Saturday, August 23, 2014

A HAPPILY EVER AFTER – August 18, 2014



A family we have been teaching was baptized this week. As they were baptized, every heart ache, disappointment, and set back I have had during the past year and a half seemed to be swallowed up in the joy I felt. It had all been worth it. 
 
This morning as I was studying I came across Alma 29:10. It´s a scripture I’ve read a hundred times over but this time it hit me with great force and power. I felt as if it was taken directly from my journal. It has been pretty difficult to find words to describe my feelings lately but this scripture says it all. I KNOW of God´s mercy. I can´t write that phrase without tears filling my eyes. I know of his mercy. I´ve felt it. He has truly extended his merciful arm to me every day of my entire life and he has never given up on me. He has answered every prayer and every heartbroken plea. I am truly filled with joy that seems to fill every space in my life. The Lord has done so much for me and continues to do so. I so dearly love the Lord and my heart is full of gratitude that can´t be expressed.  Oh how the Lord loves us. 
 
      “And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the lord their god, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the lord has done for me, yeah, even that he hath heard my prayer; yeah, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.”
Alma 29:10
 
Someone told me that “In the end it will all be alright, and if it´s not alright, it´s not the end.” The Lord has resolved everything. As much as it hurts and as much as I don´t want this to end I know that it´s time to go forward and start another adventure back in Utah. If you could have learned one thing from me over the past year and a half I so dearly pray that it is of the atonement. It´s through the atonement that God extends to us his mercy. It´s why our prayers are answered in the best way and the best timing. It´s the reason I am filled with such joy. I love you all and I’ll see you soon. I truly love the Lord and I will never regret the decision I made to come out here. Never. It has all been worth it. 
 
Come what may and love it
Hermana Israelsen
 


HIS MERCY – August 11, 2014



 
This week was another one of those weeks of reflection. It was a real eye-opener of how merciful the Lord has been with me not only on my mission but throughout my entire life. We watched the movie 17 miracles with a family this week and I think that´s what triggered all of this gratitude. I saw how merciful and loving the Lord was towards those people even though there were in the worst situations possible. The Lord never ceased to show forth his mighty hand. It´s no different for me.
 
The Lord has never ceased to stretch for his mighty hand and show me his love and mercy. He has truly carried me in every difficult moment when I couldn´t walk anymore. He has taken my angered pleas and changed them into humble gratitude. He has comforted my aching heart and replaced bitterness with sweetness. He has replaced my fear with faith, despair with hope, and worries with peace. He has made up the difference when my efforts just weren´t good enough because he makes ALL the difference. He has changed my heart and desires. He has showed me miracles just when I was about to give up hope. He has provided me a way to do the impossible.
 
I can´t even begin to express the deep gratitude that has filled my soul this week. Tears come to my eyes every time I think about how the Lord has never once left me comfortless. He has never left me alone. Even in those moments when I was convinced that I was alone I came to find that I couldn´t have been more wrong. He has NEVER left my side. He has never left me comfortless. He has never left me broken. He has never retracted his extended hand. He has never walked away.  Never. The Lord has been so much more aware of me than I could ever comprehend. He has truly had a hand in every aspect of my life and I know that will never change. His mercy is extended towards us all and we don´t even recognize it the majority of the time. Every day is full of evidence of the lord´s love and awareness. He is so aware of even the weakest plea for help. We find the greatest strength from our knees. I know it because I’ve lived it a hundred times over. I so dearly love my Savior and my Father in Heaven. My life is full of evidence of their love and mercy.

Love you all!
Come what may and love it
Hermana Israelsen
 

IN HIS PERFECT TIMING – August 4, 2014



Well, all of our investigators left on vacations this week for the month of August. Looks like we´ve got to start from ground one again but that´s ok haha. I’m excited! I’ve finally found the fun in starting from 0. It took me nearly the whole mission to learn but now starting over doesn´t bother me. It´s just another opportunity to see miracles! 
 
Well, once again I had to learn to say, “not my will be done but thine.”  I think that´s a lesson that I just have to keep relearning because it doesn´t always stick. Earlier this week I was on my knees talking about the situation with my Heavenly Father.  I was heartbroken and poured that out to the Lord and he listened, comforted me, and then taught me about his Son.  I was praying to try to convince God to do what I wanted. He quickly reminded me of His Son and how he was able to fully give up His will to His Father so that His Father could fulfill His purposes.
 
After ¨wrestling¨ with God like Enos about the situation I finally came to the decision that I would be ok if this wonderful family didn´t get baptized while I was here. I realized that the only thing that mattered was that they would get baptized in the Lord´s perfect timing. If I wasn´t there for it, it´d be ok. My Father in Heaven helped me to realize that and the spirit brought me such comfort and peace to know that that´s what the Lord wanted me to realize.
 
