Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Refiner's Fire - May 11th, 2015

Dearest Family and Friends,

Well for starters I want to thank all of you for all your love and support over these past 18months. It has meant the world to me to have such supportive and loving people in my life and as I have been gone I have really come to cherish the relationships I have with each of you. I look forward to seeing all of you soon :)

Well there aren't really words to sum up the last 18months of serving the Lord. It has been amazing and hard and happy and heartbreaking, and basically the best thing I have ever been involved in. I loved it. But I feel at peace about going home. I have grown deeper faith than I knew I could. I look back to the beginning of my mission and there was so much I didn't know. It was belief, now it is knowledge. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know this is the true church of God. I know that He has a divine purpose for me and He will help me if I just trust him and get out of my own way. I have learned how to trust deeper and how to follow the spirit more courageously. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. So simple and yet so all encompassing. I love studying the gospel. The more I learn, the more I hunger and thirst after knowledge. I don't think there are really adequate ways to describe the changes in me, but I know that The Lord sees them, and I know they only happened because of Him. I have come to love and appreciate my Savior so much, for all He has done for me, and for His tenderness and mercy towards me. I'm grateful He allowed me, so weak, to serve Him. It has changed my life.

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. What I want with all my heart is to return and be with my Father in Heaven. I want to be a defender of truth and righteousness all the days of my life. I have come to feel the enabling and ennobling power of the Atonement Jesus Christ in profound ways as I have been carried through the most trying of times. My experience with the atonement has filled me with such love for my Savior, and for my brothers and sisters that I have been able to serve with. I have met so many amazing people that have become a part of my family. I come to love them so much. They fill a part of my heart I didn't know existed until I came on a mission.

There is just so much. I have loved this. I look forward to being able to share my experiences with all of you soon :)

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:6-7

❤️Hermana Simmons

Hold to Rod - April 27th, 2015

Dearest Familia,

I decided this week I better email very first so that I have time to say all the things I have been neglecting to say. So sorry! Today our zone is going to lunch with President Fenn and then we are goi to have a Q&A with him. In case you were wondering President Fenn is a gospel scholar, I mean come on, his father in law was Bruce R. McConkie. So we're all pretty excited about it. I'm not sure if I told you this before, but I like to know everything. Haha I love learning, the whole process, the questions and study and then revelation. I think about things deeply and I like to find answers. So today is going to be awesome, because I have a whole list of questions I have been waiting to ask President Fenn, pretty much my whole mission. Haha

So we will start with all the things I barely covered last week. Last week was a really interesting week. It seems that Satan intends to fight me to the very end. I guess I should have seen that one coming. So I'm not really sure how it started but his dark cloud just snuck up on me and started raining down doubts and concerns and distractions and fears, and insecurities. My mind became a very disorganized and unfocused place. I felt like I was getting lost and being surrounded by mists of darkness. Maybe this sounds dramatic, but it was pretty much exactly how I felt. I just felt a little lost for awhile and I worried about being able to finish strong. Well I'd like to say it all just magically went a few days later and all is well, but that's not exactly how it happened. I learned something important about holding to the rod. In Lehi's vision there is an iron rod, it represents the word of God and in my opinion fervent prayer, basically it represents our connection to God. Well here is this rod, and people are holding onto it, making there way to the tree that represents the love of God, when suddenly this mist of darkness comes. It didn't come because they were doing anything wrong, but simply as an attack from the adversary, and something to try their faith. Well most people let go of the rod, and with that lost their way. But there were those who held on, in fact they held on more tightly and fought the distractions and the fear and kept their eyes focused on the little ray of light they could kind of see glimmering through the mist. Well I kind of felt like one of those people. I just tried to hold on. To study and pray more fervently and wait for more light, wait for guidance and strength from Heavenly Father. And gradually it came. I realized, mist doesn't just disappear. It's not that way in real life. But it lifts gradually and then you see the light and know that it's all going to be okay. That's kind of where I am at right now. The mist is lifting and I am seeing more clearly. I have learned to "hush my fears" and have fought to refocus my mind and not allow distractions. I want to serve with all my heart and all my mind all the way to the very end. So I have been praying fervently for help from Heavenly Father to resist distractions, and temptation, and have been learning the principle of "taking up your cross daily" and maybe sometimes hourly, because "the spirit is willing but the flesh indeed in weak". But that all being said, don't worry, I'm feeling much better now. I have a new sense of determination and strength from my Father in Heaven. :) I love him.

