Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hello family and friends!

First order of business, I can't send pictures while here in the MTC. Believe me, I've tried. Their system is literally foolproof. So...I guess that will give you all something to look forward to when I get to the mission field! Anyway, this week has been amazing! I've been able to see major growth in Spanish which has been a major blessing for me because out of all the aspects of the MTC...this is the most stressful. But I work as hard as I can everyday (I usually go over grammar for about 1 1/2 hours and then drill 100-150 new vocab everyday). I had a really good experience this week having to do with the language. During the week I was studying the vocabulary and I was so frustrated because my brain just wasn't working and I wasn't remembering anything. On top of that, I was SO tired and no one else in my district was studying and they were being super loud. I remember I got to my boiling point and I just quickly bowed my head and told Heavenly Father that I was trying so hard and that I just wanted to be able to speak with the spirit and with power to his children in Mexico that need to hear the gospel. I told him again that my goal was to be an effective missionary the moment I leave the MTC. I felt the spirit so strongly. I just had the overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be alright. Later that night, we taught a different investigator the first lesson (which is basically getting to know them and then teaching them about Christ and the Atonement and then challenging them to be baptized). The language was there. I could say everything I needed to say, and most importantly, the spirit was there. I know that the gift of tongues is real. I am experiencing it right now. I am very blessed.

1) So...the food. Funny story. The food here is exactly the same as the Cannon Center at BYU. I didn't really care for it then, and now it's...well...getting really interesting. Yesterday I was standing in line waiting to put my tray away on the conveyer belt and I don't know whether this was conscious or subconscious but one second I was holding it...and the next...it was on the ground...with all my dishes shattered. Another glorious moment for Elder Nielsen, don't you think. One of the workers just glared at me as he started to clean it up.

2) Second funny story. I've really gotten into playing sand volleyball here at the MTC. Now, that's not to say that I'm especially good at it...I just like it a lot. Proof of my neverending athletic talents. Yesterday (this must have been just an off day for me in general), I was in the back of the court and one of the balls was clearly going out...but, for some reason I started to back up as the ball was coming towards me. To make a long and embarrassing story short, the ball hit me because I was standing in its line of projection and we lost the point.

Now that I've sufficiently embarrassed myself. Let's see. My district is doing great! Everyone is getting along fine and we're growing close. Everyone is pretty excited to attend the temple today for the first time. We just all feel like it is much needed. They are having problems with a lack of motivation though. I see them wasting a lot of precious moments here in the MTC when they could be learning and growing both with the language, the doctrine, and in teaching abilities. My goal for them (which I have said many times) is to not waste a moment here. I don't want them to regret anything about their missions. I want them to look back on their experience and feel nothing but joy, peace, and feelings of contentment that they gave everything they had to offer to Heavenly Father for the next two years. I love them and I work with them constantly to try and make the experience worth it. My companion is doing better as well. His niece is doing great! We had a great talk with each other this week. He told me he was grateful that I was his companion because he needed someone like me to motivate him to do better and to work harder. We taught each other a short lesson in Spanish and then bore our testimonies in Spanish to each other. The Spirit was palpable. We were both very emotional after the experience. He's a great guy. We all have our quirks of course, but we are learning and growing together.

Now for me, a scripture that I have really been pondering this week is in Alma 7:23-25. Study these verses. They are amazing. The first two talk about the characteristics we need to have in order to find happiness in this life. When I read them I feel very inadequate because I have to grow so much more and learn so much more. At the beginning of verse 25 there is the phrase "And may the Lord bless you". I know that my Heavenly Father is there. And that he is blessing me. I have seen so much personal growth inside of myself and it's only been 4 weeks. His arm has always been extended and throughout my life I've occasionally grasped it only during times when I need him desperately. Now I'm learning what it means to grasp onto his arm always. Alma 37:36 pretty much describes my feelings perfectly. I need his blessings and I need the Spirit, otherwise, this work is impossible. I cannot describe how wonderful it is to be close to my Savior throughout the entire day everyday. I'm learning to have that trust and that close relationship that I've always wanted to have with my Savior Jesus Christ, my Heavenly Father, and the holy ghost. Everyday I pray that I can have spiritual experiences that will help my testimony grow and he provides in abundance. Everyday I pray for strength and help and he gives it in ways that I don't expect but that are perfect for me.

