Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Made it to the MTC

Hola Familia!
Well- here I am at the CCM in Mexico. Suffice to say I am entirely intimidated and overwhelmed and I have only been here half an hour. BUT this is going to be incredible. I can tell. Literally every minute of our schedule is packed so I will be plenty busy. My P-day will be on Friday, soo look forward to my first (real) email next Friday!
This will be my address for the next 6 weeks:
Your Missionary's mailing addres is:

Sister Shaelyn Rogers
01/09 19-C
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

I only have 5 minutes, which is not nearly enough time to express any of my thoughts, but I am officially a missionary, tag and all. It feels incredible.
I love you all so much-- saying goodbye was probabaly the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, but its time to pick myself up and carry on. This is the Lord´s time and I can´t spend it moping around!
I will talk to you soon family! I love you.
--Hermana Rogers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm Fixin' to be a Missionary!

This was my journal entry the day I got my mission call- It expresses just a little bit of what I felt about my calling to serve as a missionary, and I still feel the same enthusiasm today as I prepare to head to the MTC:

"March 19, 2014 was probably the most exciting day of my entire life! I found out that I am going to be serving in the TEXAS HOUSTON EAST MISSION!!! Spanish speaking! I report Wednesday July 23, to the Mexico City MTC- exactly 3 months after school gets out for me! AND I GET TO SPEAK SPANISH!!! There is no way I could express my emotions in writing, but I.AM.SO.EXCITED. J Once I’d calmed down a bit, I read through the call letter itself. One of my favorite lines is this:
“As you devote your time and efforts and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
I am called to serve as a REPRESENTATIVE of Jesus Christ. I am going to Houston Texas to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I am preparing to turn my life entirely over to the Lord for 18 months while I serve with my heart, might, mind and strength. I have been studying the scriptures my entire life to discover the truth for myself, so that I may “have His Spirit and His word- the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). I am part of the hastening of the work of salvation and I am called to help preach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
THE FIELD IS WHITE AND I AM READY TO HELP JOIN IN THE HARVEST. The Lord knows the desires of my heart, and I know that if I ask for anything, I’ll receive it. I will abandon my fears and anxieties and know that the Lord is with me. I will open my mouth; I know that it will be filled. I will share my testimony without restraint. I will love and serve God’s children in Houston Texas.
3 Nephi 5:13 “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life”.
As I consecrate my service to the Lord, and turn myself over to Him, He will make me an instrument in His hands to bring salvation to his people. I am helping to gather Israel.
D&C 30:11 “And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul… you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.

I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel in this dispensation because it was the Lord’s will. Nothing can stop this work from progressing and I am so excited that I am called of God, through the prophet, to preach the gospel in Texas. The scriptures are true, Heavenly Father loves me, and He has a work for me to do. I WILL GO AND DO." 

I LOVE YOU ALL. Thank you for the support and encouragement you've given me :) See you soon enough! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Farewell Talk!

Hello brothers and sisters—to those of you who don’t know me, my name is Shaelyn Rogers, and I’ve been called to serve in the Texas Houston East mission, speaking Spanish, reporting to the Mexico City MTC July 23rd! Today’s been kind of unique, but I’ll take it upon myself to apologize for the insanely hot weather we have been having—I think it is the Lord’s way of preparing me for Texas… Also He broke our AC, so my family can sympathize with me once I leave ;)  

            I am so grateful for the topic I was assigned to speak on today, which is the Second Great Commandment. Matthew 22: 35-40 reads, “Then one of them, which is a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. So my topic is 5 words, which Jesus Christ himself said was the second great commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself. As I have pondered and read through scriptures, I’ve come to learn about how to love others the way our Father in Heaven does, and become more Christlike.
            In Preach My Gospel, the manual missionaries teach from, the very first topic in lesson 1 is: God is our loving Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father loves each of us more than we can comprehend, and He has blessed us in so many ways. Because I know of His love for me, I want to share that with others, and this is one reason I am going on a mission.
1 John 4:7,11-12,16  Behold, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God…Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us…God is love.

One of my ultimate goals in life is to come to know my Father in Heaven better, and become more like His Son Jesus Christ. In order to become more like Christ, I need to do my best to exemplify the characteristics that He has shown. This scripture I just read states that every one who loves knows God! In order to come to know Him better, we need to love His children here on the earth.
Jesus Christ is the one perfect example of love. Each of us should strive daily to develop the pure love of Christ, or in other words, charity. As I have studied charity, I have learned that it isn’t just something you have, or get somewhere. Charity is something you become. I’ll explain myself—
Moroni 7:45-48 in the Book of Mormon talks about charity. “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”. In Young Womens one day, I learned a lesson about charity that has stuck with me. In this verse, if you replace the word charity with your name, you have a whole list of character traits! Each of these are things you would love to hear someone say about you… I don’t know if this makes sense, but for example- I want to live my life in such a way that people could say about me, “Shaelyn is kind. She is not puffed up. Shaelyn rejoiceth in the truth” Granted, our language would sound much different today, but you get the point. Next time you read this verse, I would suggest that you think not only about how great all these descriptions are—instead, think about how you can BECOME this kind of person.
Moroni continues on, “…charity never faileth, wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it in the last day, it shall be well with him”. And finally, in these verses, Moroni teaches us to, “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which He hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ…that when He shall appear we shall be like Him”. This is one way we can become more like the Savior—by having the pure love of Christ in our hearts, and showing that to others so that they may feel and come to know of His love. When we ourselves are increasing in charity, service to others will become an unforced thing coming from inside ourselves, not from any outside pressures.

