Dear Mom, Dad, Panda, Blakey, BenBen, Aayayron,
Yes! We watched all of the sessions as an entire stake, members and missionaries included.
One thought rang particularly true for me today as I was trying to pay better attention to the promptings from the Spirit during the day. With the thousands upon thousands of people around us, there are really endless opportunities for us to talk to people, but God in his infinite mercy and understanding often places prepared people literally RIGHT NEXT to us. He could easily guide them somewhere else and then make us pay extra attention to the Spirit and do something really bold like push through a crowd, run across a street etc., but instead, he has them walk next to us so we can casually say hello to start it off. Elder Renlund's words are fitting description for this: God often calls and blesses us "in spite of what we've done". For all our weakness, he rewards every step we try to take in the right direction.
I love the Carswells so much! Norah looks like a happy healthy baby too. How do they all feel about their new baby sister?
I haven't gotten the package yet, but I'll keep my eyes open for it!
Have you all picked scriptures to "ponderize" this week? I would love to hear all of the ways you come up with to share those scriptures with those around you and incorporate them into your lives!
God knows us and our situation perfectly, and I have chosen to believe that God knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and acts in the way that will best help us. For "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things". How do you feel about the idea of a God who knows everything, from start to finish, from top to bottom?
We spoke to a woman on the street the other day who thought that such a God might as well be a puppet master manipulating us on his whims, and if we accept that, then we must simply be chess pieces, lab rats, in some already decided game. It wouldn't be fair. Rather than believe that, she believed that there must be no God, and only she decided what would happen to her. No one already knows what she will do.
On the other hand, we believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that although God knows everything, He has given YOU the power to choose, whether it will be to you eternal benefit or eternal condemnation. He knows there will be some people who deliberately choose to do wrong despite knowing what is right, and there will be many who will earnestly seek to do the right. "Well, what is right and what is wrong?", the cynics ask. The truth is, you already know. It has been etched into your heart, taught to you my loving leaders and parents, and perfectly shown to you in the life of Jesus Christ. If you openly and honestly review the teachings of Christ, with nothing held back and with a desire to change to do what is right, you will know in your heart that they are true. If you do that, I promise you that making decisions will become so much easier. You can know for yourself what is right. Don't listen to all of the false voices telling you that it's different for everyone or that each person decides what is right and wrong for themselves. That is a not true principle.
There is more to this life than just to have fun, get a lot of money, see the world, or other such empty goals. Don't give up hope! If you ever feel unsure or frustrated, I want you to know that you can come to me with questions or please ask my parents or my siblings! They're amazingly loving!
With all my love,