With just over a week of school left, I’m starting to think about a lot of things that were previously only on the back burner of my mind. One of these, a realization that hit me over the head on Thursday night is the fact that in less than two weeks, I will be packing up and moving home. That idea isn’t as scary as the fact that I will also have to say goodbye to so many incredible people who I truly love, and who have impacted my life so much over the past 20 months, and who I quite possibly will never see again (or at the very least, it is definite that our lives will be in very different places if we do).
In 38 days, I will be reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT, to learn Tagalog and prepare to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the men and women of the Philippines. It’s an exciting and intimidating task. I love this Gospel with all my heart, and I KNOW that it is true. It is the path to true joy, and the only means by which we are able to reach our full potential. However, I also know that I have a lot of weaknesses that I will need to overcome in the next year and a half to become an effective representative of Jesus Christ. That isn’t what’s really on my mind though.
The realization on Thursday of how hard it will be to say goodbye to my friends and college family (and my real family a few weeks later), brought to mind the notion of sacrifice. The idea that we choose to give up something meaningful to us, in a spirit of humility, because we love the Lord and want to serve Him. In return, He blesses us in a variety of ways, sometimes visible, sometimes unnoticed.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from Hebrews:
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.Hebrews 6:10
Yesterday (Saturday), I had the opportunity to go with my sister and brother-in-law to a Holy Temple of God and to act as a proxy for some of my deceased ancestors in sacred ordinances that seal and unite families for eternity. As I listened to the promises given to husbands and wives, and to children and parents, I was struck by the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new way. I thought of how kind and loving our Heavenly Father is, and how touching it is that His arms are outstretched to EACH of us. I thought about how incredible it is that EVERY person who has ever lived will have the opportunity to receive the Gospel, even if it wasn’t presented to them while they were here on the earth. I thought about that miracle, and how the Lord truly isn’t a respecter of persons. His promised blessings are available to ALL who do their part to be worthy of them. The part we have to fulfill isn’t always easy, but it is clear. We are asked to make covenants with the Lord, promising to keep His commandments, and to keep those covenants throughout our lives. If we do our part and remain faithful, continually applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there is nothing that the Lord won’t grant to us.
From my very near-sighted view, I had been seeing all the things that I would be giving up to serve the Lord. Though I was (and am) whole-heartedly willing to sacrifice those things, the temple opened my eyes to a new perspective. I am not even giving up anything. The blessings that the Lord has promised me are eternal. That means there is no expiration date. I love how the scriptures speak of being “faithful in keeping the commandments” of the Lord. Faithful obedience has two parts: trust in the Lord, and conscious action. I know that as I learn patiently trust and obey, my Heavenly Father and my Savior WILL take care of me (as They always do).