Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Here are a few reasons why I love my husband:

Since this is my blog (therefore, it's more for myself, and family, and posterity), I wanted to add in some extra backstory to these pictures. So this post includes that as well.

  • He loves to cuddle.
Since the very beginning of our getting to know each other, I knew that Logan was a physical touch (of the five languages) kind of guy. I distinctly remember him putting his hand on my leg when he was giving me and a bunch of other people a ride home from the mission get-together. It's just who he is. Enthusiastic and friendly. But I could also perceive a sincerity about him that was so free of deception. He had no hidden agenda and I never felt like I had to question his motives. I got good vibes from him from the very beginning (from the little I can remember about him as Elder Bullock on the mission, and from the beginning of our relationship four months post my mission) and have always felt so safe around him. So, ever since I ran into him on campus and we started talking, I could not shake the feeling that he was something special. On our first date, I was blown away by what a gentleman he was. As we dated, I could not believe how easy it was to be myself around him and how much I loved being with him. Now we are husband and wife, and I am happy to report that those feelings haven't changed. They have obviously blossomed into more than I ever thought I could feel about another human being. I love Logan Bullock with my whole soul and I am so grateful that we are united in marriage, sealed in the House of the Lord for time and all eternity. He is my eternal cuddle buddy and I could not be happier about it.

  • He’s adventurous.
Oh, Log. I think guys are just generally more reckless and act before thinking a lot more than girls, and in our relationship, that is definitely the case. But I have always been grateful that I grew up with brothers who would let me tag along on their adventures occasionally (like that one time we went to Zion's!). So with that background, how could I not marry someone who was just like my dad and brothers in his daredevilness and manliness. I could share a myriad of other experiences, but in a nutshell, boys make life more fun.

  • We served in the same mission so he speaks castellano. #che #sosmivida #teamo
I could go on and on about how grateful I am that we served in the same mission. Seriously, I love it. But originally, both of us were a tad bit hesitant about pursuing a relationship with someone from the mission. I mean, what if things hadn't worked out?? Things would have been awkward at future mission reunions and people would have talked. But since we barely knew each other on the mission, and he got home nine months before I did, it wasn't weird between us. I knew him as "Logan" not "Elder Bullock" from the get-go. Well, once he told me his first name haha. And we both had things happen with other people after returning home, so it wasn't like we jumped at the first potential opportunity of marriage post-mission. We both felt like our paths crossed at just the right time and God guided us in our entire relationship and I am so so grateful.

  • He takes me to the temple.
I love that my husband is a temple worker and he understands and strives to live up to the covenants he made with God in the Holy Temple. I testify that the Temple is truly the House of God on earth. I am so grateful for every single temple because each is so sacred. That is where we can be sealed to our families forever, where we can make promises with God, where we can perform baptisms and other saving ordinances for the dead, and where we can go to serve others and seek inspiration and comfort. Having a worthy priesthood-holder in my home is something I have always loved since my dad was always there to bless us at the beginning of each school year or in times of need. And now I can testify of the blessing it is to have a husband who honors and upholds the priesthood. 

  • He has dimples and his smile is the greatest thing ever.
I could stare at his face all day long. And I love making him smile. It is seriously one of my favorite things. I just love him so much.
  • He’s smart and talented and a super hard-worker.
This picture is a screenshot of a video he made for me for my bridal shower. He was in Kansas for almost three weeks while we were engaged. He works so hard to provide for our life together and for our future family and I am so grateful for him. So, since he was so far away, my roomie and my sister came up with a bunch of questions to ask Logan and he recorded his answers so that I could see how my answers and his matched up. We did a pretty good job haha but I was absolutely blown away by Logan's thoughtful and elaborate responses. They were so full of love. I adore how expressive and cute Logan is. He's a man, but he's a very humble and open lover and I LOVE HIM. 

  • He’s goofy and he makes me laugh.
This is what surprised me about Logan a little bit initially. He is SO weird. He does not let what others think bother him at all and so he can be totally himself. His spunky, charismatic, crazy, always dancing and winking and whistling, attractive self. He is hilarious and witty and charming and sweet.

