Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two weeks to go...

I have fourteen days left until I leave for New Zealand and I've never been so sure about something in my life. I spent a week in Bundaberg with my wonderful cousin and her family. I remember it was Tabitha who inspired me to serve a mission in the first place. We were house sitting and she had a friend having discussions with the missionaries. We made brownies and I remember her suggesting we should go next door and introduce ourselves as missionaries and spread the good word. She really inspired me to be active in the church and build my own testimony. I am ever so grateful for her example and her loving and bubbly personality. I owe her for all my happiness.

My dear sister missionaires Sister Alfaro and Sister Joyce are two good friends of mine. I felt bad that I didn't spend as much time with them before I left. I was so self conscious and socially awkward that I didn't really enjoy the YSA activities so I would skip some. Now I see the value it could have given me. I am so grateful that they left on a mission. It was the step that inspired me to get stuck into my papers and the letters they have sent me have made me more motivated to leave.

There is still a lot for me to do. My Preach my Gospel study has been great. I've read the Book of Mormon through in six months and it only affirms my testimony of its truthfulness. I'm really excited to go! I only have a little more shopping to do and I've pack up half of my room in case we move.

Yesterday at institute, two missionaries came to teach the missionary preparation class. They were amazing. You could tell they were really teaching of the spirit and that they really knew Preach my Gospel, but at the same time they admitted that they weren't perfect. They spoke about how much they enjoy their mission and about how much you grow. Most importantly they advised us that to keep motivated it is best to keep a daily or weekly focus and not count down the time left as it can discourage you.

I was also amazed when a YSA came to me and told me that I would be a great missionary. She had read the posts I had put up on the Multi-stake YSA Facebook page. There was a young man who is a member but wasn't taught everything about the gospel by the missionaries or didn't understand it. He has some sort of social or mental issues and he often gets under peoples skins when he quotes scriptures. But I knew this was a child of God and that we should love and help him. So I offered suggestions to help him with his concerns. It felt so good to help it out and it obviously showed. She said I didn't have to respond to him but was glad that I did. This amazing feeling came over me that affirmed that going on a mission was the right thing for me. Even if people reject my testimony, I know that I've done my best and given them the choice. I will love them regardless of whether they love me because that is what God wants me to do. If I am discouraged by it then it profits me nothing.

Fourteen days to go and I know time will pass quickly. I hope I can write at least another time before I leave, but we'll see. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

~ Sister. H. Phillips

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Power of Prayer

I've been going through a rough patch lately, most likely because my mission is coming up in a little over a month and I'm planning on going through the temple for my endowments some time next week, so the adversary is working really hard to bring me down. I would be an emotional wreck if it weren't for prayer. Right now I'm feeling pretty good, a little bruised but managing extremely well. I won't go into detail about what has happening, but let's just say it is a lot of things from a variety of sources.

My preparation for the temple has really stepped up a lot. I find myself now reading the scriptures and other church texts in my spare time and my prayers are more sincere. Not a lot of people believe that there is a God and that we can communicate with Him and get any form of a response. Well, I am here to state that it is not true. God does hear our prayers and is always with us when times get tough. My friend Nancy who is on her mission at the moment shared with me a letter with a great scripture to understand how the Lord can help everything, and this is exactly how I felt over the past few days. It's found in Mosiah 24:14-15 and it reads:

"14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witness for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

I was feeling really down about myself and my situation. Everything was falling upon my shoulders and I was crying and upset. I knew that these challenges were placed before me for a reason and that if I had to endure it I would, but it really hurt so I knelt by my bed and called upon God. I thanked my Heavenly Father for all that he has given me in my life including my burdens and I knew that this was a test. I told him about the pain I was feeling in my heart and the sadness and I asked him if there was a way to ease my burdens so I could figure out what to do I would be grateful. Immediately it was as if my feelings were lifted and I felt this freedom and peace so I could contemplate my situation. I continued to think through everything and once I decided on a course of action I asked the Lord if what I would do would help the situation and I could feel Him telling me that all would be well with my decision. So I did and it worked. Although now I still feel the hurt it is only very little, like a scar that has healed over. From this experience I know that I can handle anything life throws at me. He listens to our prayers and will do anything to ease our burdens no matter what poor decisions we or others make.

