Friday, November 25, 2016

2nd Week Six - Celebrations

Elder Lovgren celebrated his birthday last week and people in his mission took great care of him! He also had an awesome week serving the Lord and here are some things he said:
  • It was my birthday this week, I'm 23; I don't know how I'm that old all of a sudden! It was celebrated multiple times this week, and on one occasion I thought you all would want to know: I ate a 32 oz. steak, that's two pounds!...I'm not kidding you, I couldn't walk!
  • It's so sick that I can touch people here; we use our talents to glorify God.
  • We met with [investigators/friends] and had Pho with them and it was so sick...they opened up...I've never had investigators want to hang out with us this much. They're not even investigators, they're buds.
  • There's a family in the Ward that [we and our buds] have been over to a couple times. We connect on a level of music and it's so sick. I wake up in the morning and I'm just stoked.
An assortment of Elder Lovgren's birthday celebrations!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2nd Week Five - The Little Things

This week Elder Lovgren told about little things like his area, his apartment, and what he eats. Here's some of what he said:
  • My area is big - it's one of the bigger areas - but the actual civilization part is really small. (It's about as big as when I served in Irvine.) There's one tiny shopping center with a Smart and Final, which is a grocery store like Price Chopper, and then a couple restaurants and then a CVS, and then there's four gated communities right next to it. Then there's one normal community - where we live - then you drive down this canyon road and you're in the woods and it's a completely different culture and people.
  • With daylight savings time it's brighter in the morning so more light comes through our apartment and, for me, it just helps in the morning to have natural daylight shine in; I don't know what it is but I just feel happy.
  • As far as what I'm eating. To be honest, this week all I bought was a watermelon. That's it. I just bough a big ol' watermelon, chopped that thing up, and have been eating it all week. I usually don't eat lunch - I'll eat a bowl of cereal and drink some ginger tea in the morning but not eat lunch - and I kind of like it because I feel more in tune with the spirit because I don't have food to block it out. And I don't feel hungry, I just feel full from that, then at dinner members like to feed us a lot.
Elder Christensen and Elder Lovgren reppin' KC while doing some service!

