Tis the Season to be peaceful!

I know I know! i have got the words all sorts of mixed up! But it has a meaning and a purpose just like every other missionary! ūüôā

So we all know that this season can be jolly! Don’t we? ¬†We get presents, Santa Clause is in every department store, food food and more food!!! What is there not to be jolly about right? ¬†But where is the peace? When I picture the Saviors birth I don’t see people running around trying to find the perfect gift at the best price. ¬†I picture this…

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I picture a humble, peaceful, moment, where all you can focus on is the Savior.  I took this picture from mormon.org.  Go check it out! They have a great video! And it also shows more of what I feel that beautiful night would be like.  Full of peace.

Now is a good time to stop and think, “Is my heart full of peace?” ¬†If not, turn to Him who was born on that night.

 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord

¬†12¬†And this¬†shall be¬†a sign¬†unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger….

 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, good will toward men.РLuke 2: 10-12 &14

I love my Savior. ¬†Yes it’s ok to do this…

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and decorate and spread Christmas cheer. ¬†But let us all focus on this…

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For unto us a child¬†is born, unto us a son¬†is given: and the government¬†shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty¬†God, The everlasting¬†Father, The Prince of PEACE.¬†–Isaiah 9:6

I know that my Savior was born that so that we may return to live with God one day. ¬†I know that he suffered everything for us. ¬†I know that He loves us! He is there for us. ¬†It’s true!

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Gratitude for Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!! Who is thankful for that!?!?! I know I AM! Tomorrow we all get to sit down and eat and eat and eat and laugh and be Thankful altogether. ¬†I never have really understood why we as Americans sit down and eat for hours when we want to celebrate… but BOY AM I SURE THANKFUL WE DO!!!

But now onto what I want to talk about today. A sister out here (I won’t name names because I don’t want to embarrass her or anything ūüėČ ), inspired me with her desire to want to come out on a mission. ¬†She told me that the reason she desired to serve was that she knew she had been significantly blessed. ¬†She has! She has a great loving family and friends and schooling and everything and she is just amazing! And she told me that when the lowering of age announcementness happened that the words, “Where much is given, much is required” came into her head. ¬†She knew she had to serve a mission. ¬†She wanted to show her gratitude to Heavenly Father by giving her all. By serving a mission! And holy stuffing! I realized that in a way that was why I came out to serve. ¬†That’s why many of us come out to serve. ¬†Because we have been given so many things from Heavenly Father to be grateful for. So here are some things that I am grateful for…

1. My family

2. The gospel

3. My friends–especially those at this time who are also serving missions with me

4. My companion

5. My Savior Jesus Christ.  Everything that He did for me.  I love Him more than I can even comprehend sometimes.

I am thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for. Haha! Does that make sense? But I’m thankful that I chose to serve a mission. ¬†Oh my goodness am I sooooooo thankful for that!!!!!! I have learned more in the 6 months I’ve been away from home than I have learned all my life. ¬†I can’t even describe it. ¬†I’ve learned more about myself, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, people, the gospel, the list goes on and on… (Yes I put the dot dot dot there. Dramatic right?)

But I have come to know gratitude. ¬†I am thankful for so many things. But nothing can even compare to my gratitude for the gratitude I felt before I served my mission. ¬†I knew I had to serve! I knew I have a great thing to do! So here I am, 6 hour plane ride from home, sharing the gospel with everyone I see. ¬†And you know what? I’m thankful!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving Feasting

You may think this blog is about food. ¬†Haha it isn’t. ¬†I’m sorry everyone! This feastage is a-whole-nother kind of deliciousness! It’s a feast not to the stomach, but to the heart. ‚̧ It is called the Book of Mormon.

So now that I have made you all read on because of that dramatic introduction I will talk a little bit about this wonderful book.  It has answers.  It has peace.  It is filled with love.  It talks all about Him.

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“And we talk¬†of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy¬†of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children¬†may know to what source they may look for a remission¬†of their sins.” –2 Nephi 25:26

This is a little excerpt from the Book of Mormon that shows that this book talks ALL about Christ. ¬†Isn’t it scrumptious sounding?

So everyone close your eyes… Ok now open them again because I just realized you can’t read this with them closed, so bear with me and imagine that there is this HUGE Thanksgiving feast in front of you. ¬†Turkey, and loads of mash potatoes, not to mention the delicious “secret” recipe of green bean casserole that is on every Campbell’s food can, and stuffing up to your eyeballs!

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So are you going to just take a spoonful of cranberry sauce and call it a night? NO!!! Of course not! You are gonna eat until you pants (skirts for sisters) are so uncomfortable that you can’t breathe! So why now when we have THIS book…

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would you only take a little bit of it and not a full helping?? This is a literal feast! A spiritual feast!