I love that we all have a Heavenly Father who wants the best for us. I love that He will continue to love us just the same even when we do things wrong. I love the Saviour for giving us the atonement so we can repent and turn to Him in our time of need, freeing us of burdens that feel too hard to bear. I promise that if you call upon the Lord with faith in Jesus Christ that you will feel his influence and guidance in your life. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and that if you read from its pages you will know God and be able to find solutions to your problems in life. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church upon the Earth re-established in these latter days under the direction of Jesus Christ and through his holy prophet Joseph Smith. Our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of the Lord and has the priesthood keys and authority to help guide and lead this church. He receives modern day revelation and instruction to help guide us in these dark times to find happiness and peace and attain eternal glory in the life to come. I know what I say is true because the Holy Ghost has testified the truth to me and I cannot deny it. The Lord has touched my life in so many ways and the happiness I feel is because I continually strive to do better, follow his commandments and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus Christ can man be saved in the last days. I cannot wait to be set apart as a missionary for the Lord and be an instrument in his hands in the Auckland, New Zealand mission and all because I know that God lives and loves us all. I leave this testimony with you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

~ Sister H. Phillips

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Holy Ghost and Fishing

I recently had a bit of a realisation the other night. I went fishing with a friend of mine, Reuben. He absolutely loves fishing, it's his favourite hobby and I was happy for an invite because I want to do as much as I can before I go on a mission and fishing is a little bit of an adventure for me. I've only been fishing once before in my life and that was when I was like eleven with my Dad. The only thing we caught was the last cast of the day and I pulled in an eel, which was pretty cool but it wasn't a fish.

Anyway, we went fishing on this really pretty beach at night. It's near the Gap and I think it was called Cove Bay or Beach or...something. It's on the back of these amazing properties, the water was crystal clear and they have a view of the city and a partial view of the Harbour Bridge. It was overcast but still very pretty.

As I was there fishing and looking out over the water I realised that fishing is a lot like the Holy Ghost and here is how I worked it out. I was standing in the water, not very deep and my line was somewhere out there but I couldn't see it. Throughout the process Reuben asks me if I had any nibbles, but not knowing what it felt through the rod I had no clue. He tried to show me by pulling on the line, which kind of helped and I think I may have felt it at one point, but I didn't catch anything. I just stood there, concentrating, feeling the vibrations of the rod as I would pull the line in bit by bit. With the Holy Ghost it's hard for one person to teach another exactly what it feels like. With every person it's kind of a different feeling. There is peace and calm and a warmth and understanding, but the actual feeling itself is hard to explain. Just like  Reuben explaining to me what a nibble was.

Now I haven't learnt how to cast out just yet, but casting out is a lot like opening yourself up to the Spirit. Putting yourself in places or situations in which you can find the Spirit. The Spirit in this fishing scenario is the fish. Now fish like to swim in certain areas, usually the more deeper waters, around rocks or jetty's etc which is like how the Holy Ghost is stronger when you are in a place away from danger and temptation.

Now I am not a genius when it comes to the Spirit. I consider myself still very new about it. There are some times when I pray and I can really feel it and really know that it is the Spirit talking to me, but it's generally only when I ask of it. I'm not so sure what it is like to be prompted by it out of the blue. I can't hear its small whisperings to guide me and I know that is something that is necessary for a mission. Just like fishing I need to cast out my line, trust in the feel of the rod and keep trying even when I keep pulling in nothing.

