Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015 - La Luz de la Verdad

She got mail!

So so much incredible stuff happened this week!!!!! 

So last Monday we got a call from the office that we had a reference from the General Offices in Salt Lake!! Which is like, super exciting because that hardly ever happens here!! And the office Elder said that the guy who referred her said that we needed to visit the reference like, that night. So we changed our plans, and called Andrea....and holy cow. So so incredible!! She said that she's in a course to get baptized in her other religion. But, she has a friend who is Tico, but lives in Utah who is Mormon, and she just texted him asking him a question about Polygamy that her friend had asked her! And he said, no no no,we only have one wife now, hey how about I teach you about my religion, you teach me about yours? So he started explaining the LDS church and she said she wanted to read the Book of Mormon, and he said I'll send you a surprise! And so he called the reference office! and then,like immediately after getting the reference, the AP called her, and she took that as an answer that she like really needed to consider this religion! So we met with her in McDonald's Monday night because she has a 5 year old son who wanted to play in the playplace, and it was just so amazing--she just said, Ï don't think it's coincidence that right before I was going to get baptized in a different church my friend who I have known for 30 years finally started talking to me about his church. I want to be in this church, raise my son in this, and maybe have him go on a mission. What do I need to do to get baptized in this religion?" Me and Hermana Geis like couldn't talk...this just doesn't happen!  seriously the most spiritual experience I think that has ever happened in a McDonald's playplace.  Anyway, we met with her again on Wednesday,and she said that she spent all of Tuesday night praying and crying...and she said, that she made the decision, that she needs to be a part of this church, and leave her other one. She's so amazing!!!!And she rode the bus four hours to come to the baptism we had this Saturday, because she was visiting her mom! It's all really a miracle...we just get giddy thinking about her! God's timeline is incredible--had the AP not called her immediately after receiving the reference, shemight not have taken this as much as an answer that she needed to really consider this church! Listening to spiritual promptings is so important. Haha, sorry I don't even know if this story makes sense, there's just so much to say about it, it's just so cool!
The ruins near their apartment.

But yeah, Maria Jesus, who is 13, got baptized!!! It was so beautiful. Her dad, Carlos, who got baptized like two months ago got to baptize her, and her mom who has MS and hasn't left the house like since her baptism two months ago felt well enough to come watch!! Such a miracle. It's been so cool seeing the light growing in Maria Jesus's eyes.:)
Maria Jesus and parents

The ward had an anniversary activity for 50 years of the mission in Costa Rica!! They had people who have been members for a long long time talk about the growth of the church here, talking about all the first missionaries and when the chapel was built here, and everything! So fun. Dad, you would have totally loved it. 
And then Sunday, we had a conference because they are making a new Stake here in Cartago!! Before it was with La Paz, but now there is one of its own!! Now I think there are eight stakes in Costa Rica, which is amazing! The Lord's kingdom is spreading so much on the earth...crazy that 50 years ago there wasn't even a mission here!

Views of the area

Anyway, it was a exciting week,full of miracles and gaining a better understanding how the Lord is in charge of His work, and the light of the gospel is getting shared with so many of God's children!! I love this gospel and this work so much. 

Love you all!!!!! Hope summer is going so great for everyone.:)

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015 - ¡Oh está todo bien!

Pacasys is so stunning!

Pancakes and Pday

Hello everyone!! 

I can't really remember what happened this week...haha it flew by! But it was good! I love it here, and the culture, and the people, and I'm getting more used to it every day! It's crazy, this week is the first transfers since I've been here! There were so many changes in the district and zone and everything...we think we have the Assistants to the Presidents and the Zone Leaders in our district now, so that'll be exciting! We're ready to work super hard and echar fuego. 