So also this last Sunday was awesome :) first off, Edward was baptized!! Yay!! He was 30 minutes late to his baptism. Cool. Haha but that is the life of a Hispanic, time is just in your head. But it was a really cool baptism and I was so happy to be apart of it. I love that boy. He is going to be such a strength to his family because he wants so badly to be good. I'm probably going to have to bring these little boys to visit when it comes time for their missions, so I can make sure they get on their missions!! But the coolest thing was that about halfway during the baptism (which took place before church in Sunday) I looked down the hallway and saw this less active family we teach pretty irregularly. It was one of the few times in my life when I literally could not believe what my eyes were telling me they were seeing. But this family came, and they stayed for church.

So a little background in this family, the mom and dad, and one of their 5 kids were baptized over a year ago, probably close to a year and a half ago. Well after their baptism they never came back to church. Ever. They basically avoided the missionaries and there was no progression from them at all, no commitment. Well just recently in December, they reached out to the church for help and then began to let the missionaries in. But even then, I have been in this area since January and I can probably count on 1 hand the number of times I have been in their home, and when we do get in their home it feels like we are trying to convince a wall to come back to church. So it has been really difficult. Well I don't give up on less actives. It's just my policy. They're already part of the fold and you don't have the option of giving up on them, I covenanted not to let them slip through the cracks. So on Saturday we were planning to go visit them and my companion was frustrated, she didn't understand why we even kept trying to help them. So I explained my policy and then I told her we needed to figure out what Heavenly Father wanted us to do and stop getting on the way. Well we had a really revelatory study for them after that, that completely changed Hermana Diaz' perspective and we went and taught them. It was just the mom and we invited her to church and she said she would be there! Well I don't want to be of little faith, but facing the brutal reality of the situation it wasn't likely they were going to be there. BUT THEY CAME! :) it was so cool. Also on Saturday we did serve for this other less active that hasn't been to church in years, but who recently allowed her now 18yr old daughter to be baptized, we invited her to church and she came too!! There was just so many miracles. :D

I love Sundays. They have come to be my favorite day of the week. Not because everyone comes to church, or really anything except that it is the day I get to partake of the sacrament. By the end of the week, my soul needs a renewal, I have become tainted and need a clean slate. When I prepare for the sacrament during the week and then go and take of the bread and water on Sunday, my would is infused with light and strength. I try to ponder on my Savior and his sacrifice and I commit myself to living more worthily of the companionship of the spirit and remembering more often my Savior. The Sabbath day is a day to remember the mercy of The Lord. I was reading about this topic recently and I came across a quote I really liked, it says:

"We can readily see that our observance of the Sabbath is an indication of the depth of our conversion...our observance or non-observance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward His suffering in Gethsemane, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. It is a sign of whether we are Christians in very deed, or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of His atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us" -Elder Mark E. Peterson

That's pretty intense. But so true, if we truly understand and appreciate the atonement of our Savior, nothing takes precedence over dedicating our Sabbath day to Him. That doesn't just mean taking of the sacrament and then going about doing whatever else we want on our Sunday. In Preach My Gospel (written by the prophets and apostles) it says, "When a community or nation [or family or individual] grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays and all aspects of life are negatively affected. The blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy are lost. We should refrain from shopping on the Sabbath and participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath". Well that's pretty direct. I love the line I underlined, all aspects are negatively affected. I love the Sabbath day, it truly is a gift from our Father in Heaven who loves us and wants to bless us if we will only make ourselves more worthy of these blessings. I invite you all to consider your sabbath day worship and make it more in line with what the Savior expects of us.

Just to finish because this is ridiculously long, this awesome quote I found in a talk this morning,
"We cannot enjoy optional obedience to the laws of God, or place our own limits on the law of sacrifice, or mitigate the charges of righteous conduct connected with living the gospel. We cannot be willing to sacrifice only that which is convenient to part with, and then expect a reward. The Atonement is everything; it is not to be had “on the cheap.” God is not mocked in these things; we do not make promises and covenants with mental reservations. Unless we keep our covenants, Satan has power over us.....The point of all this is that atonement requires of the beneficiary nothing less than willingness to part with his most precious possession. Joined with the requirement of sacrifice is the requirement of consecration, which has no limiting “if necessary” clause; we agree to it unconditionally here and now. It represents our contribution to our salvation." (-Hugh Nibley: The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 4).

