Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yeah, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God." Alma 26:11


This is my last email home so I thought I would take some time and make it a good one. This week I went to Palmyra. I was able to go to the temple and visit all the sites there. This experience was just another great testimony builder for me. I like how we go to Palmyra at the end of our missions. It’s kind of symbolic in a way. We look forward to the temple our whole missions and we try our best to make it there, we have it as our goal. In life it’s the same way, we should always have the temple in our site and do our best to make it to the celestial kingdom and have eternal life. It was such a great experience! It was so great to be back in the temple. It was the best feeling to enter the Lords house again. The spirit you feel there is to strong and powerful to stay away from. You never want to leave and it makes you always wanting to come back. I am excited to attend more frequently when I get home. I know that’s where Heavenly Father wants me to be as well as the rest of his children.

My testimony of Joseph Smith was strengthened a lot that day. We started the day with going to the temple first and went to all the sites and ended with the sacred grove. We were able to be alone in the Sacred Grove for an hour, It was such a spiritual experience. My whole mission I have told people the story of Joseph Smith about him praying in the sacred grove and now at the end of my mission I get to be where it all started. Each time I told that story I felt the spirit, but sitting in the grove it was such a more powerful spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that he was a true prophet of God. He went through so much to get the church where it is today. The Gospel has literally almost filled the whole earth. My favorite part in the first vision story is that it all started with first studying the scriptures and then saying a simple prayer. It shows how easy it is to communicate with our heavenly father and that he really does care about us. I feel so blessed to have shared this story with people these last 18 months. It all comes down to a simple prayer ourselves to receive the answers to know for ourselves if this gospel is true. Something I have always loved about Joseph Smiths story is that we can all relate to him. We all at one point were searching to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times on my mission when I have been teaching people about Joseph Smith and they have stopped me and said “that is exactly how I feel”. So many people can relate to his story in the way that they are searching for the true church. It’s just so amazing!

I believe with my whole heart that this church is true or else I wouldn’t be here in the New York Utica mission right now. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It makes so much sense in my heart as well as my mind. I believe that in the Sacred Grove is where Joseph Smith saw God the father and Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for my mission. I’m grateful for the testimony I have gained on my mission. I pray that I will never forget it and that it will only continue to grow throughout my life. Its amazing how many blessings have come because of my mission. I would not trade this experience for the world. Going on a mission was the best decision I have ever made. I know that it will continue to bless me after my mission and I will often reflect on my experiences. Thank you all for supporting me and writing me these last 18 months. I hope you know that I have a testimony of this gospel. This is the truth and the only way we are going to one day return to live with our heavenly father. I love you all!

I feel like Ammon at the end of his mission when he said in Alma 26:9 "For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God."

If I hadn't comt to the New York Utica mission who knows the people who would still be strangers to God. Missionaries really do make a difference within themselves, within their own families, and the people they teach and meet on their missions. A mission is the best thing anyone can do! I highly recommend it! Love you!

Thank you for all your support!

Sister Stacey

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