A super spiritual experience this week happened with Gleny. Ahh we just love her and her family so much. It really was such a miracle she got baptized when she did, when she wanted to move up her baptismal date up two weeks, because she hasn't been able to come to church since--she went to the beach in Guanacaste on the other side of the country with her family because it's vacations for all the school kids the past two weeks, and then her daughter was really sick the next! So yeah. We're realizing more and more how much of a miracle it really was! So we went to visit her this week, and she's having such a hard time---just a lot of rough things happening. But she loves the gospel SO much. While they were in Guanacaste she called us to learn the tune for new hymns to sing with her girls, it was so cute. But yeah, so we were at her house the other day and she was just crying. We shared the story in the Book of Mormon when the people are basically slaves under Amulon in Mosiah 24.
 I really really love this chapter, when it says, " Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
 14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."
Sometimes we will go through really hard trials in this life, times when we feel like we're in bondage! But God will always deliver us out of our afflictions, and ease the burdens that we carry--not always take them away completely, but He will always help us through these times, and they really make us stronger and help us become more like God, which is the purpose of coming on this earth. Then we sang Come Come Ye Saints, and it was such a cool experience, the Spirit was so strong. 
And, I just realized, it was fitting for Pioneer Day this week!! I'm so grateful for the Pioneers and all the sacrifices they made, the afflictions they endured. 
Happy Pioneer Day this week, Love you all!!! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015 - meeting new president, focus on families

Hermanas in district with Sis. Laura Hayes and her daughter Elizabeth
This week was super great!! 

We met the new mission president this week, President Hayes. Oh my goodness, he is just so incredible. He's just such a humble, sweet man, and super approachable. I'm so grateful that we'll have him here. He wants us to focus on teaching families--families who will be able to strengthen the wards here in Costa Rica. Because the church is growing so fast here, they need a lot of strong families! And yeah, the church really is growing, it's super super exciting--we're getting a Cartago Stake in two weeks!! Before it was with La Paz, but now we'll have our own!! All the members are so so excited, it's been really fun to see. 
American food!

President Randy Hayes cooking

Something cool from this week..I've gained such a bigger testimony of family history work here!! We've teach a lot to new members about baptisms for the dead, and give them a "mi Familia" booklet to start their family history. And they love it. I love seeing the light in their eyes when they realize that they can do this work for their ancestors who have gone on before! We taught this to a recent convert, Carlos, yesterday and it was so incredible--he wanted to fill out the whole booklet right then and there, and if we could have gone to the temple at 8:00 at night last night we would have! Honestly, family history work is one of the most beautiful parts of the gospel--that we can do this work to help our ancestors, those who are stuck in spirit prison and are really just waiting for us to do this, and then do the ordinances to be sealed as a family forever!!! 

And then as we were leaving another miracle happened! We were in Pacayas, which is like a 30 minute bus ride away from our house, and when we got on the bus, there was a guy who is American there in the front of the bus, who I've actually already talked to on teh way to Pacays! He's in the Peace Core so he's been here for two years, and the last time we talked we didn't really get to talk about the gospel, but this time he like asked what we'd just been teaching to the family, and it was super cool getting to teach the gospel in English! haha, it was like in the Best Two Years. And he says that he really wants to settle on one religion, but he doesn't know what, but he has a lot of the same beliefs as us... so yeah! Hermana Geis says that I was explaining temples and baptisms to the dead to him she just felt the Spirit say to her so much that he needs to get baptized. So yeah! We'll see! :) He says we can't teach him for like a month, but we're going to try to earlier...Haha, Hermana Geis says she's so excited to practice the lessons in English! So that will be fun! 

I love you all so so much, and hope you all have an incredible week!!! 
Graciela and Kiana

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 5, 2015 - nod and say "Que bueno!"

4 julio
Hola all! :) 

Haha, there's been a couple funny stories with Spanish. So, a lot of the time I don't understand what people are saying. So a lot of the times I just nod and say "Que bueno!" and smile and it all works out great.But I was doing that this week with a nine year old kid and then Hna Geis was like...Nooo that's not bueno!! Haha he was saying that his aunt who lived in America almost died of a heart attack......haha good thing she understands stuff!! Haha, but I think I'm understanding more...anyway, I love the language, but it'll be nice when I don't have to fake it all the time! 

