Being an “8 Cow” Missionary

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-Tom Keifer

-Tom Keifer

A favorite video produced by the church is the timeless classic, “Johnny Lingo”. It’s about a very affluent tradesman from the Islands, who comes to bargain for his bride. In their culture, the groom pays for his bride with cows. Traditionally, for a good wife one would only pay 3-5 cows for one of those “model worthy” type of wives. 1-2 for a “pretty wife”, and perhaps a goat for the “less fortunate looking” people. In this tale, Johnny blows everyone away by paying 8 cows for the girl the village has always ridiculed and called ugly. They call her “Mahana You Ugly” and her father is very verbally abusive, so she and everyone feels that 2 cows, let alone 8 is too much for her. But the moral of the story, and the moral that I want to convey is that we, whether a boy, a girl, a sister or an elder, if you’re a child of God, you are totally worth 8 cows, if not more!

I’ve mentioned this “self esteem” topic a few times, but I seriously am so sick of people getting down on themselves (and others…) for being less than “perfect”. Perfect, in the greek translation, means “complete, or finished”. There’s nothing in there about being flawless, or beautiful, or accomplished in specified ways. It simply means you are awesome! In a nutshell, anyway.

How I feel this relates to “Johnny Lingo” is what Johnny says to Mr. Harris at the end of the video. He wanted Mahana, whom he had loved since their childhood, to know and feel she is an 8 cow woman. He knew there was great power and greater confidence to be had in an individual if they came to the conclusion on their own that they are and “8 cow” kind of person. This applies to each of us. We need to have a positive outlook on ourselves, and others. We need to be conscious of the counsel of the prophet, which is love. Love, in it’s pure form, is a positive, uplifting, happy, joyful, and fulfilling thing. If we are truly living like Christ, then love should be apart of all we do. People should walk away from us feeling better than before they talked to us. We should never let the mean and negative thoughts that Satan tries to put in our heads about others, or ourselves, any chance to cause harm to our confidence, or to others.

In conclusion, I want everyone to know that you are an 8 cow person! You are of infinite worth, and just downright amazing! Think about this: God has already given the ultimate sacrifice far greater than any mere cow. Not even 8 cows will ever measure up to the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If God was willing to give His Only Begotten Son for you, why would you ever entertain the thought that you aren’t amazing? Or talented? Or “cool”? Or whatever it is that you need to feel to feel valued and loved? You are valued. You are loved! Don’t for get that.
I hope you have a beautiful day!
Love Always, Sister Yates

P.S. You should totally watch “Johnny Lingo

Thanks to the inspiration from #MoSop , I felt prompted to write about what we gain from a mission that is vital for our lives after this blessed and cherished experience comes to an end. It’s such a short blink, just like the rest of our mortal experience, but the things you learn…. it’s amazing!

#1- The Schedule: Besides basic training, or a really strict prep school, no where else or in any other organization does any body of people have such a strict and absolutely precise daily schedule. Although it can at times be a source of serious anxiety and stress for some, eventually you recognize the blessing it is. It’s a great way to learn to discipline and self mastery. It’s really easy in “real life” to just hit the snooze button 50 times, or to stay up till 2AM, but when you are on the Lord’s time, you know every minute is sacred, and is to be used as such. Therefore, you get up on time. You use only the allotted time for meal breaks, studies, and teaching appointments. You know you only have a finite amount of time to accomplish what you need to do, and you learn to manage your day accordingly. How helpful will that be for a mother or a leader of a corporation or other such leadership positions? Priceless!

#2- The Rules: In a mission, we have this lovely white handbook that we sometimes refer to as the “White Bible” which contains specific insturctions and guidelines for the what and how of mission life. It is very specific, and very strict in many ways, but yet again it is a blessing in teaching us safety precautions, common courteousy, respect, and integrity. Valuable things that play well into the future roles we will each achieve as a leader, spouse, parent, etc. Obedience is the key. If we are obedient, then the Lord blesses us. It’s that simple, yet so profound.

