Friday, November 25, 2016

The tender mercies of the Lord

When writing a paper, it is common to follow a format of an introductory paragraph, the body, and a concluding paragraph. The introduction includes a thesis statement and sometimes a mini-outline for the paper. A thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. But rather, often reflects an opinion or judgement that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience.

As I have been studying from the Book of Mormon lately, a new theme has stood out to me, which seems to be comparable to the format of a paper. 

Introduction and thesis statement - 1st Nephi 1:20 “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the TENDER MERCIES of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

Nephi in a way sets up a “thesis statement” for the rest of the Book of Mormon. Whenever I read that verse, I think of the purpose of the Book of Mormon - to show how merciful the Lord has been to his children. 

The “body paragraphs” of the Book of Mormon seem to simply portray that truth. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is Alma 26, when Ammon glories in the Lord. 

Alma 26:37 “God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea he numbereth his people, and his bowels of MERCY are over all the earth. Now, this is my joy, my great thanksgiving.” 

When Moroni is finishing up his father’s record, before he invites us to read, pray and ask if this record is true, he reminds us in verse three, of the original "thesis statement" of the Book of Mormon. 

Moroni 10:3 “I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how MERCIFUL the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.” 

My studying of the Book of Mormon recently has shifted to specifically looking for the Lord's tender mercies. This has opened my eyes more to the tender mercies in my life - or how I see the Lord’s hand in my life. 

Often times, it is easy to overlook these “tender mercies” and say it was by coincidence or by chance. But I truly do believe and find power in Elder Bednar’s words that “the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.” We should not overlook or underestimate the tender mercies. I think the Lord is more aware and more involved in our lives than we know or can comprehend. 

A tender mercy in my life this past week was on Saturday. I work in the temple as an ordinance worker in the morning. This past Saturday, before heading into the temple, around 5:00 in the morning I received a few phone calls from the members in Slovenia, telling me that my dear friend Urša Grahek had passed away. She has been battling with the physical pains of mortality for quite some time, so I know she is happy and relieved from her limitations. Nonetheless, still heartbreaking. The first part of my schedule was spent in initiatories. The patron that first walked in, happened to be holding 5 families names, all from Croatia, and I was able to perform the ordinances for this patron. This was the first time I have ever seen a Croatian name in the temple. This could be considered just a coincidence, but I find it a tender mercy. The simple promises and words found in the initiatory ordinances meant much more to me, as I thought of Urša, her family, and her future posterity. All of those blessings are appertaining through her faithfulness, and she is one of the most faithful women I know. I know that she again has a healthy body, and will continue to find true joy. 

This week being the week of Thansksgiving, I'm striving to let my prayers be more filled of gratitude to the Lord, and his tender mercies. They are truly all around us, if we will "lift up our eyes!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Often times on my mission, I received an email from someone who I truly love and respect, reminding me to CARE FOR THE ONE. 

"My dear Katie, how can you care for the one? How are you lifting those around you? How can you learn from and teach the members? How can you inspire the missionaries? How can you impact the members and your companions? Love and support ALL of those you come in contact with. Smile and say hello first. Care for the one. Search for the one. Testify to the one." Now that I have been home for 6 months, I am realizing that advice is still so prevalent right now. WE ARE ALL HERE TO HELP EACH OTHER HOME. TO HELP EACH OTHER COME CLOSER TO CHRIST. 

Journal entry from my mission journal on April 2nd, 2016 - "Tonight we went contacting. My companion and I were speaking with this kind lady, who was not interested in learning more, but was open and seeking our advice. As we sat, patiently listening, the spirit spoke to me, as I realized this was a slightly similar experience to something I experienced the prior year. My heart started to burn. I felt my Savior's arms around me. The spirit spoke to me clearly and lovingly, "Katie.. this is why you experience this trial. This is why you overcame. This is why you learned. This is why I had you become. I need you to now minister to the one. I need you to TESTIFY now." Tears filled my eyes as I looked as this distraught lady, and I opened my mouth and shared a similar experience. With the spirit burning in my heart, I testified to her of God's perfect plan. The spirit then spoke to me as I was testifying, that what I was saying was true. These are my favorite moments." 

If there is anything I know, it is that Heavenly Father puts people in our lives so that we can learn from each other. There have been countless times throughout my life where I am speaking with someone - perhaps as a missionary, during companionship study, or speaking with a member at church, or in the middle of a lesson, or even sitting on my bed having late night chats with a roommate, or speaking with a sibling, or writing an email to a friend - when the spirit speaks to me and says "TESTIFY. You went through that experience, so that you now can minister to my child, as a disciple and witness of Christ now." 

Why is it this way? It is this way because we are all here to help each other home. Yes, we all have the call and mandate to COME UNTO CHRIST, but I believe that it is just as important to bring others to Christ. And in so doing, we are brought closer to Christ ourselves, in the process.  

President Uchtdorf - "When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with, never down to, people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation. That is what He did during His mortal life; it is what He would be doing if He were living among us today; and it is what we should be doing as His disciples and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; our eyes,His eyes; our heart, His heart." 

Elder Joseph B. Worthlin - “We are to be our brother’s keeper. We cannot neglect this commission given   by our Savior. We must be concerned for the one.”

I am eternally grateful to the people who Heavenly Father has put in my life, who have brought me closer to Christ. Who inspire me to be better. Who encourage me to change. Who love me for who I am. I am thankful for the people who remind me to do the same to others. These are the people who make my life SO SWEET.