Monday, October 3, 2016

Forty Weeks

Hello Everyone!

Not that much that happened this week, other than general conference (where all the church leaders get together and do a broadcast of a bunch of different talks that is super spiritual and way uplifting). As such, I realized that I never shared my testimony in a group email and so I will do that this week instead of sharing cool fun stories (cause there weren't really any that happened, as I said it was a very easy going week).

I just wanted to let you all know that since being here on the mission, I have learned and grown a lot. I have grown to a surety through both changes and experiences I have seen others go through, messages that I have helped share, and personal growth from my own studies and experiences that what I hade faith or hope was true before the mission I have grown to sure firmness is true. We, each and every one of us a child of a father in heaven, god, or deity (the "something bigger out there", whatever you would like to call it). We are not just a creation that appeared out of nowhere, with no purpose, but he loves each and every one of us and has sent us here to earth to help us learn and grow. Before we came here, we lived with him as parents here on earth live with their children, and in the same way that kids here on earth can only grow to a certain point at home before they have to move out to be able to keep progressing and growing in life, we had reached a point where we could no longer progress or grow and so were sent here to earth to recieve a body, to learn about the difference between right and wrong, and to be tempted and pass through trials and difficulties so that we could learn to make our own decisions, and make the right ones. Sometimes we pass through hard times that we aren't quite sure how to make it through, but as that deity, or god, is our heavenly father, he wants to help us, and he wants us to be able to overcome those difficulties and so if we look for him he is always there to help us. We can find that guide through prayer, which is literally just talking with him (even something as simple as asking for a confirmation that he is there), through the scriptures, and through small things that we see and experience each day in our lives. Rarely ever does he talk with us through big huge glorious manifestations, in fact, almost never, but he helps us to know that he is there and that he loves and wantes to help us. When we die then, we are able to return to his presence, but not just us alone - we also have the chance to come back and live with our families again after this life. Thus, there is life past this short time that we have here on earth, where we can continue living in peace and happiness forever with those that we love. I have grown to learn that this belief, or teaching is more than just a fanciful story meant to give men hope, but that by studying the scriptures (the Bible and the Book of Mormon) and following the teachings that they give us, we too can see the difference that they make in our lives, and can grow personally to that surety of ourselves, feeling that love that our Father in Heaven has for us. 

I'll get off my soapbox now for this week, but next week I should have some fun stories (and hopefully photos) to share with you all again. Until then though, I hope you all have a good week!

Elder McCollum

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