The basic breakdown of my analogy:
Fish - Holy Ghost
Rod - Method of seeking the Holy Ghost i.e prayer, fasting, reading scriptures and talks etc
Bait and Hook - Your spiritual desire and worthiness
Casting - Putting yourself in places to feel the Spirit i.e church, home, church activities

After my little epiphany is when Reuben pulled in our one and only catch of that evening. It was an Australian salmon which apparently is not even related to salmon at all but closer related to a trout...go figure! I guess it is kind of ironic how he caught the fish, being a return missionary he must know the Spirit better than me, but I'm sure that is all because of his own experiences. In either case I'm excited by the idea of going fishing again and trying pull in my own fish. If I do get one before my mission I'll see it as a sign that I will surely get many experiences of being guided by the Spirit. I doubt I need the fish as a sign, but it would be quite poetic.

Here is a picture of me with the fish to prove that I'm brave enough to hold one. I was pretty surprised by the texture of it and so happy it didn't jump around.

I only have two months left so I plan on having as many adventures as I can before I leave. I have a lot of things that I need to get done so I really need to be busy at the moment. I'll do my best to add a few more blogs as time passes.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to go and serve the Lord in New Zealand and can't wait to get there. I know that as my service begins I will grow an understanding of the Holy Ghost as big as that fish I'm holding. Until then I'll continue to study and keep casting that line out and concentrating for that little tug to guide me. I leave this things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

~ Sis. H. Phillips

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The call has arrived!

It's been a while again and I have no excuse. There were at least three times where I could have posted something up but I didn't because I didn't know what to write. I didn't really feel inspired to share anything so I didn't, which is a shame because I could have tried harder.

In any case I'm back to the routine of getting up at 6am to pray and read my scriptures. It really is the best time of the day to do it because everything is extremely quiet and you can really concentrate on what you are doing. I've been really enjoying my studying. I've been reading the Book Of Mormon ahead of my class because I really want to learn about the great people in it and figure out their stories so I can note them down for future reference on my mission. It is so remarkable that all of them are so humble and righteous and you can really see their personalities by the way they write. My Preach My Gospel is still pretty empty though so I have to work on that.

Mission Preparation class has been really good. All of the return missionaries are great teachers. We do a lot of role plays and I love hearing about their experiences. I prepared and taught a lesson with my friend Jenna as my companion and we really did a good job. It felt pretty good to only have a little preparation time but because of our simple notes we were able to really teach the lesson with the help of the Spirit rather than just reading.

Now onto my mission call. About a week after my meeting with bishop I had my meeting with the Stake President. The interview was very quick and similar to the Bishops, which was good and I was happily not intimidated by President Simpson because he has this aura of sternness which is a big facade. After that the Stake President sent my paperwork off to New Zealand for the Area Presidency to look at, which was then transferred over to Utah for the Apostles and then the Prophet to agree on my destination. Just on five weeks later (yesterday) I got the express post letter.

The miraculous thing was the way it got to my doorstep. Friday last week was horrible. I thought it had come because Bishop told me two weeks before at conference that it had been decided and the call letter sent. So I was really disappointed and focused completely on the scriptures and read conference talks to occupy my time. Then yesterday in the middle of the day there was a knock at the door. It was a man of pacific islander background and he was holding two damaged envelopes. One was small, a bill for my mother and the other was my white and yellow, large Express Post envelope. When I saw it I was stunned. He told me that he had found it on the road and thought he should deliver it. I thanked him profusely telling him that I had been waiting for this for quite a while and he said it was alright and he left. I looked at the envelop. There was a tyre mark in the top corner and all the outside was covered with indentations of gravel from the road. Needless to say a car had run over it and possible some people had walked over it. It must have fallen out of the Australia Post bike.

