Sunday, January 29, 2017

Coming Home

Well, I knew life would get crazy as soon as I got home - boy was I right! :)

But that's okay. Most of the craziness is from my very amazing family. . . as I may have mentioned, I have 10 siblings, 9 of which are at home still (all of them being younger than me). I am so very grateful to be able to see them all again - I talked to the second oldest, Natalie, (one of my bestest friends) right after I got home, she's away at school. It's been fun being home! I'll tell you all of my adventures from the past few days. . . .

On Tuesday, after going to the Temple, we had dinner with President and Sister Mella and were able to have a testimony meeting. I had the earliest flight the next morning, so after weighing and shifting  things and then re-weighing suitcases, I went to bed.

Wednesday I had a hard time sleeping - I swear, being nervouscited is totally a thing - and so got up at 5 instead of 5:30, which ended up being much better time wise.
President drove me to the airport at 6:30 and I went on to my flight. The plane landed a little early in Dallas, so I got something to eat then realized there was no gate number on my ticket for my next flight. So I looked at the information board - at the wrong one! It took me to the other side of the airport and then I found out I was in the entirely wrong place. I made it to the correct gate just as they were announcing last call for my name. BUT I MADE IT. :) When the plane landed, I walked out the gate fully expecting my family to be down the hall - but they weren't where I expected. I went down the stairs and there was my Mom with Lisa and Rachel. They were upstairs - on the opposite side of where I came out! That was funny, and so were their faces when they turned around. . . and they were holding a cute sign:

All of the siblings who picked me up :) 

Abi and I

Becca, Hannah and I

This is my darling, Rachel

We drove to pick up Ray from school (everyone else being home schooled xD ) and went home.
Gosh he grew - and yet he was already taller than me before! 

Soon after we got home I left with my Mom and Lydia, Susan, Abigail and Hannah to meet my Dad and get released.

Afterwards we went and played around with pictures of my nametags . . . 

Lisa and I
I then braided all of my sisters hair, because I could


Playing one of my favorite games, Curses. 

Spent a lot of time the past couple days organizing the things I had before my mission (and everything that I gained lol) and trying to remember passwords for my emails and just spending time with my family. :) AND READING! Horray! xD 

Today was my homecoming talk and I had the amazing opportunity to drive up to Houston from Brookshire and pick up my recent convert who lives there and bring her down for my talk. :) Vanessa is amazing! I met her in Pleasanton, where she came to live with a friend, Monica, who was a member in the ward I served in with Sis Harvey. Vanessa came to church her first Sunday in California and we were introduced and started teaching her - about three weeks later she was baptized. :) 
Vanessa and I

Oh look, an actual picture with my family. . . wow!! xD

And because I know a lot of you couldn't be there, I am going to share my homecoming talk. :) 

How the Atonement has Affected Me and Those Around Me and Those I Taught on My Mission

"It's a little hard to express the feelings I have for my Savior and what He has done for me. I know so much more than I did before my mission about the atonement. I learned how to not only use the atonement for the small  mistakes I made each day but to also use the part of the atonement that helps us have strength, the enabling power of the atonement. Whenever we pray for strength or courage we use the enabling power, and we can use the redeeming power that cleanses us from sin every day - because we are human and we make mistakes! Heavenly Father knows that we make mistakes, that is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. In the Bible dictionary it says that "The word [atonement] describes the setting “at one” of those who have been estranged and denotes the reconciliation of man to God." Because the atonement was preformed for all, we are able to repent of any mistakes we make. 

Another way the atonement has blessed my life, is when I found out near the beginning of my mission that one of my dear friends had died from cancer. I knew that she was freed from pain, but I still had sorrow about the fact that I would not see her again in this life. The atonement is there to give us joy when we sorrow and help us heal from our pain, which I know because that is what it did for me. I was able to receive comfort through the atonement. In Alma 7:11 it says "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered for everyone and for everything we go through. He knows better then anyone what sorrows we have felt and what pain we have had to bear - because He has felt them too! I know that this is true, because of how He has helped me in this way. 

