|Happy Brasil day!!!|
Wow! What an amazing week. I am looking back through my planner (which to many people looks like more of doodles since I highlight things in all the many different colored highlighters I have) and I can't help but smile.
This really was a powerful week on my mission, a powerful week in my life, where I truly felt the power and influence of the Spirit every single day. I have thought a lot about which experience I wanted to write home to everyone about, and one keeps coming back to mind.
|All the Sisters who dressed up for Brazil day! Dad--I made sure to wear blue too so I wouldn't just be in the green and yellow...go huskies!!! love you :)|
|With Sister Siegle on her birthday in Guest Services!|
|Yes, I got to wear the Brasil flag for just a little bit :) I loved it!|
Throughout the week, the words of one man kept playing through my head again and again. It wasn't the words of a Prophet, it wasn't the words of a song, it wasn't the words from the scriptures, it wasn't the words from any historical figures or church leaders---rather, it was the words of one man named Patrick.
This last Thursday, my adorable and wonderful companion, Sister Siegle, and I were having our personal study down in the basement of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square.
We both were so immersed in reading our 6 pages of The Book of Mormon as our mission President challenged us, that when he first spoke we were both a little startled. I looked up and there saw a very simple man--very tall, very skinny with slicked back blonde hair, sweat pants, holes in his shoes, and a stained white collared shirt tucked in--holding out his hymn book in his right hand.
"Have you signed my hymn book?" he said.
We came to find out that his name is Patrick and he is a homeless man who has lived close to Temple Square for the last 17 years. Every year he buys a new hymn book and asks the Temple Square sister missionaries to sign their names and their favorite hymn.
I held the hymn book and as I flipped through the pages he started to tell me what page all of the hymns were on. He said that he tries to memorize the sisters favorite hymns so he can play them outside the gate when we all walk by. Patrick is soon going on an adventure, traveling all around the United States to see all of the temples.
He'll be finishing his trip with the temple in Hawaii and said, "Well, I don't know if I'll want to come back to Salt Lake if I finish in Hawaii!"
I responded, "Yeah, that would be difficult, you'll be in paradise!"
He then replied very sincerely, "Everyday, everywhere is paradise when you're with God."
I sat there just looking up at him and listening to him as he testified of Jesus Christ, as he testified of this gospel and how loving his Heavenly Father is. The words then came into my mind so SO strongly and powerfully...
"He knows where his home is."
I came to realize in those ten minutes with him that Patrick was not a homeless man at all. In fact, he has more of an idea of a real home than anyone I have ever seen. Wow. I really thought about that. His home has already been payed for by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I could see in his eyes that he knew that.
Do I know where my true home lies? It is with God.
This place is such a temporary home. The man in the parable in Luke 18:18-30 surely did not know where home was, nor did he or could he fully understand the magnitude of the treasures to be ours in the celestial Kingdom of God. In this world, the money, those treasures are as dust and cannot even begin to compare with all that God has to give us.
Patrick, he is not a homeless man. Patrick--he is a son of God, he is a man of faith, he is a man of perspective and understands that happiness in this life doesn't come through what we own or what we possess, but true joy comes though reestablishing our own relationship with our Heavenly home--for that is the one that can never be destroyed if we do our part. Patrick knows where his home is.
|I got to see Chay! My goodness we both just cried, I can't believe her and Colton have been married for a year and half now...love them both so much :)|
Throughout the rest of this last week, that phrase has come across my mind many times every single day. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go to this home, but that we can feel at home there. That is why the temple is so important. Growing up I loved the quote, "when we focus on the temple, everything else will fall into place." I see that more clearly than ever now. If we feel at home in the temple, in the house of the Lord here on earth, we are preparing ourselves to feel at home in God's presence in the Celestial Kingdom, and that is the greatest home anybody could ever ever wish for. It's a place of peace, of love, of happiness, comfort and joy.
|Awaiting the pin drop moment....|
It's a place where despair, darkness and sorrow can never dwell. It's a secure home that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has already given his life for that we could inherit our place there with our families and those we love most...we just have to do our part and sign our names making it ours. We sign our names by having faith in Jesus Christ, by repenting, being baptized by the authority of God, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring through the trials that may come our way.
|We are so sad it is Sister Finau's last transfer! She's from Tonga and is an amazing example to us every day. I was lucky to be in her Zone last transfer!|
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that home is where the heart is, and when our heart is with God, we can never go astray. I cannot explain the happiness that I feel as a missionary, as someone who is converted more and more fully to this gospel each and every day.
I testify to you all that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, called to restore the very same church that Jesus Christ established when he walked this earth. I invite you all to read the first vision and to pray if Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. For it Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, then this gospel is what will bring us back safely to our true home. This is my promise to you as your friend, your daughter, your sister, as Kelsey, as Sister Briggs, as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a representative of Jesus Christ.
I love you all and wish for nothing but your very joy! God is still a God of miracles, let Him work one in you :) Mormon 9:15.
Nao se esqueca que eu te amo, (Never forget that I love you)
SHOUTOUTS: Grandma Jeanie, Blake Bartholemew, Kate Thornock's Sister, Sister Siegle's amazing and wonderful family--I got to meet her beautiful sister this week on Sister Siegle's birthday (she's incredible!), Kenton Pieper, Colton & Chay Miles, Lizzy Hawes, Mom, Dad, Bryan, Casey, Robert Donakey and the whole Donakey family.
|Short visit from Grandma Jeanie|
|Ice cream for Sister Siegle's birthday!|
|Our roommates made us breakfast for planning! We love Sister Creal from Arizona and Sister Taiti from Fiji! :)|