It has now been 5 weeks since the return home from serving the people of Mexico City. What an extraordinary experience full of blessings, miracles, and (of course) adventures! My heart longs to be with the family and friends I now have in Mexico -- people who taught me more than I could ever teach them -- but it is so wonderful to be home with you all! We have just enjoyed “the most wonderful time of the year” celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with those we love, as well as ringing in a new year. Now, after having enjoyed the festivities that come with Christmas and New Year’s Day, we are left to move forward into the unknown. Beginning a new year is always a daunting task and can leave us with a feeling of longing to go back to the joys of the Christmas Season. I have had similar feelings since returning home from a mission. Let me share a few thoughts that I have had over the course of this last week during my personal scripture study and the religion course I am currently taking.
In the “Christ and the Everlasting Gospel” class I am enrolled in this semester we read parts of Moses 1 found in “The Pearl of Great Price” during the week. Something interesting that was discussed was the fact that Moses, after having been in God’s presence and literally speaking with Him face to face (verses 1-8) was then left to himself (verses 9-11). Almost immediately after, the Adversary came to tempt him (verse 12). How difficult that must have been to be in the presence of the Supreme Creator for a time and then to be attacked by the enemy of all righteousness! Moses was hit with tribulation so soon after a marvelous, faith promoting experience. Each one of us has experienced something similar- returning to the “real world” after serving a full time mission or going back to the daily routine of school and work after a wonderful Christmas vacation. It may even be facing what lies ahead after a particularly rich scripture study, temple visit, church meeting, or General Conference session. When we feel that we are at our peak, something comes that rocks us to the core and challenges us in such a way we have never before experienced. I am grateful to know and understand (thanks to the incredible lecture from my professor Brother G) that these trials are meant for our good. This “equal and opposite reaction” of a difficulty following an incredible experience is meant to teach and underscore the contrast of such experiences; cultivate humility; and provide necessary growth and progression. Moses experienced the power of the Savior when he called upon His name to cast out Satan in Moses 1: 21 and recognized the grand difference between these two beings. So it is with us if we will choose to call upon the powers of heaven during difficult times.
It is a comfort to know that we will never be abandoned if we hold true to what we know. One particular verse that captured my attention this past week is found in Alma 4: 15 of “The Book of Mormon”. Alma experienced great sorrow due to the sinful state of his people and the persecution of the faithful; however, the last line of this verse reads, “nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him”. My dear friends, I know that as we strive to do our best to remain steadfast and true to the Lord, His spirit will never abandon us and we will be able to grow during the trials that come our way. They are learning opportunities that bring us closer to our beloved Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.
I desire for each of you a wonderful week full of peace and personal growth.