Sunday, September 22, 2013

On American Soil

You know you’ve just gotten back from a mission in Brazil when eating American food gives you diarrhea, and not ‘feijao e arroz’; when 50 degree weather makes your teeth chatter; when you eat more than the guy who took you out on a date; when you accidentally throw Portuguese words like ‘também’, ‘vixe’, and ‘acho’ into your normal conversations; when you wear high heels for the first time after 18 months and just about break your foot; and when you receive 2 hugs throughout the day and feel that you were hug deprived!  It’s interesting how much a person can change in such a short time.  I know I’ll adjust, but I can’t help but feel a bit like a stranger on these Rexburg streets.  As I walk around campus, wheezing because of the high altitude and cold, I can’t help but think to myself, “I’m not a Rexburgian, sou Paraibana!!”  Yet, whether it be on the streets of Brazil or the sidewalks of Rexburg, the adventures keep coming and the life lessons keep multiplying!

My first Sunday home was fantastic!  Even though I had a short time before I headed back out to school, I had time to visit my home ward.  After Sacrament meeting, my Mom asked me if I would like to join her down in the primary.  I happily accepted, not only to spend more of my meager ration of time with her, but also to enjoy the spontaneity of the primary children!  At one point, the chorister asked the young children to introduce themselves to her.  One girl raised her hand and said, “My name is Amanda, or Mandy, but I prefer to be called Amanda.”  At this point, another girl sitting two chairs over, looked at ‘Amanda’ with horror in her eyes and exclaimed, “What?! You mean you don’t want me to call you ‘Mandy’?!”  hahaha  It’s always rough when the ‘best friend’ doesn’t get the memo on the latest name change.

Monday I flew out to school, and by Tuesday what had been my ‘life’ and ‘soul’ only a week ago (a missionary in Brazil), suddenly seemed to be but a dream.  The life of a college student; classes, homework, studying, reading, work, and social life, gave me no mercy and jumped right into ‘advanced mode!’  The already hectic schedule is great for me; I have no time to think, I just kind of walk around in a daze from class to homework to work to apt, and repeat!  It’s pretty much the best!  My first day of work, I happened to be wearing a skirt because later that afternoon there was a campus Devotional and I wanted to be dressed up.  While my new boss was training me, he stopped for a second, looked down at my skirt and said, “and just for the future, you should know that this job requires you to NOT wear a skirt!”  My whole soul screamed, “wooohoooo”, and I smiled and said; “now that’s my kind of job!”  Blessings from a mission, right!  Not only do I have an awesome job, but it also doesn’t require a skirt!!

As I was studying my scriptures this week, I came across the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s and their resolve to bury their weapons of war to keep themselves unspotted from sin and firm in their resolve to follow Christ.  Alma 24:18-19 states,  “And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they give up their own lives…and thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm…” These Lamanites experienced a ‘change of heart’.  They were truly converted, and resolved to remain so, come what may.  They also understood, that this change that they had experienced would require sacrifices, courage, and diligence to maintain.  Each of us has experienced a change within us.  We too have also had experiences when we have become truly converted in some aspect of the Gospel.  What have we resolved to do about our personal conversion?  Can it be said about us, “When (insert name) was brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm?”  Maintaining our personal conversion will never be easy.  It will require sacrifices, courage, and diligence, but if we resolve to be true to our personal conversion, like these faithful Lamanites, our posterity and we will be greatly blessed.

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