i'm kylee & yes, i'm a mormon missionary

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Roped Together

Once upon a time I professed my return to blogging and then missionary life happened and blogging didn't. That isn't to say I don't have thoughts and experiences to share, I have LOTS to share. All the best things in life take time though, right?! None of that instant gratification here. Besides, how much more exciting is a random post every few months verses the daily dose of stop blogging already Sister Rowley!?

Now for the good stuff... Last week I was reunited with some of my very favorite people. They are the sort of people that make your heart explode when you see them because there simply isn't enough room for the amount of love you feel. We got to reminisce, talk about the gospel, and bask in feelings of gratitude for Christ and each other. Just one day later I was lucky enough to see those very same people only in a different circumstance. Somebody gave a talk in Stake Conference and I'll give you a hint... it wasn't me!

She shared a message from her heart and did what I've always wished I could do - get up there and just speak by the spirit instead of that awkward word for word reading (guilty!). A convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she talked about how the missionaries tied her unraveled rope back together. I have since been thinking about that unraveled rope and how we as missionaries become unraveled too. Life is hard. No matter who you are, where you're from, or what you're dealing with, you are not alone! These challenges and imperfections were a part of God's plan from the very beginning. God loves all of His children so of course we will all experience both the good and bad in life. Remember, "for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11). How will we learn to appreciate success and joy if we don't also cross paths with failure and sorrow?

It's been decided then, everyone at some point or another, even multiple times throughout life, holds in their hand that unraveled rope that they alone can't put back together. If we can't tie our own ropes back together, who can? Of course the missionaries can help! In fact, missionaries do a lot of rope tying, it sort of comes with the calling of bringing others closer to Christ. But here's the missionary confession: our ropes aren't always perfectly tied together either. Don't freak out yet... as we help others' reconnect their unraveled ends, we start to tie their rope to ours and together we become stronger and more solid in our standing with Christ and His teachings. Not only do we as missionaries get to tie the ropes of those learning about the church, those struggling to come back to church, or even the active members who just need a little inspiration; but throughout the process of tying others' ropes to ours, we tie both to Christ's rope.

We came to earth with this seemingly perfect rope, but as soon as we stepped foot into the "real world" we discovered things that lead to that unavoidable split. Think about it though, had our ropes not fallen apart, we would've never had the need to be tied back together. If there was no need for a process of re-tying we would have missed the opportunity to latch onto the ultimate rope of strength that belongs to our Savior, Jesus Christ. His is a rope for all. He is the way we overcome our challenges and mistakes. He is indeed the Prince of Peace and the source of true happiness. Because of Jesus Christ and His example, we are individually sought after and made anew. With a fresh outlook on life, a greater understanding of God's love, and a newly tied rope we are then inspired to find those other unraveled ropes so they too can have the fullness of the gospel and an understanding of who they are and how much they are loved.

"And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved" (1 Nephi 15:14).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

god gave us voices, so we must sing

I've been sitting here staring at my blog trying to figure out what to do... perhaps if I stare long enough the inspiration will jump out of the screen and form itself into one of those well-written, awe-inspiring blog posts. I have all these internal questions that still go unanswered. What do I write about? How do I say it? What does the Lord expect me to do with this blog and what is MY personal purpose as a blogging missionary?

Missionaries all over the world are unified in their purpose; we invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We all have the same purpose, and we often use the same tools, but we're all a little different too. We all have unique talents and life stories, we're blessed with different personalities that inspire different people. We all have something to offer, we just have to be willing to discover how exactly the Lord wants us to share His message, and then go and do! I'm not here to tell you I'm the best blogger in the history of life, because let's face it... I'm not, but I am here to tell you that I've discovered a God-given talent and He expects me to use it. Just a couple weeks after opening my mission call, I heard the news: the Washington DC North Mission was going to be one of the first few missions to test-drive online proselyting! I had already felt that peaceful confirmation that I was indeed called of God to serve in the exact mission I was meant to be in, but then online proselyting was announced and I had this profound realization... God loves me, He knows me, and He wants to help me help His children.