Jacob 3:2– ”¬†O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and FEAST upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.”

Alma 32:28– ”¬†Now, we will compare the word unto a¬†seed. Now, if ye give place, that a¬†seed¬†may be planted in your¬†heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your¬†unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves‚ÄĒIt must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to¬†enlighten¬†my¬†understanding, yea, it beginneth to be DELICIOUS to me.”

MMMMMM! DELICIOUS! Are you feeling full yet? Probably not, because this is only a little appetizer of what you can get from the Book of Mormon.

My invitation to EVERYONE this Thanksgiving season, is to (starting now) feast daily on the scriptures! I know that by doing so, you can bypass temptations, and all the hard times you come to face, even the little things, you can be strengthened in those! Not to mention, that every time you read it your own personal testimony of the restoration of the gospel will increase, or if you do not have one, it can be formed. ¬†I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is a another testament of Jesus Christ! ¬†It’s true! I’ve asked Heavenly Father multiple times if it’s true, and I find multiple times it is! So go on! And FEAST!!!!!!!

2 Nephi 32:3– “…Wherefore, I said unto you,¬†FEAST upon the¬†words¬†of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will¬†tell¬†you all things what ye should do.”

Bad days into good days

Something that I have learned in my short 19 years of living is that life is full of good days and bad days. ¬†When you’re young bad days could be not getting a cookie, or maybe getting in a fight with your brother or sister (like that ever happened to me of course… HA). And then when you’re at high school age maybe you failed a test or assignment, or didn’t sleep at all that night so you’re grumpy and tired the whole day. ¬†And college, boy oh boy college. ¬†I’ve seen many people have bad days due to difficulties of classes, or hearts broken by their boyfriends! But as a missionary, bad days are… humbling days. Days where your appointments fall through, or people slam doors in your faces, or when people aren’t keeping their promises, such as not praying and reading the Book of Mormon. ¬†Bad days as missionaries are also the best because they are humbling.

Take for example a day that happened this week. ¬†Sister Smithson and I found this man who wanted to know more. ¬†We were so excited and then before you know it, that excitement rug got whipped right out from under our feet and we found ourselves hurt on the rejected ground (haha does that even make any SENSE?!?!). He really wasn’t ready to know more and our feelings got hurt. ¬†Nobody told me a mission was going to be easy. ¬†In fact my whole family stressed the fact that missions are hard. ¬†So you may be thinking, “But what makes bad days turn into good days? Do missionaries even have good days? ¬†Why are you telling me this Sister Harline?” ¬†Haha do not fear, my friends! This blog will all turn around.

What makes bad days turn into good days?

Now I will share a scripture that has helped me on these days. This is talking about Alma. ¬†He prays because he sees these wicked people who built this ridiculously HUGE tower to pray to “their God” and thank him for letting them be so much more highly favored in his site. ¬†(Side note: Do you know that God loves ALL people? Yeah you got that wrong Zoramites.) So you can imagine Alma and his brothers thinking, “What the?!?!?! How are we even supposed to help these people?!”

Alma prays and asks for comfort and guidance. In Alma 31….

“O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me‚ÄĒyea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, and also my two sons‚ÄĒyea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ.”– Verse 32

See? He asks for comfort and guidance for him and his brethren . ¬†And then what happens? Verse 38…

“And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.”

The Lord blesses these missionaries, and their afflictions are swallowed up in the joy of Christ! How beautiful!!!!! It’s like poetry. ūüôā ¬†But we can apply this to everyone’s lives whether they be missionaries or not. ¬†Go forward with faith each and every day, knowing that whether or not you SEE success, you know that all your afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ when we know we are doing all that the Lord has asked of us.

Do missionaries even have good days?

I’ll put it this way. ¬†We make our days, what we want them to be. ¬†I’ve noticed that if I ever feel discouraged, I must immediately get that thought out of my head. ¬†And when I do that… I MAKE EVERY DAY A FANTASTIC DAYYYYYYY! ūüôā We all can! Make your day what you want it to be!

Also we have got someone on our side who is always willing to succor His people.

Why are you telling me this Sister Harline?

Because I want every one to be happy. ¬†I’ve had people tell me a lot that I seem happy all the time. ¬†Well I can tell you, and my companion can tell you, that I am not perfect. ¬†Occasionally I get frustrated or grouchy, but for the majority, I’m happy. And I want others to know why. ¬†Because I have faith. ¬†I have faith that my Savior will always help me through.

