March 26, 2013

Hola a todos!

Happy Tuesday! Can you believe it´s already been three
weeks?! Time goes by really quickly here. And at the same time, it
feels like I´ve been here for years. First of all, I just wanted to
say thank you to all of you, friends and family, who have written me.
Seriously it´s such a joy to read letters from you, mis amores. I love
to hear what´s going on in your life and any thoughts about the Gospel
you share with me. (I need all the thoughts I can get!) I am loving it
here. I´m learning so so much. Following up on what I shared with you
last week (about how Christ ALWAYS turned outward and upward: focusing
on others and on His Father, rather than Himself), let me just tell
you that this past week has been one of the greatest in my life. And I
KNOW that it´s because I have been striving to be more like Jesus
Christ. I´ve been praying for charity, as it tells us to do in the
scriptures, and I have felt such an increase of love for all those
around me. Even the 18-year-old, fresh out of high school elders,
haha. Jason, I can´t tell you how excited I am for you to serve a
mission!!! I´ve only been out for three weeks, and I haven´t even seen
the campo misional yet, but I know that this is going to be one of the
greatest experiences we´ll have. (Also, Jason–“eet kom out de
verengay.” I can´t even tell you how many times I´ve quoted “The Best
Two Years.” Too many.) I have some Latina roommates, and the other day
one of them turned to me and said, “Hermana, despues de la mision nos
das clases de canta.” Chyeah right. So rest assured, Mama, that I´m
still singing in Guatemala just as constantly as I did back home.
Seriously. All. The time. With the last few minutes that I have to
write, I want to share with you something I wrote the other day in my
journal. I was thinking about a devotional I heard through BYU once,
about how it is that we access the healing power of the Atonement:
Let´s say your Mom pays a pi8ano teacher to give you lessons. You
won´t benefit unless you practiceñ nevertheless it is your decision.
She won´t force you, but asks you to practice. You do so, and lo and
behold–you improve! Are you paying back your Mom for the money she
spent on the lessons? Definitely not. But you ARE showing appreciation
for her sacrifice. You aren´t letting it go to waste. Youa re using it
to mejorarse and be happier. She loves you, so she´s happy that you´re
happy. Now let´s say you don´t practice. You won´t improve. You´ll
feel guilty. Your mom´s sacrifice will go to waste. Christ paid for
our airfare back to Heavenly Father´s presence. We can´t pay Him back,
but we can absolutely get on the plane. I love you each so much. This
is the Lord´s Church. This is His work, His glory. Behold, God is my
salvation. Confiaré y no temeré, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength
and my song. He also has become my salvation.

Love you. Remember who you are, make good choices.

–Hermana Stephens

P.S. Don´t worry, chill out, I´m still going to be in the MTC for the whole six weeks. Halfway through!

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