  • He’s an incredible dancer and I love his voice.
Logan would argue if I said he had an amazing voice, so I opted for saying that I love his voice. He can't argue with me there. His voice is so comforting to me. I love when he comes up behind me and hugs me. He'll usually kiss my neck or whisper something in my ear and it just makes me giddy to hear his voice and feel his presence so close to me. He often will sing to me even though he doesn't think much of his singing voice, just because he knows I love it. He knows I can't resist his voice or his puppy dog face or simply his dazzling and disarming smile.
And I love that Logan loves to dance. Thank goodness for mothers because Logan's mom put her boys in ballroom dance when they were young so that they could learn how to keep a beat, and feel a rhythm. All I have to do, luckily, is follow. And luckily I actually like to dance now. I learned to love dancing when I was a sophomore in college so yeah, it took me awhile. Looking back, I can definitely see God's hand in my life, helping me meet specific people and putting me in certain situations, that would allow me to choose and grow and tear down walls I had put up around myself for so long. It took time. And some heartache. And lots of embarrassing moments. It took a year and a half of full-time missionary service, in fact. And I can't say I am completely comfortable with myself in social situations or I'm never awkward...but I testify that if we come unto Christ, He will make weak things become strong unto us. (Ether 12:27)

  • He is my home.
I cannot adequately explain how true this statement is. Logan is my husband. And he is home to me. 
I feel so content and so happy when I'm with him or just thinking about him that it fills me up with love and with gratitude. In Logan's final interview with our mission president, he was told very specifically (I know because the interview was recorded and I got to listen to it): “You’ll be blessed for your service here. Throughout your life, there will be times when you and your wife look at each other after receiving an incredible miracle in your lives and the thought will come to your mind, ‘it’s because of my service as a missionary’.” President Robertson had NO IDEA how prophetic that statement would be. He had no clue that someday the Elder Bullock and Hermana Huston that he knew and presided over in Argentina would end up reconnecting at BYU, dating, and getting married. I get chills just thinking about it. God lives. His Son Jesus Christ is our Savior. And the Holy Ghost can and will reveal truth to us should we seek it out with real intent and strive to be worthy of it. I am eternally grateful that Logan and I were inspired to serve missions. We have already seen countless blessings in the lives of others and in our own lives as a result of that selfless service rendered in Argentina. Now, we constantly look at one another and whenever we ask ourselves, what did I ever do to deserve you? The answer is right there. We love and serve and try to be like Christ. We are by no means perfect, but we know we have the potential to become such and that is the power of Christ's Gospel. 

  • And he’s such a hottie.
I still sometimes wonder how I got so lucky haha because just look at him! Who would have guessed that I would marry such a blonde-haired, blue-eyed BABE. Logan is attractive to me in every way and you know what? Getting to know him, realizing I loved him and wanted to marry him, and now being married to him...is more than I ever thought it would be. I am so grateful I get to do life with him. And not just life, but all eternity. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for my husband and for His goodness in leading us to each other and for providing the power for us to be sealed to each other and to our families forever and ever. I love you to infinity and beyond, my dear.

In short, Log, you are my hero. I'm so blessed to be your wife.


∞ Monica Bullock

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Marriage is the best

 

Logan sent this to me one day. 
We need a sign like this for our future home because if Logan were an animal, he'd be a golden retriever, for sure. Here comes a list of qualities that make my handsome hubby a golden retriever. 
He's SOOO cute,
and cuddly, especially with his owner, 
(hm I guess the human equivalent of this is me since I'm his wife haha jk jk ;)
 and really friendly,
and enthusiastic about life,
and he wags his tail (or in people terms, shakes his booty),
and he loves unconditionally,
and he's willing and able to protect his loved ones.

Hanging out with the guys is a blast. (And Taco Tuesday is great.)
Usually means I don't have to cook dinner :)

 
But I am honing my wifey cooking skills. It's lots of fun :)

 
I love the sky here! And our cute little apartment.