Friday, November 11, 2016

2nd Week Four - Good Times

Elder Lovgren had a great week last week! Here are some of the things he said:
  • It's so crazy how some weeks are the slowest and some weeks the fastest! This week was for sure a quicky. Does it feel long that I've been gone now?? Shoot only 3 weeks and it feels like that haha but it's gone quick!
  • Well missionary work is the best, really. It's such an amazing privilege. Everything has come together real nicely this week. I feel very integrated into the ward and I'm starting to be more of me! There's always that kind of weird adjustment time trying to "fit in" sort of... but once that's over, the work really starts.
  • We said a prayer before leaving and during I got this vivid image in my mind of us walking 2 doors down and knocking on a door. So as soon as I got up from the prayer, I knew exactly where we were going and why we were there. I then felt prompted to grab a plan of salvation pamphlet that teaches about Gods plan with pictures and such. So we walk over and knock, boom, a 30 year or so old woman answers and shes super happy to see us! We small talk for a bit then I just said, you know, we just felt prompted to come over here, not sure why but we want to share a short message with you about Heavenly Fathers plan of happiness for all of us. We then shared some things about where we came from, why we're here, where we go after we die, etc. and I shared with her that I absolutely KNOW families can be together forever. She then told us a little bit more about herself and some heavy trials she's had in her life. I asked her who she lived with thinking she was married. She then said, "I live with my parents! Reason being... my moms upstairs in bed dying from pancreatic cancer, and it's bad." When she said this I was just in awe. I couldn't believe how orchestrated these events were, the timing, the message, everything! I then promised her again families can be together forever, you will see your mother again when this time passes. I then gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon with my testimony written inside and promised her the comfort it would bring to her life and she was so thankful!! It was such a miracle to see how easily just by following the still small voice of the spirit, those tiny little promptings, we can truly be effective work tools in the Lords hands! He knows best. He knows what each of his children need and he calls those who are worthy of it to be angels at the right place at the right time. 
  • Another rad thing that happened this week actually totally got me stoked about being in RSM and this area. So on another exchange, it was around 8 pm and we're at this lake sitting on a bench talking and such. I then hear a snap! And I knew from a mile away someone was skating, so way far away I see these two dudes just chilling, both with skateboards. So of course... I ask them to play skate! Every time when I ask that in shirt and tie and dress shoes, people laugh and just know they'll smoke me right? Well I did a few tricks and these kids were dyin hahaha. Thought it was crazy I could actually skate. So they were then pretty interested in what this is all about. So I told em I've skated forever and that I've worked with a lot of people in the industry they know etc. So they're super shocked at this point. Then music came up and one of the kids, 18 years old named AJ pulled out some demos of his band. No joke, fully 80s synth kinda psych poppy stuff. Pretty much exactly DCA. So already we're just nerding out about it all. I then told them they have to hear my synth I brought out since it's THE 80s synth. So the next day, AJ invited us over to his place where all his homies were. Now this whole term of events was pretty hilarious and quirky to me haha! Eliminate the whole music thing and this would've never happened... We walked up to his house, it's me and 3 elders, shirt and tie right and this dude walks out, real hard pressed fully tatted gnarly biker guy. Looks real mean, he says, "you the guys with the music?" We're like uhhh yeah? He's like cool!! I'm AJs dad he's inside!!! His mom then welcomes me in and 2 of his sisters and they're all just happy to see us. Then we go to the basement and 5 of his homies are down there. AJ then introduces me to his buddy Jordan on guitar. He brings over an amp for me, I plug in and start playing some chords and such. And I don't even know how but all of a sudden in like 2 minutes we're just jamming in his basement. Like dream jamming!!! This dude is just ripping on guitar and it all sounded amazing. So we just jammed and made jazz stuff for like an hour and then we had to grab a ride quick so we kinda ran out of the house. But the whole dynamic of just these surf bois and these elders in this small basement making the sickest music! It was so epic. I've now got all of their numbers and we're planning every week to record music and then teach a little bit about the gospel. It's so sick!!!! This whole thing really made me so happy to be here. I hope I get to stay for a while so I can meet with these kids every week since they're not in school or anything, they're just trying to figure out what the futures lookin like. Very blessed for that experience. Makin me happy!!
  • So these were just a couple crazy lil things that go on on the daily out here! Love you all foreal. A lot! Can't wait to hear what this new week brings for you. Please tell me everything!!!

Elder Lovgren and Elder Christensen

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2nd Week Three - Life's Assortment

Elder Lovgren's area is very diverse. On one hand there are people who live in gated communities, and on the other hand there are people who live in the canyon. Here are some things he said this week:

  • At one point I had a story that I wanted to share which was about a scripture that really stuck out to me in the Book of Mormon that was how I gained my testimony but instead I felt totally prompted to share the reason why I wanted to come on a mission, which was three years ago when I needed to...Mom, I was with you and we were driving in the car and I told you I wanted to go on a mission. The day before, the missionaries came over and totally brought the spirit in our house and it felt super good. I was struggling, didn't really know where I was going, and had decided I wasn't going on a mission. But then I told you I wanted to go because I had watched a wedding film about the temple and about how families really can be together forever. I had that experience where I was telling you about it and the sun was shining super bright in my eyes and I just knew "Okay, this is definitely the right thing to do" but I had lost sight of that decision. I told him the reason the gospel means so much to me is because it blesses my family-brings me closer to them, brings me closer to my heavenly family; to my brothers and sisters-to all of you. And he just started smiling and I was just like man this feels so good! 
  • Ive been trying to stay focused. I've been praying a lot trying to understand how I can change my life because I feel like I'm in this transition period right now where I feel like I need to get back on track. Feeling the spirit is something I want every day.
  • There's this guy who has a guard goat in his front yard! You have to be nice to him and pet the top of his head or else he'll ram into you and push you over. The guy is super nice, but I thought it was so funny that they had a guard goat! That's the kind of stuff that goes down in the canyon. The other day I caught myself saying "Howdy" and I thought what am I doing?! Who am I now?! It was funny.
  • I'll find myself being really quiet and bummed about the fact that everyone's in their houses during the day and there's really nothing to do. (The people in the canyon aren't very nice, sometimes you get the door slammed in your face, and you get in a rut. It's a mental game, you know?) I find that when I'm quiet it's because I'm thinking about myself-I turn inward-I think why me? This is totally affecting me. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... When I look over at my companion and think about the issues he's going through a lot of that goes away. I just have to constantly remind myself to care about others all the time, to really try to stay busy in the work but be interested in other people-be concerned, and care, and sincerely try to help them. 
  • I shared my favorite scripture that starts with "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost." I read that in the Missionary Training Center a year and a half ago at a time when I wasn't sure if I could keep going. I read that scripture "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." My initials are ANGL and I felt like that scripture really spoke to me that "Andrew, you'll speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Read the scriptures-feast on them-and you'll know what to do in your life." That totally comforted me so much when I didn't know if I could keep going. I was looking at them and I could see that they were smiling and they could feel the spirit so much and I was like this has been a week that I've been thinking about family a lot-the kind of father I want to be, raising my kids, providing a home for them. (I think it's inevitable on a mission-you're always teaching those things.) It was really amazing to teach in such a simple way and see the impact it had on them. Maybe it will be something that inspires them in time to come, and it makes missionary work so sweet.
Elder Christensen, a friend, Elder Lovgren

