Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Week of Blessings

(Written Monday, August 3, 2015)

Wow Everyone,

I can't express how grateful I am to be a missionary for my Savior Jesus Christ. I have seen nothing but miracles and blessings that I know can only come from above. How privileged I am to be part of this great and marvelous work.

This week, I got to do an exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders in an English area and met some wonderful people. I met a woman who had part of her leg amputated and I loved what she said "I never knew what to say when I was around people with disabilities so I don't want people to feel that way around me, so I just call him Stumpy" I thought she was so funny and cute. She is far more concerned with the people around her and helping them than she is about all the challenges and hardships she has been through. She is the definition of optimism and it helped me see things in a different light too! I want to be happy no matter what my circumstances or life challenges. She really proves that it's a choice, it's just something I need to learn!

I also got to watch Jaime bless the Sacrament in church yesterday! I am so happy to see him progressing along so well here, it is the most beautiful blessing ever.

We also had a wonderful training this week about helping our members set visions and goals for themselves to really achieve further steps of conversion in the church! That was really neat to learn about and we've been working to apply it with many of the people that have recently been baptized here! I love helping people see higher and reach higher than they think they can!
We also learned about doing member missionary work. So many of us don't have a testimony of it because we never did it before our missions. I was guilty of that way too many times before my mission and they helped us realize that if we don't start doing it now that we won't do it when we get home because we will still be afraid to do it. So I just want to let all of you know that I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that He knows me by name and He loves me. I am sorry if there has ever been a time where I have not lived what I believed to the fullest and made you confused about my beliefs. I can honestly say now that I have changed for good and bettered myself to represent what I believe. I know that change is possible with Jesus Christ and that without him, I would be nothing. I look forward to continually sharing with you what I know and how it can bless you! You are my friends and you are so important to our Savior too.

We were also asked to teach the Young Single Adult class at church on Sunday and it was about how we can accept the atonement and make changes. I feel like that has been a theme for me recently, making changes to be better and recognizing that we can only do it through our Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Nephi 2:6-8 <--read it, it's sooo good!)
I shared with them the poem "The Room" By Joshua Harris It's beautiful and talks about what Christ has done for us. We all were crying about how grateful we are for this gospel and we committed them to share it with their friends now too because it's one of our biggest regrets! I love everything that I am learning. I love the person I am becoming and I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything! I love you all and I'll be done before we know it sadly, but I still have so much time to learn everything!
Pursue something Great this week, Love,
Hermana Alayna Nelson

PS: Parangaricutirimicuaro is a city somewhere in Mexico evidently and my recent convert Becky Garibay has been trying to teach me how to say this really fast for the past couple of weeks. I couldn't get it forever until the other night and now I can say it really fast. She said in her Spanish accent English "okay, now you can marry a good Mexican boy, you are practically Hispanic yourself" The best compliment is when people tell you that you look Latina. I love this culture so much :)

The Room by Joshua Harris

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

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