email 06 October 2015
Man, oh, man. This week flew by! But soooo much happened! But first I wanted to talk about my #onlyinutah moments of this week. My least favorite #onlyinutah moment is the GNATS. There are millions!!! And they're everywhere. We'll be riding our bikes and when I stop and look down, there's a blanket of dead gnats all over me. I'm worried that one day I'll be at a door contact smiling and I'll have dead gnats in my teeth. Hopefully the light of Christ will be too strong for people to notice the bugs.
The next #onlyinutah moment is how famous we are here. We were riding our bikes down the road and ended up by the elementary school where all the kids were walking home from school. So we got off our bikes and walked them so we wouldn't run everyone over. And as soon as we did, we heard "The Missionaries!" "We love missionaries!" Then this little girl came up to us and said "I'm getting baptized next year!!!" It always makes me feel like saying "That's right kids! Choose the right!" With a cheesy wink at the end like a superhero. It cracks me up but we are very blessed to have so much support here.
#onlyinutah people start decorating for Halloween super early. And the fact that they decorate for Halloween is an #onlyinutah thing. Utah LOVES Halloween! Kind of random, haha. But almost every house has a blowup or lights or some sort of decoration for Halloween. Something that's a hard #onlyinutah is that everyone goes to sleep early. We can't find ANYONE at home after 7:45. They all think it's really rude if we knock their door after that!
Okay now time for my favorite #onlyinutah moment. We can ride our bikes to Walmart. And go in and shop. And come back out. AND THEY'RE STILL THERE. We have no bike locks or anything and no one steals them. Utah is the best!
Well yesterday Sister Savannah Betzold returned home to St. Louis, Missouri after serving an incredibly honorable 19 month mission. I can't explain my love and appreciation for this daughter of God. I don't know what made Heavenly Father give me the blessing of being her companion twice. But I am forever grateful. She is my best friend and she will be missed. But I'm sure her family is glad to have their turn! She has taught me a lot about loving myself. And about loving my mission to its fullest. She was a great example of diligence and obedience and I'm forever grateful to have her as my friend. Keep it going, Savannah!
Well of course General Conference was AMAZING. There was a lot of revelation received. I loved the emphasis on the Holy Ghost and ACTING upon the feelings you receive. I received a lot of revelation about things that weren't related to the topic at all. That testified to me of something said in general conference. That the Holy Ghost is the most honest friend you'll have.
I had the privilege of attending conference in the actual real deal conference center!!!!! I got to go Sunday morning and see Music and the Spoken Word. As soon as they starting singing I started crying. Okay can I just say the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is perfect? On the part when they start talking over the choir, I always just assumed they turned down the choir audio to let the speaker be heard. BUT THE CHOIR ACTUALLY DECRESCENDOS. Maybe it's just the choir nerd in me but it was invigorating.
I got to go with some mission buddies and also with Debbie and Danny from West Weber:) it was amazing to see them again and I could see in their eyes how much they loved it! As I was watching conference and got to be there as President Monson spoke (Read or watch his message here. Ed.), it made me think of King Benjamin when he spoke to his people. I just finished reading his words in the Book of Mormon. It was so exciting to be so close to the Living Prophet of God. During the second session I got to sit on the floor level! My favorite part was being able to see Presidents Monson, Uchtdorf, and Eyring laugh and joke together while sitting there. There's so much I could say about conference. In all, it was quite the magical experience :).
|image from ReligionNews.com|
I've always had really spiritual experiences with reading out loud the Holiday Videos from Mormon.org that come out for Easter and Christmas. And this last week we were at mission prep and they had us do a role play for them of teaching someone about Jesus Christ. We read my favorite scripture about the atonement which is Alma 7:11-13, which says:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.As we read these verses I felt chills all over me and I felt my heart burst open. Then we watched the "Because He Lives" video.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
And I read the words out loud so everyone could know what it was saying. As I did this, the spirit washed over me in a way I had only felt it a few times before.
At this moment I could feel that my strong testimony of Jesus Christ has transformed into a deep love for Jesus Christ. This has been something I've been searching for my whole mission thus far. I feel like Ammon in Alma 26:16:
"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."As I felt all these things and was trying to pinpoint how I felt, the words of the song I sang at the musical fireside came to my mind. "Sing, oh my heart! Sing thy rejoicing!" I felt as though my heart was truly singing about my love for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him and I love His gospel. It's true. 100%.
I'm doing great:) 80 days till Christmas.
Love, Sister Sarlls