 Classic spending time in the pool with the other guys on the team. And classic farmer's tans.
And classic pancake breakfast. Yum!


I seriously love this man. 
Shaved, bearded, it doesn't matter. I love him with all my heart. 

We enjoy facetiming Fifi. Can you tell I'm excited?





When Logan is gone (all day, almost every day...), I watch videos and look at pictures of him for an embarrassingly long amount of time. What can I say? I love and miss him when he's away.



I'm pretty sure Temple Thursdays and Sundays are keeping me sane. Don't worry though, I just got a part-time job, woot woot!

I love our little adventures. 



 



And the SKY. Wowzas.


This little bird kinda scared me with his pecking against the window. I think he wanted to be our new pet.


But this is the probably the only pet we'll ever have. 
(feat. our wedding rings)

I'm way more excited about babies than animals anyway.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Church talks

Sometimes it's nice to look back and read your own words, (hence this blog). I find that to be especially true when it is something uplifting and encouraging, like talks I've written for church.
Enjoy!


Good afternoon, brothers and sisters, I am so grateful for the opportunity to speak today. My heart is full of gratitude for many things, beginning with the fact that my brother is here! He got home from his mission on Friday and my family is so happy to be together again, if only for a short while. I am also so grateful for the gospel in my life. That is why I am happy to be speaking today even though I normally do not like public speaking. My topic is staying on the straight and narrow path. To start off I wanted to let you know that I write out every word I am going to say before I say it. This is because I am better at writing than speaking. But just because I am reading my talk word for word does not mean I don't mean what I say. I mean every word.
First off, I would like to share one of my all-time favorite quotes from Joseph Smith. "Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God."
That is everyone's goal in this life, is it not? To be happy, and to see our loved ones happy as well.
Well, what does it mean to be happy? What constitutes our happiness? Many people are confused an pin their happiness on immediate gratification of their every desire. This, however, only brings temporary pleasure, not true and lasting happiness. As David O. McKay once said, "Happiness is found only along that well beaten track, narrow as it is, though straight, which leads to life eternal."
So staying on the straight and narrow path is the only way to be truly happy in this life and the life to come. Now the question is: " How can we keep ourselves on the straight and narrow way?" And Joseph B. Wirthlin outlined the perfect answer when he said, "The Lord gave the answer over and over again. We must learn the word of God by studying the scriptures and apply his word by praying daily to the Lord and serving our fellowmen."
Scripture study, prayer, going to church, and doing service. These primary answers hold the key to staying true to the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. It seems so easy. But Joseph B. Wirthlin also lists several things that can sidetrack us from our objective. Satan places obstacles and temptations in our way to divert us from the safety of the truth. I love how he says, "Sin may result from activities that begin innocently or that are perfectly legitimate in moderation, but in excess they can cause us to veer from the straight and narrow path to our destruction." Some examples he brings up are sports, watching t.v., and striving to obtain material possessions. We must be careful not to allow our hearts to become "set on the things of this world."
To avoid falling in the traps Satan has set for us we must adhere to those primary answers diligently and strive to stay close to our Father in Heaven.
Joseph B. Wirthlin outlines the powerful effects that these simple habits can have on our lives. He said, "Through daily study of the scriptures and words of the modern-day prophets, we can keep our values in line with will of our Heavenly Father."
I have discovered this is true for myself. Because "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," I have found that I desperately need to study God's word daily in order to have the strength to overcome my weaknesses and to be reminded of what I must do to keep an eternal perspective so I can eventually return to live with my Father in Heaven.
Also, "daily prayer in private and as families will help us stay close to our Heavenly Father and help us know what is of most value to us and to Him. We are very unlikely to stray if we offer a humble, simple prayer at least every morning and evening to express thanks and to seek divine guidance." I am so grateful for my parents who taught us to pray together and individually. When I left home, I had to gain a testimony for myself, (or at least, the testimony that I gained at home was tested and had to be strengthened by things I experienced and learned while at college.) I know the scriptures are the word of God and that God hears and answers our prayers. He knows and loves each and every one of us. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for His Atonement. It is only through Him that we can stay on the straight and narrow path or if we have strayed, it is through Him that we can find our way back and eventually reach our goal and help others achieve the goal of eternal life so that we can return to live with our loved ones and with our Father in Heaven. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