Well I love you all. I know obedience and sacrifice is what will bring us before the pleasing judgement bar of God with a clean conscience. I know the redemptive and ennobling power of the Atonement are real. It makes up everything we lack and is also the difference between where we are and where we need to be. From the very depths of my soul I want to be good and do good. I want the same for all of you too. I never knew before what I know now. I love the gospel and I want to hold to the rod and live it actively and diligently all my life. I invite you to hold to the rod and do the same, because the mist is covering the earth and if we do not hold tightly and are not careful, we will be lost, almost imperceptibly. I love you all. Fight the good fight, please.

Sent from my iPad

Edwards Baptism - April 20th, 2015



I have like no time to write an email this week, so I will write a

bunch next week :) but I will send some pictures. This first one is me

after an entire day of cleaning up the tornado. It was a lot of work

and we were filthy. We pulled down a barn. Literally. And also a tree.

It was so cool, I was so tired though.

Then a picture from Edwards baptism :) it was awesome and he was so

happy!! That Sunday we had a family come to church that we have been

teaching that hasn't come to church in almost 2 years! It has seemed

like they haven't really been changing or moving at all. But finally

they came. It was unreal. My heart was filled with joy. We also had

the mom of a recent convert who hasn't come to church in a long time

come as well!! It was so cool. So many miracles. Which was just what I

needed. This has been a really hard week for me. Satan has been

throwing everything he can as a final push against me personally and I

have had a lot of stress. So being able to have Edwards baptism and go

to church and see so many miracles and then partake of the sacrament

which just renewed my soul really helped me. And now I am just holding

onto the light and it's all coming together again


I'm sorry this is lame. I really meant to write an awesome email this

week. But there's no time. But I will tell you all the stories another

day. I love you all :) fight the good fight!


❤️Hermana Simmons

Tornado - April 16th, 2015

Dear Familia,

Well this week was exciting, we were hit by a tornado!! Yup, that's what I said. It was about 10miles from where we were. So we were weekly planning and it started thundering and lightening, and we're like "Ah man, we won't be able go to our appointment if it doesn't stop thundering" (we have to suspend activities for 30mins after thunder or lightening). So we are waiting and waiting for the thundering to stop, and finally it does, for 30mins, right in time to go to our appointment. So we drive the 20ish minutes to our appointment, and when we park and pray, we get out I hear the siren for the tornado going off (it goes off as a practice the first Tuesday of every month). I say to Hermana Diaz, "Um, I'm not sure what to do when the tornado siren is going off for real and not just as a warning". So we are like oh crap, and then we hear the clap of thunder and then the rain starts and it is pouring down like pelting. We text our zone leaders to ask what we're suppose to do, and then decide to just go wait for death while teaching our lesson. So we teach our whole lesson and at the very end before we pray, Hermana Diaz checks the phone and then she says to me urgently, "We need to go now!" Sensing her urgency I was like "what" and I grab the phone, this is what I see "Get indoors immediately a tornado is heading for Rockford and is expected to touchdown in 10minutes". At that moment I was walking out the door and then we are like, what're we suppose to do? Our house is 20minutes away and it is in the direction of the Tornado. Seeing the sky turning green, we decide we better head for the church which is about 5minutes away (well 5 minutes when you're trying to out drive a tornado). By the time we get to the church, the sky is pretty green and crazy things are happening outside. It's windier than I have ever experienced (I can see why Dorthy blew away to the land of Oz in the Tornado), and the thunder and lightening it happening pretty much continuously and it is loud and bright purple. It was scary and also so cool. So we get to the church and the Elders are there, well crap, we're not suppose to be in the building alone with Elders..."desperate times" I say, and we go in, well we are looking for the keys to the church that are suppose to be in a lockbox outside the door...they're not there! "Great, thanks Elders". So we start pounding on the door, while the weather gets worse and the tress look minutes from crashing down. No one is coming to the door. We call them, it rings and rings, and rings, finally they answer, "Elders, let us in the church right NOW!". So they do, and then we just waited for like an hour watching all the crazy things happening outside, then after what felt like forever, it stopped and everything was quite. We got a text a little while later that we could go home, and that no missionaries were hurt, but that a lot of areas had been damaged. We decide to leave and make the 20 minute drive home, and well we were still heading back into the storm, and the sky wasn't flashing purple lightening the whole way home and trying to blow us off the road. It was an adventure. Finally we got home safely. It was awesome. I kept saying to Hermana Diaz, "This is so cool.....but also, I don't want to die". So that was our adventure of the week.

