"You are good. But it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others..." Gordon B. Hinckley

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pocatello! Week 4

Can I just say... I have learned more about myself and my relationship with my Father in Heaven here on my mission faster and more deeply than I have my entire life? I can't believe it. So first of all... Tuesday. Tuesday we had a district meeting and I had been asked a week in advance to give a training. There's about 8 elders in our district and me and Sister Jacobson. Our district leader, Elder Polley had said, "So I would like you to give the training to us next week. Rely on the Spirit to guide you in what you should teach us. I'll be training after you, so hopefully what we teach will go well together. Just pray about it and you'll be great." Okay nerves! So I'm the newest member in our district and I'm teaching everyone how to be a better missionary? I'm teaching missionaries that have been out and serving for almost a year and a half or more? You could say I was feeling inadequate. Not to mention, usually the district leader tells you what to talk on so everything relates perfectly, but he wanted me to rely on personal revelation. So I was a bit stressed out. I wanted so badly to speak about what Heavenly Father wanted me to and teach these missionaries what they needed to know and hear. And let me say... I prayed. I prayed for insight and strength and the ability to be a worthy vessel in the Lord's hands. I wanted what I had to say to strengthen my fellow missionaries and I wanted the Spirit to testify of what the Lord prompted me to say... so after much prayer throughout the week it wasn't until Tuesday morning that I realized I needed to speak about God and His love for us. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He knows us. We are sons and daughters of the most high being in all the universes. How amazing is that? We have divine potential. We have been created by Him. He knows us internally and externally. He knows all about us; our trials, our fears, our weaknesses, our pain, or anxieties, etc. And the fact that we have this knowledge is huge! We need to show to everyone we're teaching how much we care about them and not only that but how much God cares about them. Out of all the names that God could be referred to or called he prefers Father. Isn't that saying something? I think so. It shows how much he treasures us and it shows what matters most to Him. We do. So Tuesday morning we got to the training and guess what... the Assistants to the President of our mission were at our district meeting. They decided to stop by... and those anxieties came back. Okay so I'm teaching 10 experienced missionaries? After discussing our district and how we can improve, it was my time to speak. I walked up to the pulpit, with my notes and thoughts collected, said a prayer in my heart, and spoke... and guess what happened. Power came. Power from above. The Spirit worked within me and I spoke from my heart. I testified of how important the truth that God is our loving Heavenly Father is. This is a statement and truth that EVERYONE needs to know. Knowing we are children of God gives us purpose. It gives us light. It gives us strength and power and the knowledge that we can receive divine revelation from Him. How beautiful is that? It's too beautiful not to share. It is not something to take lightly. We need to speak with everyone we can and tell them of God's love for them. They deserve to know. They need to know. It will change their lives. I shared the story of Alma and how when he spoke with the king he spoke with boldness and testified... but not only that, he asked questions. When we love and cherish and care for those that we're teaching, the lessons change and we're better able to show them and help them feel the light of Christ and the love of God. After I sat down I could see everyone just staring at me like "wait what just happened?" The power that the Spirit allowed me to convey and the ability He gave me to speak with authority and command and love was just amazing. My thoughts flew through me and I was able to say what Heavenly Father needed to be said. After I sat down Elder Polley stood up with tears in his eyes and began to speak. He said, "Thank you Sister Mork. That ties in perfectly with what I wanted to speak about. I want to talk about teaching people, not lessons. We need to teach to their needs." And he went on to express that neither of us had coordinated what we were going to speak on, but the Spirit guided both of us separately so this training could be effective and insightful and unified. It was just such a neat experience. The Spirit was felt so strongly. We all felt such love, His love, and that's the most important feeling anyone can feel. After the training ended a few people shook my hand afterwards and said things like, "You should do the training every week. That was awesome." And the thing to notice isn't that I gave an effective training, it's that He let me give an effective training. It's that Heavenly Father heard my tender cries to Him asking for help and guidance and He cared enough to answer my simple prayers. How grateful I am to know that I have a Father in Heaven that cares about my insignificant concerns and challenges. Then after training Sister Jacobson and I were waiting for an hour for our ride. They had forgotten. We prayed that someone would come and someway we could find a way home. We had forgotten our phone so we had no way. Then, all of a sudden, an older, kind gentleman walked towards us and after we told him of our circumstances he called his wife and she drove us home. In the car she said, "After my mission I was able to do hard things. I think the best lesson I learned on my mission was we can do hard things. We can accomplish anything the Lord puts us up to. We are more capable than we think." Oh how I needed to hear those words. What a tender moment! Wednesday and Thursday were trial days. Those were days of challenge... definitely two of the hardest day's I've ever had in my entire life. Sister Jacobson and I were studying on Wednesday and all of a sudden I just burst into tears