| Sister Emma Lynn Holdaway | Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission | October 2013-May 2015 |

Friday, July 25, 2014

Prayers are always answered!

Hey, mom, dad, and little stinkers,

I loved conference weekend!  It was nice to be able to take a break and sit in air conditioning and listen to the prophets and apostles.  I got to listen in English as well!  We had a whole "gringo room" for all of the American missionaries.  I love English.  I miss English.  Although I'm my English is getting bad.  I can't pray in English out loud anymore.  It's so embarrassing.  I say my personal prayers in English, but praying out loud........you're all gonna laugh super hard at me when I get home.  I'll just pray in Spanish.  Mejor.  :)

This was the second best conference of my entire life.  Obviously the first best was October 2012.  ;)  But really, the Church is so true.  I say that all the time.  When Hermana Muñoz and I are having personal or companionship study and I learn something really cool or something like that we're always like, "La iglesia es super verdadera."  It's our catch phrase.

Once every week, the members in our ward have kind of a big family home evening called "Noche de Hermanamiento."  This week, Hermana Muñoz and I taught the lesson.  We decided to teach about conference and how we can prepare and do our part to be spiritually edified by conference.  I don't remember where I heard this, but I talked about how if we go to conference with a specific question or doubt in our mind, we will always find our answer in conference.

This conference, I decided to put that to the test.  I've never really taken full advantage of conference before, but here on my mission, the gospel is my life and I'm always spiritually high and so every church thing gets me really excited.  But anyway, I was thinking about what I wanted to know and what I wanted to learn this conference.

As missionaries, the first thing we teach is that God is our loving Heavenly Father.  But lots of times, we just glaze over it super quickly.  But these past couple weeks I've been thinking a lot about it.  Like, how cool is it that our God is our father?!  Pretty cool.  But sometimes we don't put as much emphasis on it as we should.  Anyway, I decided that that was what I wanted to learn.  I wanted a testimony that God is actually my Father and that He knows me personally.  Cause I guess sometimes I don't feel like I know that.  And I'm realizing that lots of people don't know that as well.

Anyway.  That was my question.  How can I know that God actually loves me?  That I'm actually important?  And boy was it answered.  The talk that Sister Stevens of the Primary gave was a talk for me.  It hit me hard.  Every word that she spoke answered my question and resolved my doubts.  I learned that if God loves one of his children, like he loved and answered the prayer of the boy in the story, then He loves us all.  I can strengthen my testimony of God's love for me through the experiences of others.  Sometimes we wait for marvelous things to happen to us for us to say, "Okay, now I know that God knows me."  And I guess that's what I was waiting for: for something great and marvelous.  But then I looked back on my mission, and on my life, and realized, "Hey, I have had marvelous experiences.  God has answered my prayers."  How did I forget the moment when those people miraculously returned my scriptures to me after they'd been stolen?  How did I take for granted the fact that I was born a member of this church, with active parents and amazing brothers and sisters?  How did I forget all the people that God has put in my life, like Hermana Muñoz and Amy and all of my other friends?  How did I take for granted all of the talents that God has given me?  How did I forget?

But now I've remembered.  And now I know.  I know who I am.  I'm a daughter of God.  I have divine, eternal potential.  He sees me not as the person that I am right now, but as the person that I have the capacity to become.  And that potential doesn't change by my outward appearance.  It doesn't matter what I look like on the outside.  It doesn't matter that my skin isn't perfect, it doesn't matter what I look like without makeup on, because I'm still a daughter of God.  He's my dad.  He loves me.  And if he loves me, then He loves each and every one of you.  And you too can know for yourself.  Pray and ask if he knows you.  And I promise you that He does.  He knew Joseph's name when he prayed in the Sacred Grove.  If God knew Joseph's name, then He knows yours too.  

I understood a little bit more about the Atonement after this session of conference.  We always talk about how the Atonement can save the sinner and all of that stuff.  And I guess sometimes I've felt like I don't really understand why the Atonement is super important for me.  Cause I've never done anything super bad (good job raising me, mom and dad.  Gold stars for you).  Anyway, I knew that we needed the Atonement to return to God's presence and all of that....idk.  Idk exactly how to explain it.  I guess I just wanted a better appreciation and understand of Christ and why He did what he did.  And so I prayed about it a couple nights ago, and after I finished my prayer, I started thinking about Cameron, Parker, and Paige.  How they're my younger siblings.  And how I would do anything for them.  I would die to protect them.  And in that moment I was like, "Hey, that's what Christ did for us."  He's our older brother.  He did what he did because he loves us.  He set the perfect example for us in everything.  And that's what I'm trying to do for you guys, Cam, Park, and Paige.  I don't care if I don't baptize a bunch of people, but if my decision to serve a mission helps you guys make the decision to go on a mission, then it's all worth it.  And sometimes it's hard to do hard things when we only think about ourselves.  When I only think about myself, sometimes it's hard to go out in the blazing sun and speak Spanish with a bunch of lazy people who don't want to go to church.  But when I think that I'm doing this for my family and that I'm doing this for my future family and that I'm doing this for Christ, it all becomes a little bit easier.  So when you're making a decision, don't think about yourselves.  Because then it's too easy to make the wrong decision.  Instead, think about others.  When those around us are our first priority, we'll find that it's a lot easier to stay on the straight and narrow.  And that's the whole purpose of this life.  True, salvation is individual, but exaltaion is not.  We can't reach exaltaion on our own.  We need our families.  So think about them.  And then choose the right.

The church is super true.  Jesus Christ lives.  He loves you.  God is our loving Heavenly Father.  He lives.  And He loves you.  I also live.  And I love you too.

Love always,


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