In my first area on my mission I met a less active who had made some mistakes in her life. She ran into some other missionaries while at the store and realized that she wanted to change, so she gave them her information to give to us. My companion and I met with her and planned to share with her this quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, which says: “However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made … , I testify that you have ​not​ traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”​​ I know that the atonement can help us no matter how much we think it cannot help us return from where we have been and who we have become. We read in Moroni 7:​​​​​41 ​“And what is it that ye shall ​​​hope​ for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have ​​​hope​ through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life ​​​eternal​, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.“ I know that this is the greatest hope in the world, made possible by the Saviors sacrifice for us.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us so many chances and opportunities to turn to them and change. The atonement has made it possible for all of that to happen. I know that because the atonement was fulfilled for us we can return to Their presence. But the atonement is also an amazing gift that Heavenly Father has given us. If we don't use it, it is like an analogy I once read about a seminary teacher who taught the atonement using donuts, with one of the students doing 10 push-ups for each of the other students so that they could have a donut even if they didn't want a donut, culminating in a lot of uneaten donuts on the desks and an understanding that Jesus preformed the atonement so that we could repent and return to him a gift He freely gave to everyone in the world even if some of the people don't use it. 

I found a poem that speaks to me about what the atonement is. It is called "His Perfect Atonement" and says: 

"I used to believe

​​​​That there was a hole

​​​​In Christ’s Atonement—

​​​​That He could save everyone—

​​​​Except me.

​​​​But I was wrong.

​​​​There is not one hole,

​​​​But seven.

​​​​Two holes in

​​​​His Hands

​​​​Where they nailed Him

​​​​To a cross

​​​​At the behest of those

​​​​He would die

​​​​To save,

​​​​Two holes in

​​​​His wrists

​​​​Where they ensured

​​​​The weight of His body

​​​​Would not cause

​​​​His hands

​​​​To rip through

​​​​Before His penance

​​​​Was complete,

​​​​Two holes in

​​​​His feet

​​​​Where He stood

​​​​As a witness to all

​​​​Of God’s unyielding love

​​​​For each

​​​​Of His children,

​​​​And one hole in

​​​​His side

​​​​Where they pierced Him

​​​​To prove His work

​​​​Was done.



​​​​Seven perfect holes

​​​​In earth’s only

​​​​Perfect Man.

​​​​The perfect Atonement

​​​​To patch the holes in our lives.

​​​​His holes make us


​​​​I was wrong.

​​​​There is a


​​​​In Christ’s Atonement

​​​​For me

​​​​After all."

​​​​(Kasey Hammer, Utah, USA, Sept. 2015 ensign) 

I know that because of the atonement I am able to do all things. I know that the atonement can help you in your life because it has helped me. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that He is always there when we need Him. I can promise that as you strive to do what Heavenly Father asks, the atonement is there for you and for me. The atonement makes up all the difference, because the Savior choose to do all that for us and we have the opportunity to choose to use the atonement. 

I know this is a little different, but while I was on my mission I wrote a song about the Savior's knowledge of us, and why He has done so much for us, why He preformed the atonement. I have received permission to sing it for you. 

He Knows

"He knows all of our sorrows

He knows all of our pain

He knows everything we go through

No matter how mundane.

He knows the weight of our worries

He knows the mountains we climb

He knows if we are falling

He knows all the doubts in our minds

He knows and loves us all

We're the reason he came to the earth

He heals and cares when we fall

He's known us since before our birth

He knows all of our wishes

He knows the needs of the soul

He knows our tests and our trials

The reason we're on the earth

He knows our disappointments

He knows when we feel down

He knows if we're lost in the darkness

and helps us to be found.

He knows and loves us all

We're the reason he came to the earth

He heals and cares when we fall

He's known us since before our birth

He knows the depth of all darkness

He knows the height of all pain

He knows the feel of all sorrow

He suffered it all with no thought of gain

He knows all of our choices

He knows the paths we go down

He wants to guide us all throughout our lives

He wants us to be with Him again

He knows and loves us all

We're the reason he came to the earth

He heals and cares when we fall

He's known us since before our birth."

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I loved being able to serve a mission! It was the best thing I've done so far in my life! :) I am grateful to everyone who was a part of my mission journey, but I hope you know I'm not done telling you all about what happens in my life! I will still be posting on my blog and emailing those who can't actually look at it. . . :) 

Hope everyone else had an AMAZING week as well. :D


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