Hello lovely family of mine!!! How are all of you!?! So first off, I forgot to mention last week how I got another package from the one and only BARB J and then one from MISS ABIGAIL.... my sweet sweet gayyyyorg if I may say so... hahaha. Barb j sent me a darling skirt with an amazing card (haha mom I LOVED it) and then Mrs. Abigail GOCHNOUR sent me the BEST cd's (Little Women, Braveheart, Rudy theme song... you name it) and of course while listening to Little Women I had THE biggest grin on my face and was almost brought to tears of happiness hahaha and then when Braveheart came on, I was reminded of when I was listening to it while running my second Ragnar leg at 2 in the morning... in the mountains, in the pitch black, underneath the stars... HEAVEN!!!! Hahaha Brad and Abby know EXACTLY what I am talking about. And Jane, Piper, Kate.... haha. AMAZING!!! I also remember thinking a ton about my mission while running that and being sooo excited to serve. Crazy how I am now HERE on my MISSION!!! I never thought the day would come. Ahhh so exciting.
Listening to Braveheart also reminded me of a missionary I know of who is serving in Brazil... hahaha. Well anyways, the cd's are incredible Abs and then she sent me some of our favorite movie quotes from our all time favorite movies... You've Got Mail, It's a Wonderful Life, Little Women and the Sound of Music. I love it all sooo much!!!!! I honestly got butterflies reading them, made me soo happy. Ohhhh my sweet sweet gayyyorg or Georg Von Trapp hahaha. Sorry I am just soo happy right now!! And I love my family SOOO MUCH!!!!!! I have the best family in the entire world!! Honestly, I AM THE LUCKIEST!!!!! I truly could not feel more blessed. But then I also received letters from our lovely and dearest Grandma Barth, I got one from my baby Jessica Ivory and Haley. Made my life!! I have the best family AND friends. And everyone, I promise I am trying to get better at sending handwritten letters.... it's just so hard to find the time! But I will try to write as many back as I can today. I just always want to write so much!! It's a problem haha. But ABIGAIL!! Your letter will be sent TODAY!!! I have been writing it for weeks now... get excited. But okay, as for the mission. Everything is wonderful!! We had an awesome week last week. We met with a good amount of people and even found NEW people!! I'll keep you updated on all of that later... it will take me too long to even get started on everyone today and of course, I have zero time. But we have had many miracles and wonderful experiences this past week. And my heart has been touched in more ways than I can express.... Sooo I have tons I want to share with you however, today I want to share a message I have been pondering much about........
I was recently finishing up Alma and want to share with you all some of my thoughts regarding the "two thousand stripling warriors" - The Army of Helaman. I somewhat remember reading about them and studying them before, especially in my Book of Mormon class at BYU but now they take on a whole new meaning for me. It says in Alma 53:20, "And they were all young men, and they were EXCEEDINGLY VALIANT for COURAGE, and also for STRENGTH and activity; but behold, this was not all --- they were men who were TRUE AT ALL TIMES in whatsoever thing they were entrusted." And in verse 21,
"Yea, they were men of TRUTH and soberness, for they had been TAUGHT to KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and to WALK UPRIGHTLY BEFORE HIM."
(which in the footnotes also means, "walking WITH God.")
These two thousand young men were exceedingly valiant for courage and strength, they were true at ALL times and men of truth because they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before Him, God. And who raised them to be this way?? Their MOTHERS and their FATHERS.
It says in chapter 56:47, ".....yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
And then it says they rehearsed unto Helaman the words of their mothers in verse 48, "..we do not doubt our mothers knew it." These young men were the way they were because of their mothers and parents altogether. Reading this really hit me and made me realize all that my own dear mother and father have taught me. While reading this and truly pondering its message, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for you, mom and dad. You two have brought me up the same as the parents of the stripling warriors parents raised them. You have taught me to be exceedingly valiant for courage and strength, to be true at all times and in all places... no matter where I am, who I am with or what the circumstances may be.. you have taught me to always keep the commandments of God, to walk uprightly before Him and to DOUBT NOT... in the Lord, in our loving Heavenly Father and in myself. NO MATTER WHAT.