#3- Companionships: …Best prepartion for marriage I think anyone on the planet could ever experience! You are literally hooked at the hip 24/7 for as long as you serve together. It’s either a really great experience, or a really terrible one depending on what you choose to make of it. It’s not the easiest thing to be put with a complete stranger from a completely different background, or culture, or part of the country, or whatever. However, it is an amazing opportunity to learn to love people. To communicate EFFECTIVELY! To compromise, be patient, and learn to not take yourself too seriously. Again, this experience is priceless! And I can testify, it is going to be what you make of it. Like with all relationships, you have to be willing to put something into it. It’s not all on your comp, or all on you. It’s a partnership that requires effort from both sides. So, decide now how you’re going to behave, and then when the time comes “Make it Happen!”.

#4- Accountability: Basically the first 3 things I’ve mentioned all hinge on this. Each day, and each week, and each prayer (which we probably pray at least 20-30 times per day) is an accounting for our efforts. Each P-Day we account to our mission president, and we tell him how the work is going in our areas. It’s great, because it’s good motivation to keep working hard and not slack off. Each night we pray and talk to the Lord about our day, and ask for help on what we didn’t do very well, and thank Him for the things that totally made the day worth it. This important lesson in responsibility is timeless, as well as eternally valuable!

#5- Sacrifices: I’ve addressed this issue a few times, but really and truly it’s the bread and butter to mission life. We have all given up just about every material form of entertainment, all our hobbies, all our friends and family, education and jobs to serve the Lord. The Law of Sacrifice is an ancinet law dating to Old Testament times, but it’s still so applicable in our day! Missions are a sacrifice, but as with all commandments and covenants that we keep, the Lord blesses us ABUNDANTLY for them. I’ve seen great miracles come from giving up even more than what we’ve initally sacrificed when we left home. When we set goals and make plans to use the Lords time more perfectly each day the Lord can trust us with more people to teach, and more trust from the members we serve, and sweet tender mercies that just pop up seemingly out of nowhere and it’s just a beautiful thing! The Mission Handbook is full of great ideas of things we can do better to become more fully consecrated to our work and to the Lord. I feel it’s important to learn how to live this law now because of where the world is headed. We are (or atleast all should be) aware that we are living in the Last Days that have been prophesied since Adam’s time. It’s a great idea to learn to go without, and learn to rely FULLY on God.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to live such a structured life at this time! I’m only 21, and I have a lot of years ahead of me. I am developing, along with 85,000+ other individuals, seriously important skills that many members of our generation are sorely lacking. How many teens or young adults willingly get up each day at a set time and do something productive? There are those out there who are responsible, but they are a bit too few and far between. How many people in our society advocate accountability? Almost everywhere you look, people are pointing fingers and blaming others. It’s terrible! How many people are willing to go without and make and charitable contributions? Not many, unfortunately. I’m defintiely not saying “all” but it’s an unfortunate truth that people are becoming more inward, and not looking out for others to help as much as we should. How many people want to follow rules, or commandments from God? I am constantly surprised to hear about what’s going on in the world about laws being discussed and what people are fighting about. The Laws and Commandments of God are unchangable. Accept it! If our society was living a life based on high standards as put forth by the Prophets, whether Ancient or Modern, this world would be so different!

In conclusion, I’d just like to say I am so grateful for this priceless and sacred opportunity! I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ who makes it possible for me and everyone to overcome our mistakes each day, and try again and be better tomorrow! I am so excited to have compaionship inventories with my future eternal companion and to teach our children the importance of responsibility, integrity, obedience, accountability, and the importance of sacrifce. I am so grateful for my parents who taught me these important values. I am so grateful for inspired Prophets and other church leaders who lead us by inspiration and set a beautiful example for us.
The gospel is true… Missions are amazing! And the future is going to be interesting, but I know it’s going to be possible to endure to the end because of this amazing portion of my “Miracle Mile”!!

“The Errand of Angels”

#CalledtoShare

#CalledtoShare

#discoverthebook

#discoverthebook


There is a lovely LDS themed movie, “The Errand of Angels” and it follows a young convert through her adventures as a missionary in Germany. It’s a charming film that, like most movies has a bit of fluff and silliness, but it really did a good job of representing what missions are like. They totally nailed a few things on the head, like interesting and overfilling meals from our fantastic members, grouchy companions, health conscious companions, bold commitment invitations, the “joys” of tracting, and the ever miraculous last minute miracle baptism.

