Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Week one in the MTC

I have waited for this day forever! After every lesson I just wanted to call my family and tell them all about it! I just want to say that I love the MTC! It really is what you make it! Let me say that the first four days were rough. But I feel like it was rough for everyone. I LOVE AND MISS YOU FAMILY SO MUCH! I absolutely love my companion! She has become my best friend and I am so thankful for her and her testimony. We work so well together. She has helped me a ton throughout the past week. Also my district is so fun, we have all become great friends. I feel like I have made more friends in the past week than I have in the past year! So many amazing things have happened each day so I am just going to go through them. 

After my family dropped me off, I got my name tag and put it on, which I seriously love wearing my name tag! It is so cool to wear Christs name and represent Him every day. Sometimes as I am walking around I will see missionaries walking behind us or something and be like, "Hey there are missionaries behind us!" forgetting that I am a missionary too. I seriously cannot express how much I love being a missionary. I went to my classroom to meet my district and companion. My companions name is Sister Johnson. Still getting used to calling every one sister and elder. You also can't say, "Hey guys..." You have to say Elders and Sisters. Everyone struggles with that one haha. In our district, we have three sister companionships the other two are going to Long Beach California and we were supposed to have three elder companionships too but one guy didn't show up so there is a trio of elders who are going to Virginia and the other companionship is going to Colorado Springs Colorado. We went to this class called People and your Purpose there were a lot of missionaries in the class, just like a school classroom and then an investigator came in and we got to know them a little bit and then they handed the mic over to us to pass around and teach her. Teaching investigators the first day! (I think they were just acting) It was really kind of frustrating teaching this way because people would stand up and talk about something that had nothing to do with what someone else said and I feel like we just confused the crap out of the investigator. But, hey first day. We did that with three people.We ended the day meeting our zone leaders and they are very crazy. But the sister training leaders are super sweet and nice. They gave us a tour of the MTC. I can find my way pretty good now, but the first and second days were rough. The sister training leaders always have zone prayer with the Sisters every night which is fun. I love our zone!

Let me tell you, waking up at 6:30 is very hard for me. I need my sleep and getting 8 hours feels like nothing. I wake up in the morning and am so tired, but there is this girl in my zone who has seizures, and worried about that being a problem on the mission, she has faith that the Lord will help her. I have faith that the Lord will help me either not be tired, or to work through it. I feel like I have been at the MTC for about a year. time goes so slow here! I have learned that they put so much trust on us missionaries to do what we are supposed to do. We went into class today and just did an online class thing together without the teacher. The teacher did finally show up at 9:20. His name is Brother Johnson. (let me tell you he is so cute and the most spiritual person I have probably ever met in my life. I want to be a missionary just like him. He just got back in July). Something that our teacher focuses a lot on is needs. What does the investigator need? What do they need to feel? If you are feeling the Spirit in a lesson, the investigator is probably feeling it too. What does our investigator need to experience to have greater faith? So we met Phil, our first investigator. (our teacher acting like Phil a guy that he taught on his mission) Yes, teaching on the second day. Phil loves the missionaries and thinks that we are just always smiling and just so nice, but he said that he is in the lowest place in his life that he has ever been. His life has been really hard lately and one day he just woke up feeling good, he said, thank you Jesus and walked outside and saw the missionaries. (Anyone that I meet on my mission will not be a coincidence.) Sister Johnson and I thought that what Phil really needed was the Atonement. We were very nervous to teach, but we got to know him and then taught him what the Atonement was and what it can do for him in his life. Alma 7:11-13 my favorite scripture on the Atonement. We had him read this in our lesson, and the Spirit was SO STRONG. It was amazing. We invited him to pray that night to know that God loves him. I learned that we are supposed to invite someone to be baptized either the first or second visit. Which at first I thought was kind of crazy. But if you read D&C 20:37 you really don't need a lot to be baptized. At the end of the day we met with the Branch Presidency and got to know them and I was introducing myself and everything and one of the councelors said, "tell them how tall your grandpa is." So he worked with grandpa before. 

You know how I was complaining that waking up at 6:30 sucks? Well today we had to be ready to do service at 6:25. Ya I was tired. For exercise time, the sisters in our district run around the field in front of the temple and then go play sand volleyball and then run back. It is tons of fun but there are also always seagulls in that field and when we were running they all flew into the air right for us and we all ducked and screamed but they were like circling us and coming right by us. It was crazy!! Anyway, we spend ALL DAY in our classroom. But our teacher and our district is amazing! So I don't mind as much, going outside is always a treat though. Especially outside of the gates, like real life! I kind of forgot that it existed for a while. We taught Phil our second lesson today and sister Johnson and I planned our lesson on the restoration and practiced it a ton of times. When we went in there we asked Phil if he prayed and how it went. He told us that he feels like he can't pray because he is unworthy and that God doesn't want to hear from him. He kept saying that he feels guilty. Sister Johnson and I just bagged our lesson and taught him more about the Atonement. I told the analogy of how if you had a child, or someone that you really care about go out of your life and never talk to you or want anything to do with you. If they would come back and say sorry and want to be with you, would you forgive them? I like almost started crying and the Spirit was so strong and Phil really felt it. He said yes. We invited him to be baptized and he said that he would. Such an amazing feeling when he said that!!!! I know that when you feel the Spirit that is when your faith grows. Later our teacher told us that that lesson was super powerful and that her really felt it, he really wanted to be baptized. Gosh I love teaching.

Today was a little rough. But filled with tender mercies. Heavenly Father truly loves His missionaries. I hate to admit that I pushed snooze today. I just had to. I was so tired. Today we had our other teacher, her name is Sister Dahle. We learned how to begin teaching, which is asking questions to get to know them spiritually. To figure out their need. During our companion study today, we planned our lesson for Phil, which we decided to teach him the restoration this time and maybe we would actually do it. Brother Johnson taught us how to teach the restoration focusing to someones need. We taught Phil the restoration focusing on God's love for him. We asked Phil at the beginning if we said the opening prayer he would say the closing. We taught Phil the first lesson and it went really well! He still feels like he isn't good enough to be a part of this church. I told him that we have to repent every single day because everybody is always making mistakes but we just need to try our best to do what the Lord wants us to do and those desires to do otherwise will go away. We told him about the Book of Mormon, and he said he would read it and pray about it. When he said the closing prayer he prayed for sister Johnson and I and said that he still wanted to be baptized. I love that! Today our district was struggling a little bit and getting stressed and homesick and things like that so Brother Johnson decided that we would do district Book of Mormon study. It helped so much I was looking for my strengths and 2 Nephi 2:9 helped me because I am still here and I am still trying and that is important. verse 22: "inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren." Follow the Lord and HE will make me a teacher. 