I just want to share my testimony with you. This work, this gospel is true. I cannot deny that it is true. I know this from reason, experience, and feeling. The Lord is blessing me and I know that he blesses you and watches over all of you as well. I know that my Savior Jesus Christ lives. Sometimes I look at myself and think, Why? Why would he do that for me? It's because of the perfect love that he has for us. A love that we could not even begin to comprehend. He is there to heal us of wounds and hurts that are so deep. And he's the only one that can do it because he's the only one that felt exactly as you feel. Prayer works. The more specific we are with what we need and what we are thankful for, the better it works. I know this church is true. This is the most fulfilling and joyous thing that I have ever done. I've never felt so happy and so excited to do something as I am now. Quickly, read the lyrics to the songs "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" and "Amazing Grace". Those songs are powerful prayers and they mean a lot to me. I know that they can bless your lives as well. Well, as Alma said, "And may the Lord bless you". I love you all. I love your letters. You are all in my prayers. Just know that I am giving this work my all and that I love you.

-Elder Nielsen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!

First of all some housekeeping items. I have been getting all your DearElder.com letters except one day July 14th when they had some sort of fluke and the letters sent to me got put in someone else's box. So...it works and I love them! Keep them coming! Also, thank you for all the packages and just so everyone knows...I like Sour Patch Kids...just saying.

Anyway, this week has been a roller-coaster ride but so amazing. So in my last email I told you about our investigator named Maria. She's a young mother in her twenties with a two-year old daughter named Abby (this is really our teacher Hermana Arroyo but she plays the part of an investigator she baptized on her mission). Our first time meeting her was on a COMPLETELY FAILED door approach. So, for our second time meeting her I memorized this long phrase in Spanish basically saying that we have evidence that God and Jesus Christ live (as I held up the Book of Mormon) and that if she read and pondered it she could know for herself that it is true. She let us in and we taught her about the restoration. The Spirit was so strong and I was able to say exactly what I wanted to say to her in Spanish which was amazing. At the end of the lesson I felt impressed to give her the baptismal challenge and to my surprise she said yes! For the first time, I felt the joy I would feel when my brothers and sisters in Mexico have that desire to be baptized. I was so happy. I couldn't stop smiling.

I love this gospel and this work. My goal as a missionary is to be effective the moment I step off the plane in Mexico. I pray every night that I will be able to accomplish this goal. Already I have seen miracles. As of the last 1 1/2 to 2 weeks I have taught all my lessons without a script and the language comes. I have been able to memorize D&C 4, the baptismal challenge, the missionary purpose, and the first vision in Spanish. I read in my Spanish scriptures every day and I am able to comprehend so much more every day. I am also able to understand 90% of what the investigators say during our lessons. The more I think about it, the more I feel happy and joyful. It feels so good to know that I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be, doing exactly what the Lord wants me to be doing. It isn't always easy and I feel nervous and anxious a lot, but I know that if I work my hardest to learn and remain humble and teachable that the Lord will make up the rest for me.

So Question Time

1) District Leader: Last Tuesday I fasted for my district with the hopes that something would happen that would help us grow closer. After the devotional I felt prompted to change our meeting into a testimony meeting. The Elders bore such powerful testimonies of this gospel. They all said that is has transformed them into something they never thought they could be. They also said how much they look up to me as an example and that they were grateful that I am the leader. That meant so much to me. Every week I lose inhibition and I try to move my district closer to perfection in studying and being obedient. I always try to lead by example but it was nice to hear that they appreciate the work I do. I always tell them not to waste a moment of their mission. I don't want anyone in my district to feel regrets about their missions. So, we work hard. We study our brains out to the point that we are physically and mentally exhausted at the end of each day. But it is so worth it. We are blessed with the Spirit. We are beginning to understand the work that Heavenly Father wants us to do. And we are growing closer.