“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”– 2 Corinthians 5:7

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This is what makes us as a church so different than others.   We are happy because we walk by faith.  There will be good days where every thing is going in your favor.  But there will be bad days, that only God will know why they are happening to us.  He will stretch us, He will teach us, but He will always strengthen us in through those bad days.

So when so called “bad days” come, turn them into the best day that you can. ¬†Look for the miracles. ¬†Understand that you will become better because of it. ¬†I know that my Heavenly Father knows me best, even better than myself. ¬†He knows how I can improve, and even if I don’t know why something that causes a bad day is happening, He does! He knows every one and what is best for them. ¬†We may face trials, but we become better because of them. ¬†I know it’s true! I know that I don’t even know what I can be, but He does!

SO GO FORWARD WITH FAITH! SEEK THE BETTER IN THE DAY! AND PRAY! And read¬†this talk¬†and tell me if you cannot have better days… (Please now say, “challenge accepted!” ūüėČ )

Who can understand?

At one point in my life, I saw someone I loved soooooo completely saddened by a trial in her life.¬† However, I remember a wise man telling her when she denied that ANYONE even knew how she felt, that¬† “There is one person who understands, and that is Jesus Christ.¬† Only HE understands what you are feeling!!!!”¬† Well that wise man was my father.¬† Although he may not know that I even know he said that, it’s something that has stuck with me my whole life, and you know why? (Drum roll pleaaaaaase!) ‘CAUSE IT’S TRUE! And I have a feeling that there was another Father who wanted so badly to speak to this person that the only way He could was through my Pops.¬† Daddy was just the mouthpiece.

I am extremely blessed!¬† I do not know how so many people in the world feel the way they feel. So many people have broken hearts, homes, and families.¬† I don’t have any of those, or at least I haven’t experienced any of that yet in my life.¬† And I believe, no I KNOW it’s because when hard times come, there is someone that my whole family relied on.¬† I cannot do everything on my own and I know that, thus why I have learned to rely on the Lord.

“For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.” –Alma 34:10

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I say this, I swear, on every single blog I post, but God really does love.¬† He loves! Each and every one of us; He loves! I get frustrated as a missionary sometimes because people don’t realize that.¬† (Don’t worry, I find myself humbled time and time again because you can’t just be getting frustrated with people left and right when you’re on a mission.) But they don’t see why He came to this earth.¬† People don’t see how they can turn to our Savior and rely on Him through anything and everything.

There have been times I have questioned this.¬† Could there really be a man out there who died for me?¬† Can I really have my wrongs forgiven by Him? My answer is yes, but He was a God.¬† No man could perform this sacrifice.¬† I mean it had to infinite and eternal here, people! My sins can be forgiven! And how did my questions get resolved? I’ll tell you how they did…

“2¬†And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

4¬†And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.” –Enos 1: 2&4

I prayed.  I gave up my independent I-can-do-it-on-my-own attitude and I asked for help, for guidance, for clarity, and for help.  When I was in sorrow, I went to Him.  He knew how I felt, and I can say with all my heart that that was the closest I have ever felt to him.

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But I know that everyone can feel this love.  I KNOW IT! We need to ask.  He is the Shepard. He glories when He finds us turning back to Him.  Here is a Bible Video just put out by the church that I loooooooooooooove!

It is fantastic what our Savior can do.¬† We aren’t alone.¬† We never are, nor have been.

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We all have storms in out life.¬† But just remember the one who said “‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” He will calm our troubled hearts and souls! All we must do is turn and look.

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“But when such difficult moments come to us, I testify that there is one thing which will never, ever fail us. One thing alone will stand the test of all time, of all tribulation, all trouble, and all transgression. One thing only never faileth‚ÄĒand that is the pure love of Christ. . . I testify that having loved us who are in the world, Christ loves us to the end. His pure love never fails us. Not now. Not ever. Not ever.” –Jeffery R. Holland

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“Be still, and know that I am God.” –Psalms 46:10

JOY!!!!!!

So… What is joy you may ask? Well I can tell you.

JOY to me and to hopefully other people is when you feel so happy that you want to EXPLOOOOOOOODE!

How do you feel this joy? I’ll tell you a little secret… You won’t get it until you help someone else out.

Alma 29:9

“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”

BAM! THIS IS MY JOYYYYYY! To bring some soul to repentance, to the fold, to true happiness.¬† I at one point thought that I had to have everything to be happy.¬† True story.¬† I thought that all I really wanted was just… stuff! I have no other way to describe it.¬† Meaningless things really and I felt kind of dumb because I knew what true joy came from.¬† The gospel! That is where it all comes from.¬† But In reality, having others realize that it’s true, is the greatest thing to ever happen.¬† And that it where true joy comes from. The truth!

