New and Peachy

Knock Knock, Who's There?, Las Misioneras!!!

Folks,  Short letter today! Lo siento!  This week was full of doors that never opened after we knocked on them, finding incredible ...

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I am waiting for when I start dreaming in Spanish....

Familia y Amigos,

In case you were wondering, I am alive and have not turned into an ice cube in this freezing/snowy weather of Provo, Utah. Yet. My companions and I run to and from class trying to get out of the cold as fast as possible. Occasionally there are some baby rays of sunshine and it literally brightens our day. On our walk around the temple, it was snowing so much and my feet practically froze. But--- I am grateful for the change of scenery and the missionaries in my Zone. I am truly blessed. Even though the weather is cold, my heart is warm. Yup, cheesy but true. 

This past week flew by SO FAST. 

Spanish and the Gospel fill my days and I couldn't be happier!

We had the opportunity to host again! Everyone in our zone was really jealous we had this chance not only once, but twice! I spent the entire block of hosting time with Sister Aguidar from Guatemala. She has great English, though we stuck mostly to Spanish so she could help me practice. I helped her find her way around the travel office, missionary assistance office, and MTC health clinic. We even got to leave campus to go over to the BYU Health Clinic for Sister Aguidar to get an X ray. It was seriously a trip across the street, but hey, the tiny trips matter. 

On Wednesday, we had a World Wide Broadcast from the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City that was for all missionaries around the entire globe. We were instructed on how to better spread the good news of the Gospel through relying on the Holy Ghost as the primary teacher; the Holy Ghost comforts, testifies, purifies, and teaches. The best way to teach others about the Doctrine of Christ is to be living it yourself in your daily life. The training was edifying and uplifting as we continue to work toward being worthy vessels for the Lord and delivering the powerful message unto the hearts of those searching for truth. I loved how we were also counseled to not only make these habits in the field, but to also carry them over into the rest of our lives. Some of the most influential missionary work we'll do will be after we have taken off our name tag and gone home. At the end there were a few changes to the missionary schedule, one of which was that the time we retire for bed was moved from 10:30 pm to an option of 9:30 pm... MORE SLEEP!!! Ya, you could say we were all pretty stoked. 

I just asked my companions if anything out of the ordinary and funny happened to us this past week. Hermana Esplin shared: "Well, I did hit my head on the bunk bed and got a goose egg." There you have it. :)

I pray that each of you are counting your blessings each day, because God truly does shower us with blessings as we seek to do His will! Don't be afraid to speak of His Son, whatever the result might be. I love you all! Keep the faith!

Con Amor, 

Hermana Draper

Yo Se Que Mi Salvador Vive y Nos Ama!


Picture: My companions and I on our one day we get to wear pants... and it's snowing... I don't know what kind of facial expression we were going for...


Monday, January 23, 2017

Snow, The Gospel, and Espanol

Mis Amigos!!! Que Pasan??? 

Ok, I think Utah weather is bipolar or something. One day it hits up in the 50s and all of us missionaries here at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) are running around in the sunshine like hooligans singing hymns as we sprint to gym time or we are shivering as it drops down into the single digits with snow everywhere. But besides the weather, all is marvelous at the Provo MTC!! My time is spent studying the beautiful language of Spanish, learning more about the Gospel and how to better share the Good News! 

By the way, in case you all were wondering, you most likely weren't but maybe you were, my companions (Hermana Paskins and Hermana Esplin) and I are FAMOUS. We were in the MTC choir and were on TV!!!! Our faces showed up big and clear on the screen during the Tuesday Night MTC Devotional this week AND last week and broadcast to all the other MTC's. Ya, we felt cool. :) The song the choir sung was Praise to the Man--the choir director shared with us the background of the man who wrote the song, William Phelps, and about the prophet Joseph Smith's younger years. The number of trials and struggles that Joseph Smith went through and overcame before and after the Gospel was restored is remarkable. The timing of the Restoration was perfect and the blessing of having the fullness of Christ's Gospel again on the earth today is indescribable. That's why I am on a mission, to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end!

