"He therefore knows our struggles our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering.... And because of this, His atonement empowers Him to succor us- to give us strength to bear it all."
- Elder Dallen H. Oaks
Lately I've been amazed at the depth of this gospel for those who choose to receive Him. As many of you know I came home from my mission on medical release in August with Pertussis or Whooping cough after recovering I returned November 9th in hopes to once again labor in His vineyard and finish what I had started. The day after my return I once more started coughing and within a week it was as if the cough had never truly gone away. Feelings of despair, discouragement and loneliness entered my soul as I realized two weeks into my return I would once again be returning home on medical release for good from Urdaneta Mission. I must say that never in my mission have I felt such heartbreak and hopelessness. One particular morning I was convinced there was really no point in leaving my bed, for I would just be leaving soon anyways and in many ways I felt as though I was being swallowed up by my despair. However I'm convinced due to a strength that was not of my own I got up and we made the journey to our District Meeting where I received a copy of our mission news letter. There were many articles that seemed to be written for me in a time of great need. One in particular focused on Hope it reads,
"We must show our hope, it can be reflected in our countenance by 'confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance' (PMG 117) We must not be moved away from the hope of the gospel but bring others there, Choose the light. Rescue those who are stranded in darkness. As we gain hope throughout our lives, one day we will be with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, and that is the peace and hope the gospel brings."
I found a new sense of hope through those words even though much of the week was spent in doors I was given a strength that truly was not of my own both temporal and spiritual. That strength comes through His atonement. Who better to turn to than He who has suffered all. I have felt circled about in the arms of His love. We are never alone. I testify that He lives and is all around us we must only ask. I returned from my mission yesterday on medical release and it has not been easy but as I read 2 Nephi 9:3-4
"lift up your heads forever, because of the blessing which the Lord God shall bestow... I know that ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come; wherefore I know that ye know that our flesh must waste away...nevertheless in our bodies we shall see God."
I realized that don't know why I became ill twice on my mission and I might never truly understand but I know and take comfort that He knows all and His time is the right time. I know that He has a divine plan for each of His children that is far better that we could have ever imagined. Im forever grateful for my mission and to have been able to return for 3 weeks. They were some of the most soul stretching and refining moments of my life. Each day was a blessing and a piece of my heart will always remain in Urdaneta. This life is the time to prepare to meet Him. Let us all strive to come to know Him, and then shall we see Him.