Monday, March 17, 2014

on lasts.

The word "last" sounds so definite. It has such a resonating ring of finality. "Last" is more than a mile past the point of no return. I've always founds "lasts" to be so inspiring: last chapters, last songs, last times, last games, and especially last words. Some of the most powerful passages of the Book of Mormon for me have always been the final remarks of prophets who leave counsel to the readers whom they love, entrusting them to the Lord.
I am no prophet.
I am simply a soon to be returned sister missionary who is trying to sum up what she has learned on her 18 month journey in the service of the Lord.

1. God's love is perfect 1 Nephi 11:17
I have further learned to rely on the truth that Heavenly Father loves us all equally. I still remember sitting in a Burger King after a district meeting in Baytown and saying as I had an epiphany, "Heavenly Father loves Hitler just as much as he loves Thomas S. Monson!" Laugh at my child-like extreme example if you will, but it's true! The Lord is no respecter of persons. All the time when things just didn't seem to turn out, when I saw people I had grown to love make life changing decisions, when it seemed as though He just didn't care, I would tell myself "Heavenly Father's love is perfect. Everything he does has the motive of love back behind it."

2. The Lord gives us talents to bless the lives of others, weaknesses to bless our own Ether 12:27
I would always ask before the mission what it was exactly that made a mission hard. I would never truly get a true answer. I now understand why...Because of the above statement. A mission is perfectly tailored to be a growing experience for YOU. It becomes your refiner's fire. Both my talents and weaknesses were magnified causing me to strive to consecrate my all, but also to delve into the depths of humility depending on the Savior and his Atonement for sustaining power. It has been challenging, but it has helped me to grow at an unprecedented rate. 

3. My purpose has been and always will be the same Moses 1:39
One of the greatest epiphany's of my mission was discovering the following, "If I am trying to become like God, then shouldn't His purpose be my purpose?" God is the ultimate purpose-driven being, he never loses sight of His purpose. All that He does, He does to direct my life and to help me obtain immortality and eternal life. He does this for all his children. Though my 18 months of full-time missionary service may end, my desire to be like my Father in Heaven doesn't, thus my purpose remains the same. While I may no longer be a missionary in Texas/Louisiana, my purpose will still be "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

1. Strengthen the sisters of T.H.E Mission & learn from my time with them D&C 84:106
I have SUCH a testimony that I came to the mission precisely at the time that God needed me to & at the time that I needed me to. I have always had a desire to serve a mission & when it came time for my 21st birthday the question came, "should I serve at 21 and defer a year of college or graduate and then enter the field?" I prayed, contemplated, and chose the latter. The next hurdle, waiting for my papers to be turned in. The Lord definitely determined when it is that my papers would go through and what time I should enter the field.

The age change occurred after I had been out less that 3 weeks  in the mission field, I wrote in my journal on that day, "this changes EVERYTHING!" Complete understatement. My mission turned into something different than I could have ever imagined. I am so thankful to have experienced it. I have been in a cycle of never-ending training. & I saw a fulfillment of Pres. Hinckley's words, "we can not expect to lift others, unless we stand on higher ground ourselves." To those who were my companions, THANK YOU!

2. To learn to accept the "but if nots" in life. Daniel 3:17-18
What is a "but-if-not" you may ask? A but-if-not is ultimate faith that Heavenly Father can do something, and if He doesn't, it does not change just exactly change His capabilities as a God. Time and time again Heavenly Father has taught me that His plans for me are better than anything I could come up with myself. Life has a lot of "but if nots" to throw at me, but they've helped me to depend more upon Heavenly Father and trust that his plan ultimately is perfect. I am convinced and I can guarantee that I have not finished experiencing all the "but-if-nots" that life has to offer, but I have come away from this experience a lot more prepared to face them.

3. For purposes and designs not yet understood D&C 58:3-4
I 100% believe that the mission prepares you for the rest of this mortal life and eternity quite like nothing else can. I am so excited to put into practice everything that I have learned here in this hallowed place. 

Lastly, I just want to leave y'all (:] ) with my testimony. That I know the Savior lives, I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, I know that Heavenly Father's perfect plan of salvation was created for families. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart I learn from it daily. This is truly Christ's church and we are truly our Father in Heaven's spirit children. 

Con Amor, 
Hna turned Sis Lauren Marie Flores

The Ortiz' :]
Oh just holding baby alligators! :)


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