PEACE
Hello, brothers and sisters. As you all know, since I was just introduced, my name is Monica Huston. I’m from Yuma, Arizona and I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. I talk about my family later on so I would like to give you a little background. I have a brother who is a year older than me, one who is a year younger than me and a brother who is 5 years old. My sister is fourteen. There is quite an age gap between the three eldest, my younger sister, and my littlest brother. I’ll come back to them in a bit, but now I would like to introduce my topic. I’ve been asked to speak on the very broad topic of PEACE. Given the open-ended nature of this subject, my thoughts may be a bit scattered, so please bear with me.
When I hear the word peace, I think of our elder brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. Why is this one of Christ’s many titles? The answer, of course, can be found by turning to the scriptures. Christ declares in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Life can be very difficult sometimes. We may feel burdened down with financial struggles, unanswerable questions, or pressures of some sort. But despite whatever you’re going through – whether it be a monster of a trial or one of life’s little frustrations – remember where we can turn for peace. This brings to mind Hymn number 129 Where Can I Turn for Peace? I am going to read it for you now because I have to be up here for quite some time…AND because it perfectly captures the message I would like to convey.
<BREATHE and read SLOWLY>
“1. Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?
2. Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
3. He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.”
As I was preparing for this talk, I decided I wanted to share an experience that happened during the winter semester of my freshman year. I had to discover for myself where I could turn for peace. First of all, I am a runner, not a dancer, but I was taking a social dance class for fun and about halfway through the semester I had a stress reaction in the upper middle part of my left foot. It was a result of wearing heels and dancing too much. My foot started hurting even while I was walking around campus to the point where I was limping in order to avoid the worst of the pain. The next morning, my entire run was agonizingly painful. Every step hurt and I just wanted to stop. But I altered my running form as best as I could to minimize the pain until I was finished. Afterwards I went in and got it checked out by the trainers who told me to stop running and to cross-train. I was banned from running for a month and had to swim, bike, and elliptical instead. It was awful. For awhile I was even put in a boot to keep my foot from further harm.
That month was excruciatingly long. But my loving Heavenly Father answered my prayers and I didn’t feel any pain when I began running again. Even though I was totally out of shape, I refused to be disheartened. I am learning that with God, nothing is impossible. One thing that helped my keep my sanity during the long period of time when I was unable to run was the promise found in Isaiah chapter 40 verse 31. It’s one of my favorites. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” This filled my heart with peace as I realized that I just needed to be patient and have faith. One more quote that got me through this trial is by President Uchtdorf, “Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with it and doing all we can – working, hoping, and exercising faith, bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring, it is enduring well. Never give up on anyone and that includes never giving up on yourself.”
Although this was a somewhat bigger example of when I turned to the Lord for peace, many times I find peace through the simple things in life. For example, in my interactions with loved ones. Even now, when I live far away from home, I keep in touch with my family by calling frequently so I can talk with my parents and my siblings still at home when I need to feel their spirits or when I am searching for peace from life’s daily struggles and when I just need to laugh.
Thomas, the youngest child in my family, was born when I was thirteen years old. He was, and still is, an immense blessing to the Huston household. In high school, with three teenagers and one preteen, life for my parents could be really rough. Needless to say, there were many times when arguments arose and contention prevailed. Times when peace was completely dispelled and our attitudes made it impossible to feel the Spirit or enjoy each other’s company. But when times like these arose, Tommy would be there to save the day. He unknowingly was a peacemaker. He brought us together and made us laugh with his big, dimple-cheeked grin, the hilarious things he would say, and his fun personality. Thomas, my baby brother (I’ll always think of him that way, even though he is now in kindergarten!), helped me gain a testimony that we are children of an Eternal Father who knows each of us and our needs.