Another time I was talking to a woman on the bus and she was like "Soy Christiana"(I am a Christian) but I thought she was saying her I like point to my name tag and say "Soy Hermana Moon" and she just looked at me and kind of smiled...haha it was super awkward and funny. 
at district meeting

So we've been teaching this girl named Maria Jesus! Her parents got baptized at the beginning of June, and their story is so cool...their mom has MS so she got baptized by being lowered into the Bishop's swimming pool! I wish so bad I could have been there, she's so amazing. But anyway,it was Maria's birthday this week, and she told our friend Graciela that her birthday present was going to be her baptism!! Awwwww. We were so happy. But, she has to stop drinking coffee it'll probably be like the 18th of July!! But she's really so wonderful and understands so much in the lessons. Being a member of this church is really such a gift...really the best birthday present you could ask for! And since we have this incredible gift, this knowledge of hope and happiness and direction and eternal families we need to share it with all those who don't know it! 

I also realized this week how important it is to read the Book of Mormon, every day!! The Book of Mormon is really the key to conversion, to knowing that Joseph Smith really was a prophet, and then if he was a prophet, all is true!! So read it every day.:) Honestly the time I read the Book of Mormon every day during personal study is some of my favorite time of the's seriously such an incredible book! 

Anyway, I love you all a whole lot!! I hope you all had an amazing 4th of July! Hahaha Hermana Geis and I looked really silly that day wearing our bright red skirts together...but it's okay, Patriotism is worth it. Love you, have an incredible week!!! 

Love, Hermana Moon
Hna Moon was kind of tired after we ended planning - from Hna Geis

and while writing in her journal - from Hna Geis

Despedida de los Wilkinson

My district with the old President and the whole Costa Rica mission before the divide! 

District with President and Sister Wilkinson

Hermanas in district

Cartago District

Entire mission before divide

June 29, 2015 - Gleni's baptism; directions and addresses in CR

This next week the mission divides into Costa Rica San Jose East and West!!  We had our last meeting with the whole mission and the mission president before the split! Haha, I felt bad because like everyone was crying except's just not that weird for me because I'm so new and don't really know anyone, or the President too well. But it was sad because like my companion had to say bye to people who will be in the West mission, and everything. But it's really cool, before I leave for home there will be 400 missionaries in Costa Rica, which is incredible! I'm excited to meet the new president too, I've heard that he's incredible. 

Okay, so the story with Gleni is such a miracle!! So, we had her baptism date for July 11, because we didn't want to rush her...she had a date before, in like March, but then she told the missionaries then she didn't want to meet with them anymore or anything. But she's been coming to church and everything, and LOVING learning and studying things on her own. And she was so willing to give up coffee, and did it in like a day. And, she's already practically a member, or it seemed like it...she was referring everyone she knew...we honestly would sometimes forget she was just an investigator! so Hma Geis and I were thinking that we should move her date up to the 5! So we told her on this Thursday, hey, we've been thinking about moving up your date, and she just said, "To this Sunday? Yes!!" And we had been thinking the next one, but we were like, haha okay great!! So she got baptized yesterday!!! And it was so beautiful!! I just love her and her family so much. Hopefully her husband wants to start learning now!! He...really doesn't want anything to do with it. But we'll pray that he can soften his heart, he did say that he wants to change to be a better husband and father! So we'll see, everything is possible with the Lord! 
Gleni's baptism

Hermanas with Gleni

The other week we found the best couple ever!!! Their names are Kenia and Jose and they're married!!! So that's already a plus. And they have three kids. Their family is so beautiful, Hermana Geis and I can just imagine them in white. And they're such real investigators. They really want to know. Jose has already read so much, and always fills out the questions at the back of the pamphlets we give him... but it's really sad, their kids go to Catechisms (I don't know how to spell it...the Catholic kid stuff) so they don't really want to miss that to go to church. But, it was great because this week it was on a Saturday so they could come!! But, only Kenia and Jose came, but it's okay, it's still a miracle that they came because they live in Bermejo, which is like 40 minutes from the church and basically no one here has cars so it's a miracle if people travel that long!! And he has a lot of doubts, but they love learning and we really hope that things can go well!! It's really interesting though, this is the first investigator Hma Geis has had that has looked things up about the Church on the Internet! Which is awful haha because there's so much untrue stuff. But it's the first time it's happened to her on a year of the mission! And, he understands that a lot of stuff on the internet isn't real...that's why praying and studying the scriptures and the Holy Ghost is so important in conversion! It can't be a logical thing, and we can't convince them of truth, only the Holy Ghost can! 