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2nd Week Two - First P-Day (again)

Elder Lovgren's first week back in the mission went well. He's serving the people in Rancho Santa Margarita (but letters and packages can still be sent to the mission office in Irvine and he'll get them.) Here are a few things he said:

  • I'm just glad I'm here back where I know I need to be. I've been meeting some of the sweetest people ever. Truly just nice people.
  • I just feel way more clear headed now since returning home. I've also seen how much my story will be able to reach to peoples hearts. I've already connected with a lot of members through telling them that I returned home and it's turning out to be a great blessing and accomplishment. I'm so happy I did what I set out to do! Now I'm here to finish strong.
  • A cool little miracle that happened at the beginning of this week! The very first day Elder Christensen and I left the apt, we ran straight into an indian woman who came right up to us and said, you guys help people right? We nodded and asked what she needed. She said she needed a ride somewhere so we told her we could accomodate that. We got to talking more and she opened up about how religious she is and how everyday shes on the search for more truth. She attends 4 catholic masses a day...... Shes really on one! haha But shes still confused about a lot of things shes reading from her bible. We told her we as missionaries are basically guides to help her gain a stronger relationship with the Lord, that being through prayer and scripture reading, etc. She then said, "Oh yeah, that book you're holding, I've almost finished it! Maybe we can read it some time, it is very interesting..." Seriously this was the first woman we talked to since I got here. Miracle! She then went on to say how she wants to come to church! She wants to meet the bishop! She wants to be a missionary! She was really excited and honestly you could feel the spirit so strongly from her. She really was a Godly woman.
  • We were trying to explain to her that it's really your choice to be happy in this life. We all have our own agency - freedom of choice - were not forced to do anything. And so it's kind of her choice to be scared of the maffia coming and killing her and all these types of things. So we were just trying to explain to her that fear doesn't come from any good source, and that anxiety and that fear she feels to not listen to it that it doesn't come from anywhere good.
  • It's, honestly, amazing being back and serving these people. I'm feeling all the same things I was feeling before - same emotions. And I'll say it is amazing how much different the work is now that I am a different person. I really feel that there was a complete change of heart and mindset when I was at home and now I'm seeing it out here. My head isn't clogged with what's going on at home, I miss all of you and love all of you but my heart and my mind is just tuned to the people here and it's honestly an amazing feeling. I think about how when I made the decision to come home the reason was to be a fully consecrated missionary and what's funny is that I literally thought being consecrated was something else and did not understand that it meant completely giving yourself to the Lord and the work - being completely 100% immersed. It was essential for me to return home and get my mind off some stuff and now I just go throughout my day. I don't wish to be back at home, it's just kinda chill. I just go throughout my day and wherever the Lord leads us is where we go.
  • I love you guys. Pray for me. Pray for the missionaries. We're out here trying our hardest. Some people are not the nicest. Some people are totally out to tear us down, and those people I think need our prayers more - that their hearts can be softened - because at the end of the day we're all trying our hardest to move forward in this life, you know, progress and be happy. I know that I'm in a happy place and I want to share that with others.

