amazing how five months until I report seems to turn to one in the blink of an eye. Today I only have one month until I begin this amazing and slightly scary adventure.

Since the time I was little I had a desire to serve a mission. Now that the time is right around the corner I couldn't be any happier with my choice and desire to serve.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself: I’m pretty bubbly, I’m outgoing, I’m not a fan of public speaking, I have a fear of teaching the gospel because I feel that I don’t know enough to be able to teach others. However I proceeded to fill out my mission papers and soon will be entering the MTC. As I reflect on the process of filling out my papers I was really scared…but SO excited. I waited three very long weeks until I finally received my call; I checked the mail-- I swear--three times a day for those three weeks. Although I was excited to know where I would be spending the next 18 months of my life, each time I checked the mail and there was no white envelope I was a little grateful. So many thoughts ran through my mind: Was I ready? Would I be disappointed with where I'd be sent? Is this the right choice? It was crazy to think that the day for me to serve was drawing near. I no longer had to wait until I was 21, I could now go as soon as I turned 19! That was so awesome. And 
when that big white envelope eventually came and I read "Washington Kennewick Mission" I knew that I had made the right choice to serve a mission.

So, why would I want to serve a mission when I will essentially be doing the things I fear the most?  

The answer is because of faith. I have faith that the Lord will help me with all my struggles and fears of teaching the gospel. I have faith that He will help me with telling people know how I feel. I have faith that I will be able to learn and grow in the gospel. I have faith that the spirit will help me teach others the knowledge and love I have for my Father in heaven and His wonderful gospel. Having faith though definitely doesn’t make my fear go away, I am still very scared. Having faith helps me handle that fear. It helps me know that what I am doing isn't for nothing, it helps me know and understand that I will be blessed for acting on my faith and serving the Lord.

Through faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ I am able to know and understand that at this point in my life I should be dedicated to serving Them and sharing this wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ.