Thursday, September 18, 2014

The things I treasure

I've been a missionary for a year!!! This year has flown by like you wouldn't believe! I almost can't believe it! As of late, I've reflected on how much I've changed. Looking back on the person I was before my mission, the things that I treasured, or the things that I thought were most important in my life, were good things, but I didn't have my eyes set on what was best. After a year of being a representative of Jesus Christ, God has taught me to change my priorities a bit. 

In Christ's Sermon on the Mount, the savior says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matt 6:21

I just want to share my heart with you by writing about what I've learned to treasure most!

1. God

I treasure my relationship with my Heavenly Father so much. I've learned that part of truly relying on Him comes through studying the scriptures, prayer and going to church, where I can feel His peace that I can't find anywhere else in this world. 

I LOVE this book. I feel closest to God when I read it.
I've learned that my relationship to God truly is a daughter/father relationship. Though I'm not the perfect daughter, He is the perfect Father who wants me to succeed and be happy. When I was younger I remember my dad teaching me about how there is a consequence for every choice I make-whether it's good or bad. With bad choices come bad consequences, and likewise with good choices come good consequences. Heavenly Father's the same way with the commandments that He's given us. With both the good and bad choices I've made in my life, He's taught me perfectly how to become the person He knows I can become with His help. 

I know that He loves me so much. He loves all of us so much.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so die for the sins of the world so that we can all have a chance to return to live with Him again some day. I definitely treasure and hold close to my heart the fact that God's love is infinite, but it's designed for each of us personally!

2. Family

The next thing I treasure the most is my family. In the April 2014 General Conference where we heard our prophet and apostles speak, Elder Neil L. Andersen said that families are the treasure of heaven. (To read his talk called Spiritual Whirlwinds click here)

Left to right- Belana, Dad, Brendan, Mom, Dayle and me!

I love my family so much. They have seen me at my best and my worst, and they still love me through it all! I know that they will always be there for me. It's so great to know that because the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today I can be with my family for all time and eternity.

One of the most fundamental doctrines of what I teach every single day is how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our families. Even though no family is perfect and family relationships can be challenging at times (understatement!), God designed families to help us learn and grow in a loving environment. 

3. Country

I am blessed to serve as a missionary in my country's capital! Woo! I grew up in Washington state away from all these historical sites that are significant to our growth as a nation. I remember learning about American History in high school, but it didn't become real to me until I came out to the east coast. 

Sister Hansen and me at Mt. Vernon

Arlington Cemetery

My brothers at scout camp during a flag ceremony

I am so grateful for the men and women who sacrificed so much so that I can have the freedoms that I enjoy today. I treasure them, their stories and what they stood for. I've realized that I owe so much to them for who I am able to be today. Especially since as a missionary, I spend so much time opening my mouth to share my own freedom of religion with everyone I come into contact with.

4. Church

I treasure the church that I am a part of. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!! A lot of people that I've met claim to have problems with organized religion and say that they are more "spiritual than religious". I so happen to be spiritual AND religious! I love my church! I love walking into an environment where the spirit of God is so strong, where I can feel peace, and where I can be surrounded and supported by others who are also trying to live their lives as followers of Jesus Christ. 

I'm not sure where this church building is located...but it's a picture of one of our meeting houses that I found here!

You'll see a similar sign on every church building! Visitors are more than welcome! :)

My heart is so full! There is a quote from Elder David A. Bednar about the definition of heart about how the heart is the sum total of our inner most desires, affections, motives, and attitudes. (I'll find the exact quote another day!) Everything that I am is because I treasure God, my family, my country and my church. :)