08 December 2014

Week 78: THIS IS IT!!

December 8, 2014
Geliefde Familie: 
I feel pretty good titling this email "This is It" because, well, that's what Michael Jackson's last concert tour was called, and if there's anyone in this life to emulate, it's the King of Pop. Wait...I might be confused. King of Kings is who we are supposed to be emulating. Either way, THIS IS IT. 
Transfer calls came last night.  The assistants told me I was being transferred to America! Zr. Mashburn is staying here.  ALSO, ZR MASHBURN IS TRAINING! SHE IS GOING TO BE AMAZING!!!
 And we went to Brugge today. It was exquisite. Also, Christiaan from Lelystad came because he had a Sinterklaas gift for me: THE SORTING HAT. YES. He's probably sending a picture. 
The Sorting Hat
 I've been thinking a lot about what I would say, and I thought I'd use the scriptures to tell you about what I've learned because one of the biggest things I've learned on my mission is to love, love, love the scriptures. Not that I didn't like them before, but they've definitely taken on a new meaning for me these past 18 months. 

Helaman 5:12. And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon therock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

This tells us a few things. One, that trials WILL come. It doesn't say "if" anywhere in that verse. It does say "when" and "shall" though. But it also promises us that if we build upon the rock of Christ that we CANNOT fall. I like to use this scripture when I talk to people about getting answers from God. We get those answers when we pray often, read in our scriptures, and attend church meetings.

Alma 7:11-13. 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.
 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.This tells us that we are never alone. Christ suffered, and I think we all know that. But WHY: so that he would know how to help us. It's sort of the same reason that we suffer. So that we can help others when they stand in need. We have sympathy for others when we notice them going through something we've gone through. Christ has more than sympathy for us. He died for us so that we don't have to feel guilty or sad or lonely. He has a perfect plan and he will never leave us alone.

Abraham 3:25. See also Romans 12:1-3.  

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,which is your reasonable service.
 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
It's not supposed to be easy, discipleship. We have to give everything we've got, actually. Doing the will of God is not just a good idea, but it's the test of why we're here on earth.

Alma 5:28. Pride is a sin and we must be clean to see God. Luckily we're here on earth to repent. Further, Alma 34:32-34. We are eternal. What we become while on the earth stays with us. We are here to change, but in the end, what we've become while here is what we will always be. So we need to take this opportunity to change, to repent, every day while we can.

Mormon 9:19-22. Miracles still happen, people. But only if we have faith. I've learned a lot about faith and expectation on my mission. Dad and I talked about it before, but I got to put it into practice here in the Field. God can only work with the amount of faith that we have. He can help us develop more faith, but faith ultimately is a choice. Something we need to choose every day. If it's not growing, it's shrinking, and THAT'S when miracles cease.

D/C 128:24.24 Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who canabide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation. This is why God refines us. SO that we can be with Him. He wants us to come back to Him, but we have to work. That's why he gives us the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a refining PROCESS that requires a lot of sacrifice. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. When we sacrifice, we increase in faith and in order to be able to abide in the Celestial Kingdom, we have to have sacrificed. Sacrifice is required for salvation. That has carried me through the toughest times on my mission. See also 3 Nephi 12: 19-20, Alma 34:17

2 Nephi 32:3 and 5, also Jacob 4:6.  Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

SCRIPTURE POWER keeps me safe from sin. But seriously. I already said something about this, but I KNOW that our days are better when we read in the scriptures. I am so grateful for them. Anyone reading this, just know that if your day has been hard, it can get better if you take 15 minutes and just read in the Book of Mormon. It gives a strength that we can't get from anywhere else. It might sound cheesy, but it's true. The scriptures give us power. They give us hope. I love the scriptures. 

2 Nephi31:20. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
This is on my plaque. It tells us so many good things. First, why we should do things: LOVE. There are a lot of other reasons to do things, but if it's not out of love of God or fellow men, re-evaluate it. It will make you happier. It will give you the hope mentioned in this verse.

D/C 6:10-11. I've learned a TON about Spiritual Gifts, but mostly that they're given to us so that we can help people. Again, we have to look at WHY we are doing things. Everybody has something. Everybody can develop themselves more. Shout-out to MJ Aston for teaching me that we won't get any new talents if we don't ask for them and do our part to develop them. Love you.

Ether 2:9 and 14, D/C 95:1. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fullness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—

 At this point you may have realized that I don't know where the "and" sign is on this keyboard. BUT. WHY GOD CHASTENS US. Because he loves us! He wants the best for us. He told the Brother of Jared that he could live in the best land ever. EVER. But if he wanted to live there, he had to be better. SO he chastened him so that he would repent and be worthy of that huge blessing. He does that with us too. I know that the days that we feel chastened are actually a blessing. We are driven to our knees to change on these days. 

Ether 12:4. Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. Hope. 