On Wednesday, new missionaries pour in from all across the country to begin their initial training here at the MTC. For some of them, they will be here for the minimum of 3 weeks because they will be sharing the gospel in their native tongue or they could be staying here up to as long as 12 weeks if they are learning a really tough language such as Mandarin or Finnish. Every Wednesday, districts are selected to "HOST" the newbies as they arrive and make sure they don't get lost. Districts request to be hosts constantly and it's rare to be chosen.... MY DISTRICT GOT CHOSEN. (And we didn't even put in a request slip.) So Wednesday right after breakfast, we were hosts for the foreign missionary arrivals. My first set of sisters were from Japan. I was overjoyed that I was able to rattle off a few sentences in Japanese and they were excited to hear a little of their language. The two sisters will both be serving in Japanese missions back in their home country, but they will be here for 3 weeks for training. It's their first time in the US and Sister Saike had me take a couple pictures of her with the mountains in the background. I showed them to the travel office then helped another sister get some new clothes. It was humbling to see so many missionaries arrive with only a small bag or couple items of clothing because they couldn't afford anything more. The MTC supplies clothing for those missionaries. I got to help as some sisters tried on new coats, got fitted for durable shoes, and pick out some blouses/skirts. Where there is a will, there is a way and God provides. We spent the morning showing new Sisters and Elders from all over the world to the travel office, the MTC health clinic, the BYU health clinic, the MTC assistance office, scheduling, and then to class. It was a blessing to serve those new missionaries---To be able to see the light of Christ in their eyes and be inspired by their testimonies of the Gospel of Christ. 

After only being here for about 2 1/2 weeks, our Branch President called us over to meet with him. My companions and I were chosen to be Sister Training Leaders!! Our responsibilities include providing a new Missionary Orientation on Wednesday nights when new missionaries arrive, conducting interviews to see how the other sisters in our Zone are doing, and be the ones that the MTC Front Desk calls if anything is wrong. We did interviews with all of the Sisters in our zone yesterday and it was wonderful to get to know everyone a little better. The new Sisters are adjusting well, though anxious about teaching in Spanish for the first time. We told them what our teacher Hermana Richards had told us after a couple lessons in which our Spanish was nowhere near perfect (it's honestly a miracle that those we teach understand us at all). Hermana Richards pointed out to us---- We are completely not qualified to do this work. We cannot do it... AloneOnly through Christ can we fulfill our calling. And we can't mess things up; even if our Spanish might be terrible in a lesson or we stumble over words, we literally can't mess this Gospel up. It is perfect, it will continue. Do we really think we are big enough to mess up God's Plan in the slightest? Satan has been trying to destroy His Work since the beginning and he will never ever succeed. A missionary who is trying their absolute best to serve the Lord can't mess anything up. We are not able to mess this Work up. God uses imperfect people, like me and you, to bring about His Plan and I'm sure that's frustrating at times, but He deals with it and loves us anyways. Que grande es el llamamiento. Our loving prophet Thomas S Monson said, "God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."

I pray that each of you are well and enjoying this beautiful life God has given us. May we all continue to share Christ's love with those around us and remember that "When life get's too hard to stand, Kneel". I love you all! 

Yo testifico que cada persona es digno del amor de Dios. Estoy agradecida por esta oportunidad servir. 

CON AMOR,

Hermana Draper 

Sidenote: There are 8-11 people in a district. A Zone is made up of several districts. A Branch in the MTC is the same as a Zone. 


"Stumbling blocks may be made into stepping stones to a nobler character and to heaven."


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hey Hey Hey!




Hey Hey Hey!

I hope each and every one of you are doing wonderful and simply enjoying this beautiful life that God has given us. I pray that those of you starting school this coming week are PUMPED to soak all that info in (even if it doesn't seem very useful), and if you are back at work--I hope you feel your time is being spent productively and you are living up to your potential. I love you all!

If you haven't figured it out by now, Saturdays are my P-day (preparation day: sorta like a day "off"... really the only difference is we get to do our laundry, email, and wear pants instead of a skirt/dress...hey, its the little things I appreciate). Today has been wonderful. Started it out with exercising in the huge gym and getting nailed in the head with a volleyball... I was throwing back some basketballs to some other Elders playing on the court next to us and BOOM. LOL all is well, I'm fine and didn't even shed a single tear *fist bump*. We had the opportunity to attend the Provo Temple and do an Endowment Session. For those of you who aren't familiar with ordinances done in a temple, check out the temples tab at lds.org or click this link https://www.lds.org/topics/temples?lang=eng . It is such a peaceful place and a unique experience doing work for those who have passed away centuries ago. 

Spanish is well... it's coming... We got a new teacher because our other one went and got married. Her name is Hermana Richards and oh. my. goodness. SHE IS WONDERFUL. Hermana Richards served a mission in Uruguay a year ago and her way of teaching clicks with all of us in the District. She is real, understanding, compassionate, HILARIOUS, and shares with us her mission experiences. God is so good. SO GOOD. He is helping us all with the language and teaching us through the Spirit how to better teach the Doctrine of Christ. I am continually humbled by the love that He shows me. 