So, the directions in Costa Rica are terrible. There are no addresses, and no one really knows how to describe where they live.... they just say like, '"It's the purple house 50 meters south of a blue house." So.....sometimes we spend a long time looking for houses! Haha it was so funny, the other day we were walking in Bermejo, and Hma Geis was talking on the phone with a person we were trying to find, and she just said it was an orange house, and there were a few close by, but it was none of them... and then I was like, "we hope it's not that orange house!" and pointed to a bright orange house like on the other side of the mountain way up high..... and it totally was. The lady went outside her house and was like, ""across the valley I can see two people, is that you?"And she went outside and waved....and yeah it was her. Haha, we laughed so hard. I wish I had a picture so I could show you ... it's funnier to actually like see how it was. So we got to her house like 25 minutes later, that's how far it was. But, the worth of souls is great. :) Hopefully before I leave I learn how to figure out where people live because my companion does most of it! 

Being on the mission is such a great learning experience, that I love a lot! It's incredible--there's so so many people in this world, and the Lord loves all of them SO much and wants everyone to know the joy and truth of the gospel. But, it takes a lot of praying and listening to the Spirit to find those ready to listen! And, this week has been hard in finding new people, and it's a little discouraging at times. But the Lord has people prepared, everywhere, we just need to be humble and remember that this is His work, and He really does want people to know and accept the truth. And this gospel brings so much happiness. 

I love you all so much!!!! Keep smiling and serving and praying always :) 

Con amor, Hermana Moon 

June 22, 2015 - Ticos eat rice and beans! And galletas

Their Father's Day message - courtesy Griselda on facebook
Hola all!!! 

This week honestly flew by!! I think partly because we did divisions, so I went to a new area for two days. I'll be doing those a lot actually, my companion is the Sister Training it'll be fun, I'll get to work with a lot of different hermanas and in different places!

Costa Rica is a cool place. Cartago is actually a pretty big city, and our area just covers like the housing areas around it..not really subdivisions? I don't know what to call it, but it's a pretty big area...we spend a lot a lot of time on the bus!! So we do a lot of contacting there, which is fun! A lot of the houses here have like a fence outside a front tiled area thing, so we don't knock on doors, we just say ÜPE to let people know we're there! which is fun haha. And we really don't find new people by doing that, just mostly references, which is great!  And Cartago has like Walmart and Subway and it's not really too different! And everything here is so expensive! Like at least two times as much as stuff in the states! It's cool to see the differences along with the similarities to the two places. But oh my goodness the drivers here are so crazy. Pedestrians do not have the right of way haha. And I'm super glad we're not in a car mission because I would crash all the time.
Bermejo.  Image from

My favorite place in our area is Bermejo. It's far, like a 40 minute bus ride, but we're going to start going there a lot because the people there are so willing to listen! Lots of amazing families there. It's like hilly and all green, and there are just cows and goats and horses and fields.  Hermana Geis and I just walk the streets there and imagine that we're starring in the District 3. It's so beautiful. Dad, if you ever have to move out of Cache Valley, this is where you would want to go! 

The rainy season is just starting here! There have been like...five days I've been here where it's rained all day? And it rains at least a little bit every day. I'm not sure, but it's beautiful! Today me and my companion ran for like an hour and half in the rain and it was the best thing ever (she loves to run!! hallelujah!! we don't go very fast because she hasn't ran for a year...but it's so fun!) 

Photo from Griselda. 
Ticos eat rice and beans! Haha, like every time we get fed that's what it is! But I love it a lot, so it's all good! Oh. and galletas. Like crazy. Galletas are either Saltine crackers, or like the wafer cookie stuff...both.So we get a lot a lot of that. Oh and Coke or Pepsi. Everyone loves it here. 