Elder Lovgren's caption: "I'm here every day!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2nd Week One - New Beginning

We are now in AZ-got here yesterday-and Elder Lovgren got set apart last night by our new Stake President. He flew to Cali today and what a whirlwind our move and him going back on his mission has been! Our KS house got completely painted inside and all the carpet was replaced. (Our house was transformed and sold all while we lived there like nomads!) We packed two PODs and one Uhaul trailer, and completely emptied the house over three months-what daunting feat!! But it was all over when we got on the road and now we're here! We greatly thank our son, Elder Lovgren, for helping us!!

During the eight months Elder Lovgren was at home he kept himself busy! Here are some of the things he did:
  1. Spent a lot of time with me-taking me on rides, taking me to lunch, and doing things for me.
  2. Refined his project "Deaton Chris Anthony" by:
    1. Learning to sew and making many recycled and cool sweaters (20+.)
    2. Making an "It's okay to cry" backdrop featuring six girls. (The "It's Okay to Cry" documentary will be made when he gets a better computer and will feature each girl's story.)
    3. Made many hats and sold a lot of them to a store in KC.
    4. Performed "Deaton" songs in Westport, MO.
    5. Learned to DJ and did 4 shows.
    6. Released a new album (BO-Y) this morning. The first album (BB) was released last year (the day he originally went on his mission.)
  3. Helped Per and Me move from Kansas to Arizona. (Helped pack the PODs and Uhaul, helped empty the KS house, helped drive my car.)
Elder Lovgren will serve the Lord for 15 more months and will finish his mission in the first part of 2018. Per and I look forward to picking him up.

Elder Lovgren returning to his mission October 18, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Week Forty - Diversion

What an awesome son we have; Elder Lovgren diverted his mission for six months to come home and take care of some things, and help us move. (We're moving to AZ to be closer to our other son, Bryan, and his family.) Packing and fixing up our house to sell needs to be done by May 31st because on June 1st we're putting our house on the market. Then, hopefully, between June 1st and Sept 30th our house will sell. We'll move to AZ as soon as the house is sold, move into a rental home, and find the house we want to build. I'm handicapped and can do very little. Per travels internationally the first six months of the year and is often away from home. Packing and fixing up the house by May 31st seemed like a daunting feat until we learned about Elder Lovgren's return; now with his help it seems doable. Elder Lovgren will resume his mission in September 2016.

California Irvine Mission February 2016 Zone Conference

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week Thirty-Nine - Wisdom

Elder Lovgren loves his mission in California. He loves the people he's met, the people he knows, and even the people he has yet to meet. Here are some things in quotes that he has learned followed by his thoughts:
  • "Satan, He's is the master of procrastination." Isn't that so true?! Of course! Satan wants us to be idle - to not progress - he doesn't want us to learn - he doesn't want us to become - he doesn't want us to experience - he just wants us to be idle. You look around and see the tools he uses for us to be idle - TV or really any source of entertainment. I think that entertainment can be so good and super bad at the same time - you can just see how idle you can become. 
  • "Perfection means to progress towards it. It was never meant to be a noun." I love that - being perfect was never meant to be a noun - like the translation of it, it just means to progress towards it and so we continue to progress and we continue to perfect. We're not supposed to be perfect on earth - I really like that.
  • "We've chosen to come to mortality and so Heavenly Father know our desire." Right?! We all chose to come here. We all jumped for joy to come to mortality - to have a body - to experience - to become like our Heavenly Father - and so Heavenly Father knows our deepest desire; He knows what we want! He knows that each and every one of us wants to return back to Him - deepest down in our truest of hearts. He knows that and He helps us along. I heard that revelation is really remembering the things we've always known. I love that - I love that we've always known things - and while we don't remember the choices we've made and it's hard to sometimes believe, it's true and we just don't remember.
  • "God created all things, even the rock bottom." Sometimes we feel like we've hit rock bottom but God created that, too. That just gives more reality to the fact that Jesus Christ - being the creator of this earth (God's the designer) - has been below. We will never be able to fall lower than Jesus Christ because He felt everything. That rock bottom - that's the rock, you know? We fall to Him and He's able to lift us.