I did it! I made it to Sunday, literally everyone said to just make it to Sunday. THIS IS SO TRUE. You think that Sundaywouldn't be any different but it really is true, just make it to Sunday. Today was such a good day! Today we had breakfast at 7:30 instead of 7:10 so I pushed snooze again. Today we had lots of study time which was good because I needed to write my talk. They don't tell you who is speaking until after the sacrament so everyone has to be ready. The topic was obedience and doing the Lord's will and that was practically my farewell talk so I was ready. As a zone we were able to walk to the temple today and take pictures which was tons of fun. Then we had relief society which was a little weird because normally we have sacrament first. Lunch. huge tender mercy, they had graham canyon ice cream which is my favorite from the BYU creamery. But as I sit down to eat it the girl next to me spills her water all over me and as I am trying to clean it up, I get my hair in the ice creams so that was great haha. District meeting was good, the Mission President talked to our district about how the Lord will be with us every step of our mission. Then the Mission President met with Sister Johnson and I, and asked us if we would be Sister Training Leaders. I am so excited for this calling! We obviously both said yes. So we will get to welcome the newbees on Wednesday and do the zone prayer at the end of the day and everything. I am so excited and feel so blessed for this calling. So they announced that in Sacrament, and luckily I didn't have to speak today. I think they mostly focus on the people leaving to their missions that week.The person who knew grandpa got a video of grandma saying Hi and when I saw that I just started crying! Luckily I have the best district ever! We had an awesome devotional after dinner. Sister Johnson and I were apart of the choir which was amazing. When around a thousand missionaries all sing together (especially called to serve or armies of Helaman) it is so powerful! Some things I got from the devotional: 
I have the AUTHORITY to teach. The Lord is going to tell the missionaries (me) what the investigator needs to hear. 
I have a year and a half to serve and eternity to think about it.
I will never regret my mission.
Make your family your strength rather than your weakness. 
I don't know what is around the corner but the Lord does. He will protect me and guide me through the Holy Ghost. 
There is no perfect missionary.
After the devotional we go​​​​​​​​​​​​t to watch a video. sister Johnson and I watched the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar and oh my gosh it was amazing! I learned so much from it!
Missionary work is more about who you are and what you are rather than what you say. Preach my Gospel isn't a manual it is who you become. 
The character of Christ is turning out to others when the natural man would turn inwards. The natural man is an enemy to God. Natural Man=cookie monster, I want cookie I want cookie now. You will never see the Savior selfish, just always turning outward to others.
This mission is not about me. Who cares what I want? Don't think about success, get over yourself. It is about Christ and serving Christ. 
Atonement: strength beyond my own. I can't do this. But with Christ I can do anything. When I am weak, I am strong. 
This comforted me a ton, when I felt discouraged, or missing my family, I thought of this. I need to forget myself and get lost in the work, and eventually that is where I will find myself. 
I feel like I have learned more in the past week than I have in the last 18 years of my life. 

Yesterday we talked a lot about obedience and the blessings you get from that and Sister Johnson and I felt really guilty about pushing snooze. Today I did not push snooze and I AM NOT TIRED. We are so blessed when we follow Jesus Christ. My faith was strengthened today. We get to teach a real investigator today, not our teacher (one third of them are actual investigators and not members acting). Her name is Kristen and we have had amazing lessons with her! The Spirit is so strong and we have made her tear up and things like that. She had grown up living with a family that is lds, but doesn't know why we do all of the little things. She doesn't want it to control her life. Sister Johnson and I focused on the Atonement with her. I told her that everything that Christ has done for us is for our benefit. At the end of the lesson she told us that she needs to reevaluate everything and she really likes what we said. I asked her if she came to know that these things are true if she would get baptized and she said yes! Best feeling ever!

Today we taught Kristen again. We are also teaching Tom who doesn't really know anything about our religion so it is fun teaching him. We had a Devotional by Gregory A. Schwitzer of the seventy which was pretty cool!
Everything in this gospel is learned through action. It was more about following the commandments and how to teach that.
Following the commandments shouldn't just be something I do, it should be who I am. 

I know that this email is really long, but I just wanted to tell you all the good things, and seriously there are so many. Next time it will be shorter I promise. I just got caught up telling you everything. Thank you so much for the letters and emails I got this last week. You have no idea how much they helped me. I am always find myself looking down at my name tag reminding myself that I am a missionary. I have always loved seeing the missionaries and now I finally am one! I know that this is what Christ wants me to do right now. The feelings that I have felt this past week testify of that. I love this Gospel with all of my heart. I know that these investigators might not be real, but seeing them change and feel the Spirit and accept our invitations, has made me such a happy person. This truly is the Lord work. I see miracles every day in myself and in others. I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all of my heart. I would not be here without Him, and I cannot do this mission without Him either. He is in every part of the work. The Atonement is so real. I love missionary work and am so blessed to be a missionary.

All my love, 

Sister Ruffner

Story behind the stuffed dog: We went to lunch at Kneaders right before we took her to the MTC and her dad bought this for her and told her this will remind her of all the wienies (her family) she left at home. Lol.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day

First Email:
Hey! So I don't have much time but I just want to say that I made it and I love you and I'm safe and I love missionary work and I love that I get to wear a name tag. Anyway, my p day is on Wednesdays so I'll write you again then!

Video from tracie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Week Left

I am called of God. 
My authority is above that of kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative 
of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him-
to stand in His place to say and do what He Himself would
say and do if He personally were ministering to the very
people to whom He has sent me. 
My voice is His voice and my acts are His acts;
my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done;
To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in 
word and in deed of the divinity of His 
great and marvelous Latter-Day work.
How great is my calling!

-Bruce R. McConkie

In seven days I will enter the MTC and start my life as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that this is the next step that I need to be taking in my life. I am so grateful for all of the love and support I have received from family and friends, I would not be here without you. I love this gospel with all of my heart. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that they care about each of us and want us all to come unto Him and I am so ready to be a part of this great work. I could not be more excited to start this great adventure.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Power of Choice

Farewell Talk:

Hi for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Alex Ruffner and I have been called to serve in the Virginia, Richmond mission. I have wanted to serve a mission ever since I was 12 years old. When I finally turned 12 I was so excited to finally be able to go into young women’s. One of the first activities I went to was a missionary activity where we got a mission call letter and then we split up into our mission groups and would go from room to room and in each room there would be a returned missionary there and we would watch a little video about a certain part of a mission and the returned missionary would tell us about their mission. I don’t know why I loved this activity so much, but I did. I had so much fun and thought that it was the greatest thing ever. When I got home I went downstairs to tell my parents all about it. I showed them my letter and I told them that this has made me really want to go on a mission.

Ever since then I have wanted to go, but I didn’t want to wait all the way until I was 21. I felt like then I am going to be in college and have my life figured out or whatever. I just told myself that whatever happens happens and when I turn 21 I will see where I am in my life and then decide if I am going to go. 3 years later in General Conference, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced that boys can now leave on missions at age 18 and girls at age 19. When he said that the first thought that came into my mind was, Alex, you’re going on a mission. The next couple years after that I have prayed and studied the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing and I felt like it was so right and so good and I knew that I was supposed to serve a mission.

About a year ago, I moved up to Logan to go to Utah State University and you know how Bishops do the get to know you meetings, well in that meeting I told him that I wanted to serve a mission and He said that we can get started on my papers right now so that I have enough time to get all of my dentist and doctor appointments all figured out. When he said that, I started to get really nervous and started rethinking everything I had thought about serving a mission. I told him that I would like to wait a little longer. Up until that point, every time I would think about serving a mission I got excited, but I knew that it was years away. When it was actually time to start my papers I freaked out and decided that I wasn’t going to serve a mission anymore.

I got really scared, so I emailed some of my friends on missions and asked if they were ever scared to go. One of my good friends from High School sent me back this email, “yeah like the week before I was horrified, even in the MTC I was scared, but our mission president said "you got on the plane! I was impressed you even did that!" so you really just have to take it a step at a time. I remember leaving my fam at the airport and it was sad, but I felt so powerful, every step felt like I was a new person. There was so much ahead, so much adventure and change and goodness! I could feel the angels on my right and my left, and I had no idea what I was getting into but that is an experience I always think of. I was alone but I felt like I was leading an army! It’s hard to explain, haha but missions are way scary! but also so fun! the Lord helps you and you’re never alone!” This made me realize that this is the Lord’s work. He will always be there to lift us up and to strengthen us when we need it.

Elder Holland said, “With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give into that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay on the course and see the beauty of life unfold before you.” This brought me so much comfort and made me realize that choosing to go on a mission has always been a really easy decision for me. If it was right then, why would it be wrong now? Alma 56:46 says, “Behold, our God is with us, and He will not suffer that we should fall. Then let us go forth!” It is important that we “go forth” with what the Lord wants us to do, and He will be with us every step of the way!