What I enjoyed most about this movie was the perspective and true representation of the “hard” side of missionary work. For those who have served missions or are currently serving, you’re well aware of what is hard and what is not. A few examples for those not in the loop: first, Satan… He is crazy. In a talk I read recently said he is an “incorrigible insomniac” and I second that! Secondly,
the resources you previously had for dealing with stress are no longer readily available which causes unwanted weight gain, terrible acne breakouts, disturbed sleep patterns, and other symptoms. Third is the spiritual challenges. The rejection you deal with each day as door after door, rude “Christian” after rude Christian tells you to get lost, people mock your beliefs, and ask you questions that you can’t answer, and make you feel unsure of your testimony and your exceedingly elect investigators don’t want to accept the gospel and they “break up” with you the day you’re planning on committing them to baptism… It’s just a terrible work out on so many levels. The spiritual strain is definitely the hardest part of it all.

So why come on a mission, or be a missionary if it’s so stinking hard? Like in the movie, it’s the miracles that keep you going at the end of the day. It’s those amazing people who show up at church who just moved into the area and say “I’ve read the entire Book of Mormon, I know it’s true and I’m ready to get baptized.” It’s the people who have been less active for years but for some reason decided to let you and your companion in to visit and share a message with them, who accept the invitation to attend church again, and then become reactivated and fully participating in the ward! It’s the adorable kids in your wards who make you feel like some kind of celebrity because “You’re a missionary!” And that’s the coolest thing to them.

I’ve concluded that the best part of missionary work is the closeness you gain to the Savior. He was the most rejected, despised, mocked and ridiculed missionary of us all, and one of His closest companions betrayed Him in the worst way possible. It’s helpful on rough days to remember that wherever you now are, Jesus was once there too, but unlike you He only had Himself for company, where you and I are all blessed to have Him along for our adventures. What a blessing!

So I guess the moral of the lesson today is: Hard things pass. They don’t last forever. Despite those terrible testimony shaking questions, the church is still true and the Holy Ghost is eager to
testify that fact to you as often as you need it and earnestly seek for it. The Lord really does bless you for all the tracting, and miracles are very very VERY much a real part of every day whether big or small. I am so grateful to be a missionary, and so grateful for the opportunity to serve in the amazing Florida Jacksonville Mission! I would encourage everyone thinking about serving to really fast and pray on it. It is tough, but it is totally worth it! May you feel the Saviors presence each day of your lives as you walk your mile!

Love always, Sister Yates

las-vegas-nevada-temple-1008906-gallery“10 But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
11 And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.
12 And I will fortify this land against all other nations.”
2nd Nephi 10:10-12 , The Book of Mormon

Happy Fourth of July! How blessed are we that God prepared this land that we could enjoy and live and thrive in?? God is good… GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Be TRUE to YOU!!

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I once was asked to give a training on a section of our mission
scripture, motto, and theme. The portion I trained on was this quote
by Joseph Smith:
“The standard of truth had been erected. No un hallowed hand can stop
the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may assemble,
a,r,ones may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will
go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every
continent, swept every country and visited every climb, until the
purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say
‘The work is done’.”

I was asked to “dissect it” and break it down. Here’s what I got out of it:

Throughout my entire mission, I have seen a few types of missionaries.
I’ve seen the two faced self righteous ones, who are their true selves
one moment, and then when they realize they’re not being a “perfect
missionary” they snap into this overly self righteous missionary
persona. I’ve also seen missionaries who are so focused, they forget
that there is life after a mission, or that there was even life before
a mission, and they kind of get on this “robot missionary” kick that
is fine, because they are doing the work, but sad because they’re
missing out on a lot, because robots are not known for their emotional
capacity to love, or feel happy, or what have you. Then, there are
some who are very much themselves and haven’t really let the sacred
call of missionary work change them too much. They aren’t bad
missionaries, they’re just “real”. Who they are with their tag on is
the same person they are without it and that’s ok, but these
missionaries tend to have a lot of regrets because they aren’t putting
forth enough effort to make their mission as sacred as it can be. And
then, the final type of missionary are those who are truly, hard core,
nose to the grind stone, 1,000% focused, meticulously exactly
obedient, leaders, and just amazing missionaries, the type of
missionary everyone dreams of becoming. They’re truly the best kind of
missionary any of us could hope to become.

