Tuesday, October 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Hey fam! 

So fun to think you are on your way to Florida!!!  Enjoy your time there!  So it´s been a great week in Artigas, and I found the best talk ever this week.  It´s called “The Love of God” and is given by President Uchtdorf (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/the-love-of-god?lang=eng).

As you all know, I´ve kind of been like Ella Enchanted during my mission...I´ve wanted to be obedient, but at times, I think I´ve kind of created "shoulds" and "should nots," and these "shoulds" and "should nots" have gotten in the way of my LOVE at times.  For much of my mission, I´ve prayed to know how to obey with LOVE, how to obey by the Holy Ghost, and I can honestly say this talk has helped me out so much!  I hope you enjoy these excerpts!

“The Savior Himself provided the answer with this profound declaration: ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’  This is the essence of what it means to be a true disciple: those who receive Christ Jesus walk with Him.  

But this may present a problem for some because there are so many ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ that merely keeping track of them can be a challenge. Sometimes, well-meaning amplifications of divine principles—many coming from uninspired sources—complicate matters further, diluting the purity of divine truth with man-made addenda. One person’s good idea—something that may work for him or her—takes root and becomes an expectation. And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of ‘good ideas.’
This was one of the Savior’s criticisms of the religious ‘experts’ of His day, whom He chastised for attending to the hundreds of minor details of the law while neglecting the weightier matters. 

So how do we stay aligned with these weightier matters? Is there a constant compass that can help us prioritize our lives, thoughts, and actions?

Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,’ He said. ‘This is the first and great commandment.’  Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves—we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.”

So good, right?  How cool is it that if we have LOVE at the center of our lives, everything else (including obedience) falls right into place.  

As I continued reading, I was in awe when I realized how much God truly loves His children.  Read this: 

“Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you. 

God does not look on the outward appearance.   I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.” 

Amazing, no?  How many of you have ever felt flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken?  Or how many of you have been selfish, proud, arrogant, or a little rebellious every now and then?  How cool is it that even though we are so utterly imperfect, God loves us with a perfect love!

President Uchtdorf then invites us to LISTEN TO GOD´S VOICE IN OUR LIVES!

“As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.
As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.
During this general conference and later as you study the words spoken here, listen for His voice.
As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.
Listen for the voice of the Father in the bounties and beauties of nature, in the gentle whisperings of the Spirit.
In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice.
If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ.”
Beautiful, no?  This week I´ve really been trying to listen to God´s voice!  I haven´t been perfect listening to His voice, but I´ve heard Him speak to me every now and then.  Here´s how I heard His voice this week:

  • Hermana Salvatierra´s birthday was awesome!  We had a Noche de Hogar with Hermana Susana Mendina, Hermana Blanquita, Hermana Idalina, and Hermana Ivonne, four awesome Uruguayan women!  We talked about OPENING OUR MOUTHS to share the gospel (Doctrine and Covenants Section 33) and we ended the Noche de Hogar with a testimony meeting.  These four women have such strong testimonies and I heard God´s voice as they spoke!

  • On Friday, I had divisions with Hermana Barrios (she´s from Guatemala and we live together).  She is so awesome and I´ve really been wanting to improve when it comes to teaching clearly.  Hermana Barrios studied about teaching with clarity on Friday morning, and during our companionship study, she shared what she learned with me!  It helped me so much and I heard God´s voice!

  • Also on Friday, we had to walk to Brazil to drop off a DVD with the Hermanas in Quaraí.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the bridge that divides Uruguay from Brazil.  As I looked out onto the river, as I felt Uruguayan/Brazilian wind blowing onto my face, as I soaked up all the trees, I heard God´s voice!

  • Hermana Salvatierra is learning English!  Last night, all on her own, she said, "Heavenly Father, I thank thee for my brothers and sisters in Uruguay" in our prayer to end the day.  As I heard her speak these sweet words in English, I heard God´s voice.

  • For the first time, the Berneda Family came to all three hours of church!  As I sat behind Hermana Berneda in Relief Society, I heard God´s voice.

  • Jessica and her Uncle Lulo are both listening!  As they talked about the peace and tranquilidad they feel when they learn about God and the message of the restoration, I heard God´s voice.

I love you all, and have the best week ever!

Hermana Dixon

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