Monday, June 24, 2013

Fwd: Letter #12 - 6/24/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 4:43 AM
Subject: Letter #12 - 6/24/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family, friends, blog-stalkers, etc.

Well, my days of being 21 years old are over, and thus my letters will now be infused with the wisdom of 22-year-old instead. I hope y'all can handle it!

This week was... a week! My birthday was great -- Sister Filipovska cut out and hung up happy birthday letters from the Liahona church magazine (the image of the massacred magazine was hilarious to me), and she gave me a little journal (revelation book) as a gift. The Elders in our area made brownies that we all had after English class, and one of the members bought me chocolate. Oh yeah, and Mom and Dad, I saved the gifts you sent when I was at the MTC and have since been enjoying those delicious mints and beef jerky. Thanks for all the birthday wishes from everyone! It was great!

Things haven't been too eventful lately for teaching -- we have a bunch of potential investigators, but it's been hard to meet with them to teach a lesson. This week we're gonna really up our game to find and teach people. We've been working hard, but there's a lot more we can and should be doing that we will plan on improving this week. It's so important to always be improving ourselves. There's a phrase in missionary work that's something like "go home with no regrets," but that makes it sound like you have to be perfect the whole time. I prefer something like, "Go home incredibly better than you went out." Every night I have "regrets" about the day, which is basically just the realization of my sins and weaknesses. But every night, I counsel with God about them, ask for forgiveness, ask for His strength to help me overcome them the next day, and then move forward. "Go home with no unresolved regrets" -- maybe I could live with that phrase.

Quick spiritual thought before I head out... I've been thinking a lot this week about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Big topic to think about, huh? I always think about that quote from Joseph Smith about how the Atonement is the center of the gospel, "and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." Or in Elder McConkie's words, "The Atonement of Christ is the most basic and fundamental doctrine of the gospel, and it is the least understood of all our revealed truths."

Anyway, I've been thinking about how real and personal it is, not just an abstract concept. A lot of the times we think, "Yes, Christ suffered and died for us, felt all our pain, made it possible for us to receive forgiveness and return to Heavenly Father, and... yep, I think that covers it." But how does it work? What does it mean for us personally every single day?

I don't have all the answers, but I understood one piece of the puzzle better this week. I came home at the end of the day and was just sitting at my desk, thinking about what had happened during the day and how I was feeling and everything. I can't even remember exactly how I was feeling -- sad at seeing the disheartened states of people, unsure how to best do the work here, something like that. Anyway, I said a prayer, and when I looked up, I saw the book "Jesus the Christ" sitting on shelf in front of me, and I felt like I should pick it up. So I did and turned randomly to the chapter on Christ's parables, including the parable of the wheat and tares. When I was reading, I read and felt from the Spirit exactly what I needed to learn in that moment to bring me comfort and help me improve.

When I was talking to Sister Filipovska about the Atonement later, I cited that example and said, "THIS is what the Atonement can do. Christ has felt everything I have, and so in that moment when I asked for His help, it was as if He was right there next to me saying, 'I know exactly how you feel, and I know exactly what you need right now. Holy Ghost, prompt her to look up at that book, and have her open up to page 287, and when she reads it, testify to her of My love, teach her ____, and send her My comfort.'" That's how real and personal it is. He is our unchanging Friend, we can have a real relationship with Him, and we must have that relationship in order to become like God and live with Him forever.

That's all for today. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Montgomery

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