Ohh how blessed I feel because of this. I know I am FAR from being perfect and always doing these things perfectly but I have been TAUGHT them and that has helped me more than I can even begin to express. I have the most incredible, loving, caring, self-less, Christ-like and overall amazing parents who love me enough to teach me these things my whole life. In the footnotes for verses 47 & 48 they have the words, "honoring father and mother, marriage, motherhood, family, love within..." there is a trend huh?? And that is that the role of a mother and father, love and family are of GREAT importance!! And it is also sooo important that we honor our parents and take in their counsel and teachings. Because if we do.. if we're obedient, trust in the LORD in all thy doings, follow the commandments of God, have faith, doubt not... the list goes on.. the Lord and our Father in Heaven will be with us, ALWAYS and through them we will also be SAVED. It says in chapter 56 verse 47 that these young men had never fought, yet after their first encounter with the Lamanites (their first fight with them) Helaman exclaimed in verse 56,
"But behold, to my great joy, there had not ONE soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the STRENGTH of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous STRENGTH."
God had saved them because as Helaman says in chapter 57:21,
"Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their MOTHERS had taught them."
Because these young men had stayed true and followed the counsels of their mothers (and fathers), followed the commandments, put all of their trust in the Lord, etc. they received the STRENGTH of the Lord. And they continued to be steadfast and after they fought yet again Helaman exclaimed in verse 25, "......nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not ONE soul of them who did perish......" and then Helaman said in verse 26,
"And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea...... and we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe --- that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power."
And in verse 27 says,
"Now this was the FAITH of these whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their TRUST in God continually."
I love it soo much!!!! And later it speaks of them being saved AGAIN in chapter 58 verse 39, ".....and the Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even ONE soul has not been slain." and in verse 40 it reads,
"But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they STAND FAST in that liberty where with God has made them FREE; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgements, and his commandments CONTINUALLY; and their faith is strong in the prophesies concerning which is to come."
Sooo the two thousand stripling warriors remained stead fast, kept the commandments of God, obeyed what their parents taught them, etc. and were CONTINUALLY given strength saved by the power of God!! Well, we must be as the two thousand stripling warriors and I think about this as being a missionary as well. Like the powerful and profound lyrics I love sooooo very much,
"We are as the ARMY OF HELAMAN, we have been TAUGHT in our youth... and we will be the Lord's MISSIONARIES to bring the world His truth."
So, I feel very lucky to be the Lord's missionary and I am sooooo thankful for my amazing parents!! Who have RAISED me in the truth of the wonderful gospel!! Without you mom and dad, I would not be serving a mission today. I would not be where I am today or who I am today... so THANK YOU!!! My heart is ohhh so full. And also when I think of the two thousand stripling warriors I think of ALL the thousands of missionaries serving throughout the world. I think of all my friends and family members who are serving or have served, and it fills my heart with so much joy!!!!! I am sooo thankful to be apart of this wonderful work and to have soo many wonderful examples in my life. Also, I know that Helaman lead the two thousand stripling warriors with GOD and the LORD leading him... and I know that our latter-day Prophet, Thomas S. Monson is leading US with GOD and the LORD leading him... and he leads our Mission Presidents, Bishops, etc. etc. I love being a missionary and am sooo thankful for the incredible examples I have in the Book of Mormon.
Well, I had to speeeeeed through that because I have had NO time and Elder Call is waiting anxiously behind me to email haha. But I hope it made some sense!! I have learned sooo much from the Book of Mormon lately and am SO thankful for this gospel. I love being a missionary!!! And I love my family SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!! It honestly brings the BIGGEST smile to my face thinking about you all. I LOVE YOU!!!!!! And I love my friends ohhh so much as well. And my friends who are serving out in the field with me, I am the LUCKIEST. Love you all!!! I'll give you more updates on Gridley next week!!!! ADIOS!!!!!!!!!!!
Con mucho mucho amor, Hermana Barth