So, the next time I saw the Bishop I told him that I was ready to start my papers. He told me that was good because he wanted to meet with me anyway. When I stopped feeling unsure about whether I was really going to serve a mission I prayed that the Lord would help me prepare for my mission so when the time came I could be the missionary that He needed me to be. When I met with the Bishop we started my papers and I was so happy to confidently be able to say I am going on a mission and I am ready to start my papers. After we got that all figured out he told me that he would like to give me a calling. Since it was getting to the end of the semester I thought that maybe I would be called as Family Home Evening mom or something not too hard because all of the big callings were given. He said, “Will you be a Sunday School teacher?” I just looked at him not quite sure that I heard right and said, “What?” He asked me again, “Will you be a Sunday School teacher you will teach Gospel Doctrine.” In my mind I was screaming no no no! I really did not want this calling I thought that they would call a returned missionary for this not some 18-year-old freshman who just barely moved out. I just started at him for probably 30 seconds as my mind went crazy. Alex you can say no. Just say no. But wait, the Lord called me for this calling, it is what He needs me to do. 1 Nephi 3:7 “…I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”  Then I finally said, “Yes.” I think that I looked pretty nervous because the Bishop started telling me that I would only have to teach every other week and stake conference and ward conference were coming up so I wouldn’t have to teach on those weeks. I thanked him and walked out of his office, outside of the church, and did what most freshman do when they get stressed, I called my mom.

I told her that I started my papers and she was all happy and then I told her that I got a calling. She got excited and asked me what it was and I said I’m the new Gospel Doctrine teacher and started crying. I told her that I did not want this calling and I don’t understand why I was called as Gospel Doctrine teacher there are so many people in the ward who would do such a better job than me! At this point the tears were flowing pretty hard. I know most of you are thinking, Alex it isn’t really a big deal you’re just going to be a teacher not the President of the United States! But in that moment I was terrified. That class was always full, and my ward was filled with amazing people. People that had served missions that I felt knew everything about the Gospel. They were so spiritual, these were people that I looked up to and people that intimidated me. How was I supposed to teach them?

Luckily I was surrounded by amazing friends and family and they told me that the Lord called me to be Gospel Doctrine teacher for a reason. I had a message that people needed to hear. They told me that they were excited to hear me teach. In desperate need for comfort I prayed to my Father in Heaven to give me confidence and peace in this calling. When Elder Quentin L. Cook was called he also had similar thoughts, he said, “To say that I feel deeply inadequate would be an understatement. When I was called as a General Authority in April of 1996, I also felt unequal to the calling. Elder Neal A. Maxwell reassured me then that the most important qualification for all of us serving in the kingdom is to be comfortable in bearing witness of the divinity of the Savior. A peace came over me at that time and has stayed with me since because I love the Savior and have had spiritual experiences that allow me to testify of Him. I rejoice in the opportunity to bear witness of Jesus Christ in all the world, notwithstanding my inadequacies.” I knew that I had a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ and experiences that allow me to testify of Him that, along with the Spirit, was all I needed to be able to teach this class.