As Latter-Day Saints, we know what we must do in order to return to live with Him. He gave His Only Begotten Son to provide a way for us to return to His presence. Through Christ’s Atonement we can find peace and happiness in this life and in the world to come as long as we keep the commandments and continually repent. This knowledge fills me with peace and hope.
However, simply having this knowledge about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation and other essential gospel truths is not enough. Just knowing this does not ensure our success in reaching our ultimate goal of eternal life. We must be willing to accept the power of the Atonement in our lives by repenting, having a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and striving to be more like Christ. This requires Action. Commitment. And Endurance. It will be difficult at times and we are going to make mistakes and have trials in our lives that test our faith.
But we are not alone. As long as we are choosing the right, we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as well as a personal relationship with Christ. They will help us to combat the evils and trials that face us in this mortal existence. We cannot dwell on our mistakes or our tribulations. The adversary seeks to drag us down by making us feel alone or unworthy, but we must rely on the Lord and the power of the Atonement to forgive others and, more importantly, ourselves. Satan wants us to dwell on the times that we fall – on our mistakes and our failures – because if we dwell on these things, then we are not able to put forth all our effort to progressing forward on the strait and narrow path. He seeks to destroy the peace that the gospel offers. He wants us to be miserable like unto himself. One way that we can overcome Satan’s lies and pick ourselves up after we fall is to remember the counsel of President Ucthdorf, “You can do it now. As long as we are willing to rise up again and continue on the path, … we can learn something from failure and become better and happier.”
He goes on to say that, “It is a great source of spiritual power to live lives of integrity and righteousness and to keep our eyes on where we want to be in the eternities.” When I first heard this, I was reminded of something my little sister Fiona shared with me. Although she is my younger sister, she is incredible in so many ways and I have learned many valuable lessons from her. Once, when I was going through a rough time, she expressed this same principle about keeping an eternal perspective to me in a simple, yet profound manner and it has stuck with me and comforted me when I am dealing with problems to this day. She told me to ask myself this question: “In five years or 20 years or in the next life, will this (whatever I happened to be struggling with at the time) will this matter?” And because our trials and, in fact, our entire mortal existence is so small compared to eternity, the answer to this question is always “no.” We simply need to let go of whatever is holding us back and move forward with faith.
Joseph Smith is a perfect example of this eternal truth. Despite the many adversities that he faced in his life, he relied on the Lord who loved and comforted him. During one particular trying time of the prophet’s life, the Lord stated, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment” (That promise is found in D&C section 121: verse 7).
Elder Russell M. Nelson, in a talk entitled, “Jesus the Christ – Our Prince of Peace,” declares this message of peace that I hope the Holy Ghost will carry into your hearts and minds. He declares that, “Peace can come to all who earnestly seek the Prince of Peace. His is the sweet and saving message our missionaries take throughout the world. They preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored by Him through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Missionaries teach these life-changing words of the Lord: ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’”
“As we follow Jesus Christ, He will lead us to live with Him and our Heavenly Father, with our families. Through our many challenges of mortality, if we remain faithful to covenants made, if we endure to the end, we will qualify for that greatest of all the gifts of God, eternal life. In his holy presence, our families can be together forever.”
I would like to share one last thought that I learned at my very last year of girls’ camp. Our theme, which was repeated often by our leaders, was expressed in a simple statement known as the 3 D’s. Decisions Determine Destiny. How we live our mortal lives will determine our fate in the eternities to come. Even if we stumble and fall, we can do it. In the words of President Uchtdorf: “Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward.”