In my not so humble and very bold opinion, what I have noticed a lot
of missionaries forget as they strive to be an exactly obedient
baptizing machine is that they are still an important individual. They
still matter to God. Yes, we are on the Lords errand, and we need to
be as selfless as we can, but if we forget who we are, or what our
gifts and talents are, how can we be effective?

So here are my questions of the soul for today: (the inspiration for
these questions goes to Carol Tuttle by the way. She’s amazing!)
What is your truth?
What is your personal gift and God given talent that only you can give
to this world, in whatever capacity you are in whether you’re working
a 9-5 job, a stay at home mom, a missionary, a retiree, etc.?

I feel a lot of people sell themselves short by feeling like what
they’re good at is unaccepted or is not needed or not important in
their vocations or social circles, or what ever. I want to tell you
right here, right now that that is a FALSE concept from Satan. You,
and me, and him and her down the street all have a significant role to
play on this earth. Satan, the father of ALL LIES wants us to forget
that fact. I want you to remember how truly incredible you are and I
want each of you who read this to take some time today to ponder on
what your “truth” is. What is your unique gift to give? And what do
you need to adjust in your “management of affairs” so you can more
easily use your gift?

I feel very strongly that everyone needs a reminder every now and
again that they are truly wonderful! You are wonderful, and awesome,
and talented! You don’t need to become a completely new person to make
others happy or to be accepted. You need to live your truth, and allow
God to put you where He needs you. But in the mean time “let your
light so shine
” that you can help and bless the people around you who
need your light right now. Don’t sell your self short. Don’t hide your
truth under a bushel.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

“By Their Feet Ye Shall Know Them”

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In mission life, a few material things become sacred, like scriptures, sleep, food, and shoes. Women already revere their wardrobe too much, and especially their shoes but shoes and missionary work actually have quite a bit to do with each other.

We have definitely come a long ways in the last 180 plus years since the church was restored. We have bikes, really nice cars, super comfy shoes, air planes, and awesome members who tote us around places. However, if you want to be an effective missionary and meet and find many people, you’ve gotta pound some pavement and walk like little pioneer children.

If we didn’t have shoes, we wouldn’t be able to do this work very well. The pavement (actually, every thing in Florida) is hot, there are creepy bugs, and dead Armadillos, and lizards and walking around this crazy place barefoot is not super safe. Also, due to very excellent fashion trends, shoes are a great conversation starter that help us connect with other people and relate to gospel principles. Seriously… I challenge you to find a woman anywhere who doesn’t want to talk about their shoes!

The thing I have come to love most about shoes though, especially the shoes I’ve worn on my mission, are what they represent. They represent countless doors knocked, countless miles walked, many hours on my feet, being out and about serving my God and King. They have become “sacred”in a way, because they tell the story of my mission. If you want to know how hard a missionary has worked, look at their feet first, then their hands, then their eyes. These are the telling marks of a powerful disciple of Jesus Christ.
This past week I had the privilege of listening to the testimonies of the departing missionaries of the FJM. It was such a powerful meeting, and although they were on the stand and I couldn’t see their shoes, I could see their strong hands and their deep eyes, and I heard the words and felt the power of their testimonies. It was a powerful experience I’ll never forget.

When I was in the MTC (I think I have an unhealthy obsession with that place haha I refernce it every ost, and several times throughout each day…) one of the speakers (perhaps even the MTC president) shared a story of a return missionary who’s shoes were just dead! They were cracked, the soles were falling apart, and they just looked bad. But this man had once been a missionary, and he knew what these shoes represented, and so he asked the elder if he could have his shoes to have them bronzed, and he did and under the shoes he posted a plaque that said “Return With Honor” so everyone who saw those bronzed shoes would know what their goal should be: well worn shoes, beaten in while serving God.

