We, Lauren's family, enjoyed almost an hour long Christmas SKYPE with Lauren! It was such a treat to see her smiling face and hear her cheerful voice and share our tender feelings about this incredible opportunity she has to serve The Lord and the people of Paraguay and recognize for a moment, all of the blessings we enjoy because of it!
Moments after our call ended, we found a letter from Lauren waiting in the mailbox. And with her permission in the beginning of the letter, we will share it.
My Beautiful Family,
Today I was studying in the Bible, in John. And I found some things that I wanted to share with you guys. I hope there is something for you to take from it :)... If not, feel free to share it with some one that might have a need for it :) I was studying in John because: first, I want to get to know the Bible better; and second, I wanted to know Jesus Christ better. So where is there a better place to read about the Saviors last months and instructions here on Earth? However, in my study, I ended up getting something completely unexpected out of it - but it filled me with a love, gratitude, better perspective and strength.
In the world it is hard. As members of the church with standards that are not ‘of the world’, it can feel hard... To not have the largest group of friends, or maybe not have many friends at all... To any and all of the struggles we face or find in our journey to keep the commandments of God.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love it’s own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
The Savior was mocked, rejected, cast out, beaten, spat on... Jesus Christ came in to the world and his own received him not. The man who came to this Earth for US, who offered us life – was sent to suffer and die. No one knows or understands the feeling of ‘alone’ and ‘isolated’ more than Him. We, like Christ, are here for a purpose – a very special purpose. To learn and obtain all that we are supposed to obtain here on Earth, we are told that we must be ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’, and we can feel that at times. Satan knows that. And he is SO worried because of the testimonies which YOU hold. So naturally he’s working so hard to brake you - so hard to discourage you, so hard to make you feel alone, without a friend. But the thing that is so great about this life is that Satan can’t win! He can’t, it’s impossible!
You ALWAYS have a friend – Jesus Christ! He is the only one who understands your situation perfectly! He is here to be your friend, he said it himself “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you” John 15:14. The same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the scriptures is YOUR Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Search to know Him more, pray to recognize Him more, pray to love Him more. He has walked your path all ready, and right now, He is walking with you every step of the way. And in those hard times, he is not walking with you, but rather, carrying you, that you might find peace, comfort, and joy – everlasting joy!
Yes, it can feel hard, but that is only if we let it. The gospel is not a weight, IT IS WINGS! Flap those wings with faith. Your pains and afflictions shall be but for a small moment AND they shall be for thy good. Remember your goal, start your day with the end in mind - the Kingdom of God!
I can’t tell you how many mental breaking points I’ve had in my life – where I just wanted to curl up and cry. But EVERY TIME without fail, if I remember my Savior Jesus Christ... if I recall what HE has done for ME... if I pray to have strength and buckle down to keep those commandments (or rather ‘blessings’), I find that I am no longer walking alone and stumbling... I am FLYING and the wind under my wings is strong! Christ is strong! You are strong! And I love you – HE loves YOU!!