Also this week, I learned some really cool things. I learned that the commandments are eternal principles applied to our circumstances in this life. Eternal principles meaning they're not just rules for this life, they're principles we will also be living in the next life, and that we lived before this life as well. That is why it is so important to understand the spirit of the law (meaning the real intent of the law or meaning behind it) and try to live accordingly, rather than just living the letter of the law (the action of the law). Because the spirit of the law is what brings us the blessings. The commandments are not what is going to perfect us, what will perfect us is the atonement if Jesus Christ, the commandments are there to point us towards and lead us towards the Savior and a greater appreciation for the Savior's Atonement. The commandments do not save us, they give guidelines of the way to live so we can merit salvation. This is why we are commanded to keep the commandments out of love for Jesus Christ. It is more about the spirit of the commandment- what is God really wanting from us? Because He is not just trying to micromanage our lives and exercise dominion over us. He is trying to prepare us for eternity. The commandments have eternal significance and application. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we don't need to try the very best we can to strictly obey the commandments, we do! But we need to understand the spirit of it, because if we do, we don't need lines, we will know the path. This was the problem with the Pharisees in the bible, they made rules to make sure they were keeping all the rules, and by doing so they failed to understand the meaning behind, and reason for the rules. We need to keep the commandments, but we also need understand why God has given us such commandments and what He is really trying to teach us, and as we learn that, we won't need a cement wall to keep us in, because we won't want to go out. For example, in the mission, we have so many rules, and many times when missionaries go home and they don't have the same structure the fall, they forget the path, and they wander off. Elder Zwick said the mission is like walking on a path with walls, but when you go home, those walls are taken down and you're expected to govern yourself and stay on the path. But so many walk off, I think that's because they could live the letter of the law on their mission, but they failed to understand the spirit of the law, and therefore when he letter of the law was taken away (the walls) or changed, the were lost. I hope all that made sense. I learned a lot about this topic this last week, it was very cool, and very revelatory. I came to understand the commandments of God in a whole new way, with a deeper love and appreciation for God and what Eternal principles He is trying to teach us. If you want to know more, you can ask me. :)

Well I love you all! Keep praying for me. I'm so grateful for all your love and support. Pray for Edward, he is getting baptized on Sunday :)

Fight the Good Fight!

❤️Hermana Simmons

I love plants :) - April 7th, 2015

Hi!

I never know what to write anymore, but this was a good week. We had

General Conference of course, which was so dang good. I really tried

to prepare for conference this time by preparing questions that I

could have answered. They were all answered and I have figured out a

lot of things I need to put into practice for when I come home and

just how to do the things I want to do in my life.

Also we had mission conference to celebrate the first vision and it

was so cool, that's why I didn't email yesterday. I love the prophet

Joseph Smith, I know he was a prophet of God, and I know that we need

that knowledge if we want to truly come unto Christ. I love the Book

of Mormon. It fills me with so much peace and contentment when I read

the Book of Mormon. I know it really is the word of God. I finished

the Book of Mormon again this week and I was reassured that it is

true. I know if we strive to read the Book of Mormon, everyday of our

lives that we will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, and we will

be steadfast and immovable. I invite you all to make reading the Book

of Mormon a priority. It changes everything.

Also, that mission conference was the last time I will see Hermana

Hunsaker before I go home. Needless to say, we cried. I love her so

much. She's a missionary that changed my mission.

Also, today we went to a conservatory. I'm not sure if you ever knew

this, but I love plants. Seriously. I love it, and one of my life

dreams is to own a conservatory. We got to hold butterflies while we

were there! I didn't even know that was possible!! Also I bought

another plant, it's an air plant. It literally needs nothing to grow

except air and a sprites of water once a week. It doesn't grow in dirt

or anything. It was an awesome day.

Well I love being a missionary. This is the greatest work. I love the

opportunities I have had to grow and learn on my mission.

You're all awesome. Fight the good fight. I love you :)

Love,

️Hermana Simmons

Daily Sustenance - March 30th, 2015

Dearest Familia,

Well this week we have transfers and I will start my last transfer in

the mission! That's pretty crazy. I'm going to be staying here and

dying in Beloit. I get to finish training Hermana Diaz, that'll be

great! It helps me to stay focused, because I am trying to figure out

how to help her. It also super strange to be starting my last full

month of the mission this week. But April is going to be a month of

miracles. Hermana Diaz and I have set some awesome goals that are

really going to help us stretch and do all we can in this last month.