This blog has been put on the back burner for the past 10 months, but Heavenly Father has reminded me that it's time to use my talents to share His gospel online. The inspiration came to me as I was listening to Sandra Turley perform at the Washington DC Temple Visitors' Center. Sandra has been blessed with this beautiful singing voice that grabs hold of your heart and settles in the soul. She spoke a great deal of God that night, and the love that He has for each and every one of His children. She then talked about this gift we have each been given. A "voice" is what she called the gift, but I knew for me it was more of a metaphorical voice. One that didn't sing, but instead one that wrote. In my heart I knew that this blog was a gift given to me from Heavenly Father and I needed to use it to spread His message of hope and gospel of truth. We're all pretty aware of the things we're good at, but are we using them the way the Lord intended? That's why I'm resurfacing here on this blog, trying to show my Heavenly Father how grateful I am to be His representative, to have this blog, and to live His gospel. Find your talents, talk to God about it, and start actively using them to inspire those around you. Remember the parable of the talents? I so want to have an encounter someday where the Lord sits me down and talks to me about all the talents He blessed me with. I hope to hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."  (Matthew 25:21)

Stick around, I plan on being here a little more regularly. I've learned some pretty neat lessons lately, the kind that are worth sharing with the world, even if it's just the online world.

Friday, June 20, 2014

lay it at his feet

Imagine this. You're sitting in a room full of people. It's quiet... you're all thinking about the question that has just been asked. What are your regrets? What are the thoughts and actions that plague your mind? What do you wish you could change? You start to go through every little thing that you've been doing wrong. The list gets longer and longer and you start to feel overwhelmed. All your flaws and faults lay before you and you wonder if you can ever overcome them. The perfectionist within is absolutely freaking out.

You move outside. Symbolic of all those regrets are weights, they sit in a pile practically begging to be picked up. Picked up and carried by you and everyone you're with. They come in all different shapes and sizes, similar to the regrets and individuals that surround you. Which weight should you pick? Will it be too heavy? Will you be able to carry it? How far will you have to go? Your regrets are now more than thoughts in your mind, they become physical weights to be carried by you and you alone. Sure, you're surrounded by friends, all of you carrying regrets, but nobody knows exactly how you feel. The sun beats down, the sweat starts dripping, the silence continues. Will this ever end? Will you ever feel relief?

The end is near. Just when you think you can't go any further, back inside you go. It's cooler there, you're protected from the sun. The bugs can't get you anymore, and would you look at that... there are chairs! The best part is yet to come though... no longer do you have to carry the weight alone. There on the stand is a statue of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind. His arms are outstretched and you've been told to lay your weight at his feet. You walk up to Him and hand over your burdens, walking away lighter while He takes on the
load every single person was carrying. Not half of it, all of it.

For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. (Alma 34:9)

We did this as missionaries, reflecting on the regrets we have had on our mission thus far. I often worry about how I will feel at the end of my mission. Will I have learned anything? Will I have changed at all? Will I continue to regret those same things or will I had tried harder to change? This experience was exactly what I needed as a missionary who had just reached her half-way mark. It was one of those mighty change of heart experiences, one that empowered me and helped me see that as long as I rely on Jesus Christ, I can do anything! Focusing on the regrets we have is useless. It's important to recognize where change is needed, but dwelling is dangerous and because of Christ, it's unnecessary.

The zone leaders were originally going to assign certain weights to certain people, but we ended up choosing our own, which an elder pointed out, was perfect considering how we often are the ones who weigh ourselves down. We choose to let ourselves be burdened by our past regrets and mistakes, not those around us, and definitely not Heavenly Father. Even when we were seemingly alone, trekking along with our weights in hand and the sun beating down, we were never truly alone. We all had different weights, different regrets, but we were all together, all struggling in one way or another. Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only missionary here or anywhere who struggles. It was cool to visualize that, to see all of us carrying our own weight but knowing that everyone in that entire group was carrying something. Nobody was exempt. Nobody ever is. Life is meant to stretch us, we're here to learn and grow. Trials are an essential, humbling part of this journey we call life.

The power of the Atonement is real. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ, for His love, His example, and His sacrifice. I'm especially grateful for this experience that has helped me change not only as a missionary, but as a person who is just trying to do her best. These are the type of experiences that help me become who God intends me to be. God has a plan for everyone, mistakes and trials are a part of that plan, but so is The Savior, the one who can help you, me, and everyone. Lay it all at His feet, you don't have to do it alone.