The Time in Arizonaa!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 56 - Work hard, play hard!

This last week was amazing! I know I say that every week, but it truly is fantastic to be a missionary. For those of you that are either considering investigating the church, or deciding to go on a mission.... The gospel is SOO great and missionary work is something that you will NEVER regret!! I don't know where I would be without it! Our Savior and Heavenly Father have been my guiding hand all of my life, whether I recognized it or not! 

So there's actually this really cool analogy that I thought I would share with y'all since I loved it so much! One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, “I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars."
 I love that because we are ALL 20 dollar bills, we all have trials, and sorrows, and scars, and faults. We ALL have value,  We each are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. Easter Sunday was so great too! That's where I actually heard this :)

Anyway to tell you about the rest of this weeeeekkkk....

Monday we did service earlier that morning, and we were able to watch "Prince of Egypt" with our zone... which was weird since I haven't watched that since I was like 10.. We had lots of other stuff to do as well. But later that night we had a lesson with a member family. We sang for them, and than they sent it to our parentals.  They have a missionary out right now, so they sent a picture to our parentals too!  

We had an expanded Zone conference Tuesday, for all members to come and learn about missionary work! 

Wednesday we got to go to the temple! Some members from the ward, that are SUPER cool took us! They also took us to a place called Eggstac for lunch :)
 Also we had dinner with a member family, that ended up giving a referral to us, little do we know they had texted us, while we were at the mutual missionary mini MTC activity that we did! 
  So a little background on the new investigators, they are the neighbors to some members and there son babysits for them, well after we had left dinner, they talked to there neighbors about going to the Easter pageant with them, and they said yes. They had chatted a little bit, and they just straight up asked them if they wanted to take the missionary discussions and they said yes to that too! They came to church on Sunday too! They are solid! We taught them a lesson the very next day and invited them to be baptized. They told us as soon as they read and knew it was true they would! 

We got to go to the Easter pageant, yet again this year! It was amazing! We went with Austin, he's a grandson of a member (he isn't a member... yet)

And of course this week wouldn't be great without Easter. How was everyone's Easter? I just wanted to share a talk that was shared in church. Its a great talk. Hope everyone had a great Easter! Love you all! 

"YOU ARE MY HANDS" - Deiter F. Uctdorf 

story is told that during the bombing of city in World War II, largestatue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople foundthe statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been belovedsymbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had beendamaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested thatthey hire sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as itwas—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statueremained without hands. However, the people of the city added on thebase of the statue of Jesus Christ sign with these words: “You are myhands.”

We Are the Hands of Christ

There is profound lesson in this story. When think of the Savior, oftenpicture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless,and love. And He always talked with, never down to, people. He loved thehumble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them andoffering hope and salvation.
That is what He did during His mortal life; it is what He would be doing ifHe were living among us today; and it is what we should be doing as Hisdisciples and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On this beautiful Easter morning, our thoughts and hearts are drawn toHim—the Hope of Israel and the Light of the World.
As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; oureyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.

Our Hands Can Embrace

am deeply impressed by the way our Church members extend themselvesto others. As we hear of your selfless sacrifice and overwhelmingcompassion, our hearts swell with gratitude and happiness. You are ashining light to the world, and you are known for your goodness andcompassion all around the globe.
Unfortunately, from time to time we also hear of Church members whobecome discouraged and subsequently quit coming to and participating inour Church meetings because they think they don’t fit in.
When was young boy, during the aftermath of World War II, Germanywas broken and in ruins. Many people were hungry, sick, and dying. Iremember well the humanitarian shipments of food and clothing thatcame from the Church in Salt Lake City. To this day, can still rememberthe smell of the clothing, and can still taste the sweetness of the cannedpeaches.
There were some who joined the Church because of the goods theyreceived at that time. Some members looked down on these new converts.They even called them an offensive name: B├╝chsen Mormonen, or“Canned-Food Mormons.” They resented these new members because theybelieved that once their temporal needs had been met, they would fallaway.
While some did leave, many stayed—they came to church, tasted thesweetness of the gospel, and felt the tender embrace of caring brothersand sisters. They discovered “home.” And now, three and four generationslater, many families trace their Church membership back to theseconverts.
hope that we welcome and love all of God’s children, including thosewho might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not goodto make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those aroundus. Let us extend welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers andsisters in the Church special measure of humanity, compassion, andcharity so that they feel, at long last, they have finally found home.
When we are tempted to judge, let us think of the Savior, who “loveth theworld, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all menunto him. 
“[And] he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, … [for] all men areprivileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.” 1 
As read the scriptures, it appears that those who receive the Savior’sstrongest reproach are often those who hold themselves in high esteembecause of their wealth, influence, or perceived righteousness.
On one occasion the Savior taught parable of two men who went into thetemple to pray. One man, respected Pharisee, prayed: “God, thank thee,that am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even asthis publican. fast twice in the week, give tithes of all that possess.”
The other man, hated publican, stood “afar off, [and] would not lift up somuch as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God bemerciful to me sinner.”
And Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justifiedrather than the other.” 2 
In truth, we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” 3  We areall in need of mercy. In that last day when we are called to the judgmentbar of God, do we not hope that our many imperfections will be forgiven?Do we not yearn to feel the Savior’s embrace?
It seems only right and proper that we extend to others that which we soearnestly desire for ourselves.
am not suggesting that we accept sin or overlook evil, in our personallife or in the world. Nevertheless, in our zeal, we sometimes confuse sinwith sinner, and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion.We know from modern revelation that “the worth of souls is great in thesight of God.” 4  We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more thanwe can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is VIP toour Heavenly Father. Once we understand that, we can begin tounderstand how we should treat our fellowmen.
One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said throughher tears, “I have come to realize that am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But am still 20-dollar bill. Iam worth something. Even though may not look like much and eventhough have been battered and used, am still worth the full 20 dollars.”