            In our church, the youth do what is called a pioneer trek. On the Trek I went on, President Doty said something that will forever remain with me. He said, “You come to love those you serve”… I have always remembered that in my opportunities to serve in church, but also in other circumstances.
            We are surrounded by our brothers and sisters- we are all sons and daughters of God, and if we keep that in mind, service becomes entirely different in nature. God’s commandment to us is to love and serve one another, and when we do, we are helping Him do His work. Serving others requires something from us- It requires our time, our effort, and our heart. Again, I think of the Savior, who was always giving of Himself in order to serve others, and He always did so with perfect love, never grudgingly or with regret. Many of God’s children stand in need of our service, and when we are actively serving and loving our fellowmen, we are drawing nearer to God, and becoming more like Christ. Neil A Maxwell states, “Only when our commitment is full can we be fully used by Him. The more we are centered on Him, the less we are centered on ourself…There is one way to get outside the small cell of self-interest: we must first love God, and in the name of Jesus Christ serve Him, proceeding onward to the loving and esteeming of our fellowmen even as we regard ourselves”.
            I love the line, “the more we are centered on Him, the less we are centered on ourselves…” This is a lesson I will be learning every day while I am out serving! My mission is 18 months of full service to the Lord. I will serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength- My mission isn’t about me, it is about those people who I will be bringing to Christ and teaching about the joys and peace that have come to me through this gospel.
President Monson, the prophet of our church, said, “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness….we are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us”
Our Heavenly Father needs us to help each other out! Each and every one of us can do something to lift another up. Imagine the good we could do if we were all united in service. Alma says, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”. Our acts of kindness don’t have to be major! We can simply smile, wave, help someone to their car, give them a compliment, etc. He has put His trust in us to build each other up. Because He can’t physically be there in person, we need to be. “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we can’t regard those around us as our brothers and sisters” –SWK
            This quote reminds me of my mother. For those of you who don’t know HER, I’m sorry. She is the most loving woman I have ever known. She will talk to people anywhere and everywhere- we (gently) make fun of her sometimes, because to us, the grocery store worker doesn’t need to know as much information as she tells them sometimes- BUT. She ALWAYS brightens their day and shows them a glimpse of the love and joy that is in her heart. This lady that raised me is SO incredibly selfless and always looks for opportunities to serve and I consider it a MAJOR compliment when people tell me I am just like her.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I make this change? How can I ingrain this love of Christ into my heart?” M. Russell Ballard says, “In your morning prayers each day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of FAITH and LOVE, looking for someone to help… if you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible” Loving our neighbors as ourselves is the second commandment, coming after a love of God. Loving Him completely will help us to look to Him for opportunities to show love to His children. The second commandment flows from the first commandment—God is the ONE person who fully understands His children and knows how to help them. In order to best help and serve our neighbors, we must be in tune with God.

One of the most powerful experiences I have had with love outside of my family was Girls Camp- I was a Youth Camp Leader for the first time, and I was worried! I won’t go into details, but basically, I knew I would need help. So I spent a while leading up to camp praying every day for help to see each of the girls I was a leader over the way my Heavenly Father sees them, and to love them with Christlike love- I later asked for the love of Christ to FILL MY HEART so I could see every person at camp the way He sees them. As I continued to pray to came to know these people as children of God, I was much quicker to serve them and befriend them. Each one of them was so special and I wanted to get to know them all on a personal level to find out how I could better lead them. I can genuinely say that I had such an overwhelming love for all the girls, and it didn't fade after camp was over. I can’t explain it, besides saying that my prayers were answered, and my heart was overflowing. That experience changed me. It changed my experience at camp from that time on, and it strengthened my testimony of prayer and God’s love. I felt His love SO STRONG both for me, and the people at camp—I know that on my mission, I will be praying for love every single day, as well as asking for the Spirit to guide me to who my companion and I are supposed to teach, serve, and love.

My purpose as a missionary for the next 18 months is to “invite others to come unto Christ…” I can see no better way to do that then by loving them the way He would, and serving them, and teaching them about Him. I know that Heavenly Father loves all His children, and if I keep that in mind, I can show them the same love that He would if He were here.
I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I can think of no greater honor than the call I have been given to be a full-time representative of Him in Houston Texas for 18 months. I have been prepared my whole life so that I may serve Him with all that I am, and I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, who brought Christ’s church again to the earth today, and he translated the Book of Mormon- which truly is another testament of Jesus Christ. We have living prophets on the earth today, that continue to give us guidance and council from the Lord- and communicate to us what it is God wants us to hear. Prayers are answered, and Heavenly Father loves His children and wants to bless them. He cares more deeply about each one of us than I can ever imagine. I know that if I have faith, and continue to keep the commitments I have made with Heavenly Father, trying always to become more like Him, I will one day be able to live with Him again. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of Jesus Christ, and what He has done for me so that I may continue to change and become a better person every day through Him. I know that through Him, my weaknesses can become strengths and I will be able to return to live with God again. He is my light and my ultimate example. I hope to be able to love as He does, showing kindness and forgiveness, and having pure motivation to serve my fellowmen. I can’t wait to spend every day bringing my brothers and sisters, God’s children to Him- the source of peace, light and truth. I say all these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.