2) Provo Temple: The Provo Temple has not been open since I've been here because it's being cleaned and rennovated. I get to go on my next P-Day though! I'm so excited. I miss the temple a lot.

3) Funny Story: One of our teachers (Hermana Castillo) served her mission in Salta, Argentina and was telling our district about how she was making chocolate milk for herself and the three other sisters living with her. To make a long story short, a MASSIVE cockroach fell into the milk and she had mixed it up and all the sisters drank the milk. This was in addition to a massive spider that they baked into their brownies and that they all had lice at the time. For some reason this was really funny to me. I know that in Mexico I'll probably have a lot of war stories to tell about food, insects, rodents, being mugged (everyone that has served in the area has assured me this will happen at least once), but I am not afraid of it. I'm actually sort of excited. Weird huh?

Anyway, this week my companion and I taught TRC which is basically teaching family-home-evening style lessons to members of the church that volunteer and come in. We taught an elderly man named Brother Hinckley who served his mission in Mexico (back then it was only one mission) and another  recently returned missionary from Mexico. The Spirit was SO strong in those lessons. We taught how the first vision of Joseph Smith is a perfect example of how to pray. Question, Study, Ponder, Make a Decision for Yourself, Act on that Decision, and then God promises an answer. I love Joseph Smith. I love all the sacrifices he made for this church and to bring so much truth and light back into a world that was sitting in darkness and confusion. Before I left for my mission, I remember standing at Carthage Jail in Illinois thinking how proud I was to be LDS. How excited I was to serve a mission. Even though it will be hard and there will be so much opposition, I know that there are brothers and sisters and friends of mine that are waiting for me.

Elder Davis: Elder Davis is doing great! He's increased his desire to study better which makes me happy and we are truly starting to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses. He got a letter yesterday that his newly born niece had a heart condition and that she was being treated with surgery in the hospital. Please keep that baby in your prayers. I love Elder Davis. Sometimes his farting and other things get annoying but I know there is a reason that we are companions, I have something to learn from him and the Spirit he carries.

If you ever need any comfort, read 3 Nephi 11 and 3 Nephi 17. I love those chapters. Well, my time is almost up. I want to bear my testimony. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ died for me. Sometimes I don't know why but he did. He loves me perfectly and has lifted me up with so much mercy and grace that I can't even describe it. This work is true. Don't be afraid to open your mouths and share this beautiful message with others. It is hard and scary but so worth it. I love the Spirit in the MTC. I know we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. I'm grateful for all of you. For your letters and your support. Thank you so much.

Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hello family and friends!

Wow! It's been another amazing week at the MTC. I keep thinking about how strong the spirit is here and it continues to amaze me. Well I'll start of by responding to some questions about the MTC.

1) My companion Elder Davis: Elder Davis is from Murray, Utah and went to LDSBC before coming here. He's very nice, funny, and...farts ALL the time. Like...ALL the time. I didn't even think it was possible, but it is. Besides that, he has a really strong testimony of the gospel and of the mission he will serve in Mexico. I'm very grateful that he is my companion.

2) There are twelve elders in my district (including me). Four of them are leaving to go to the Bogota, Colombia MTC on July 24th so there will only be 8 of us in a little while. Two of the elders in my district are companions, cousins, and both going with me to the Cuernavaca, Mexico mission, which I think is amazing.

3) Funny Story: Last week before we were about teach our investigator Luis (who turned out to be our next teacher Hermano Piperato), Elder Dahlin said that he needed to confess something. He said that he was so nervous before teaching Luis for the first time that he pooped his pants and didn't even notice it. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

4) Investigators: So as I said above, our first investigator Luis turned out to be an MTC teacher named Hermano Piperato. Our other teacher, Hermana Arroyo is now playing the role of our second investigator Maria. They told us that they are acting like men and women that they taught on their missions which I think is really cool. It gives us a chance to know what a real experience teaching in the field would be like. For example, yesterday we met Maria for the first time at a door approach and my companion and I failed miserably. She was so shy and nervous and quiet and started looking at her phone while we were trying to say who we were. We didn't get in. So...we better figure out a good message to share with her to get in because...we are supposed to teach her tomorrow!