So how do we find happiness? We must find who we are.  Literal children of our Heavenly Father.  Loved by Him.  Helped by Him.

‚ÄúThis is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Don’t believe me?¬† Ask Him! He’ll let you know He loves you.¬† We also must realize that others are children of our Heavenly Father and we must LOVE like He and our Savior do.

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the lest of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Matthew 24:40

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It’s true.¬† But the greatest joy comes when we share that these people are our brothers and sisters. SO LET OTHERS KNOW! LOVE! Love brings joy!

“4 Charity suffereth LONG, and is KING; charity envieth NOT; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

“5¬†Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is NOT EASILY provoked, thinketh no evil;

“”6¬†Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but REJOICETH in the truth;

“7¬†Beareth ALL THINGS, BELIEVETH all things, HOPETH all things, ENDURETH all things.”

If that doesn’t sound like joy than I don’t know what it does sounds like!

SO SHARE IT! SHARE YOUR JOY! And I promise in return you will find even greater joy! I experienced joy this last weekend like never before! I know that knowing who we are, who those around us are, and what they can become is when we may find the fullness of JOY!

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Forever called

So before my mission I thought missionary work was something that you got called to do. ¬†Welp, I can tell you that every day I am sufficiently humbled because time and time again I hear wonderful stories of where members are better at doing missionary work than I am! ¬†But I don’t even care because it’s SO AWESOME!!!!

For example… Today, here I am serving at the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center when in comes these three gorgeous woman. ¬†Automatically I think, whoa! They are all such beautiful sisters in the gospel. ¬†Then I come to find out that two of them are members, and that one of them in meeting with the missionaries in Syracuse! ¬†Here are these two fantastic missionaries who just went and brought this girl who is just seeking for truth. ¬†They are helping her, along with doing what the Lord has asked them to do! Share the gospel!!!!!

So many times members think that it’s all up to the missionaries. ¬†I made that mistake WAY before my mission. ¬†But now I see the importance in ¬†doing the work. ¬†Not only does it bring salvation to your soul (yeah that’s right,¬†salvation!), but it helps bring souls unto Christ. ¬†Here’s a little secret. Missionaries can’t do it on their own! Missionaries are not perfect, neither is anyone, BUT the gospel is! So why not share it with everyone?

In General Conference last weekend, it seemed to be a reoccurring theme, this missionary work. Why? Because it truly is important. ¬†The only missionary work I did as a teenager was invite a friend to church. She came, but she didn’t ever truly accept the gospel. ¬†After that I got discouraged and didn’t ever really want to invite more people. ¬†Let me tell you something… ¬†I have had 7648701589 more people tell me no on my mission. ¬†But it’s BEAUTIFUL when someone says, “Yes! I want to come to church!” So moral of the story, not everyone is going to say yes, but we need to find those who will and are truly prepared for the gospel. ¬†If they say no, then don’t be discouraged. ¬†That is something I learned on my mission. ¬†Do. Not. Be. Discouraged. Because guess what! The Lord is on our side! Missionary work starts now, each day of your life.

For those who are scared to share this glad message…

1. It’s ok. Missionary work does seem scary at first, BUT I promise you when you open up your mouth it gets easier and easier as you go.

2. Read your scriptures. ¬†D&C 11:21 says…

“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”

I promise you as your read your scriptures, you will know what to say!

3. Lead by example. ¬†People are watching you every single day! And they want to know what you know. ¬†It’s true! So many people talk about how “mormons” are such good people? ¬†See? It’s true. ¬†Your example means a lot.

4. Open your mouth.  What you know invites the Spirit.  Every single time.  Hands down.  It invites the Spirit, people! Do you realize what that means?  If people really are seeking for truth, they will feel it in the words you express.

So in addition to those steps, if you haven’t already watched this¬†conference talk, watch it… NOW! Haha ok well watch it when you can.

“Become engaged in doing what you can in sharing the great message of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” –M. Russell Ballard

Also if you haven’t yet watched the world wide broadcast yet, get on that and watch it ASAP!

2 hours of pure joy. ūüôā

Now please enjoy these old school pictures of member missionary work. ūüôā This is the kind of joy you may experience.

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With that being said I know that missionary work is so important! ¬†My family all served missions, but my main goal is that all of us will not just be past full time missionaries, but missionaries for life… FOREVER CALLED! Haha. Here is that glorious family I so praise and adore. (Mom, Dad… go do your missionary work. ūüėČ Haha!)

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My blog as a missionary in the New York Rochester Mission and the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center