565

565.  That’s how many days I have been set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FIVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE  That is a lot of days!  A lot of days filled with joys, tears, laughter, disappointments, miracles, and everything in between.  I have seen myself transform.  I have seen lives change.  I have seen people’s hearts soften.  I have seen souls come to light up as they realize with excitement that they have finally found the church Jesus Christ himself is leading.  I can say nothing less than that every single day has been nothing short of a miracle.

So why does it have to end?!  My answer came through the words of one of the Lord’s modern-day apostles:

In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.

Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.

The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.

How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.
~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Grateful in Any Circumstance

Amen, President Uchtdorf!  I am so thankful to know that just because I have come to the end of my full-time missionary service in New York, it does not mean that my service is over.  It does not mean goodbye forever to the people that I love.  Instead, it’s a beginning 🙂

New York, you will forever hold my heart!

Never forget, THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

And I’ll miss you! ♥

–Sister Kasparian

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Mountains to Climb

Often times in life, the Lord allows the unexpected to happen.  Our lives are constantly changing, and it seems like once we climb one challenging mountain then the next mountain is placed in our way.  Some stories, like Heather Von St. James’, go like this:

“At age 36, just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given 15 months to live.”

Do you remember the day you heard your life-changing news?  Do you remember the times of wondering, how am I ever going to get through this?  Miraculously, Heather beat the odds and is still here 8 years later.  But not everyone’s story goes exactly the same.  However, one thing is the same: if we trust in the Lord, follow His example, and help each other climb our mountains, then we will all make it!

(I’m a month late for National Cancer Research Month, but here’s my plug to please support Heather and other cancer victims by becoming aware of these dangers!  “Mesothelioma is considered one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers; most people are given just one year to live upon diagnosis. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and the future continues to look grim as attention to the disease as well as research funding continues to decline. The only known cause of ‘meso’ is exposure to asbestos, which is still not banned in the US. Sadly, it doesn’t look like asbestos will be banned anytime soon, as there is too much money being made by using this deadly mineral.”  The more people that know about this cancer, the more lives are potentially saved!  Check out the  Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance where there is lots of information about the disease, asbestos exposure, and where you can also read Heather and her husband’s blog about their journey with cancer!)

To all those who are currently passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out, “when I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”, watch my favorite video of all time:

Recap from President Henry B. Eyring:

  • If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.  …Acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it. That particle of faith, most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul, that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.
  • If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest of times can be a blessing.
  • The Lord has promised, “I will not forsake thee.”
  • We can feel the love of God.  The Savior has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up and He always keeps His word.  His love is unfailing.

Whatever mountain you are climbing right now, whether it be cancer or depression or loneliness or unemployment or anything else in the world, you are not climbing it alone.

You got this. Trust in God, and keep moving forward!

Because of Him

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6)

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My heart cannot begin to express the joy that these two verses give me.  He is risen!  He lives!  Do you know what that means?  Do you know what we can now do and feel and become because He has risen for us?

His almighty hand is in each of our lives, though we may all feel and recognize it differently.  How do I know that my life is profoundly different because of Jesus Christ?

Because of Him….

I am never alone.
I have hope for a better life.
I do not have to let my past define me.
I know that my life has purpose.
I can conquer any challenge or trial through His help.
I know that my family can be together for eternity.
I know that my Father in Heaven loves me with an infinite love and is so aware of me.
I can become so much more than I am.
My weaknesses can be made into strengths.
My sorrow and pain never has to last.
The darkest parts of my soul can be replaced with pure and glorious light.
I can be successful in life and find everlasting joy here and in the life to come.
I can have eternal life.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it!

How is your life different because of Jesus Christ?

It is my testimony that HE LIVES!  This Easter season, let Him change your life.  Let Him heal your heart.  Let Him show you the higher path.

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

(Click here for an amazing Easter video clip!)

http://easter.mormon.org/

UNCONDITIONAL

“My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.

As we seek our Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, our testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted. We will know of God’s love for us. We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you. I know this to be true.” ~President Thomas S. Monson, We Never Walk Alone

His love is purely, perfectly, and divinely UNCONDITIONAL.  If you don’t believe it, kneel down and ask Him yourself because it’s about time you do!

A Few Reminders from Heaven :)

You are NEVER alone.  And if you ever feel disheartened or lonely, here are a few things you may need to be reminded of:

What to Remember:

1. You are beautiful!

2.  You are important.

3. All the light, peace, protection, meaning, and happiness you gain in your life is because you have a Heavenly Father and Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.

4. They love you!

5. They would do anything for you and already have.  Your Brother is your Redeemer.  He has suffered the pains, anguish, failures, betrayals, mockeries, sicknesses, sorrows, and sins of the entire human race so that you, His family, could have the chance to succeed.

6. He is there for you.  He will never leave your side.  He is your Savior.

What to Do:

1. Love Them back.  Serve Them as They unfailingly serve you.  (Hint: trust someone who is doing it every day–serving God is the only lasting way to pure happiness!)

2. Take joy and enthusiasm from the knowledge of such truths!

3. Smile 🙂

4.  Laugh!

5. Share your love, or His love–Charity, for “charity never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8, Moroni 7:46)

6. If there is anything “virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy… seek after these things.” (Articles of Faith 1:13)  By keeping His commandments and seeking after good your whole life, you will find a much greater fullness of living!

“My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!  … The most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love.   

God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him.

May we ever believe, trust, and align our lives so that we will understand our true eternal worth and potential.”

–Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ
October 2011 General Conference Address–“You Matter to Him”

Never Lose Faith

Never Lose Faith

Above all else, it is an eternal truth that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us to an inexpressible extent. That is one of the foremost principle of the Gospel that we teach as missionaries. Our Heavenly Father is merciful, forgiving, welcoming, kind, and perfect in every way. WE CAN TRUST HIM. He is aware of us, and He will take care of us. At any stage in life, I plead with you to turn to Him. Pray to Him. Come to know Him. Therein lies true joy!  (John 17:3)

The Joy of Starting Over

Sometimes you have those moments in your life where you realize that you are not the person that you want to be.  In those moments, you have two options.  You either remain on the path to nowhere, focusing on your mistakes and everything you’ve done wrong, or you make a decision.  You find the courage in your heart to start a new path.  You make a decision to change.  And once you make that decision, you can’t go back.  You can’t revert to the old.  You have become totally new.  Your old self disappears and you start over.  Not only do you decide to move forward, but in that moment the Atonement of Jesus Christ takes full force and literally cleanses your past.  He takes away all of your baggage and makes you clean.  He heals you.  He carries you.  He lifts you.  And He helps you become who you need to become.

And so now you have the moment come in your life where you realize that you are not your past.  You are not your weaknesses.  You are not your mistakes.  Through the infinite mercy and love of Jesus Christ, you are whole and filled–filled with light, hope, love, charity, and joy.  And armed with each of those things, you move forward to become the person that Heavenly Father has created you to become.