I want to testify that there is nothing better, or more AWESOME than being a missionary. I know the work we do, and all the money we spend on shoes (and other mission necessities) is worth it. This work is good. This work is fun! The church is true.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

One of My Most Precious Posessions

photo 3I completely understand that we can’t take anything with us when we die besides our memories, experiences, knowledge, and testimony.  However, while I still reside on this planet, I fully intend to continue to enjoy and appreciate the things God has blessed me with to make this “miracle mile” interesting.  One of those things is my personal copy of The Book of Mormon.

When I was 8 years old, like most Mormon kids, I was baptized and received my personal copy of The Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.  I was excited! I love books, and reading, and I recognized even at that young age these things were important.  photo 1Another element that has forever made these books especially sacred  to me is my mothers written testimony of the truth of the words and stories contained on the pages.  I read it often and it always helps me feel the Spirit of truth and revelation, and a closeness to my mother that I think everyone needs to experience.

I didnt’ really begin to study my scriptures very well until I was older.  I remember one priamy activity inculded a hand out with specific scriptures we should highlight, and we all got to choose a highlighter crayon to take home so we could mark our scriptures and man…. They look terrible! But, every time I find those verses I just smile and feel grateful my coordination and dexterity has improved at least a little over the past 13 years or so and that my understanding of the signifigance of those scriptures has improved as well :)

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I gained a testimony of the scriptures for myself, but I do know it never really occurred to me to question them too much.  Maybe like my amazing “Mission Mom” I was born with a testimony.  I don’t know, but I do know even when i was young and tried to meet the challenges issued by stake presidents, prophets, and bishops and my own family to read the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, I always felt good reading them.  If I didn’t, I doubt I ever would have given it much notice when I was older.

photo 2 (1)Seminary is where I truly learned to study the scriptures and “liken them” to myself.  It is such an amazing program, and I just think it’s really cool that people want to, and get to, take an hour out of their school day (or, for “hardcore” seminary students you attend early morning seminary) to study the scriptures.  It’s just amazing and I think everyone, no matter what faith ought to have an hour of “Release Time” to study the word of God.

My freshman year of college is a memorable time in many ways, but one thing that will always stick out to me is morning scripture study with two of my roommates.  It really strengthened our friendhips, and testimonies all at the same time!  If friends everywhere would spend time together in the scriptures…. I can testify it will do so much good on so many levels!  It strenghtens your resolve individually and collectively to be righteous and helps you feel confident in speaking up if you see someone in the group faltering a bit, or gives you sensitivity when you don’t see anything, but feel something is off.  The scriptures have power beyond our comprehension!

Long story short, the Book of Mormon and the other standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are some of the most precious material posessions we can ever posess to enrich our “mile” and give us the strength to finish!  I know the Book of Mormon, Holy Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price are all inspired of God, and meant to help and bless us.  They are written to strengthen us, and to help us come to know our Lord and Savior better than we could without them.  If you haven’t started studying them, I would encourage you to REPENT, and get started.  It is SO worth it!

In the name of Jeus Christ, amen.

 

“The Book is blue, the Church is true, and Jesus loves YOU!”-Elder Freeman

thealphadistrict-yates

Back Row: Sisters- Hibpshman, Carr, Hall, Spendlove, Yates, Williams Front Row: Elders- Monson, Curtis, Payne, Larson, Blanchard, Freeman

When I was in the MTC one day, one of the elders had a great epiphany that brought about a quote that we have all kept in our minds, and written to each other back and forth in times of discouragment and just to bring back some great memories, and that is: “The Book is blue, the Church is true, and Jesus loves you!”

Sometimes, when you’re a missionary…  You get backed up very abruptly to the wall of faith, where you have to decide “will I falter, or will I finish?” And I just want to publicly announce that I’m going to finish! I think a lot of people can reach a point where they seriously doubt their faith, and testimony, but I can testify that Elder Freeman was right.  I know for a fact that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  It was written and recorded by the people of this continent, and it is as applicable and uplifting as the Bible, and I invite all people everywhere to #discoverthebook! :)

Secondly, I know for a fact, beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Priesthood of God has been restored to the earth and that God will never remove that authority from His true and living church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-Day Saints.  The pattern God established in Old and New Testament times of revaling His word through Prophets and Apostles is still true today, and it will always remain.

