Hello my dear family and friends,
First off what an amazing day so far! We got together with two other companionships and we went to 'Ensign Peak', 'In and Out Burger' and 'Nielson's Frozen Custard'! Such a fun summer day! We had lot's of fun! The view at the top of Ensign Peak is amazing, you can see the Salt Lake, Temple Square and the city of Salt Lake.
I'm feeling a little weird that it's the end of my mission. I'm trying to stay in the 'always in the middle' mindset as next week approaches. Also focusing on the quote I heard a few weeks ago "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". What a blessing it is that this mission happened. Doing the Lords work the Lords way is the most at peace I've ever been. I still have SO much to learn and overcome but I know my mission has taught me how to learn, if that makes sense. Before I didn't realize the importance of putting the Lord first and putting trust in Him above the things of the world. Seeing someone else learn things brings even greater happiness! I feel like my whole life prepared me to serve a mission in the SLC Temple Square and Arcadia California missions and my mission prepared me for the rest of my life. It's not an end but a beginning.
I give my departing talk on Sunday and the topic is about the light of Christ, repentance and forgiving others. I have 7 minutes to address the topic and share my testimony. I love speaking and I'm excited to give my talk. I've been thinking about it a lot this past week and I'm grateful for the topic. I've realized that repentance is anything that brings us closer to Christ and that when we repent daily the light of Christ helps us to radiate the joy the gospel brings. It radiates to our heart and allows us to be truly converted to Him and His gospel. Others notice this and desire that change in themselves. That is why so many people ask us why the Temple Square Sisters are so pretty or why they are happy all the time. It's because they live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's not their physical appearance or even that they are constantly laughing, it's the Spirit that shines to all those around them. When we have the Spirit with us we feel more faith, hope and charity. With that charity comes a willingness to forgive others as the Savior forgives us. We should not deny them any blessing the Lord has given to us. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about change and fulfilling our divine potential, none should be denied this blessing, that is one reason why we must freely forgive. Hmm I should use that in my talk :).
This week I was thinking of an experience prior to my mission that had a huge impact on wither or not I would serve a mission and I didn't even realize that until this week. It's so obvious how God's hand lead me to the right place and at the right time yet I didn't notice. There is a scripture that helped me to decide that God does want me on a mission and I thought that was the end of it but thinking of the events leading up to finding that scripture I've been able to recognize the miracle behind it. I realized this when I was in a meeting where the instructor was discussing the role of the Holy Ghost in our lives. This is the experience.
Shortly after submitting my paper work to become a full time missionary I began having second thoughts. Crazy I know but at the time I didn't realize the blessings that come from serving Heavenly Father's children and the peace and joy it could bring. I felt like it was just too long and I was too old and not a typical missionary type, I was having fears to say the least. I continued on with my life not sharing these fears and trying to push them away.
During this time I was at working two jobs and staying busy with friends. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to come to Vancouver with him and some friends to watch a hockey game. I don't like hockey but I figured, why not, at least it would get my mind off of things. I had the weekend off work so I joined them on the drive to Vancouver. I tried to laugh with them and have fun but after driving about an hour all I could think about was that I needed to go to the Temple. By the time we would get to Vancouver the Temple would be closed and I didn't see how it was going to work. I tried to push away the feelings and have fun with my friends, I kept feeling the need to be at the Temple but I felt weird asking them to drop me off, 'what would they think?'
The prompting became strong enough that I made arrangements with other friends who lived in Vancouver to meet me at the church and I would go to institute with them instead of going to the hockey game. At this time I don't think I recognized that it was a prompting to go to the temple, I thought it was more of a want to spend time with my other Vancouver friends. I realize now that it was God's hand allowing me to get to a quite place where I could recognize the Spirit. The friends who were heading to the hockey game dropped me off at the church building 5 minute walk from the Temple. Institute was to be held at that building in about an hour and that's where my other friends were going to meet me. I was alone with my bag at a locked church. I went around to the back of the building and threw my bag in some bushes so that I didn't have to carry it up the hill on the walk to the Temple. I pulled my scriptures out of my bag and put them in my purse.
I wasn't dressed in church attire to see if I could perform proxy baptisms and I knew I would have needed to call in advance. Instead I walked to a quite place off to the side of the Temple and sat down in the sun and felt the sweet spirit of being on Temple grounds. Again I felt a prompting, that I didn't recognize as a prompting until much later to open my scriptures. I thought of it more as a 'I guess there isn't much else to do then to read'. Something I've learned is that the Spirit doesn't speak loudly and clearly to me and say 'open up your scriptures and read right now' rather the spirit leads certain thoughts into my mind 'I guess I might as well read'.
I then remembered all the thoughts and doubts I had been having about serving a mission. I said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to allow me to read something that would help me be at peace if I was supposed to go on a mission. I thanked Heavenly Father for the beautiful temple grounds I was on and told Him that I had enough faith to read what He would have me know at this time. I opened my scriptures to Doctrine and Covenants 75 and my eyes fell to this line "Behold, I say unto you that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle but labor with your might" I knew then that Heavenly Father needed me to serve a mission and decided that I didn't need to doubt but that I needed to 'go forth'. I said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father and walked back to the church in time for institute. Now at peace knowing what Heavenly Father would have me do.
I've since realized how relevant that scripture is to my mission in particular "...they shall also take their journey into the eastern countries; and behold, and lo, I am with them also, even unto the end. 15 And again, I say unto my servant ... that they also shall take their journey unto the western countries, and proclaim my gospel, even as I have commanded them.16 And he who is faithful shall overcome all things, and shall be lifted up at the last day. 17 And again, I say unto my servant ... let them take their journey also into the south country." On Temple Square the world is our mission and there are only few places where we don't call. I've taught people in the U.S, Canada, Africa, United Kingdom, Korea, etc.
I'm so grateful for the guidance of the Holy Ghost and that I was able to learn a little more how to recognize the promptings the Lord gives to me. I know that each one of Heavenly Father's children receive guidance individually through the 3rd member of the Godhead who, when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are blessed to always have with us.
I'm grateful for the Atonement and I know that it is because of our loving Savior Jesus Christ that we can do all that is expected of us here on earth. I also know that, because of the Savior and Heavenly Father's perfect plan all people will be given an opportunity to live with God again.
I love you all so much. Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me on my mission. I'm excited to have the BEST WEEK of my mission this coming week. See you on the 12th!
Love, Sister Turner