I'm excited to see the miracles come!

I also learned an interesting lesson this week about receiving daily

bread from Heavenly Father. Being towards the end of my mission I

can't think very far into the future or things get a little foggy.

Recently I read this amazing talk by Elder Christofferson called "Give

us This Day our Daily Bread" and it has really helped me. It talks all

about how in life we are always told to prepare for the future, and

what's coming and while that is good, sometimes we just need to focus

on the day to day, and seek daily bread from Heavenly Father. So

lately I have just been trying to seek daily bread from Heavenly

Father, and not focus so much on getting through all the way to the

end, or the week, but getting through the day. To be able to focus to

the end of the day and do what the day requires of me. I'm trying to

be as diligent as I can and work as hard as I can. I want to see

miracles and I want to leave my mission the best I have ever been.


Also, I'm studying Portuguese, I can't remember if I told you that,

it's pretty hard. Totally different then Spanish in the speaking, but

yet really similar. We are teaching in Portuguese, so I'm learning.

Who knows maybe I will come home trilingual. Lol :p


I love you all. I am excited to see you soon! :) fight the good fight,

all the way to the end.

❤️Hermana Simmons

The Best of times and the Worst of times - March 23rd, 2015

Familia,

Well this had a little bit of everything! Some of the best moments of my mission 😀 as well as the worst. 😔 Seriously.

So on Tuesday we had New Missionary Training, in Naperville which 2 hours from our apartment. Well about an hour into New Missionary Training which is from 9:00am to 4:00pm by the way, I started to feel super sick. Well long story short, I got spent the rest of New Missionary Training alternating between laying on the couch in the foyer of the church, and throwing up in the bathroom. It was awful. I hate throwing up, seriously I think there is nothing worse. So if I am throwing up it tells you how sick I feel. I haven't thrown up since I was a senior in high school. Anyway we finally got home, I made it all the way home without throwing up. Then I basically just died. My sweet companion took care of me, and luckily she has not gotten sick. But I was miserable so I asked for a blessing. One of the members of the ward gave me a blessing with the Elders and it was really cool. The first thing said in the blessing was that the Lord was pleased with me and with the sacrifices I had made to come on a mission as well as the sacrifices I have made on my mission. So that was really nice to hear. Then in another part I was blessed to have a keen mind to finish the work of the Lord on my mission. This was also very significant to me because I have been feeling mentally 'out of juice' lately. Like just mentally exhausted. I have been trying to figure out how to overcome this and stay mentally engaged the rest of my mission. So it was really cool to hear that, and since then my mind has actually felt different. More alert and clear. I was also blessed to be healed and keep liquids down which was nice, because I was dying of thirst but every time I drank anything my body rejected it. Then last I was blessed "to receive all the blessings promised to me in the pre-mortal existence in the due time and way of the Lord". That was very interesting. Then I went home and slept basically until district meeting the next day- My Birthday. Yeah, I was still sick on my birthday 😥 but at least I wasn't throwing up anymore. By dinner time I was still able to eat corned beef and cabbage as is tradition for my birthday 😀 THANKS MOM! I forgot to take pictures. But it was sweet. So basically being sick one of the worst experiences of my mission. I have NEVER not worked because if being sick, even when I had strep throat, so I hated it. Plus I hate throwing up. It was terrible. But hey, I'm 22 now and I learned that everything Taylor Swift said about being 22 is a lie. Haha

Thursday we had Sisters' Conference and that was so cool. I was feeling fine again which was nice. We were instructed by all of the sister training leaders and President and Sister Fenn. The spirit was so strong and I heard some thing I really needed to hear and received some answers I wasn't really looking for yet. After Sisters' Conference we went on exchanges with the Hermana Training Leaders. I was with Hermana Lopez here in Beloit. It was cool, we worked hard, I had a 2nd Birthday dinner with Klein family who I have adopted as another set of grandparents. Seriously, he calls us and says, "Hi Sister Simmons, this is grandpa Klein...err..I mean Brother Klein". I love them. He tells everyone at church I am his granddaughter. Haha. Then we taught some amazing lessons on Friday morning. (Exchanges are usually 24 hours). Both to less actives. One of them is so strong, and has so much faith, but has been having a really hard time. Her husband passed away a few years ago, so she lives alone. She is on dialysis 3 days a week and has a broken hip. Pretty much she has the short end of the stick. But she has so much faith and I had such a cool experience in her lesson where I started to say something and in my head I thought "Heavenly Father is so proud of her". And I was like hm well I'm sure he is, that's cool, and then I started to finish the sentence I was in the middle of when the thought came "tell her Heavenly Father is proud of her". And the feelings associated with this thought were so powerful, and had to pause and collect myself so I didn't cry and during this pause, again came " Tell Her!". So I opened my mouth and said, "Sister, Heavenly Father is so proud of you." And the spirit filled the room so strong. Then words just kept coming out of my mouth that I hadn't intended to say, including that the Lord just wanted her to hold on and He would show her how all of these things have worked together for her salvation. It was an awesome experience.