I took it upstairs and showed it to Mum and Natalie. Mum said I should open it and I really felt like I wanted to, but I decided to stick to my plan. I got everything ready, bought a cake, and got Uncle David and his family around for the opening. Once everyone was settled in the lounge room I started opening it mid conversations. The letter and booklet were slightly damaged with gravel marks all over it. My friend Nancy said when she saw the letter she saw her location right away because it was so obvious on the page. I wanted it to be a surprise so I started from the beginning and read it. I stopped reading right after the location. I'm going to the New Zealand, Auckland Mission.

I had not really thought about New Zealand at all. I knew Jenna's good friend Josh was going in July but even with his announcement I never thought I would be going there. Immediately there was a little disappointment I wasn't going to Japan and Europe, but as I thought about it more I was excited. The Lord obviously needs me there for a reason. Although I may not have family there or ancestors from the country, it is obvious that there is someone there I need to talk to. It is a beautiful country, my only problem is that I'm going to spend two winters there and I am very bad with the cold. I'm also excited to meet the people because I've heard they are very spiritual.

I leave on my little brother Max's 5th birthday, the 5th of July, 2012. Two months and there is still so much for me to do. I can't wait to hear a response from my friend Sister Nancy Alfaro who is now in her mission in Texas.

I love the gospel and can't wait to start my new journey in New Zealand.

~ Sister H. Phillips

Friday, March 23, 2012


So I officially submitted my missionary paperwork to my bishop yesterday. Our first interview is tomorrow and surprisingly I'm calm. On Thursday when I was told I was ready to submit the paperwork I was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Excitement because the day was finally here and that it was the first step to really leaving on my mission. Nerves main because I'm not sure how things will work back home with my family without me around. There are so many factors to it all. I know they say that when you go on a mission the Lord will bless your families for your dedication, and I know it will work that way, but with all the possible outcomes popping into my head the doubt kind of creeps in. It's one of my biggest problems. After all, the reason why I never left on my mission earlier was a mixture between University and family so I'm still a little worried about it.

The excitement however drowns out all of the negatives and I've been talking to a lot of return sister missionaries. All of them love the MTC and compare it to a loving sanctuary. The people who run it make sure your head is in the right space and they act as kind of nurturing parents and a support network. The food there is supposedly amazing and they have healthy options. They have firesides and talks all the time along with classes and practice teaching session in real life scenarios. The one thing they all say is that it is the best learning experience you'll ever get because you not only learn about yourself but about the Lord. That there isn't really much you can compare it to, to explain how good it is. The only common flaw is adapting to companionships. The only way a companionship will truly be successful is if you and your companion are on the same page or at the very least friends. I think my favourite tip so far is to really put the effort into everything you do to prepare for the MTC, because if you are not 100% dedicated when you get to the MTC you wont get the blessings and you won't be prepared once you get out there.

I got a letter from my friend Nancy who just recently left the MTC for her San Antonio, Texas mission and she keeps telling me how much she knows I'll enjoy being there. I hope I go to the one in Provo. I have a feeling I'll go international with my call, I just don't know where. I would really like Japan because I love the people, the culture and the language but anywhere that I am called to serve I'll go because I know that is where the Lord needs me most.

Anyway, I am really anxious to have the paperwork past the stake president and off to church administration so I can get my call. I'm more concerned about when I will go rather than the where. I just really want to be out there and starting a new adventurous chapter of my life so that I'll be ready to set some new goals for my future. I've been working up to the goal of serving a mission since I was nineteen and now I'm so close.

~ Sister H. Phillips

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Misery, Depression, Sadness and Hardships

I'm still getting the feel for this blog so bear with me a little as I get into the flow of things. I'm trying to figure out what exactly I want to share. Originally I wanted to go through the main points of Preach My Gospel (the manual for missionaries) and go over all the key points of the church but today I've had this little epiphany (or realisation) that I wanted to share.

There are times in all our lives when we feel everything is going wrong. I'm currently experiencing that but I won't go into detail about it because the specifics of it don't really matter. Mainly because trials, temptations, depression and misery are all the same emotions everyone feels but there are different stories behind it. Sometimes life isn't great and we feel surrounded by all this negative energy and sadness that completely overwhelm us to the point that we ask God "Why?"