and couldn't stop crying. I couldn't explain what I felt... I just felt so dark, so alone, so anxious, so afraid... all my thoughts were super clouded and I couldn't explain it all. I just felt heavy, like a cloud of darkness was over my heart. To feel so many negative emotions all at once is overwhelming and never before had I felt it to that degree. I could barely move. I said a prayer to calm my heart and help me understand what I was feeling and I realized I was getting a better image and testimony of the Atonement. If I can feel overwhelmed and overcome with pain and sadness just with my own emotions, how much more Christ felt to suffer for ALL of our sins and pain. He has felt everything we have ever felt and He overcame it all. It just made my love for Him increase and I realized... the Atonement isn't just used for repentance. Yes, repentance is a wonderful gift we have been given.. to be able to become clean again and pray to God for forgiveness for the mistakes we make. It allows us to become closer to Him and to rely on Him, but the Atonement is also for healing. It strengthens us when we feel we can't carry ourselves any longer, when we feel the mountain is too high to climb, He will carry us. How beautiful a sentiment. He was completely alone so we don't need to be. The trials we endure teach us. Thursday a similar experience happened. Sister Jacobson and I were talking and I just began to cry. All those negative, awful feelings came back and I couldn't understand why. Why was I feeling so low? So dark? So clouded? I prayed for peace, but it didn't come. Never before have I felt the power and darkness of the adversary so strongly. I know that Satan's power and influence is real. I know because I've felt it. So negative or dark feeling comes from God. Only good feelings and positive, light feelings come from Him. Christ is the author of peace and Satan is the author of confusion. When we are doing good things, when we are serving the Lord, Satan will do all he can to cause pain and confusion to come into our hearts and minds. Don't let him. Rely on the one that can disperse those clouds of darkness. Sister Jacobson and I talked for a while and then invited the Sister Training Leaders over to discuss it all. I couldn't compose myself. I couldn't stop crying or explain all the pain I was feeling. We read in Joseph Smith History in verses 15-18. So powerful. Joseph Smith also felt the powers of Satan and cried upon the Lord. Then Heavenly Father lit the way and helped him feel peace once more. To feel such a connection with the prophet was so real. I understand a little better the darkness he speaks about in the scriptures. After reading, Sister McKnight offered a prayer and asked that our apartment and our hearts be filled with peace. She asked that any adversarial presences depart and instantly I felt peace. Instantly I felt more calm. I knew that because of that prayer, Satan's dark presence had been lifted. I know that the devil is real and that he strives to cause us confusion and darkness, but I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that the Lord our God is more powerful than any attacks Satan might send. Heavenly Father loves us and He will give us peace and comfort if we but ask. All we have to do is humble ourselves and ask in prayer in faith. He will protect us. Friday we went out and contacted many people. It's so wonderful to have the opportunity to bear testimony constantly to everyone! Saturday I read a talk by President Thomas S. Monson called, "Cast not Therefore Thy Confidence." Look it up and read it! It's so powerful. And I read 2 Nephi chapter 4 verses 16 through 35. So strengthening. I recommend that you read those verses as well. Nephi is such an incredible example of unwavering faith in the Lord. He trusts in the Lord through all his afflictions... truly a disciple of Christ. Sunday was wonderful. I gained a stronger testimony of revelation through church attendance. Go to church! Heavenly Father will always answer our prayers, but it's often through others that He does so. We spoke about our potential and our divine souls. We were with our Father in Heaven before we came to Earth and it's because of our outstanding faith and good works that we were able to come down to Earth. Before this life we lived with God and our older brother, Jesus Christ and said that we would go down to Earth in order to learn and grow and develop. We wanted to gain bodies and become more like Heavenly Father through our experiences. Now is the test. Now is when we must prove ourselves. Now is when we have the chance to go through pain and suffering in order to learn and become more like Christ. Now is when we keep the commandments and strengthen our relationships with Heavenly Father. This time on Earth is so crucial and we have been prepared for it. We must stay strong and stay faithful. And every song we sang in Sacrament happened to be one of my favorites. "I Feel My Savior's Love," "Where Can I Turn for Peace," and others. It just made my heart swell! Heavenly Father knows what we need. He knows the feelings in our hearts and if we keep the commandments, like going to church, He will bless us. He loves us! It's during times of adversity we often learn the most and have the most growth. It builds our character. Much of what we endure is necessary to occur to make us who we are today. I testify of the reality of the reality of the living Christ. Jesus Christ loves you. He is your older brother and He cares for you eternally. He has known you from your earliest beginnings. Because you are His brother or sister, He died for you. And because of that, you can repent and pray and be made clean and eventually live with your families and with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father forever after you die. Now matter how far you go or how low you feel, you are never too far or too low for the Savior's everlasting love and grace and mercy. I promise you that. You are a child of God. You are beautiful. He loves you and He never wants you to forget that. I love you too! I send all my prayers and love with you. Love always, Sister Mork

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