Faith in God gives us hope which carries us through the day. What would we do without hope? The hardest days of my mission are the days that I've forgotten about hope and how it is an anchor for us.

Alma 7:15. Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.

The only thing that stands between me and God is whatever I personally place there. God's willing to give me answers, help, forgiveness. I have to drop my pride and be ready for it. Heavenly Father knows what I can handle, but when I show Him that I'm ready for something, He will give it. Sometimes that's uncomfortable, sometimes that's scary, but if we let go of our pride and realize that it's what God wants, we will be so much happier. 

D/C 63:16 the last part. See also 1 John 4:18. Fear and faith can't coexist. So if we're afraid, it's because we aren't trusting in God. Luckily, faith drives out fear. I know that trusting in God is ALWAYS the better option, although that is definitely easier said than done. 

Alma 34:38  That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. I love this one.It's all about humility and gratitude. I've been so blessed to be able to come on a mission. I've learned so much and I've changed so much. I hope I continue to grow the way I have on my mission. I've learned what it means to take the name of Christ upon me. Every investigator I've had or every lesson with members has taught me too. I've learned so much about people and about what it is to be a true disciple of Christ. I know that Christ is the center of the gospel. It's all for us. We were sent here to become more like Him. It's hard. It hurts. But it makes us more prepared for the future, be that here on earth or later. I'm so grateful for the examples I've seen here on my mission. I love these people. A lot of times I notice parts of my personality in them, and then I know why I was called here. I can't believe it's been 18 months. They've been the hardest, scariest sometimes, points in my life, but I wouldn't have given it up for anything. I've had so much fun and learned so much. 

IK HOU VAN JULLIE! See you Thursday?!!?!?! AHHHHH. Everybody keeps asking me how i feel. I know I am going to NL on Wednesday to see other missionaries, but I don't really realize that I'm going to be seeing you the next day. It's so weird. But I am excited. 

Thank you for the love these past 18  months. I'm so blessed to have such a great team of supporters behind me. I LOVE YOU ALL.

Zr Katherine Heilner

P.s. this is my last letter to President, we were supposed to share our most memorable experience. 

My most memorable mission experience would have to be entitled, "Is this a trick?"

Serving in Maastricht was so good for me because I learned a lot of really hard lessons. I had a steady investigator there the whole time. She is from Italy and is very intelligent. She was raised Catholic, but grew to resent that because of what she had seen in the Catholic Church and around her in Italy by people that called themselves Catholics. When we found her, she was completely atheist, and was quite convinced that there could be no God that loves us. She's a philosophy major, so naturally she wanted to discuss this matter with us. Teaching her was fantastic. She loved the Plan of Salvation and really WANTED to believe, but was having trouble receiving answers to her prayers. We eventually got to the Word of Wisdom though. She LOVES coffee. She told us that WE wouldn't want her to stop drinking coffee because she is so grumpy without it. She's also very determined though. We taught her the Word of Wisdom on Saturdaymorning, and invited her to stop drinking coffee the next day and come to church with us. I think she said yes just to show us how big of a mistake WE would be making. 

We met at the train station and had brought her an apple (they're supposed to help). She wasn't particularly talkative, but didn't seem too bad. She told us that she didn't have a headache YET, but she was sure it would come. We had talked a lot about faith with her, and on the train ride to the church in Heerlen, we taught her about Priesthood blessings. We told her that we could ask a brother in the ward to give her one and it would help. She agreed, again, probably to show us how wrong we were.

During church, the headache started. She got restless, but after the meetings, the institute teacher that she already knew and respected gave her a blessing of strength to quit drinking coffee. We rode the train home with her, and she seemed to be doing a little better.

We had an appointment with her the next Wednesday. Her phone didn't work, so we hadn't had contact with her since then, but we had made an appointment to have a lesson and then travel together to institute after that. We got in her house and were talking and decided to just start with the next lesson before following up on the coffee...but before we could begin she asked if she could ask us a question. She looked really nervous as she said, "Was that some sort of trick?" We were worried about to what she could be referring, but she clarified that she believed the Priesthood Blessing must have been some sort of magic trick. She said that when she got home from church on Sunday that the headache, in a second, went away completely. She said that she noticed that she actually had MORE energy and that she hadn't wanted to drink any coffee since then. At that point, we could testify that Priesthood blessings only work according to our faith, so she must have had faith in God! She still was bewildered, and had to ask the institute teacher herself is he had just played some sort of trick on her. 

This investigator is still searching, but I know that she is making huge progress. I know, through this experience, that Heavenly Father can work with even the smallest amount of faith to bring about miracles. I know miracles haven't ceased and I know that Heavenly Father loves His children. I know that the Priesthood is restored and that it's here to bless us. I am so grateful to have seen this work in the lives of others and also in my own life. I know that Heavenly Father is ready to bless us when we drop our pride and come to Him. I know that the Book of Mormon teaches us how to come closer to Christ. I am so grateful for this knowledge, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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