Sunday, September 11, 2016

God's Blessings are Sure and His Love is Real: A Parting Testimony

From Natalie Willes
Recently returned from teaching in Arizona

It has been the best, craziest, most fulfilling 18 months of my life. After 11 companions, and 5 areas later, I've come to know some of the most amazing people in the world. I am so grateful to those who have changed my life. I love Arizona, Mesa is a great place with many different characters in it. I think the main thing that I am grateful for, is the testimony that I've been able to gain. I've always had a testimony of some sort since I was a little kid. Over time it has been strengthened and built by experiences that cross my path, but in the last year and a half, it's grown immensely.

I know even better now that I have a Savior, who is my best friend. I always knew He loved me, but now I've gained the knowledge about why He does. He died to overcome the two things that would keep me from returning to live with God:  Sin and death. He suffered for me in the Garden of Gethsemane and sweat drops of blood just for you and I. He knows us personally. He heals us if we allow him to and because of this love we will never ever be left alone. I've come to the realization that it is so easy for us to forget this relationship we have with Christ. He doesn't wait for us to run half of a race before he shows his love, he is running the race along side us cheering us on every step of the way. He will buoy us up and pick us up if needs be to help us cross the finish line. Where is the finish line you may ask? Well, eternal life, living with our Father in Heaven. That's the goal, and because Christ died and suffered for us we can get there. One of my favorite scriptures of all time is found in the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 9:13-14 which says " Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." I know this to be true.

I know that God has a plan for us. He sent us here and provides us the means for joy and happiness in this life through our families. We are a part of His, and the main goal in this life is for us to return to
live with him, and our families forever. We learn of this plan through prophets. I know that he has again called prophets in our day. I know that Joseph smith was called to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth and that because of his faithfulness, we again have the Book of Mormon. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. It has blessed my life and the lives of those I've had the privilege to teach.

My vision for life is quite simple. I promised God that I would be a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ. My purpose is to come unto Christ, and I'll continue helping others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most importantly, enduring to the end. President Monson once said "Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course towards our desired goal- even the celestial kingdom of God." and that is my goal. I want to return to live with my Heavenly Father. There lies happiness, joy and everlasting life. I can always be with my family there, and there is no other place I would rather be. I will keep doing the little things God asks me to do, and in turn it will be easier to keep doing the big things that God requires of me. I'll fulfill my roles in callings, in church, or at home. I'll keep the temple in my sights, and Christ in my daily action. I'll serve those around me like Christ would, and I'll smile everyday and laugh and enjoy life's ups and downs. God's blessings are sure, and His love is real. I will always trust Him with all my heart.