The other day, some Elders in our zone decided to "reenact" Harry Potter 1. It was after a long day of class and study, so that exhaustion mixed with crazy 18-21 year old young men and nerding out on Harry Potter was... extremely entertaining. The Elder acting out Professor Quarel had a full bathrobe tied around his head (they tried to tape his nose down to look like Voldemort at the ending). We have one red head in our zone... so obviously he was Ron. Harry had a blanket tied around his neck and a lightning bolt drawn on his forehead with a marker. It was hilarious. Wish you all could've seen the weirdness. 

Well, I don't have much time today to email, the Elders in my district are needing my piano playing abilities to accompany them singing Come Thou Fount for an audition in a couple weeks to perform in one of the MTC wide devotionals!

Yo se que Jesucristo es El Hijo de Dios y podemos regresar para vivir con nuestro Padre Celestial otra ves. Nuestro Padre Celestial mando a Su HIjo a la tierra para expiar nuestros pecados. El sacrificio expiatorio de Jesucristo hizo posible que superaramos los efectos de la Caida. A traves de Su Expiacion, podems recibir la vida eterna. Estoy agradecida por el Evangelio restaurado!!!

CON AMOR,

Hermana Draper

PS...Brandon Barnard is standing next to me in this photo.  His dad baptized my dad MANY years ago!! He's going to Florida on his mission.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hola Mis Amigos!

Hola Mis Amigos!

I pray life is treating you well wherever you find yourself this week. I know school/college is starting back up for many of you and I hope that this new year has been smooth sailing so far!  I can't believe it has only been three, YES THREE, days since my parents dropped me off (seriously, we pulled up and a sister missionary helped me get out my bags, I hugged my family one last time, and she left with me in tow... all this happened in like, 2 minutes MAX) at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Feels like weeks. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of Spanish and the Gospel. Right after I arrived, I dropped of my bags in the Residence Hall and went to class. Talk about drinking from a firehose. Spanish. The Gospel in Spanish. Spanish. The Gospel in Spanish. Spanish. All day, Every day. Our teacher only speaks in Espanol and half the time he gets blank/confused stares. Even though I feel whelmed (not overwhelmed, simply whelmed) I testify that the gift of tongues is REAL. The amount I have been able to learn, retain, and use is amazing. Thank goodness I have 6 weeks here before I head to Atlanta. 

My companions are Hermana (women on missions have the title of Sister ____ but in Spanish, the word for sister is hermana) Paskins and Hermana Esplin. They are both from Utah, Hermana Paskins is from Draper, Utah (haha) and she played on the Utah Valley University soccer team before leaving on her mission. Hermana Esplin is from Sandy, Utah and is the sweetest human. They are both so patient, kind and are beautiful examples of Christ. Hermana Paskins is headed to San Diego, California and Hermana Esplin is headed to Des Moines, Iowa!

In my district, there are also 6 Elders (young men on missions have the title of Elder). They are great. They keep class VERY entertaining. 

We taught our second lesson today IN SPANISH to our investigator Erika. She is a student at the college here and she is interested in learning more about the Gospel. It is difficult to teach in Spanish when my knowledge of the language is slim, but tonight, oh my goodness, the Spirit was so strong in the room as we testified of God's love for all of His children, including her. Especially her. In our last lesson she had told us that God didn't love her, He loved everyone else, but because she had done so much wrong she felt He didn't love her. We told the stories of the Prodigal Son and The Lost Sheep (in Luke 15) and then the story of Alma the Younger (Mosiah 27 in the Book of Mormon). When we were talking to her about Alma the Younger and his experience with repentance, she was so focused. We referenced Isaiah 1:18 about how our sins can be as scarlet but through Christ they can become as white as snow. The Spirit was there as she prayed for the first time with us. Hearing her express her desire to have a change of heart and return to Him brought tears to all of our eyes. It was a humbling experience, and all in Spanish. Even with our poor Spanish and struggling to figure out how to say things, the Spirit was there. The Holy Ghost taught Erika of the truthfulness of the Gospel, not us.

I love this beautiful work that I am about. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, I struggle. But I know that through Christ I can do all things. Each of us are here on this earth for a purpose and I am so grateful that I made the decision to serve a mission. To share a glorious message. I testify that no matter what you are going through, God loves you and no matter how far you may stray, Christ's Atonement is Infinite. President Thomas S. Monson said: "God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."