Elders Gough and Lovgren with a friend

Friday, February 5, 2016

Week Thirty-Eight - Return With Honor

This was a big week for Elder Lovgren. It was transfer week and his companion completed his mission. Elder Lovgren has been on his mission for 9-1/2 months! It doesn't seem like he's been gone that long but he's approaching the halfway mark of 52 weeks. If a habit is established in three weeks than his habit is to love California, for sure! Here are some things he said this week:
  • A lot of people are sort of fighting to fit into a temporal mold. If we would just all mold to Christ then every puzzle piece would fit. You know?
  • Contention is not from our Father in Heaven! Is there anything more peaceful than knowing that?
  • I love the Book of Mormon and the explanation of simple truths and principles.
Elders Lovgren and Gough, and family

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Week Thirty-Seven - Comfort

To me, Elder Lovgren's messages just get better and better. Here are a few things he said this week:

Fear, doubt, and confusion doesn't come from God and it's so easy to tell when Satan is trying to lie. Any fear or doubt in my heart makes me think it's just not true - especially in the house of the Lord. Satan's always trying to lie to us - he doesn't want us to be in the house of the Lord - he doesn't want us to feel good - he doesn't want us to have peace - he doesn't want us to be happy - he doesn't want us to progress. But being in the temple is the closest place I can get to God and Satan cannot be where God is.

It doesn't matter what other people think - it just between you and Heavenly Father. The whole time when people think they're failing Heavenly Father's right there with His arms open. He's full of love and peace and comfort. 

This world is filled with amazing people. The Plan of Salvation is real. God has a plan for each and every one of us - it's unique to us. Everyone has something to contribute and to share, and it lifts others. The true and everlasting happiness that comes is from radiating the light of the Savior.

Elder Gough and Elder Lovgren

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week Thirty-Six - And The Work Goes On

Is there a better place for Elder Lovgren to be than on a mission?! Would eternal progression, a strengthened testimony, and an everlasting focus have come had he not served a mission? I don't think so. Here are some things Elder Lovgren said this week:

The gospel changes people, it makes them their best selves. I'm a testimony of that and can see it in myself - I am changed. I can just see it in myself, that I wasn't a very good person. I know it's a process in our lives and that it takes time, and I can see the change that's happened in me. Before my mission I didn't like people, and now all I want to do is surround myself with others and build relationships with my brothers and sisters. I want to help them and I don't care about me. Any chance I get to stop thinking about myself is nice. Like I said, it's a process and it's not something I'm perfect at. But line upon line and precept upon precept - I grow a little bit at a time. I'm growing so much! 

The other day, our investigator asked us, "How do I know that a 14 year old boy saw Jesus Christ?" That's a very valid question! Everyone needs to ask that question. We shared scriptures with him - Alma 32 talks about exercising a particle of faith and when you let the seed of faith grow in your heart you'll feel swelling motions and your soul will begin to enlarge and you'll know it comes from a good place. Ether 12 verse 6 says that faith is things that are hoped for but not seen, and that a witness will come after your faith is tried - God will reveal himself spiritually to us. Many things are manifest to us through the spirit after we have the desire - the hope - that they will be manifest. We desire God to really be there and we hope for it. If we dispute not and dare to have faith He will witness to us. 

People inherently have spirituality in them, and they want to talk about it! People want a church to come to and they want to talk about spiritual things. The reality of the calling I have for two years is to be able to tell people, "It exists, it's here right now, come and be a part of it. We'll love ya, and you'll find so much peace and happiness here. It's changed my life. You just have to know for yourself, don't take my word for it." Reality tells me there is no greater calling. Missionary work is a miracle, and I couldn't be more happy in my life - I couldn't be in a better place. 

Contact Lenses
A friend of ours said the gospel is like contacts. I love that comparison. Before I had contacts I could see beautiful things - I could go - I could live my life - life was good. But that day when I put contacts in my eyes, all of a sudden I saw detail - I saw even more beauty. That's entirely what this gospel is: We can live our lives happy and content, but when we put the contacts of the gospel on we see things way different - we see the details and see the things that matter.

