Well I am officially 21 years old! It honestly doesn't feel very different at all actually - I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it was sure fun! Thank you all so much for your love and birthday wishes!! On my birthday we ended up having a family home evening with Watanabe san, our investigator's family at a members house - it was super fun! And Watanabe san bought me cake and a beautiful scarf - it was a great birthday!
Mom, thank you so much for the package! It arrived on Saturday - but we weren't home at the time so we asked them to come back tomorrow when we will be there - so I haven't opened it yet - but I am so excited! eternal birthdays are the funnest kind :)
Oh my goodness I loved General Conference this week. It was just what I needed to hear. I have been thinking a lot about how the gospel can bless families recently - there have been some hard things in the families of my investigators that have been kind of hard for me to digest recently. I wondered why when at least part of their family was trying so hard to live the gospel, why things had to be so hard. I think of my family, and I know without a doubt that the gospel has blessed us beyond measure, and will continue to be the single most important thing to the strength and happiness of our family, but seeing some of the hardships in their lives made me wonder if those same kind of blessings can really be theirs as well. I was thinking about that, listening to conference and I was so impressed by how often the speakers emphasized keeping the commandments. Simply being associated with the gospel does not necessarily bring blessings. It is when we have faith, and act on that faith - do our best to keep the commandments that the blessings come. God promises to strengthen families - as they work together to follow him. I loved President Eyring's talk, and what he said about marriage, "Marriage require the help of heaven, and it takes time" and that There is not a single person or family in the world that he does not desire to save, or that he has not devised a means by which to save them. I realized that although I cannot make them keep the commandments and thereby receive the multitude of blessings that come thereby, I can love them. Perhaps I too am here at this time to do just that - love them and help them feel that God loves them as well. I cannot control what happens in the lives of the investigators and friends, and family that I love, but I can decide to love. I can decide to live my life in the best way that I can, and qualify for all the blessings that I need to be able to be an angel of support for them. We all need angels. I am so grateful for the countless angels that I have in my life - both those that I can and can't see. I want each of you - my wonderful family, and special friends- to know that you are angels to me in the realest sense. Thank you so much for your faithfulness, for your love, for your examples, and for your lifting strength.
I love the emphasis that was put on Loving God, and then loving your neighbor this conference. God asks us to love him first, because only through loving God and receiving the blessing that come from living the way he wants us to can be have the ability or strength to truly love ourselves, or those around us.
If any one reading this feels like they are not loved, or that they cannot love - look up. Look to God. He loves you. He is waiting for you. He will never stop loving and waiting and hoping for you. Love him, and have the confidence that he loves you. There is no better beginning.
I love this gospel! I love my Heavenly Father. I know that the gospel is a blessing to families, when they choose to live it, and that it can be a support to those who choose not to. I know the gospel has blessed me with my family, and blessed my family more than I can probably ever know.
I love you all so much!