5) MTC Schedule: Usually, we are in class with an instructor for 6 hours a day. We usually teach an investigator once a day. Besides that, we have an hour of personal study, an hour of language study, and around an our of additional study. We also have an hour of gym time everyday which is so nice (I usually run...I know....I even shock myself sometimes).

6) District Leader Duties: I attend about three leadership meetings during the week. Conduct two district meetings every week. And hold an interview with each senior companion on Fridays. I love it. It's allowed me to get to know the Elders in my district and has allowed me to impart whatever wisdom and counsel I can.

7) Firesides: So apparently the month of July is the one that the General Authorities have off...so...no big names have spoken at the MTC. Two of our devotionals have been given by emeritus 70s which were great, but, the one that I've enjoyed the most was given by Dallin H. Oak's daughter Jenny Oaks Baker. She's a world-class violinist and the whole fireside was about how music has shaped her life and testimony. She played 3 of my favorite hymns on the violin which was so spiritual. Then her four kids, all under the age of four, played "I Am a Child of God" with one playing the violin, cello, guitar, and piano. They were so amazing!

I'm not going to lie and say everything at the MTC has been easy, but it is so worth it. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I think the hardest part is the Spanish but I know it will come in time. I can pray, bear my testimony, and basically teach simple lessons now and I am studying hard and growing each day. Sometimes I get down on myself because I'm not perfect at it, but then I put things into perspective and realize that I am speaking more Spanish now then I did after taking it for three years in high school...and I've been here less than two weeks! I've started reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and have memorized D&C 4, the First Vision, the Baptismal Challenge, and the Missionary Purpose in Spanish already. I am so grateful for you guys in my life. I love you all and I pray for you. One scripture that was shared this week was really meaningful to me in Galatians 2:20. I want you all to read it and think about. That is the reason I am here and the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love my Heavenly Father. They mean so much to me and I want the people of Mexico to know what this gospel means to me and what it can do for them. I'm grateful for the growing experiences I've had in the MTC "all these things shall give me experience and shall be for my good." Love you all.

Elder Nielsen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

First Email From the MTC
July 10, 2012

Hello family and friends! Wow. These last five days have been amazing. I am so exhausted but very happy! Well first things first...on the first day here I was called as the District Leader for my District! It was very humbling but it's been amazing because all the elders in my district are funny and excited to do the work! My companion's name is Elder Davis and he is from the Salt Lake City area. We are both going to Cuernavaca as are 3 other elders in my district. The rest are going to either Veracruz, Mexico or Cali, Columbia.

The days here are absolutely packed! We are either studying Spanish, teaching our investigator (Luis...I'll talk about this later), studying the doctrine, etc. Our two teachers are Hermana Arroyo and Hermana Castillo. They are both amazing and have such strong testimonies of the gospel...also, they only speak in Spanish to us. Last night, Hermana Castillo took our district to this private foyer and read as Alma 13:3 and 3 Nephi 11:1-17. She told us that before this life began, we were the few to be called on missions. She said our friends in the preexistence that we were meant to find, turned to us and told us to not forget them and to find them and they made the promise that they would be there waiting for us with an open heart. She said that this work is so hard, but that it wasn't meant to be easy. She shared the scripture found in John 15:12-13 where the Savior talks about there being no greater act of love than giving up your life for your friends. In a way, that is what I and all the other elders and sisters are doing. We are giving up our lives and ourselves in order to serve and find our friends.