Elder Cedeno, Elder Lovgren's trainer, is going home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Week Thirty Five - Learning

Elder Lovgren inspires me. (Just to clarify, this blog is maintained by me and I insert some of his words from his weekly messages to us.) Here are some things he said this week:

The Lord's Words
The scripture I want to share (in Mosiah chapter 7) is one that sort of haunted me at times when I knew I needed to be a better person, but at the same time it just rings so much truth. It's in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter seven. It says:"For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again, he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison. And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction. And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." (Mosiah 7:27-33)

Lesson Learned
When I lost my wallet it was at a time when I was sitting around the apartment a little more than I should have, I was sitting in the car, and maybe going shopping during the week. I was not doing missionary work at those times and that's just the honest truth. I don't believe the Lord inflicted pain on me but rather he invited an experience for me to learn from and grow, so I could become a better person. What a better person I've become with my wallet being gone! It sucks! But at the same time it's okay, I'm learning. It's like do what I need to be doing, obey the Lord, obey every prompting, follow the commandments, do everything that I can! How is me losing my wallet not how the Lord hedged up a way for me to not prosper? It's been hard! It was not a punishment for me to lose my wallet - even though I thought it was - but, really, it was an opportunity for me to grow. I think it's more of a blessing than a punishment.

Blessings and Happiness
The other day some people were in our face, and saying and doing mean things to us. It bummed me out, but I asked myself how can I learn from this? How can I be a better person? I reflected over that experience and feel like I was led to that scripture yesterday. I decided to put my trust in the Lord knowing he's not gonna hedge up my way to be blocked but rather he's gonna enable us to be blessed. If we want to be happy people we have to choose. What I think that means is to choose to have God's will, choose to love God, choose to do what God wants us to do. I think choosing God brings happiness because true happiness comes from Him. If we want to be happy people we have to choose to follow Heavenly Father.

Elder Lovgren and the Dover District

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fast-forward: Week Thirty-Four - Dedication

Now that the holidays have come and gone and the craziness has gone, too, it's back to routine and consistently updating Elder Lovgren's mission blog. Here's some of what Elder Lovgren said this week:

Missionary Work is Where It's At
To be honest, I've noticed this week that the only time missionary work sucks is when I'm not doing missionary work. That's when being on a mission sucks! (I've said that a billion times in my past messages, but it's really true!) It's the same principle as working out.

It Takes Dedication
If you really want to get fit and cut it takes pain. (I haven't ever experienced the physical pain of getting cut because I've never been fully committed to it.) But, as far as being spiritually cut it also takes pain in the form of endurance, willpower, and patience. Being dedicated to becoming spiritually cut starts out being uncomfortable. A lot of the times it's not the first thing I want to do. I want to just chill, I want to just relax, but the thing is, being dedicated to being spiritually cut has shown me results. (Theoretically, it's easy to say how it is, but saying and doing it are two different things.)

The End Result is Worth It
I've seen in myself that I'm imperfect. (I don't dedicate myself all the time, you know?) I know exactly how to truly be happy and I've felt pure happiness. Sometimes I've felt pure joy and bliss on my mission. (To maintain pure bliss and joy takes a lot of reliance on the Lord.) Relying on the Lord gives me the strength to spiritually endure, but at first it's uncomfortable and spiritually painful. is the complete opposite of pain and discomfort.

Scriptures Help Me
The scripture in 2 Nephi chapter 2 (where it says, "There is an opposition in all things") really stands out to me, and has stood out to me several times on my mission. I've pondered and relied on that scripture a lot because many times I feel I'm not reaching my full potential. Sometimes as a missionary I think okay, I only have two years to do this, what am I doing? Am I piling out? You know? That really sucks for me because it destroys my peace to think I'm not good enough. (We all know where that comes from!) Reading that scripture really helps me to realize that when I do have a bad day, or when I'm not reaching out as much as I could, I'm learning what it's like to see the opposite of complete joy. 

Opposites Teach Me
Feeling sad and hard times prepares me to feel excited joy. (The only reason why I have really blissful days is because I also have hard days.) I see the fuller picture of everything, and it's really sweet! 

Knowing Both Sides
I want to read you the scripture in 2 Nephi because it's epic! (Let me pull it out real quick.) It says, "11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. 12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God." Then it talks about the laws of heaven and how if there's no law there's no happiness, and if there's no law basically, everything is vanished away and has no purpose. 

Doing What It Takes
I think about that scripture a lot. I've felt pure happiness and it's very refreshing and nice. This upcoming week I want to feel that same happiness again and I'm gonna do what it takes to feel it. (Wanting to feel pure happiness is not selfish - that I will do the work for me to be happy - because I will do the work to reach out and help others.)

Elders Lovgren and Gough at Christmastime