Conversion and Consecration

Alexis will be home in 2 1/2 weeks!  She is speaking in our ward on Sept. 14th at 1:00pm. Can't believe it is almost here!
 My core experience with God this week was studying, pondering and witnessing the miracle of conversion. As my mission winds down and comes to a close, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the time I’ve spent in the Lord’s service. I was praying one morning before my studies that the Lord would lead me to what he wanted me to know.
I began studying for a lesson that day and I was reading the Bible Dictionary on conversion. What stood out to me was that conversion is a step we choose to take to consciously accept the Lord’s will. But true conversion only comes after much trial and testing, and that it is  NOBLE task to labor for your own and others conversion.
This then led me to think about all the amazing conversions I’ve been able to witness throughout my mission and how that has completely changed and helped bring about my own conversion. Because all the conversions I’ve witnessed have not come easily and it has been an absolute fight, but it has all been worth it.
I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting and I felt to speak about conversion, and how our conversion only comes as we strive to help others deepen their conversion. It was then and there that I had one of the sweetest experiences to count up to this point. As I looked out over the beautiful people in Hassall Grove ward I felt such immense love from our Heavenly Father for them, and the best part of it all was that I felt His love and acceptance of me and that he had accepted my service as a missionary. It was a very powerful experience, one that I am so grateful for. As this was happening tears started to just flow freely from my eyes and I could tell it touched others too, because many faces were wet with tears.
Later I found this scripture that really touched my heart.
1 John 2:8
 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which‍ thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness‍ is past, and the true light‍ now shineth.
 I felt the Lord confirming to me that the choices and things I’d done before were in the past, the darkness was gone, and now the true light of the Savior could shine through my countenance.
 In my experience as teaching as Jesus Taught, we were following up with a referral we had received a couple of weeks ago. WE had tried to contact her on various occasions but it never seemed to work. But it’s because God had other plans and he wanted us to meet her at just the right time. We were following up with a couple of our investigators before our appointment that evening and the strongest prompting came to us to call our referral. We acted immediately and called her up. She answered the phone! Which is the first time she has in how many weeks now? We spoke for a little while and asked when she would be home so that we could drop off the DVD. She said she was home the rest of the day.
So we quickly changed our plans and raced over there. She let us in and began to tell us this whole story of how she came to find the pass along card and request the DVD. She said she had been waiting for a call all day from an old friend but they had never gotten to her, but that we were the next best thing. The spirit was definitely on a high at multiple points in our visit. She fully accepted to take the lessons and we are seeing her again next week. She said she had felt down and that she really needed some light and peace in her life. We were able to testify to her and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was exactly what she needed.
I was also studying this week about the war chapters in Alma. Can I just say how much I love them. They are rich with doctrine and principle and so many wonderful blessings and promises. I just love it!  I was really trying as did President Eyring, to drink deeply from the Book of Mormon and I was reading about Amalikiah and his wicked ways.
One verse in particular stuck out to me.
Alma 47:4
4 Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah; for he being a very subtle‍ man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone‍ the king of the Lamanites.
I began to ponder upon the phrase plan of his heart, and really trying to understand how it could be the desire of your heart, a truly deep desire to do evil and to choose wickedness over happiness.
It led me to think about my own heart and if I really had a heart like unto God’s own heart, or some other way.  When I finish my mission will I be one to say “my heart had a great experience,” (Eccl 1:16) or that my heart was weighed down with much sorrow and grief.
I feel that for our heart to have great experiences we must be connected with the Lord, on His side completely, and not some other way. It takes a different level of consecration to be able to have great heart felt experiences. And I think that is what a mission is all about. We can have those great experiences as we go through our perfectly set 18 months-2years of service, to shape us into the people God wants us to be. But only if we choose so.
We can have the plan in our hearts to be to follow God or to follow Satan, and following God is what will get us sprinting to the finish line and beyond.
I read another verse in Alma that really stood out to me.
Alma 43:44-45
44 And they were inspired by the Zoramites‍ and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.
 45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better‍ cause, for they were not fighting‍ for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
Was I fighting for this great cause like the Lamanites or the Nephites? I felt to say for a better cause! I know why I am here, to serve the Lord and to invite others to come unto Christ. I’m not perfect, nor has my service been that of perfection, or anywhere near it, but it has been what God wanted it to be for me.
I have felt his loving and inspired guidance on many occasions and I know it is only because of His help that I have been able to do any of this.
I’m so grateful for this beautiful opportunity and I know that as I continue to serve the Lord now and later, that the plan and desire of my heart, will be to consecrate my life and my all to His will and His way.

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