Adventura ne astapta! (Adventure awaits us!)
Buna! Thank you so much for all your emails! I love hearing from everyone, and I'm so thankful for the love I feel in all your stories and testimonies! I am truly blessed to have the most amazing family and friends who help me feel the Spirit and turn towards Christ through their words and actions.
I've learned so much this week, not all that I was expecting, but the Lord knows us better than we could ever know ourselves and He will give us what will make us better.
We didn't have a lot of lessons because school starts today so everyone was super busy. But we're praying that we can meet with Giorgiana and Paul and Constanta and Jennifer sometime this week. One of our English students is developing a friendship with the YSA in our branch, and we hope that soon she'll develop an interest in the gospel. And one of our YSA, Andrei, is getting married! His fiancee, Chemia, is from Sandy, Utah and he and his family are going to Utah in a couple weeks to marry in the Salt Lake Temple!
Like I said before, I've learned a lot this week, but the most important one I think I learned was about perfection. Coming on a mission not only helps you to learn a lot about the Gospel and other people, but a lot about yourself, your weaknesses and strengths. Some days, there may be times when I feel so imperfect, and wonder how eventual perfection is possible. But I felt prompted to study about perfection this week, so I read the scriptures, talks by General Authorities, and prayed and pondered. Through it all, as I've taken the time to think about the words I've read from God's servants, I keep coming back to the Savior's Atonement. It truly is the center of Heavenly Father's plan, the center of all that we are and can become. Perfection doesn't mean that we won't make a mistake ever again, but it means "fully accepting the Savior's Atonement...that increases our faith and gives us courage...to gratefully accept that as God's sons and daughters, that we are His greatest handiwork, even if we are still a work in process."-Elder Gong.
We should and need to try our hardest to obey with all our hearts, but we also need to remember that that our hearts will be broken, whether by our own actions or by others'. But while that might bring us sadness for a moment, in the end, the Lord will have compassion on us, and help us to overcome the world, because He overcame it before. He, the only perfect person on earth, did His Father's will and sacrificed Himself for us. It's impossible for us to fully understand, but He chose to give Himself so that if we chose to give ourselves to Him-all our pride, fears, and worldliness-all that lowers us in the eyes of the world and breaks the heart of the natural man in us, it opens the door in us for the good Shepherd to enter and come lift us up. No matter how many times we stumble or fall, no matter what Satan or the world tries to tell us, "don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying...It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." "Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." "God grant that all of us may walk in the light, as God our Father is in the light, so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, will cleanse us from all sin." These are all the words of God's servants and I can testify that they are true. And the Lord himself has promised that "These things I have spoken to you that ye may have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for...out of small things proceedeth that which is great."
Giving ourselves to the Savior might seem like such a small thing, but He takes that and helps us to take that small step closer to our Father in Heaven. We are His sheep, His little children, and He knows us by name. He laid down His life so that if we are willing to lay down our lives in His service, we can progress towards perfection. All He asks is a broken heart, our whole heart, and a willing mind, and He promises in return that as we sacrifice ourselves, or live as much like Him as we can, every step brings us to our Father, a journey He will be with us now and always. I love the Lord and I love this truth, because it is truth. I know it and I know that God knows it, and I will keep taking those small steps that bring the peace and joy of the Spirit, a Savior always by my side, and a Father who is waiting for me and all of us, to become as He is.