In closing, I would like to bear my testimony. As Dallin H. Oaks said, “A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true.” I know this church is true. I know that one day we can return to live with our families and with our Father in Heaven if we have faith, keep an eternal perspective, and endure to the end. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for the peace and comfort it gives me. And I am especially grateful for my Savior and His Atonement.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Decisions Determine Destiny
Hi. As you all know, since I was just introduced, my name is Monica Huston. I’m from Yuma, Arizona and I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. My older brother named Josh attended BYU for a year and recently left on his mission to Independence, Missouri. I talk about him later in my talk so I wanted to give you a little background.
Alright, today I am going to talk about who we are and about our divine potential and about how we can reach our ultimate goal of eternal life. Although this may sound like a lot, I find that these topics are so intertwined that I can’t talk about one without mentioning the others.
First of all, we all know that we are children of God and that God created us in His own image. This profound truth is clearly stated in Genesis chapter 1: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them” (Genesis 1:26–28 ). Not only are we created in the image of God, but we can also become like Him because of our divine potential. President Lorenzo Snow received revelation about the nature of man and God. He explained it thus: “As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.” Isn’t that exciting? One day, we can become like God if we are faithful in this life.
As Latter-Day Saints we know we are children of an Eternal Father and we know what we must do in order to return to live with Him. However, simply having this knowledge about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation and other essential gospel truths does not ensure our success in reaching our ultimate goal of eternal life. We must be willing to accept the power of the Atonement in our lives by repenting, having a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and striving to be more like Christ. This may be difficult at times and occasionally we are going to make mistakes and have trials in our lives that test our faith. However, we cannot dwell on our mistakes or our tribulations. The adversary seeks to tear us down by making us feel alone or unworthy, but we must rely on the Lord and the power of the Atonement to forgive others and, more importantly, ourselves. Satan wants us to dwell on the times that we fall – on our mistakes and our failures – because if we dwell on these things, then we are not able to put forth all our effort to progressing forward on the strait and narrow path. He wants us to be miserable like unto himself. One way that we can overcome Satan’s lies and pick ourselves up after we fall is to remember the counsel of President Ucthdorf, “You can do it now. As long as we are willing to rise up again and continue on the path, … we can learn something from failure and become better and happier.”
He goes on to say that, “It is a great source of spiritual power to live lives of integrity and righteousness and to keep our eyes on where we want to be in the eternities.” When I read this, I was reminded of something my little sister Fiona shared with me. She basically expressed this same principle to me when I was going through a rough time and it has been some of the best advice I have ever received. She told me to ask myself this question: “In five years or 20 years or in the next life, will this matter?” And because our trials and, in fact, our entire mortal existence is so small compared to eternity, the answer is always “no.” We simply need to let go of whatever is holding us back and move forward with faith, which brings me to a story I would like to share about a good friend from high school.
This friend was not a member of the church, but she had high moral standards and respected my beliefs. Although she knew I was Mormon and I would tell her about what I believed, it took me four years of knowing her before I finally worked up the courage to actually invite her to listen to the missionaries.
I told the missionaries in my ward about her and asked them to come over for Family Home Evening and teach her the first discussion. They readily accepted and one of the Elders said to me (with the Spirit testifying to me of the truthfulness of his statement), “I promise you that one day your friend will accept the gospel.” I was very excited! Here I was wanting my friend to join the church and a missionary (a spiritual giant) was telling me that yes she would accept the gospel. (In my excitement I overlooked the fact that he didn’t say when the “one day” would be when she would accept the gospel and be baptized.) So I looked forward with great anticipation to Monday night.
As the missionaries spoke of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, I felt the Spirit so strongly and I saw that my friend listened attentively and seemed receptive to their message. Afterwards, I asked her what she thought about the lesson and the answer I received was not at all what I expected to hear. She told me that although she respected my beliefs, she didn’t agree with the teachings and did not believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. This was a bit devastating for me to hear since I had such high hopes. I wondered:  “This is my reward for taking a leap of faith and sharing the gospel with my friend? Especially after I had received such an assurance of success from a representative of Christ.” Soon, however, I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. I learned that God’s plan may not be revealed to us as easily or as timely as we may desire, even when we have righteous desires. We must look forward with faith and endure to the end, keeping an eternal perspective. This lesson can be summed up even better in the words of President Uchtdorf:  “Even if we can see [our] divine destination only with the eye of faith, it will help us to stay the course.”
Since my brother is currently serving a mission, this experience made me realize how challenging missionary work must be. You, as a missionary, know how much everlasting joy and happiness the gospel can bring to someone, yet some are unwilling to accept it. But as my brother said in an email home: “The most important thing right now is that I am keeping an eye single to the glory of God, and I truly am grateful for this opportunity to go out and preach His gospel.” He is learning how to keep a positive attitude by remembering how grateful he is for the gospel in his own life and that is why he is willing to sacrifice so much in order to bring the gospel to others.
One last thought I would like to share, I learned at my very last year of girls’ camp. Our theme, which was repeated often by our leaders, was expressed in a simple statement known as the 3 D’s. Decisions Determine Destiny. How we live our mortal lives will determine our fate in the eternities to come. Even if we stumble and fall, we can do it. In the words of President Uchtdorf: “Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and stride forward.”