Our Hands Can Comfort

With this in mind, let our hearts and hands be stretched out incompassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficultpath. As disciples of Jesus Christ, our Master, we are called to support andheal rather than condemn. We are commanded “to mourn with those thatmourn” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” 5 
It is unworthy of us as Christians to think that those who suffer deservetheir suffering. Easter Sunday is good day to remember that our Saviorwillingly took upon Himself the pain and sickness and suffering of us all—even those of us who appear to deserve our suffering. 6 
In the book of Proverbs we read that “a friend loveth at all times, and abrother is born for adversity.” 7  Let us love at all times. And let usespecially be there for our brothers and sisters during times of adversity.

Our Hands Can Serve

An old Jewish legend tells of two brothers, Abram and Zimri, who owned afield and worked it together. They agreed to divide both the labor and theharvest equally. One night as the harvest came to close, Zimri could notsleep, for it didn’t seem right that Abram, who had wife and seven sonsto feed, should receive only half of the harvest, while he, with only himselfto support, had so much.
So Zimri dressed and quietly went into the field, where he took third ofhis harvest and put it in his brother’s pile. He then returned to his bed,satisfied that he had done the right thing.
Meanwhile, Abram could not sleep either. He thought of his poor brother,Zimri, who was all alone and had no sons to help him with the work. It didnot seem right that Zimri, who worked so hard by himself, should get onlyhalf of the harvest. Surely this was not pleasing to God. And so Abramquietly went to the fields, where he took third of his harvest and placedit in the pile of his beloved brother.
The next morning, the brothers went to the field and were both astonishedthat the piles still looked to be the same size. That night both brothersslipped out of their houses to repeat their efforts of the previous night.But this time they discovered each other, and when they did, they weptand embraced. Neither could speak, for their hearts were overcome withlove and gratitude. 8 
This is the spirit of compassion: that we love others as ourselves, 9  seektheir happiness, and do unto them as we hope they would do unto us. 10 

True Love Requires Action

True love requires action. We can speak of love all day long—we can writenotes or poems that proclaim it, sing songs that praise it, and preachsermons that encourage it—but until we manifest that love in action, ourwords are nothing but “sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal.” 11 
Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. Hedid not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the people, Jesusreached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t just teach classabout reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others. Henot only taught but also showed us how to “succor the weak, lift up thehands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” 12 
Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Saviorstretches out His hands, those He touches are uplifted and becomegreater, stronger, and better people as result.
If we are His hands, should we not do the same?

We Can Love as He Does

The Savior revealed the perfect priorities for our lives, our homes, ourwards, our communities, and our nations when He spoke of love as thegreat commandment upon which “hang all the law and the prophets.” 13 We can spend our days obsessing about the finest details of life, the law,and long lists of things to do; but should we neglect the greatcommandments, we are missing the point and we are clouds withoutwater, drifting in the winds, and trees without fruit. 14 
Without this love for God the Father and our fellowmen we are only theform of His Church—without the substance. What good is our teachingwithout love? What good is missionary, temple, or welfare work withoutlove?
Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is whatled our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself ransom forour sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the sourceof happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountainof hope.
As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love,something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, morerefined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and morereceptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
With all my heart and soul give thanks to our Heavenly Father for Hislove for us, for the gift of His Son, for the life and example of Jesus theChrist, and for His sinless and selfless sacrifice. rejoice in the fact thatChrist is not dead but risen from the grave! He lives and has returned tothe earth to restore His authority and gospel to man. He has given us theperfect example of the kind of men and women we should be.
On this Easter Sunday, and every day, as we contemplate with reverenceand awe how our Savior embraces us, comforts us, and heals us, let uscommit to become His hands, that others through us may feel His lovingembrace. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Sister Holcomb :)

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