It is natural for us to question God. God knows all and we want all the answers, but we have to really think about why God doesn't answer us immediately. We all go these trials because life is this learning process, it's a time to test ourselves. I would love for God to speak to me and tell me how to resolve the problem I'm having right now, because at the moment there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is try to endure it with patience and that is a pretty hard thing for me to do. I know that through prayer, through fasting and through reading the scriptures that I will eventually find the answer, and I have not found the answer to my specific problem...yet. However, I did find some comfort in the scriptures this morning. But before I get into the scriptures I need to put a little context (show you the larger picture) into my epiphany.

Okay, so. I have been teaching the youth in Sunday school as an assignment for the past nine weeks. Let me first just say that it has been the best spiritual experience of my life. The learning curve that I have had has been so amazing and the youth that I teach are so fantastic. I've never met a bunch of youth so dedicated to learning about God. They may not read their scriptures everyday yet but I think I'm getting them inspired to because it will really help them at this point in their lives and I really wish I read the scriptures more at their age.

From teaching them I've had this real thirst for understanding all the richness of the Book of Mormon (that's what I teach them). So far we are up to the second book of Nephi and I am amazed by Nephi's obedience and his younger brother Jacob's strong thirst for the scriptures. Now they only had part of the Old Testament that they brought with them, but regardless those scriptures meant everything to them. They had their own struggles and they were constantly teaching their people to endure their trials well and rejoice in the Lord. To wake up from their sorrows and wake up their sorrows from the droop of sin. Now Nephi was a prophet to his people and God would communicate with him when needed. His people were the Nephites and they were being hunted and killed by his brother's people the Lamanites. Now in order to be a prophet you need to be an extremely worthy person, not just anyone can be a prophet. From the beginning of the Book of Mormon we see Nephi as this strong and faithful leader, always obedient to the Lord.

It made me think that he was close to perfect but then I stumbled upon a scripture on this application of my phone. It was a late night and I was looking for guidance but I didn't know where and I hit the "Random Scripture"button and it popped up. It's now one of my favourite scriptures in the Book of Mormon for me and when I had the opportunity to teach it to my class the other week I was so excited. It's found in 2 Nephi 4:30-32 and it reads:

"30. Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31. O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I might shake at the appearance of sin?
32. May the gates of Hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart was broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!" 

Never had a scripture before been so eye opening to me. I read the whole chapter and found that Nephi too was plagued by sins and trials that even overwhelmed him. I had this new found respect for the man and I couldn't believe that I hadn't read this earlier in my life. He continues in the chapter to say that through his struggles he would endure and put all his trust in the Lord. He would rejoice in his trials because he knew that the Lord would always be with him. Nephi finishes in verse 35 by saying:

"35: Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up mine voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen."

Now this isn't to say that God will make things completely easy if we ask the right questions. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us and we just need to ponder the situation more and try to figure out the answer for ourselves. It's like those mathematics textbooks I had in high school. Sometimes when the problem was really hard I would cheat and go to the back of the book which had all the answers right there, or I would ask a friend. Once I had the answer I would try my best to figure it out but then when the next equations came using the same principle I still couldn't work it out. However, when I asked my teacher to work me through the problem, she would help me to break it down into bits but always challenge me to find the answer and slowly I came to the realisation of how it worked. After that it stuck in my head and I found those sorts of equations easy and I'm not the biggest mathematics enthusiast either. I think with God it's the same thing. Sometimes we have to figure it out for ourselves because it is the only way to learn.

Now I know what you're thinking. What can I possibly learn from the problem I'm having? Sometimes we need to look at the problem from all perspectives to see the brighter side. From this situation I know who I want to be and who I don't want to be. I think it's teaching me to be patient and endure. It's teaching me to not take on so many burdens and other peoples feelings. I think it's teaching me to try and look after myself, be happier and understand that even though it's hard and I feel horrible that I can't control how other people behave. That still isn't to say that it won't stop being hard though...