Con Amor,
Hermana Draper

PS: Funny Moments, because let's be honest, I love those:

In class, one Elder was saying the word for desk. The word in Spanish is pupitre. Except he pronounced it poopy-tray. That Was Marvelous. 

My companions and I were walking into the cafeteria for lunch and we walked past an Elder who was sitting at one of the lunch tables... we stopped and did a double take. He had 9 bowls of cereal in front of him!!! All lined up, three by three and filled to the brim with frosted flakes. We walked past again just to check on his progress and the guy was sweating bullets and choking down his sixth bowl... I guess it was a dare?


Thursday, January 5, 2017

One Step Closer


Sarah's infectious happiness boiled over to us as we dropped her off at the curb yesterday at the MTC. She is one step closer to Atlanta, GA.  She will be studying in the MTC for about 6-8 weeks.  She is thrilled to have a routine where she will get 8 hours of sleep each night!  As a missionary, they are required to be in bed by 10:30 pm and up at 6:30 am each and every day.  Yes, a little bit of heaven on earth for Sarah!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Adios Amigos!

Well. It's finally here. January 4th. I can't even begin to describe the emotions I am feeling right now--joy, excitement for the unknown, anxious, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I would not be serving as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without the endless support I have received my ENTIRE life from all of you wonderful folks. I have been surrounded since Day 1 by people who are relentlessly compassionate, understanding, full of love, and who have never stopped believing in me. I am beyond blessed. My vocabulary isn't hardly sufficient to express just how truly blessed and grateful I am.

These next 18 months will be a journey of patience, love, and growth as I serve my Father in Heaven and share the sweet message of the Gospel to the people of Georgia in the Spanish Language. I know I will become more converted unto my Savior and have His image engraven upon my countenance. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Love y'all.

Take Care,

Hermana Draper

Mission Farewell (IN CASE YA MISSED IT!!)

