Friday, February 19, 2016

When Faced With Adversity.

So we finally heard from Sierra, and now that we know that her preparation day is on Thursdays we can hope to expect emails from her on a weekly basis. I can't even begin to tell you how anxious I was feeling when I hadn't heard from her! Jon just kept telling me to be patient, and that her p-day could be any day of the week. I know she's in good hands, and all, but still...she's my baby! And I'm a rookie missionary mom learning as my firstborn is serving a mission! We were just so glad to have finally heard from her. Her email was short, but mentioned she's doing well. She admits it's a bit lonely at times, but we reminded her that she is never alone, and that Heavenly Father is always there for her. She also mentioned going to the temple with other missionaries in her zone, and how that helped uplift her. I'm sure we'll hear from her more as the weeks pass us by, but for now she says that the MTC is a "spiritual high prison." Not sure if I should take that as a compliment, but overall she seemed fine. Thank goodness for weekly emails! So after hearing from her yesterday I thought about the sunday school lesson we had at church this past Sunday, and I mentioned it to her in my response to her email. 

In my husbands sunday school class he pointed something out on a very important question that was asked as to why we face adversity. Two answers were given: one, for the righteous to be blessed, and second, for others to be called to repentance. Totally not the answer I thought about in our lesson, but after hearing those answers over, and over again in my head...they ring so true. 

I know this because we have totally been through it as a couple, as a family, and I, as an individual before, and after joining the church. So when I emailed Sierra on that particular subject I reminded her that in order for us to learn that we have to face adversity in order for us to be blessed. We need adversity to help us grow, to get uncomfortable, and to be blessed by the challenges once we've endured them. I told her that if she goes through any challenges in the MTC such as learning the language, or feeling homesick, or second guessing herself at being a missionary that all she has to do is have faith, and pray her heart out to Heavenly Father. My husband reminded her that the gift of tounges is amazing, and that the holy ghost will guide her every step of the way. 

A couple of weeks ago we gathered as a family in the living room, and listened to her farewell talk for family home evening. She sounded so confident, and true. We discussed her talk afterwards to our kids, and explained to them how in order for their sister to be where she's at today she had to go through some pretty rough patches. 


I'm sure that the Lord is going to lead her to the right people in the mission field who have been through her similar cirumstances. I know that she's going to be empathetic, compassionate, and nonjudgemental because she's "lived in the world." She is really anchored in the gospel, and has a firm testimony on the atonement. It's so amazing to hear her words on that topic, and how mature she sounded. I know that in the next 18 months her testimony will grow, and that she will prosper not only within herself as a person, but in the gospel as well. 

I want to share another snippet from her farewell talk in hopes that if some of us are struggling with adversity, or in understanding the atonement that it will help. 

"One aspect of the gospel that really stood out at me was the Atonement. How it really does help in our lives, and the power of the "Grace of God", and what it can do for a missionary. The grace that God gives us is immeasurable to anything we can comprehend. 

In Brad Wilcox's talk titled, "His Grace is Sufficient" he compares Grace to a piano player. (Of course she had to add that particular part of the talk because she's a pianist!) "But don't you realize how hard it is to practice the piano? I'm just not very good at it. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right." 

Now, isn't that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don't say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don't expect him to be flawless. We can just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano, but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven? Too many are giving up on the church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are just falling short. They have tried in the past, but they continually feel like they're just not good enough. They don't understand grace. There should never be just two options: perfection, or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie hall, or quitting? 


Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives." 

I really enjoyed that part of her talk, because it really resonated with me at one point. Even today there are times when it would be nice if we could just get a break from all the trials we face, but if we understand grace, and apply the atonement in our lives I firmly believe that things will work out, and when we turn our hearts to God all will be well. No matter how much I'd like to throw in the towel, I just won't. 

Because in the end, living the life I live while facing adversity will all be worth it, and that'll be because I chose for it to be." 

Have a wonderful weekend folks, and I'll continue to keep you updated on emails from our dear sister! If you have a moment, please write to her too! I know she'll love that! She'll be in the MTC in Provo until the end of March!  

Provo MTC address:
Sister Sierra Jorgensen
2005 N. 900 E. Unit 204
Provo, UT 84602

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