April 10, 2014

God's Love

Hi all!                                                                                                              April 9, 2014

Mom! I love your email, I’m gonna write you a MEGA long letter today! Also, I got all your letters! Including the gigantic one from Benjamin! And the talks by Elder Bednar! Seriously, one of the best batches of mail yet. Thank you so much, I love you guys.

I only have 10 minutes so we´ll see what I can sum up about this awesome week

General conference, my favorite is a toss up between Elder Bednar and the load, and President Uchtdorf with gratitude. My new mission goal is to be happier, which basically means my new mission goal is to be brasilian because they are always smiling and happy and positive and joke even when things get hard. I hit the halfway mark on my mission this week and it makes me want to cry because (I love you mom) I never want to leave this life, a missionary in brasil. Damião was baptized on Sunday, and practically the whole ward was there - he has been working to stop smoking for a month and he is so sweet. grown man, but doesn’t know how to read. he really has such a desire to choose the right. Transfers happened but I’m staying put with Sister Arévalo :)

One of the biggest life lessons I´m learning on the mission is careful observation. You know what the scriptures are? A giant record of the personality of Jesus Christ. We have the Gospels and a bit in 3 Nephi that actually show us what He is like, and then we have all the rest of the stories of good, righteous people trying to be like Christ. The scriptures are just stories about people. If I can learn more about Christ by studying the story of Moses or Abraham or Nephi, then I can learn more about Christ if I pay careful attention to the people right next to me.

On the mission, I´m blessed to be in daily contact with what the scriptures call, The noble and great ones. And I’ve found that as I pay attention to other missionaries, the members, and just people we are teaching, I start to learn more about the character of Christ. What He would do if He were here. It’s the very essence of that scripture mastery, Let your light so shine before the world that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. It’s the center of what Christ teaches in John, that the apostles saw Him, and therefore also saw the Father. Good, righteous people with Christ-like attributes help me understand more about my Savior. And I love this part about the mission. My only hope is that I can be that light for other people as well.

Elder Alvarenga, one of these incredible Christ-like people, is being transferred today and I am really quite sad because he has been an incredible leader, example, and teacher for our companionship this transfer. A real example of selfless service. I was really quite sad when I heard about the transfer, but another thought came to me - that this Elder was one way that the Lord showed His love for me. An instrument in the hands of the Lord, if you will. And I´m sad because he´s leaving BUT the love of the Lord is always there, is always constant. The Lord uses different people in different times of our lives to show this love. The people come and go, but the love of the Lord is ALWAYS there. For example - I love my mom. Sooooo much. She helped me understand how much the Lord loved me. Then I went to college, and she wasn't there anymore. But the Lord sent 5 incredible girls to live with me in Heritage Halls and I was able to feel the love of the Lord because of them :) Then things happen, we go our separate ways, and I´m here on a mission in Brasil. And the Lord still sends people my way to show His love for me - companions, other missionaries, members, investigators. Every time someone has to leave, the Lord finds another way to show His love.

So - the Lord loves you very much, whoever you are and where ever you are. If you are having a hard time seeing that love, just say a prayer asking for the eyes to see the tender mercies of the Lord in your life. And then look around and you will see the many different ways the Lord shows His unique and special love for you :)

-Sister Carroll

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