Farewell
December 18th, 2016
Good morning Brothers and Sisters! I’m Sarah Draper for those of you who moved into our ward in the last year and have no idea who this girl at the pulpit is. That’s my dad (point at dad) and my mom, Tanya Draper, is seated with my siblings Josh, Ben and Rachel. It is a true joy to see so many familiar faces and to be home here in Corinne after traveling all over the country this past year. I have been called to serve as a missionary in the Georgia Atlanta Mission where I will be sharing the beautiful message of the Gospel in Spanish. I report to the Provo Missionary Training Center January 4 which is in (check phone)________. It’s not like I’m excited or anything. The first thing people respond with when I tell them where I am going is “You poor Utahn, they have humidity there.”
And I think God was preparing me for Georgia’s humidity because I spent 2 weeks in our nation’s capital this past summer… in July. 100% humidity and around 100 degrees. Thank you, humidity, I always wanted to look like the lion king. We were there to put on the State Presidents’ Conference for the National FFA Organization. I say we, because I was there preparing for this event with my 5 other teammates. State President’s Conference is where 2 state FFA officers from each state association gather in Washington D.C for a week to learn more about advocating for agriculture, career and technical education as well as start the delegate process for the entire organization of 649,000 members.
The week prior to this conference is spent prepping everything, memorizing scripts and parts, practicing sessions. The man who was sorta in charge of us for those weeks, Mr. Jacques, decided we needed a break before we completely fried our brains. So, a Segway tour is what he decided would be a nice little outing. If you don’t know what a Segway is, it’s the contraption Paul Blart rides around on in the Mall Cop. As we are basically swimming in the air to get to where the Segway tour starts we stop at Panera to get a quick dinner. We order and take a seat, chatting and waiting for our food to come out.
Our food is brought to us and I dig into my sandwich. Abbey, one of my teammates gasp in true horror, “What on earth did they bring me?” We all gather round to behold Abbey’s plate of slivered almonds, salad dressing, bits of bacon, some cheese in a small mound in the center of the plate. All of us have no clue what happened and are amazed at what the restaurant had concocted. “Abbey what exactly did you order??” She responded, “I ordered an Arugula Salad. But I didn’t know what Arugula was, so I asked for it without the arugula.” “Abbey, arugula is a type of lettuce. You ordered a salad without lettuce.” “Oh…”
It’s a lot like the Gospel. We can’t order the Gospel and leave things out, even if we don’t necessarily see the importance of some ingredients. Each part of the Gospel is perfect and essential. God’s plan of salvation is perfect.
                Each piece of the plan is critical. When we were spirits in heaven before we came to earth, we gathered to hear our Father lay out this plan. We’d gain a body, be blessed with a family, we’d be able to choose for ourselves, Christ was chosen to be the Savior of all mankind, a piece most central to God’s plan. And Lucifer, a brother of ours wanted to order something different. He wanted to take away our gift of agency and take all the glory for himself. Now I don’t know about you but that sounds like one crappy salad. Probably shouldn’t say crappy at the pulpit… oh well… a terrible salad we’d be forced to eat!
                Thank goodness, we went with God’s plan. And though we are separated from our Father in Heaven, He wants us all to find peace in this life, return to Him, become as He is and gain all that He has. Moses 1:39, I could quote it, but with all of you staring at me I’d probably mess up….
                We have been given a body here on an Earth that was created for us by Jesus Christ under the direction of the Father. We have agency to choose for ourselves how we will live, a gift which will ultimately determine our eternal progression. This is a time for testing. In Alma 12: 24 it reads…
We must walk by faith, not by sight because we don’t remember our pre-earth life. We choose who we will follow. Sin is a part of this life and an obstacle that keeps us from becoming like our Father in Heaven and returning to His presence. We each make mistakes, we slip up. Break God’s commandments and give in to temptation. We think that sinning will bring us happiness. But it doesn’t. Instead there are feelings of guilt and shame. We are unable to return to live with our Father unless we are forgiven and cleansed. We can’t overcome the effects of sin or death by ourselves. We are helpless without the Atonement of Christ.  
                We all have a mission call of sorts. All different. Some of us are called to be mothers, fathers, siblings, teachers, doctors, Primary workers. All unique and no less valuable than another’s. God sent us here to love another and have families.  
                There is a short story I read a long time ago that I absolutely love about one particular person’s call.
The Mission Call
Years ago, I had an older brother who was called to go on a mission. When he was called, the leader interviewing him told him of an impression he had, a revelation if you will, concerning his mission, that he felt he had to tell my brother about. Because of the nature of the revelation the leader suggested that my brother counsel with the rest of my family before he accepted the call, but encouraged him to accept regardless of the outcome of the discussion.
The leader then told my brother about the revelation. He told him that he would have a difficult mission, but because of the seeds he would sow, many would be converted, and many would return to live with their Father in Heaven. Then he told my brother the part that was difficult for him to relate. He said that he foresaw my brother’s death during his mission, and that it would be hard for his family to bear. The leader wanted our family together, to help choose whether the good works that my brother would do, was worth losing him in the process. The hardest choice was for my brother, but my family had to be willing to support his decision.
What a difficult choice. What would your family choose? Would you fathers be willing to send your son off knowing of his eventual death? Would you siblings be willing to support your brother in his resolve to go on a mission, including his death, even if you knew Heavenly Father would be pleased at your brother’s success in converting people? Would your view of the importance of missionary work be changed following this experience? I believe it would.
You see, this is a true story. My older brother did accept this mission call, and was killed while on his mission. He was instrumental in converting many people while on his mission, and because of him, many will return to Heavenly Father. I love him for his dedication and commitment, and for the example he set for me. I know you will love him too, if ever you get to know him. I hope you do. You see, his name is Jesus, and he’s your brother too.   
That story always has a way of putting it into perspective. We each have some kind of mission here on this earth. And this was Christ’s mission. He was sent to overcome death and the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. To be our advocate with the Father. Through His blood, we are forgiven of our sins when we repent and made clean. To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins. He alone was able to do that. He was called and prepared in pre-earth life. He is the literal Son of God in the flesh. He was sinless and completely obedient to His Father. When the Father asked His Beloved Son to pay the price of the world’s sins, Jesus was prepared and willing.  
                Christ even asked like many of us do in times of suffering and trial, if this burden could be lifted or if there was some other way. But He submitted to the Father’s will in the deepest expression of love any person on this earth to ever live has ever shone. And Christ overcame. He fulfilled His mission. Through his grace and mercy we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.
I often get asked why I chose to serve a mission. Even though it seems like I don’t, since I am postponing it yet another year and a half, I do like school! I’m not going to Georgia for 18 months to avoid school. Growing up, I can always remember wanting to go to some really cool place and be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to share the Gospel. And after seeing those black nametags the missionaries would wear as they ate dinner with my family, I really wanted to go on a mission. A few times I changed my mind. But the desire to serve never left. I thought it would leave during my time with the FFA, I expected it to fade. But it didn’t. Halfway through I needed to start thinking ahead if a mission was what I wanted to do. I prayed. And part of my answer was found in Doctrine and Covenants 11:3, last half of 8, 26, 27
If I desired it. Then go. I prayed with a sincere heart and a willingness to act on whatever answer I received and Heavenly Father listened and gave me an answer.
We believe in a loving God. A God who hears a child’s prayer, opens the door when we knock. And I’m not the only one who has taken a question to the heavens. I’m positive each one of us at one time or another have taken the desires of our hearts or turned our faces upwards. It only makes sense that when a 14-year-old boy was searching for truth, God would answer him too.
Joseph Smith Translation 1:11
The circumstances were right, and Heavenly Father once again reached out to His children in love. He called a young man named Joseph Smith as a prophet. Through him the fullness of the gospel was restored to the earth.