Before my first lesson, I prayed that I would be able to have the Spirit with me so that I may know what to put in my lesson. I wrote down every single word that I was going to say. I practiced a ton of times before so I wouldn’t be staring at the paper the whole time. When sacrament ended that Sunday people started flooding into the classroom and I just stood in the front. I remember looking at my friend Annie on the front row and she saw my eyes start to water and I started to cry but she looked at me and said, “Alex you are going to do fine! You worked so hard on that lesson, It’s all going to be okay.” I tried to push down the tears and start class. It went so much more smoothly than I thought it was going to. I felt the Spirit so strongly and people participated so nicely because they knew how nervous I was.
As I taught more lessons I wrote less down of what I was going to say and focused more on the Spirit. There was one time that I felt like I didn’t prepare enough and that my lesson was really short and I was going to run out of time, I had so many doubts. But I went up there and started teaching and when I just had gotten through the beginning I looked at the clock and class was almost over. I didn’t even get to the middle and later that day a friend of mine texted me and thanked me for the lesson, he said that is what he needed to hear that day and he thanked me for teaching by the Spirit. That text made me feel so good. It made me realize that I was teaching by the Spirit and that I wasn’t a terrible teacher. Elder Ballard said, “It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand.” All we have to do is try our best and we cannot fail. The lessons that I got worried weren't long enough or good enough, those are the ones that always turned out the best. This calling scared me a lot at the beginning and I don’t think I ever didn’t get nervous before a lesson, but I know that accepting that calling was one of the best things I could have done. I definitely was not the best teacher and there are so many people who could have done better than me. I don’t think that I was given that calling to change the lives of the members who came, it was to change my life. And it did!
Before I was given this calling I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked if He would help me prepare for my mission. This was it! This calling was my answer to that prayer! I know that is true. Because of this calling, I learned that God hears and answers our prayers, He might not answer them in the way you were thinking or even a way that you like, but He answers them in the best way possible. I learned how to teach, and to teach by the Spirit. I learned how to trust in the Lord. Robert D. Hales says, “As we follow the Savior, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never thought possible.”
We are constantly faced with choices in our lives. Every day we choose whether to follow God or not to. A friend of mine was telling me about how she has been praying about what she needs to do but felt like she hasn’t gotten an answer. This reminded me of one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. The Jaredites are preparing for their journey to the promised land. The Lord told the brother of Jared that he needs to make barges to cross the water. But they didn’t have any light so the brother of Jared asked the Lord if they will have to travel in darkness. Ether 2:23 “And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” The Lord is asking the brother of Jared what he wants Him to do. This shows us that the Lord does care about our agency, he wants us to make our own choices in this life. The Holy Ghost is always there to help guide us in the decisions we make, but not to control our lives.
Someone once told me, God gave us brains, He expects us to use them. Sometimes we just need to make a decision and go with it. If you are praying for guidance, He will not let you walk down the wrong path. Have faith and take a step into the dark and the light will come. If it never comes, then make another choice and step back into the light. Elder Holland said, “Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going.” Keep pleading for the light, don’t ever stop. Faith always comes before miracles.

Sometimes we do get lost. The Lord knew that we would not always make the right choices, and that is why He sent Jesus Christ to perform the Atonement for us. Alma 7: 11, 12 “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. 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.” If you feel lost, know that Christ knows where you are, He knows how you are feeling, the only thing we need to do to be rescued is to come unto Him. D&C 88:63 says, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Heavenly Father will not force anyone into Heaven. He will not force you to accept the Gospel, or read your scriptures, or come to church. That is all up to you. Christ will always be there for us; we only need to ask, seek, knock.

President Uchtdorf says, “We are created by the Almighty God. He is our Heavenly Father. We are literally His spirit children. We are made of supernal material most precious and highly refined, and thus we carry within ourselves the substance of divinity. Here on earth, however, our thoughts and actions become encumbered with that which is corrupt, unholy, and impure. The dust and filth of the world stain our souls, making it difficult to recognize and remember our birthright and purpose. But all this cannot change who we truly are. The fundamental divinity of our nature remains. And the moment we choose to incline our hearts to our beloved Savior and set foot upon the path of discipleship, something miraculous happens. The love of God fills our hearts, the light of truth fills our minds, we start to lose the desire to sin, and we do not want to walk any longer in darkness. We come to see obedience not as a punishment but as a liberating path to our divine destiny.”

Each day make a new commitment to be a better person then you were yesterday. Life can be hard, and trials will come, and sometimes it will be hard to accept the Lord’s will. I know that I am not the only person who has asked why life can be so hard? Why choosing the right sometimes is so hard? Elder Holland said, “If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Father, if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.” I know that trials will always be there, but Christ will also always be there for us. He won’t give up on you, so don’t give up on Him.

Just take it one day at a time. There is this quote that says, “Life by the yard is hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch.” Choose each day to have faith. Choose each day to follow the Lord. One day you will look back and realize that you lived a good life filled with great decisions. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me in my life. I want to end with this scripture 2 Nephi 31:20 “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.”

I know that this is the true restored Church on the Earth. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true, and if you read it, it will change your life. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet on the Earth today. I know that Heavenly Father sent his Only Begotten Son down to Earth to perform the Atonement. I know that the Atonement is real, and we can use it in our daily lives. I know that the choices we make in this life will determine our future. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. He loves us more than we can comprehend and He wants so badly for us to come unto Him. I know that we all have a purpose on this Earth and with Christ we can do anything.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.