Now, onto our investigator and the language. I feel like the language is coming a lot easier each and every day. I've dedicated myself to learning it and putting my all into it. On the second day here, Hermana Arroyo told us that we would be teaching our first investigator Luis, en español solamente. I was SO NERVOUS. We went in there and it was so awkward in the beginning because my companion didn't known any Spanish and I could only speak very broken Spanish. I just started to read the story of the first vision in Spanish to him and I felt the Spirit so strongly that I began to cry. Even though I didn't know exactly what I was saying, I knew that what I was saying was true. Since then, we have taught him twice and it continues to get better each time. Already, I am able to pray and bear my testimony pretty well in Spanish which I think is amazing.

I miss all of you and want you to know how much I love you. But, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It's comforting to know that. That everything I am experiencing and thinking is supposed to be. I have faith that if I work the hardest I can, that Heavenly Father and the Savior will always be walking with me and teaching me through the Holy Ghost. The spirit is so strong here it is amazing. It is so inspiring to see Elders y Hermanas from all walks of lives chosing to let go of themselves and sacrifice for their friends that they knew in the preexistence and that they promised to find.

Some Other Fun Facts:

+Our Sacrament meeting and classes are done solely in Spanish.

+I have gotten up at 5:50 A.M. everyday since being the MTC.

+I have seen Elders Dunn, Parker, and other Elders I've known from BYU and they are all doing great!

 I love the scriptures. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he died for me and that through this amazing plan we can be with those we love forever. I am beginning to love Spanish and I love the feelings of the Spirit in the MTC. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve. It isn't always easy, but is so worth it to me because I know that others need to hear the message that the gospel brings. I love you all. You are all in my prayers.


Elder Nielsen

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Farewell Talk
June 17, 2012

Good morning brothers and sisters!

I recently completed my first year of college at BYU and I want to share an experience I had one day during Fall Semester. At the beginning of the school year, I acquired a job at Subway in the Cougareat. My job was to be at the store by 8 in the morning so that I could bake and cut the bread necessary for the highest grossing Subway in the nation to function that day. The amount of bread needed to run the store on a daily basis ranged from 800-1,000 foot-long loaves. It was definitely hard work! Just like any good employee, my favorite part of my work experience was clocking out. But I also loved the walk home from work. It gave me time to think about my life and the direction that it was headed. One day, during one of those walks, I remember thinking how beautiful the weather was. It was chilly, slightly windy, and the leaves were changing into beautiful fall colors. I felt very present and very in tune with my Heavenly Father and this beautiful world he created. Suddenly, a scripture popped into my mind. It’s one that many of you are familiar with. It reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I received the impression that this scripture would not only be integral to me, but also to those that I would teach on the mission that I would serve. For the first time in my life, I knew that I would serve a mission. Even though I didn’t know where I would serve, or whom I would be serving, I knew that I loved them and wanted to ease their burdens by bringing them the “glad tidings of great joy” that Jesus Christ lives and is the redeemer of this world.

I want to please my Heavenly Father by serving an honorable mission. I know that I cannot serve a successful mission if I do not love the people that I serve. So how do we love someonethat speaks a different language and is part of a completely different culture? By coming to know my Savior on a more intimate and personal level, I have begun to truly understand what it means to love others without conditions. I have been given examples of how to serve others without expecting anything in return. I want to share personal experiences with you that have lead me to a greater understanding and love for my Savior. I hope that I will be able to share this Christ-like love with the people of México.

The next story I’m going to share with you from the New Testament and is very personal to me. But I think it demonstrates the love that the Savior has for his children. I want all of you to place yourselves in the Apostle Peter’s shoes and apply this story to your lives as I read it.

Matthew 14: 27-33: “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith,wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying; Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

Brothers and sisters, I know that my Savior lives. There have been times in my life where I have felt myself sinking due to trials and various experiences. But the moment we turn to our Heavenly Father and ask for his help…the moment we turn to him and say, “Lord, save me,” I testify that he will come. He will reach out, grab us by the arm, and pull us up again. We need only to ask and have the faith that we can and will be saved.

