I know I have mentioned this quite few times since I've been in Spain, but I am so glad that Chelsey is my roommate. We are so alike so it's way easy for us to communicate. About a month ago, her and I decided that we wanted to read the Book of Mormon together and finish it before the end of our program. That left us 60 days. Luckily, there are reading schedules that fit perfectly for our plan. We have missed days and had to catch up a couple times, but on the whole we have successful read the Book of Mormon together everyday. Actually, yesterday marked the half way point. So Bravo to us. I so enjoy reading the Book of Mormon with another person. We ask each other questions and discuss the things we read. It's awesome! It's definitely on the list of something I would like to do with my spouse if I ever get married.
Well to add to the great spiritual growth the Book of Mormon reading is providing, Chelsey and I have decided to do the Conference Countdown from the LDS General Conference facebook page. We are, unfortunately, not going to be able to watch Conference like we do normally. Of course we will make time to watch it on the internet (if we have it) but Chels and I will be in Paris during Conference. So, to make up for the fact that we will be "missing" it, we are participating in the 30 day prep reading. Everyday you read a certain talk or two from last Conference. Yesterday was our first day and let me tell you, it's been the greatest idea ever! We just listen to them on the internet and just let the spirit fill our hearts. Or at least I do ha. I can't speak for Chelsey but I'm assuming it's the same experience.
I had multiple people tell me that when I would go on Study Abroad that I would learn more about myself and would grow in more ways than one. At first I just kinda took it as some advice and didn't really think much about it. But the last couple of weeks I've realized just how true that is. I can tell that I've grown more spiritually. I have a stronger testimony of the Gospel being the same wherever you are in the world. And that it is true. Also that the Book of Mormon is true. There is no way it isn't. To be honest, for most of my life I've lived off of others testimonies. It wasn't until I went through some pretty hard things that I realized I couldn't do that anymore. Only my testimony was going to pull me through. It had to be my decision to make changes and get myself on the right track, though I know there were people wishing that their testimony could be enough. And their prays were so very helpful. But during that time I began to develop my own testimony. And it's been an ongoing project ever since. These last couple months have increased it so much it's hard for me to believe sometimes. It's true that when you surround yourself with the right people, they can have the greatest influence on you. The Lord puts people in your life for a reason. I believe Ashley, Bryndee, Melissa and Jamie in my life because of their great examples and testimonies. (I know that there are more people and I just don't have room to name them all, but these four girls have literally saved my life). I know that the Lord made it possible for me to come on this Study Abroad so that I could be surrounded by all of these amazing, strong girls so that I could see just how great the Gospel really is. My testimony of the Lord and His plan for us has never been stronger, and what is amazing to me is that I know that it is going to grow so much more.
Visiting the Temple, attending Church, reading scriptures and listening to talks are all things that at one point in my life, I didn't think were important. I just didn't care. I was so wrong. I cannot imagine my life without the Church. Without knowing that Heavenly Father is there for me always. How could I have gone through the things I have and not know that? He has always been there for me, even when I didn't deserve it, and always will. And I am so very grateful for that. My mom shared a scripture with me one time. I don't think she will ever understand just how much this scripture has helped me. Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. The Lord is with you. Always. No matter what. He wants you to return to Him. Trust me, I know.
This program has added to this testimony. If it makes my parents feel any better, what I have learned and experienced has been worth way more than the cost of coming here :) I think everyone should make it a goal to finish the Book of Mormon this year, and if anyone would like to join Chelsey and I in our Conference Countdown the readings are posted on the LDS General Conference facebook page. I highly recommend it.
Remember, Be strong and of a good courage. He is with thee.
till next time