So anyway, for my own personal study I've been reading in the Bible from Psalms. I have to say that the Book of Psalms is amazing. There is this feel and spirit about it from the words and you can tell it has a pace and rhythm that I've never seen in the scriptures before. Of course Psalms is centered around music so it makes sense but I still find it inspiring. I suppose it's the writer in me feeling that affinity and creativity that David felt. So today I was reading from Psalms chapter 42 and David is talking about his own trials with people who mock him and seek to harm him and ask him "Where is thy God?". These few verses really put things into perspective for me:

"8. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10. As with the sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

From what I have learnt from David, in the book of Psalms, he is a firm believer in centering your thoughts upon God and drawing constant strength from Him. Even through his struggles he would question where is my God when I need him? Why am I so sorrowful? Then he would wake himself up. He knew God existed, he knew God was there, he knew God was listening. However, I believe this was a test of David's faith. From this experience David could have turned away from God and stopped believing him, but David was resilient to that urge. He told his soul to hope in God,  he knew that God would eventually deliver him or help ease the burden. That was why through his trials he would still praise him.

I love how David explains that God is the health of his countenance. What a beautiful description! That for the health of his Spirit and the health of his mind he clung to the Lord. I understand what he means. To me it means that through worshipping God and following his commandments we can feel this overwhelming peace and happiness that nowhere else you can experience. It's like God can sometimes lift the burdens and hold all the negative emotions you feel so you can cope just a little. Sometimes all those feelings can drive you crazy but God helps you to stay centered and sane.

I wished that I had read this the week before last because this would have been a great for the previous weeks Sunday school lesson. The similarities between David's Psalm and Nephi's experience are so amazing. It just goes to show that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and that everyone on Earth has it hard, but through uplifting ourselves to God we can endure. Maybe that is why 2 Nephi 4 is referred to as Nephi's Psalm. Only found that out through the Sunday School manual and now that I've read Psalms 42 it is one of those spiritual moments I want to remember and share.

I believe that God loves us and will help us when we are in need. It may not be at this very moment, it may not be next week or next year, but it will happen. Sometimes we need to look at all the angles, try out different tactics to combat the problem, or sometimes we just have to endure it the best that we can. Whatever the problem is God will not forget us. He wants us to lean on Him for strength, he wants us to awaken our souls from sorrow and only through the hard times can we really appreciate the good times.

And I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

~ Sister H. Phillips

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

God is Our Loving Heavenly Father

I believe that God is the literal Father of our spirits. He knows each of us personally and watches over us. He sees all, knows all and is perfect. His love for us is endless. Now I know for some this can be hard to believe. How do I know that God exists? How do I know that he loves me at all?

Well, the first thing that is proof enough is the fact that we live here on this planet. We live on a large planet with many continents filled with plants and animals to for our use. We have the intelligence to create things to make our lives easier. What is the probability that all of this was created just by chance? A simple act of nature created the planet and we were formed by matter floating in space that evolved?  Did you know that if the Earth was not tilted on a slight angle there would be no seasons of the year and plant and animal life would not cover all of the land on Earth? The truth is that the probability is slim, minute, and almost impossible, but through God all things are possible.

He created this Earth for us to live on and filled with beautiful things. He grew fruit and vegetables in the Earth for nourishment, He grew trees to shield us from the Sun and use to build, He placed animals on the Earth and in the sea for food and to help us with hard tasks and He gave us insects to pollinate all the flowers to bring beauty to the world and help plants to grow. He didn't create a barren world with the harshest conditions. He created the heavens, the moon and the stars in the sky as proof of His great power as proof of his divine existence and to show that He is always here with us.