Once again I was reminded that this isn´t MY work but the work of God and I am merely an instrument in His hands. Everything will go according to His perfect timing. If I can´t be there it doesn´t matter because what matters is that they make a covenant with God. That´s the important thing. The hurt is now gone, I am no longer broken hearted that I won´t be here for their baptism, but rather am filled to the brim with such joy that they´re going to come to Christ! I am so happy for them and don´t have any reason to complain. The Lord has stretched forth his merciful hand again and I couldn´t be any more grateful. That is one amazing miracle for me. I truly do love this work with all of my heart. 
Love you all! 
 
Come what may and LOVE it. Just do it. Life´s better that way
Hermana Israelsen
 

Thou Art Hermana Israelsen and I am God – July 28, 2014


 
It´s all in the Lord´s hands and I don´t have a single doubt about that. 
I was asked to speak in church yesterday about missionary work so I chose to talk about my very favorite aspect of missionary work: the atonement. I talked about how my reasons to serve a mission have changed since coming here to the mission field.
 
I used to want to serve God, serve others, and share my testimony but now it´s so much deeper than that. My desires to be a missionary now come from my deep love and appreciation for the atonement. I want to make that available to everyone because the price has already been paid. I don´t want a single drop of his precious blood to be wasted. I want others to feel of the power of His mercy and grace. I want others to be healed through him. I mainly want to bring others to repentance because I know that´s what brings God the most joy. I so desperately want to make him happy and utilize his atonement. I just get teary eyed every time I start to talk about the atonement because it has truly penetrated every fiber of my being. It´s magnitude has completely changed my life before, during, and after the mission. I´ll never be the same. I´m so incredibly grateful for that. I love my Savior and I so dearly need him. I´m not perfect. I’m weak. But in him I can do all things. 
 
There´s a scripture in Helaman 10 that has been going through my head all week.  Helaman 10:6 “Behold, thou art (insert your name), and I am God.”
 
It is through god that all things are possible. 
Love you all! 
 
Come what may and love it
Hermana Israelsen

DIVINE INTERVENTION – July 21, 2014


 
This week was one of those times that I just sat back in awe and remembered that this is truly the Lord´s work and not mine.The Lord truly knows how to do his own work. 
 
We also fasted twice this week for a miracle to occur and the Lord once again showed forth his merciful and loving hand.
 
Everything about our experience teaching a sweet family has been nothing short of a miracle from an Almighty God. I can only give all of the glory to God because with what has happened it would be absolutely terrible for me to try to take any of the credit because this was one of those experiences that was 1000% God. I feel so much love for this work, the people, and most of all the Savior and my Father in Heaven.
 
Love you all.  Like elder Holland said. You keep going. You keep trying. Keep moving forward. Good things are ahead.  I know that because it´s happened to me a thousand times over.
 
Come what may and love it
Hermana Israelsen


Five Steps to Happiness – July 14, 2014


 
Once again, I fell to my knees in gratitude for the atonement and for the gospel of Christ. I´m so grateful for the relief, peace, comfort, and purpose if gives me. The doctrine of Christ has become such an important part of my life. Faith, repentance, keeping and renewing covenants, keeping the Holy Ghost with us, and enduring/enjoying to the end. Those 5 steps have given so much meaning to my life, joy to my day, and peace to my heart. I love the Lord and I love this work. I will never stop trusting and loving the Lord and my Heavenly Father. Everything will work out in the end. And if it´s not ok, it´s not yet the end.
 
Come what may and love it
Hermana Israelsen

My Dying Testimony – July 7, 2014


 
On Friday we had a multi-zone conference. It was a meeting with about 70 missionaries. I still have more than a month until I come home so I wasn´t expecting this at all but when I arrived at the conference they told me that I would be giving my dying testimony at the end of the meeting. When a missionary is about to go home they are asked to give one final testimony to basically sum up your mission. I was thinking about what I could share to sum up my mission and I immediately knew what to talk about - The atonement. Over the past year and a half the atonement has completely changed me. The atonement has carried me every single day of my mission and will continue to carry me for the rest of my life. That is the best word I could use to sum up my mission - the atonement. It has saved me in the darkest and most difficult moments. It has made the difference when I just wasn´t good enough. It is everything to me. As I’ve come to apply the atonement more I have found happiness that I’ve never had before. I´ve applied that atonement through the gospel/doctrine of Christ: faith in Christ and his atonement, repentance, keeping and making covenants, seeking for and being worthy of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I don´t quite have the words to describe my testimony of the power and mercy of the atonement. Christ truly makes every unjust and bitter thing sweet in him. He is the way, our hope, and our happiness. I love him so dearly and all that I want is to bring others to him because as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 18 that´s what brings him so much joy. I love my Savior and I love this work. 
 
Come what may and love it. 
 
Hermana Israelsen