I got asked in so many airports or out at conventions what sets Mormons, or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart. Why are we so different? We believe in Christ, the Atonement, the Resurrection, but what is it that we believe that makes us different?
In a conference talk April 2016 by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, she phrases it beautifully…..
Think for just a minute about the profound claims we make as a religion. We believe that the same Church Jesus Christ established while on the earth has been restored once again by a prophet called of God in our time and that our leaders hold the same power and authority to act in God’s name that ancient Apostles held. It is called the priesthood of God. We claim that through this restored authority, we can receive saving ordinances, such as baptism, and enjoy the purifying and refining gift of the Holy Ghost to be with us at all times. We have apostles and prophets leading and directing this Church through priesthood keys, and we believe that God speaks to His children through these prophets.
We also believe that this priesthood power makes it possible to make covenants and receive ordinances in holy temples that will someday enable us to return to the presence of God and live with Him forever. We also claim that, through this power, families can be bound together for eternity when couples enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in sacred buildings that we believe are literally the houses of God. We believe that we can receive these saving ordinances not only for ourselves but also for our ancestors who lived on the earth without having the chance to participate in these essential saving ordinances. We believe we can perform ordinances for our ancestors by proxy in these same holy temples.
We believe that, through a prophet and the power of God, we have received additional scriptures, adding to the testimony of that in the Bible declaring that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
We have a knowledge of these things, but do we believe them? If these things are true, then we have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. Believing them is a matter of eternal significance for us and for those we love.

We have the greatest message of hope and help that the world has ever known. 
One of my favorite movies is Secretariat. I know this isn’t very reverent to do, but raise our hand if we’ve seen Secretariat. Ok, so it’s about a horse who wins the Triple Crown. To win this title, a horse must win three races over the course of five weeks, The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. I’m watching this movie and it’s in the middle of the 2nd race, the Preakness Stakes. Getting nervous, edge of my seat, palms sweaty, watching a TV screen as I’m crossing my fingers that Secretariat will win the races as hooves pound around the track. Then it hits me. Why on earth am I nervous? Why is my heart rate nearing the dangerous zone? I know exactly how this movie ends! Secretariat goes on to win the race and the Triple Crown. I know how the movie goes, why am I stressed about the middle?
                 We know how God’s plan goes. Why do we get worried, nervous, anxious, in the middle? Too often we get hung up on the frivolities of life and let those weight us down. We lose sight of what is waiting for us, the open arms of our Father in Heaven, the reality of eternal families. There is a deep peace that can be found in having a testimony of God’s perfect Plan of Happiness. We know the big picture.
Romans 8:28
Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 contains encouragement to the Saints as Joseph Smith was a prisoner in Liberty Jail, he writes,---- 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 it reads…. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
He will guide us in the in-between and the uncertainty we find day to day. Trust in a loving Heavenly Father as we live in the what “is” instead of the what “if”. It’s hard to look past what could have been or might have happened and focus on what is happening. It’s hard to not wallow in self-pity or regret, especially when you’re going through something tough. But Keep the Faith!
D&C 128:22…
I grew up in this ward playing the piano and organ. Might as well end it that way too. Music is the song of the heart and a praise to our God and Savior. I’ll play an arrangement of “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go”. Not only in the spirit of missionary work and trusting in God to use us as an instrument to bring about much good in this world, but I feel as if this was also the attitude of the Wisemen. Anxiously awaiting the birth of Christ. Studying scripture and then trusting a star to lead them, over mountains or maybe plains or sea, to a humble stable where they found and worshipped the Christ child. I pray that we will be as those Wisemen were, ever trusting and faithful as we travel life’s path and heed God’s will. Being who God wants us to be, for He can make us into more than we could ever imagine.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.