Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Here Am I

For those who haven't heard, my plans to be an EFY counselor this summer didn't work out. For the sake of this post, what you need to know is that they wanted to change my assignment away from being a counselor and I felt it a better use of my summer to pursue employment elsewhere if I wasn't going to be a counselor.

For those who know me, you'll understand that this was heart breaking for me. I went to EFY four times and it was the highlight of my year each time. I've wanted to be a counselor since I was a participant. However, in the short time since I got the "bad" news, I have learned an important lesson about surrendering my will to the Lord.

I suppose there is some irony in the fact that this is happening to me this year. The theme for EFY this year is "Here Am I", focusing on a scripture from the story of Samuel in the Old Testament making himself available to God, in whatever way God needed him.

In the 12-step program of the church (and other similar groups), the third step is "Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ." When I first started learning about the 12 steps, my mind only applied this to addictive behaviors. However, it applies to more than that. It applies to relationships, schooling, employment and more.

In reference to what happened with EFY, I won't lie, it's been a challenge I surrender that to God. Just like with my mission, I wanted to serve God and His children. So why are things not working out? I'm sure I still have some grieving of this change to come, but I have felt the Lord reassure me that I will be where He needs me. Just as the EFY theme for this year states, "here am I" for God to use as He needs.

This blog is titled "For a Wise Purpose" for a reason. When I was first waiting for my mission call, over five years ago, I wasn't sure I would be able to serve a mission at all. That's when I came across Words of Mormon 1:7 for the first time I can recollect. I don't pretend to know why God does what He does. Maybe there's something I'm supposed to learn at my job this summer that I wouldn't have learned at EFY? Maybe EFY would have been too physically and emotionally tiring for me? Maybe my future wife is in my ward this summer, but she won't be in the fall? I don't know. All I know is that He loves me, He loves you, and He doesn't do anything without our greater good in mind.

Already I can see Him blessing me and putting the pieces together. Within 24 after getting the news from EFY, I had a room secured in the house I'll be living in this fall and I found out that I could have a job interview within a week after I return from Spain. I'm not looking for proof of Him, but to me this is His way of reminding me that He's there. The snow globe gets shaken up and then the snow looks as equally beautiful as before.

It is my testimony that He watches over us. He blesses us. He loves us. He wants us to be happy. That is our purpose for being here on earth (2 Nephi 2:25) and if we allow Him to, He can help us be happier than we ever thought possible.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Letters from Spain (3)

Well, the day is almost here. I fly home on Wednesday from Spain. I'm sure I'll miss this beautiful country, but I'm happy to be going home and to start the next adventure in my life. I didn't get what I wanted out of my study abroad, but I have a feeling I got what my Heavenly Father wanted me to get out of it. That seems to be a theme in my life. The last two months have stretched me in ways that I didn't expect. I have definitely been taught a great deal about trusting in the Lord above trusting in men. Social anxiety, homesickness, language barriers, and insane employment surprises (I'll write more about that situation and what I've learned later).

From this place of introspection and reflection, I want to share my testimony as I get ready to leave Spain. I know that God lives. I know He cares for me. I know He hears my prayers. I know that He can provide miracles when I have faith, though they're rarely the miracle I expect. At least three times during my study abroad I've received comfort as a result of prayer from unexpected sources.

I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ exists to cleanse me of my sins. In addition, He is there to comfort me when no mortal person can. He is my Older Brother and I have felt His tender embrace when I've needed it most. He is here to bless me and support me when I cannot take another step.

Whoever you are reading this, thank you for being part of my life. You are a gift from God to me, whether we're close friends or we don't know each other.

I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

La Plaza de España en Sevilla

Cartas de España (3)

Pues, el día casi llega. El miércoles, me voy de España. Estoy seguro que extrañaré ese país bonito, pero estoy feliz que iré a casa y que empezaré la próxima aventura en mi vida. No conseguí lo que esperaba de mi estudio en España., pero me siento que conseguí lo que mi Padre Celestial quisiera. Me parece que eso sea un tema en mi vida. Estos dos meses, he crecido en vías que no esperaba. He aprendido mucho de confiar en Dios antes de los hombres. Ansiedad social, extrañando para hogar, el lenguaje, y sorpresas locas de trabajo (voy a escribir luego más de esta situación y lo que he aprendido).

De este lugar de introspección y recolección, quiero compartir mi testimonio mientras preparándome para salir de España. Yo sé que Dios vive. Yo sé que me cuida. Yo sé que escucha mis oraciones. Yo sé que puede darme milagros cuando tenga fe, sin embargo raramente son los milagros que espero. Por lo menos, tres veces durante mi tiempo en España, he recibido apoyo por orar de personas no esperadas.

Yo sé que la expiación de Jesucristo existe para limpiarme de mis pecados. Más, Él está allá para darme paz cuando no persona mortal pueda. Es mi Hermano Mayor y he sentido Sus brazos cariñosos cuando los he necesitado lo más. Está aquí para bendecirme y apoyarme cuando yo no pueda caminar más.

No importa quién eres tú, gracias por ser parte de mi vida. Eres una bendición de Dios, si somos amigos o si no nos conocemos.

Yo testifico de estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.