Because of my Savior’s love for me, he has seen fit to continually humble me. His goal is to make all of us teachable and realize that we are all COMPLETELY and totally reliant on him. We are all beggars. I think I believed this only in theory at first. I kept thinking, “Maybe if I try a little harder, make more goals, or discipline myself further I will be able to become the person Heavenly Father wants me to be.” I had to realize that with some things, my best simply wasn’t enough. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is kneel down before my Heavenly Father and say, “I can’t do this on my own. I just can’t do it.” I testify that at that moment, I felt the love of my Savior stronger than I ever had before. He became real to me. I could feel his words telling me to trust him completely and let go. By letting go of what I wanted and doing what he desired, I have never felt so much light and happiness. I want to share this light and happiness with others. I know that by trusting him completely I can be a powerful missionary.

In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, a senior tempter is instructing his nephew Wormwood on how to win the soul of a young British man for the adversary. He tells his nephew the following, “He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” I know that my Heavenly Father will be pleased with me if I stay loyal to him. I think sometimes we are a very forgetful people. We experience so much good and so many instances of the Spirit, yet, when hard times come and it seems like the Lord has disappeared, many begin to doubt. I want to always remember thegoodness of my Heavenly Father and the goodness of my Savior, and continue walking on during the hard times in the mission field.

Leading up to my mission, I’ve really looked at myself and my testimony. I’ve seen a lot of qualities that I love, and a lot of qualities that need a great amount of improvement. And some that I wish would just disappear. In my prayers I asked Heavenly Father to remove them. Get rid of them. Tear them out. It was hard for me to stomach the answer I received to those prayers. Heavenly Father loves us so much that he is not going to do that which we desire. Instead of tearing out our faults and leaving us broken and fractured, he enters into us like a surgeon, using knowledge, truth, and the Spirit to make minor adjustments and little changes of the heart. We may not always see them or recognize them, but if we are obedient, we are promised that those changes are taking place. Now, instead of being broken, we have the opportunity to be made whole. For me, this has been a long and difficult journey and I am definitely still a work in progress. But it has allowed me to grow closer to my Savior and rely on him as my confidant, my friend, and ultimately, the Savior of my soul.

Through my Savior, I have learned reliance, love, the power of the Atonement and forgiveness, service, and healing. Because of my gratitude for my Savior and his love for me, I see it as my duty to take that love and share it with others. Just as the Savior stated, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

I think the greatest and most meaningful example of pure love and service from the scriptures is in 3 Nephi Chapter 17. After he finished instructing the people, the Savior told them to go home and rest and that he would return the next day. But as he looked among the Nephites, he saw that “they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.” The Savior then replies, “Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.” He then proceeds to heal the people, pray for them in words that were so moving they could not be written, cried with them, and blessed and administered unto the children with the presence of angels. The Savior didn’t need to heal the people. He could have simply taught them and left. But he didn’t. He loved them so much that he could not help but bring them happiness and joy by healing and administering unto them. He wanted to serve them. Brothers and sisters, I know that I will be able to love the people of México by serving them with all of my heart. It isn’t about me while I’m out there. It’s about bringing the light of Christ to those that sit in darkness by losing myself completely and allowing the Spirit to work through me and change the hearts of those that I teach.

I want to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. I am so excited to serve a mission. I’m excited to see people’s lives change and to teach them about the man that has changed my life. This gospel brings so much hope and peace in a world plagued with violence and fear. I am grateful that my Savior died for me and atoned for my sins. I still can’t believe that a man lived on the Earth that was willing to experience my pains and sins because he loves me so much. I love him and I want to serve him. I want to take a moment to thank my Dad on this Father’s Day. He’s my best friend and has helped me more than he could ever know. I’m going to miss him a lot but I’m so glad he’s raised me and prepared me to be worthy enough to serve a mission. I love the scriptures. I know they are true and they have brought me so much peace during times of darkness and confusion in my life. I’m grateful for all my family, friends, and teachers that have shaped me into who I’ve become. I’m ready to go out and serve the Lord! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.