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scripture inspiration

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As I have been preparing to serve my mission { in 28 days! } I have been searching for new ways to get inspired about the scriptures. Today’s inspiration actually came last night close to midnight and I stayed up until 2am trying it out for myself.  – It. Was. Amazing.

The study tip shared in the blog I found said to read one block of scripture three different times, and each time to mark things with a different color. Yes, I said that correctly- THREE times! I followed her process on the first page and this is the result:

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I’ll show you the process…

The first time I read through the chapter I marked the things that initially stood out to me and tried to catch the basic ideas the section was about.

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At this point I knew there was more I could get out of it, so I was excited to read it through again. This time the emphasis was on doctrine, definitions, life applications, and anything else to ‘dig a little deeper.’

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From here I didn’t think I had room to highlight or write anything else even if I did find something. I was wrong. The third time through I was shocked at the things that came to mind as I read.

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I asked questions, I read footnotes and cross references. Things kept connecting in a different way than it has for me before. Chapter 1 of 1 Nephi is probably the most read chapter in the whole book. I’ve read it countless times, but it has never come alive for me as it did this time. From studying in this way I have made a new connection to my scriptures and I have another new depth to the scripture, 2 Nephi 32:3 “Feast upon the words of Christ.”

The first sentence of the introduction to the Book of Mormon says, ” The Book of Mormon is a volume of scripture comparable to the Bible…and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” I know that by not only reading, but by also pondering and studying the words and then praying to know the truth of them, ANYONE can know of these things. I have done so, and I know that these are the words of God through his prophets.

Take the time to slow down and really study the Book of Mormon and Bible because “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

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journey to serve

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Since recieving my mission call I have told the story of how I got to this point countless times. To some I have given a full account. Others get a quick answer that takes less effort and explantion. I have also listened to many stories from other mission-goers. The encouragement they bring me has driven me to create this mission blog -and the one I will continue after- and share my own mission conversion story.  fair warning, this will be lengthy….

In February of 2012, three months before high school graduation, I began dating a young man who had become by best friend. We had known each other for six years and had been friends the entire time whether we were close friends at the time or more like aquaintances. At one point, much earlier, we had even dated previously. Back to Valentine’s Day of 2012, this young man and I went on a date of sorts and talked our hearts out to each other. The ease between us has always been very apparent and I cherish that. It was on this night that I claim I had my first kiss { and he will tell you the same } . From this point on we became inseperable until he had to leave for Boot Camp to become a United States Marine. I can honestly say it was one of the hardest three months of my life in ways I didn’t expect. Before he even left we were talking marriage and two months after his graduation in San Diego, we were engaged on November 12, 2012. We were ecstatic; our parents, less so. Yes, we were young. There was something there though that I didn’t think I could find anywhere else. And to be bold, I still feel that way.

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The next year contained lots of plans, and changed plans, and changed plans again. He hurt his shoulder in training bad enough it needed surgery and was later medically discharged from the Marine Corps. School seemed to never work out for me. And no matter what plans we made for a wedding, something always came up. To say it was discouraging would be an understatement. I loved him and he loved me. Why was this happening, and why wouldn’t things just work the way we wanted?

Digging into my thoughts a bit, I will tell you that in this year of being engaged, it wasn’t just the physical aspects that weren’t working out like the date…Always the date. My mind was a bit unsettled as well. Even though I knew I loved this man with all I had, a little ringing in the very deepest nook of my brain had a concern. He hadn’t served a mission, nor did he want to.

His claim, valid -and for some, a good enough reason to say done and get married- was that while in the military he served in the church in many ways and accomplished many amazing things. At Boot Camp, he never swore. In effect, this made him stand out and people more than noticed. He reactivated several less-active members and was able to give one the Melchizidek Priesthood. He even brought one of his buddies into the waters of baptism. To Drex, that was his mission. To be the example for those men and bring them closer to God. He had accomplished that work, and now it was time to marry me. I liked the idea. Loved it even. God’s timing on the other hand…

Also in this time was the shocking mission age change. I was with him during the conference when it was announced. We both gasped and looked at each other quite stunned. I even remember quietly saying, “I could go on a mission.” At the time I was one month shy of the new age of 19. We talked about it and both still felt it was right to get married. Trust me, there was much prayer. Again, we started making plans and everything was looking good. Two times after that I came to the firm decision that I was going on a mission. I even wrote it in journals. I told God and I told Drex and I was determined. After seeing how broken he was at my decision, and after talking it through a bit, both times I changed my mind and continued on the path toward marriage.

At this point, I must be crazy. Maybe it will be understood how much I care for this man.

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One of the times I made up my mind to go on a mission was around Christmas. We got talking about it again and, like I said previously, felt right to go through with wedding plans. This time was a little different. We decided that we would move our previously set date up several months and go all in on our plans. If we had to change one more thing from what we chose then we would stop plans and start our papers. We told family, got appointments set up for flowers and my dress…. then my big little brother said it was the day of his state a capella choir competion and he wouldn’t be able to go.

Everything else was going beautifully, so in my mind -tricky thing- I justified and we kept pushing plans with a new date a few weeks later. Then my sweet mamma came to me and told me she felt strongly that I needed to go on a mission. That she’s felt that way for a long time, but didn’t want to upset me. That she needed to tell me now. In my stubborn mindset I was very angry. I knew what I wanted to do and I was going to do it.

When I softened enough to think to pray, I knew.

And I knew it would be the hardest thing I had yet to do because I knew every time I had mentioned it prior, I broke his heart a little. And this time it was for real. We were engaged. How do I tell someone I love that, for reasons unknown at this moment, I felt impressed that we break up right now because I was going on a mission.

He was crushed. A week went by where I had to avoid him as completely as possible because I couldn’t face the fact that I had just halted more than two of the best years of my life. He didn’t understand anything I tried to explain. It seemed all I did was cry, pray, and try to look like I was okay.

When I eventually broke down and talked to him again, we both poured out all of our thoughts and feelings. He told me that just before I broke up with him he was going to tell me he had come to know that he needed to serve a mission. He told me that after what I said, he questioned everything. Easily the promptings I had and followed could have taken the amazing man he had become and heaved it to the dumps. But a testament of the amazing man he truly is -he kept praying and found the answer for himself that yes, this is what both of us need to do. and yes, everything has happened for a reason.

Now, two and a half years after we started dating, we are BOTH serving missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is in the Philippines Tacloban Mission and I report to the Brazil Londrina Mission in six weeks.

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This is how I came to know I needed to serve a mission. It was a long and difficult process. But I know with no doubt this is where I need to be in life and I have been prepared and am ready at this time to do so. I’ve learned to trust God’s watch over mine.

Some people still think we are going on missions for each other. Let me tell you. If I was doing it for him, I would not have broken up with him and broken his heart the way that I had to in order to actually go through with this. If he had done it for me, he would not have scooped up the pieces to forgive me and gain a testimony for himself that this is what he still needed to do. It would have been easy to ignore promptings and get married. It would have been a good thing. But this is a Better thing, even the Best thing.

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For those who may read this in the future and who may be going through something similar, this was our answer. It has worked out for us and with God’s will. Pray for your own answer and be prepared to act immediately if necessary like I did even if it hurts.

Somehow through all of this we have come to be even closer. He really is my best friend. It has been so fun to experience this together. In just the little bit that he has been out I have been strengthened. When we blindly follow, the Lord will bless us beyond our expectations.

I testify that I know the full gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through a young prophet. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am a Mormon. And I love it. I know my Redeemer lives and we will live with him again if we follow his commandments and repent through the atonement. and He Answers Prayers.

-xoxo