Why does God love us?
God loves us because we are all his children. Since Adam and Eve, God communicated with man through men known as prophets. He placed them on the Earth so that he could communicate with them and have the prophets tell man God's word. Prophets wrote down what God told them over time which are a record of Him. The  Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are records of God's communications with man. God wants for us to return to Him and these records show us how we can return to Him.

One of the greatest stories that proves our Heavenly Father's love for us is the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is what is known as the Atonement. During Jesus Christ's life upon the Earth he would talk to and teach people the will of God. Inspire them to do good, to feed the poor and to love one another. Christ was perfect, he performed miracles and even when he suffered he loved everyone. This is because Jesus Christ had a very important role that was charged by Heavenly Father. As a perfect person on the Earth he would give up his life willingly for the sins of everyone that had been or will be upon the Earth. Why? Only through this selfless act would we be able to repent of our sins and return to Him. Jesus Christ was Heavenly Fathers first born, our elder brother and His most beloved. Heavenly Father gave his only begotten Son to the world as a sacrifice so that we can get a chance at Eternal life. Who else on the Earth would give up their child that they loved so dearly?

In the Bible, in the book of St John chapter 3 verses 16 to 17 it reads:
"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

In the Book of Mormon, God gave the prophet Lehi and his son Nephi (who fled from Jerusalem around 600 B.C) a vision of the tree of life.  They saw a large and beautiful tree which had fruit hanging from it which was "White, to exceed all whiteness" (1 Nephi 8:11) and "Desirable of all other fruit.' (1 Nephi 8:12). They ate the fruit which filled them with joy to their very soul. Nephi asked for the interpretation of the dream and an angel explained that the tree represented God's love for us and the fruit was the greatest gift he could possibly give which is eternal life.

How do I know that God loves me at all?
We are His children and he would not leave us alone on this Earth to fend for ourselves. He taught the prophets to teach us to pray to Him, but this is not all. He also gave us the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) as a companion and guide in our lives, so that when we pray we may feel God's love and guidance through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost only dwells with us if we keep the commandments, when we sin the Holy Ghost cannot be near us, but through prayer and through asking for forgiveness with can feel the Spirit share with us Gods love.

The Holy Ghost can do many things. It can whisper to us in our minds and our heart. It can cause our hearts to burn gently and give us overwhelming feelings of peace, joy and comfort. 

  • Romans 8:16 (Bible - New Testament)- "16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"
  • Moroni 8:26 (Book of Mormon) - "26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all saints shall dwell with God."
I bear testimony that if you kneel and pray to God and ask if you are His child and whether He loves you the Holy Ghost will reveal the truth to you. I have done it so many times and every time I have felt a love and a peace that I have felt with no other person. The Holy Ghost is there to help us communicate with our Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to talk to Him, to share with Him how we feel and let us ask him for help in our struggles. All He wants is for us to turn to Him, to turn to righteous living so he can bless our lives until we return to Him.

Life is not easy and it's not meant to be. We have to work hard, we have to live through many struggles that are physical, psychological and emotional, in order to push through them and better ourselves, to prove that we are worthy to receive God's greatest gift. Everyday when I look up into the sky, when I see what is around me, I see it as proof that God exists, that I am one of His children and that He loves me. I am thankful that I have a Father that loves me so much He gave his first born, my elder brother to the world as a sacrifice for all of our sins so that I have the opportunity to earn the right to eternal life. I love my Heavenly Father for the many blessings that he has given me. For a loving and yet disfunctional family that give me support, love and teach me patience. I am grateful for all I possess and for the education I've been allowed to have. However, of all the things that I am grateful for, I am most grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I wasn't a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I know that I would be living in sin, that I would be unhappy with my life and feel that no one else understands me in the world and could ever help me. God knows us all personally and I bear witness that if you call to him in prayer you will feel His love and guidance rest upon you.

And I leave these things with you, in the name of our beloved Son and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

~ Sister H. Phillips