In closing, I would like to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. I know that one day all of our questions will be answered if we have faith, keep an eternal perspective, and endure to the end. I am grateful for the gospel in my life and for my opportunity to be here at BYU. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



February 28, 2016 
MY FAREWELL TALK

Good morning, brothers and sisters! I never thought this day would come that I would be here at the pulpit giving my farewell talk. Looking back on experiences I've had on the road to deciding to serve a mission...it truly is a miracle. Which brings me to the talk I was assigned to study and speak about today. It was given by Elder Neil L. Andersen in the April 2013 General Conference and it is entitled "It's a Miracle." He began with recounting what Christ told his Apostles on a mountain near Galilee after he was resurrected: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Imagine the consternation and doubt that His apostles probably felt when Christ said that. All nations? All the world? Every creature? That must have seemed impossible. But faith overcame doubt and they soon learned that all things are possible with the help of their Savior and older brother, Jesus Christ. 
And our day is no different. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how the Lord helps the seemingly impossible become possible in my life. For me, many times I've noticed that good change in me is brought about by my experiences with other people and their positive impact on me. I'm sure it happens that way for lots of people. Everyone has mentors and family members and friends who they can attribute their happiness too. I am no exception. I have so many people to thank for helping me learn and grow. I was blessed with the best parents and siblings and amazing friends and bishops and seminary teachers and Young Women's presidents. The list goes on and on so I just want to express gratitude to all of you. I honestly believe that hanging out with people causes some of them (their habits, their personality, their opinions) to rub off on you to some extent. And since that is true, I am very grateful for the people Heavenly Father has blessed me with.  


Don't you just love it when The Lord places wonderful people in your life?? People who make such a positive impact on you and who bring you closer to Christ just by nurturing your relationship with them. We must get to know our Father in Heaven and His children. We must share the gospel with everyone because everyone deserves to have the knowledge and light that we do. 

President Thomas S. Monson has said: "We take most seriously the Savior's mandate..., 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'" "This...cause...will continue to go forth, changing and blessing lives...No force in the entire world can stop the work of God."

We are witnessing the miracles of the Lord as His gospel is spreading across the world. And full-time missionaries are not the only ones who are or can be witnesses to these miracles. I love how Elder Wirthlin says, "If you're not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart - painted, as Paul said, 'not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God." Ever member of the church can be a force for good in doing missionary work by being an example and finding opportunities to share the gospel. The Savior said: "Hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up." 

This reminds me of my mom's conversion story. She always says that when she met with the missionaries, she felt like a light had entered her life. And as she continued to be taught by them and feel the Spirit, she felt like more and more light was being brought into her life. And she was baptized, 28 years ago, today. My mom and dad have both been incredible examples of missionary work in my life. And because of them, I had often considered going on a mission. Before the age change, my thoughts were: If I'm 21 and not married, then yes, I would love to serve a mission. Then, the age was changed from 21 to 19 for sisters and so I actually had to make a decision when I turned 19, which was much sooner than expected. Because of many reasons, I decided that a mission wasn't right for me at that point in my life. Fast forward a year later, to this past summer. 

Since I've thanked everyone in general, now I'd like to give a specific example of someone who influenced me for good. 

This past summer I met Eliza She just got engaged! (...just as a happy side note.) 