Thirdly, I declare my witness as a representative of Jesus Christ, that He and His Father did in fact appear to Joseph Smith.  No, it’s not impossible that God loves us enough to appear to man again in this last dispensation, after He perfectly orchestrated every little thing so a country could be created where people could worship freely, and therefore the fullness could be brought back after the dark ages of Apostasy had poisoned the earth.  I know Joseph Smith was and always will be a prophet, and I am thankful for the sacrifices he made.  Was he a perfect man? Of course not, but find me any one (save Christ only) who is, whether just an average Joe off the street, or any of the Apostles.  My testimony is not built on these people.  It is built upon the spiritual experiences I have had that have confirmed, time and time again that all the principles, standards, covenants, etc. of the gospel are based on truth and are inspired of God.

I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, and I challenge each of you to do you part to receive a witness of the truth of these things yoursleves!

God bless you all!

Love, Sister Yates

Fortifying your “Management of Affairs”

In my mission, we are currently finishing up a 90 day Book of Mormon reading challenge and apart of the challenge was to have “AHA” moments- moments when inspiration and clarity smacks you in the face so powerfully you cant help but want to shout it from the roof tops!

553467_730446010300909_176782980_nI was blessed to have one of those beautiful moments on Sunday.  I don’t know if it was because it was fast Sunday so the spirit was especially strong that day or what but I’m telling you… The Book of Mormon is true, and full of so much brilliant stuff it’s amazing!!!!

My “AHA” moment came from Alma chapter 49.  In this chapter, Mormoni (the leader of the Nephite army) is preparing for battle against Amalakiah, and the Lamanites. In the previous chapter, we are shown how decpetively devious and dangerous Satan can be, and how evil men easily bring about their diabolical purposes.  Amalakiah doesn’t even have a reason to fight the Nephites, except he’s a power hungry, violent, evil man who has given his heart to Satan, who we all know is all about messing with the good Christian folk of the earth.

So, Moroni knows whats brewing in the Lamanite kingdom, and so he doesn’t waste time in preparing his people, and his soldiers.  He brilliantly prepares the two weakest cities in the country to the point that when the Lamanites come, they are “exceedingly astonished” at the “fortificaions” of the Nephites.  When they realize there’s no way they’ll make it through these fortifications, they proceed to the next city which has always been the weakest and easiest to conquer.  And there again, to their “uttermost astonishment” they find that this city too has been fortified against all possible odds! So like all insane, evil, and corrupt people, the Lamanite Captains of the army vow to destoy the Nephites, so even though they have no hope to win, they just go to town trying to destroy this city, and over 1,000 Lamanites are killed, and “NOT A SINGLE SOUL” of the Nephites are killed.captain-moroni-title-liberty-39658-gallery

Why? Why did they succeed? What was their secret? It all ties back to Moroni, who was their leader and who was a righteous man of God.  He knew what was coming, and he was prepared.  In verse 11 we read that Moroni had adjusted the “management of affairs”.  How often do we find ourselves going through the same situation and trial, over and over again, like some demonic ferris wheel? Moroni caught on to Einsteins definition of insanity, before Einstein was even a twinkle in his mothers eye, let alone a thought!  Doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result has never succeeded, and never will.  Therefore, Moroni applied that universal law, and the Nephites were protected!

How does that apply to us?

Think of those two cities, that used to be weak and easy to conquer? Think of people you know, or yourself, and your insecurites and the things Satan uses to pick at you with.  If we all would change our “management of affairs” and “fortify” ourselves, whew!!! Satan would not have any power to destoy us.

In verse 30 we read:  

Yea, and there was continual peace among them, and exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yea, and by all those who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people.”

Where did Moroni learn to be diligent to the promptings of the Spirit? Where did these people, the Nephites, learn to follow God and His commandments? From missionaries!  If the Sons of Mosiah had not begged their father to go and teach these people who used to be their enemies, then the Nephites would have never been prepared for this! How much power do disciples of Christ have when they truly consecrate themselves to His work? Doctrine and Covenants 24:12 has the answer:

 “And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.”

