Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wk #21: There Are Surely Blue Skies

As always, I hope this email finds smiling faces, hearts full of love, and maybe even someone eating an American bacon cheese burger. I've missed those this week. (;

    What a great lesson I've learned this week. Just yesterday, David A Bednar was in Buenos Aires and the conference was broadcasted to all of the missions that are in the South America, South area. It was a question and answer session and it really touched my heart. I honestly think that they should send that broadcast everywhere because the information and the words he spoke were priceless. Absolutely inspired of God. The topic of Faith came up and of course, I became very excited. I love that point of Doctrine and I study it frequently. He started out by saying, "Let's get one thing straight. Faith is NOT Faith when there is no action behind it. When there is no action, Faith becomes belief and nothing more." I just about threw my name tag in the air, giving Elder Bednar a standing ovation. I love that principle. I was deeply inspired by this. He also talked about the Children of Israel and  how they walked into the water BEFORE the sea was parted. What Faith. They acted on their Faith. He also talked about Joseph Smith and how when he prayed in that Sacred Grove, he wasn't just asking which church was true. He was asking which church was true with the intention to join whichever one was correct. He prayed in faith with the INTENTION to act. With all of that being said, let me share with you what I feel needs to be shared today. 
        This week while walking down the street, I looked up to the sky and saw some pretty dark and heavy storm clouds. It was going to rain soon so they were pretty scary looking. For a split second, a part of the clouds opened up to show the beautiful blue sky behind. It seemed so vibrant. Maybe it was the contrast between the black clouds, or maybe it was just unusually blue. Then the cloud closed back up, hiding the clear blue sky. I thought about that for a moment and felt deeply inspired. Often times, we look at the dark and heavy storm cloud of our trials, thinking that the cloud is all there is. We think about it as something that we are going to suffer through without looking at the end result. I can't count how many times I've done this. But what I learned from my little object lesson from God was that even behind the looming storm clouds of our afflictions, there is ALWAYS blue skies. And then, once we've reached those blue skies, we can look back at the storm clouds we braved and see the blessings we have received because of those trials. What does this have to do with what I said about Faith in the first part of the email? We must have Faith that there are blue skies. Most of the time, we can not see the blue skies behind the clouds. And that's where the action comes in. We must act on our faith, enduring the afflictions well, working towards LEARNING and PROGRESSING from our trials instead of simply enduring them, acting on the hope we have that there are blue skies ahead.
      It's my humble testimony that there surely are blue skies ahead. And in those moments of thunder and lightning when things seem to go worse, that's exactly when we ask in Faith for help from the Lord. Whose hands are ALWAYS outstretched to help us. And He will help us. I know this to be true. Think about it. Why would the Lord let us experience such hard things without a purpose, a lesson to be learned, or without the hope of making it through? There's always a purpose, always a lesson, always hope. We experience these things so the Lord can mold us into who we are supposed to be, fulfilling our Divine Potential. My invitation to you is to have Faith that the blue skies are there. And ACT on that faith. 
    I love you all and I'm SO thankful for all of you. Thank you for your support, your love, and your prayers. I couldn't do it without. I send my prayers every minute of the day. Press forward in Faith, my friends. For surely blue skies await.  

Elder Holmes
Elder De Leon (his new companion) and Cade
Beautiful Catholic church
It's amazing what a shoe shine will do!
Beautiful Mar Del Plata
Just like Sister Holmes' picture!