Then we exchanged back and had some crazy things happen. We were suppose to have a baptism on Saturday of Johanna and Ramon and Jose, the people I was teaching in Rockford. Angels family. But crazy things happened and so the baptism was moved to Friday. So we rushed to the baptism on Friday night. Family, I don't know how to put into words the feelings I had of being at the baptism. But I love this family so much. Every time I talk about them I start to cry. This family is my family. Actually during the baptism I kind of wished you were all there so you could meet these people who I love so much and who have become my family. I just balled my eyes out when I was talking to Johanna. She was going through and telling Hermana Hunsaker and I all the specific ways we had changed her life and the things that we had said and done that changed her and her family. I just wept. Seriously. I love that woman and her family more than I know how to put into words. I remember before I left on my mission, Louis said something to me about how on your mission you meet people that you come to love in away you didn't know was possible, they become your family and you come to realize that like you own family, for heaven to be heaven, they have to be there. Well that is exactly how I feel about this family. My joy is full to the brim. The fill a place in my heart I didn't know existed till I met them. The baptism was a sweet experience. I was just filled with so much love, for Heavenly Father and His plan, for this family, and for Hermana Hunsaker and all we went through for them. She real,y is such an amazing missionary. Every time I see her I am just filled with pride for what a powerful missionary she is. And love for Hermana Neff, who was able to harvest the seeds I sowed. I wouldn't have wanted anything more than for her to be able to go and work with the people I love so much. I knew they would be in good hands. She is such a good missionary. I am so blessed to have been able to train these two missionaries and see them grow and become powerful instruments in the hands of God to change the hearts of those around them, including myself. But I love this family, and at their baptism I was able to see Yuri and Rafael, some less actives I worked with a lot when I was in Rockford. And by worked with a lot, I mean I poured my heart and soul into that family. I never gave up even when everyone else did. I just loved them and they told me that what Hermana Hunsaker and I had done for them had changed their lives. They're doing so much better now, I mean the difference is incredible. I feel like Ammon when he says,

"But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." Alma 26:11-12, 16


It's really quite amazing to me to have these experiences and be able to see how merciful the Lord has been unto me. How much He has strengthened me and guided me. How He made it possible for me to even be here on a mission after everything, and then to be able to see the sweet miracles I have seen. It brings me to my knees and fills me with such gratitude that my words can't express. I love my Father in Heaven. I love His children, and I want them to be able to come home. I love this work, because this is home they find the only way home. He interesting thing is. Rockford was by far the hardest place I have served. Everyday was a test of some sort. Of my patience and ability to endure, of my focus and ability to seek and act on revelation. I have never been more stressed or felt more unsuccessful on my mission than during the time I spent in Rockford, and yet, I loved that place, I planted and worked, there was many tears, fervent prayers, pain and sorrow, I gave my heart and my soul and yet I left without seeing anything much come from it. But now, the Lord is His mercy has showed me the sweetest of joys and they have all come from there. I know the Lord has a plan. I know that He knew how I felt in Rockford and I know that He never once stopped helping me. I know He needed me to be there and now He has shown me why. I have learned so much better now how to trust in the Lord and to just keep going against all odds, because The Lord will not abandon us. I have learned better now how to never give up when the Lord asks you to do something. I am so grateful for the grace and mercy I have experienced throughout the journey of my mission. I feel incredibly blessed. Much more than I deserve. I know that Heavenly Father is good. I know that He loves His children and He is doing all He can to help them come home.

On Sunday in church Hermana Diaz and I sang a version of "I know that My Redeemer Lives" (p.s. I have sang a lot of my mission). I just want to finish with the words of that song. Think deeply on their meaning and your own testimonies of the Savior. I know He lives. I know the words in this song are true.

1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

3. He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

4. He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”

I love you all. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. Fight the good fight.

Love,

Hermana Simmons