I just loved this chapter! I would challenge all of you to read it with this question in mind: What more can I do to be more fortified? I know there are many was we can change our lives, and become better prepared to withstand the storms Satan throws at us.  I know God wants us to succeed.  He has given us so many examples to follow, so many things to study, and He is always there to help us!

I hope you too can have an amzing “AHA” moment today and each day that will strengthen and help you on your miracle mile!

Love always, Sister Yates

Pierced With Deep Wounds

Throughout my life and definitely throughtout the last 9 plus months of my mission, I’ve had a few harrowing, soul splitting, deeply painful experiences that have left a very deep wound or two on my heart.  It happens a lot to deep feeling, passionate people who sometimes give more than they should and who have yet been able to find the balance and moderation in all things, especailly where relationships with others are concerned, but I just wanted to take time today and bear testimony of the fact that there is always enough “Balm in Gildead” to heal the deep, piercing ounds we all receive at one point or another.

jesushealsI’ve noticed that healing does not happen instantly.  There are those miraculous stories of healing and raising the dead that we haer about when righteous men exercise their Priesthood authority, and that is great and I’m a huge believer in that, but I have yet to experience instantaneous recovery from heart break, no matter what it was that caused it (i.e. an investigator falling off the earth and missing ther baptismal date, getting “Dear Johned” or “Dear Janed”, losing a loved one, or any number of things).  I feel we have to endure some serious pain and discomfort for a while so we can learn to empathize and learn some very crucial life lessons.  For those of us who have a tendency to give too much too fast, to over commit, to give and give and give, and get worn out and then end up getting “left behind, “abandoned”, “dumped”, or just “severly disappointed in general” I think it’s a blessing in disguise from the Lord because if we never had such experienes, we’d live in a constant state of broken heartedness and misery and I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys feeling that way.  I, again, have yet to see that instant recovery from a deeply pierced heart, but I have experienced mor than once that there is always some form of peace and comfort to be found, either from a Priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel, the love and support from friends and family, comfort and stress relief from a favorite hobby, music, etc. that slowly but surely lead to that full recovery.

Like with all significant life experiences, not many of us will ever forget or treat these experiences lightly, and we shouldn’t.  they were given tu us by an All Knowing, Omnipotent, Eternal Heavenly Father who knew we needed these painful, yet necessary life lessons so we could grow and become more like Him.  In the thick of it, its very hard to see why such uncomfortable circumstances are necessary, but after the storm has passed, and we hit some smooth sailing the Spirit whispers understanding to our hearts, or we receive those “Aha!” epiphanies that apply that desperately needed Balm from Gilead that only companionship from the Holy Ghost and a relationship with God and Jesus Christ can bring.

jesusknocksI promise and can testify that God knows your heart.  He knows what you’re feeling and he knows how to get through it.  He knows we need tough things and hard things, and awful things and so He lets them happen so we can grown and learn and become better than we were yesterday, or five years ago, or whatever the case may be.  I know that eventually, if we truly want to be healed and move on with life, we can find the strength and guidance and healing that we need, and I know we will all be better prepared for the future storms of life that surely come as we walk or run, or crawl down this miracle mile.  May you all find the strength to carry on is my prayer! I saw a great quote today that says,

“But gaining knowledge is one thing and applying it, quite anothe.  Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; and true education-the education for which the Church stats-is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character.” -President David O. McKay

And a few days ago I saw another quote taht made me Laugh! It said:

“On particuarly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record so far for gettin through rought days so far is 100% and that’s pretty good!” -Unknown (but since my friend Camille Alexander shared it, we’ll give her the credit!).

In short, just know you can do it.  There is always someone out there who wants to help you and who loves you  It’s your Heavenly Father, the Master and Creator of all things and He loves you more than anything.  Don’t despair.  Don’t forget that He knows the end before the beginning, and He can help you through all your challenges, and He’s always ready and willing.  Just ask Him.  Stay strong! Keep the faith!

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.