She and I were roommates for the a couple BYU camps and after only a few days of our acquaintance - we became best buds. We could talk about anything with each other and we hosted our own dance parties at Helaman (which is where we had to stay with our kids for the duration of each camp.)

I was so So blessed to meet her. She served a mission in Russia and I was so amazed by the depth of her love. Everyone is her best friend because Eliza loves everyone. She shines so brightly with the light of Christ and I learned so much from her. About Christlike love and about missionary work and about life. And thus, because of her, I began thinking about a full-time mission again and whether or not that was something the Lord wanted me to do. Previously, whenever I prayed and pondered about a mission, I was always unsure of my own desires and scared of the answer I might receive. 

This time was different though. I asked in faith. 

I still didn't know what the Lord's answer would be, but I trusted in Him and was no longer fearful. I prayed and fasted and went to the temple about my question. And one day, I went for a run and just talked to my Father in Heaven about everything. By the time I was done running, I knew what His answer was for me. That was the most direct instance of personal revelation I've ever received in my life and even more surprising to me, was how at peace I felt about it! Here it was, the answer came. The answer that I had been avoiding. But I was content. Actually, I was ecstatic. And it was all because of Him! Heavenly Father helped me meet Eliza who helped me start thinking positively about missions which helped me not be scared when I started wondering about a mission in my own future. 

This is why the first commandment is to love God and the second is to love everyone. If we love God and we love our fellow men, then we are opening ourselves up to remarkable change and growth and JOY.  

So what I want to stress today is that although I have been in several mission prep classes (and they were awesome!), the most influential thing for me in my decision and preparation to serve a mission was definitely the people I've known for years and the people I have met this past year. I testify that God knows each and every one of us and that He will never leave us alone. He has blessed me so many times by putting good people in my life who teach me about love and charity and faith and diligence. People who radiate the light of Christ. Who know and love the Savior and who show that love by how they treat His children. I am so grateful for the examples and kindred spirits I have known up to this point in my life. I know I will meet a lot more people on my mission who will have a profound impact on my life and I pray that I will be an influence for good in their lives as well.

And remember, even if it seems like you are alone in this life, don't despair. You are never alone. We can always have our Savior there with us if we will only come unto Him. If we are having trouble feeling His Spirit, then we need to pause and reflect. Are we doing the "primary answers?" Those are the most important things that we teach primary kids for. a. reason. We need to go to church and learn of Christ. We need get down on our knees and pray to our Father in Heaven. We need to search the scriptures with real intent. We need to do all of these things genuinely and with a sincere intent to come closer to Christ. And I testify that as we do these things, we will feel His love and be able to overcome the trials and temptations that beset us.

Speaking of perfect timing and meeting wonderful people...I owe President Colvin and his wife and Sister Rubisch huge thank-you's. Sister Rubisch offered me a job as a receptionist and thus I got to meet Laurie. She is an incredible example to me and I am grateful for all that I've learned from observing her fortitude. And I'm grateful to President Colvin for convincing me to attend the YSA ward during this time that I've been at home. I wasn't going to, because my time here in Yuma with my family was so short. But it ended up being an important blessing from my Heavenly Father working through a man of God. I am just amazed by our Heavenly parents and our Savior and older brother, Jesus Christ. Constantly amazed and so, so grateful. 

Time and time again, I have been amazed by the evidence I see of the Lord's hand in my life. I am learning that not only does my Father in Heaven love me and know me, but he also knows what is best for me. This can be difficult to accept, at times. Sometimes my pride completely takes over and I say that I know what I want and my prayers are spent telling my Heavenly Father my desires and then expecting a response in the affirmative. But this is not always the response we get. And besides that, I'm learning that Heavenly Father has His own timetable. Sometimes what we want IS right for us. But not at the time that we want it.
It all comes back to: We need to consistently hold up the light of Christ and trust in God. We need to always repent and continually come closer to Christ. 
As we do this, I know that He will guide and direct and comfort us - through the people we meet, and the feelings we feel through the Spirit, and even through the trials we face. I know this to be true and I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.