Anna didn't feel ready to be baptized this week, so we're planning in July hopefully. But we went one night this week and started reading the Book of Mormon with her,Alma 32,and she and her husband were LOVING it.So hopefully they start reading together every day!! And Gleny's whole family came to church yesterday, and her mom did too!! and her Mom, Maria Isabel wore a skirt for like the first time in her life! So that was exciting. She wants to be baptized too, but she isn't married to the guy she's living with, and he doesn't want to get we'll just have to see!! That's one problem a lot of people have's a miracle if we find a family where the parents are married.
with Graciela
With Griselda

Dear parents, thank you so much for teaching me good values. It's so sad. I've taught so many girls younger than me who already have like two-year old kids.And, it's like expected here!! So thank you SO much for raising us in the gospel, and thanks to my friends and family for being so amazing and helping me choose the right always!! The gospel really is the pathway to happiness in this life, and I'm realizing this so much. I know this gospel is true and I love it with all my heart!! Keep praying, reading the scriptures, going to church, doing the little things, and it makes all the difference. 

Love you all so much!!!!!! 

Love, Hermana Kiana Moon

Kiana's 1st area - Cartago

Did a google image search to see what it's like.  Kiana told me she's actually colder than she thought she'd be a lot of the time and was sorry she sent sweaters back from the MTC.  The rainy season lasts from May to November.  I keep the weather for Cartago up on my computer, and sure enough, it usually says it's raining.  The weather is generally in the 70s.  

image from
You can see that the city is at the base of a volcano.

image from wikipedia
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles

image from

image from

Ruinas de Cartago
image from

June 15, 2015 - Pura Vida!!

Where her heart is!

So much has happened these past two weeks I don't even know where to begin!!

Well...I finished at the MTC! I really really loved it there. I met some amazing people! It was cool, we got to hear from Elder was so great. I wish so bad I had my journal with me right now because I can't really remember too much from it because it was two weeks ago.....but. It was really great. And I could feel the Spirit so strongly that he truly is an apostle of God! 

Last Monday we flew out to Costa Rica!! I went with two Elders...I'm SO grateful I wasn't going by myself it would have been terrifying. But everything went great! We arrived in Costa Rica at like 9:30 at night, and the mission president and his wife met us. We then went to the San Jose temple, and it was SO BEAUTIFUL. He talked to us there about our purpose of everything we do here is to "bautizar and retener."  (baptize and retain members). It was so good. He's such an incredible man, I'm super sad he only has two weeks left of being mission president!! This is such an incredible mission. The month of May there were 207 baptisms, which is incredible. So yeah, it's dividing the end of this month! Then I went and slept at some sisters' apartments, and then spent most of the next day at the office! Then the rest of the new missionaries came from the Guatemala MTC....16 more! Most of them are from Guatemala and Honduras and Costa Rica. So I was the only Gringa! Then the next day we had a breakfast and got our trainers!!! and OH MAN. I love mine so much. Everyone said that I was going to be with a Latino so I could learn Spanish...but nope haha I'm with another Gringa! Soo we kind of talk English  a lot which isn't the best.... haha hopefully I'm learning more Spanish! I still kind of just have to nod and say "si"a lot when people talk because I can't understand...but I love it!! 

We had a baptism yesterday!!! Her name is Roxana, and she is ten and the niece of Griselda, who was baptized in March. I love this family so so much, they're so cute. I only taught her one lesson before her baptism, but I'm so grateful I got to! The baptism was such a miracle too. The font had started filling up at 7:30, but when we got there at 8 there was only like.. less than a foot because the drain kept draining!! but then all of the sudden the water started coming out like... four times the amount it was before so even though it was still draining, the font could be filled! And it was such a beautiful thing. Roxana was so so happy. 

Roxana's baptism
The gospel is spreading so much here in Costa Rica, it's incredible!! People are so receptive. My companion tells me all the time that she gets chills all the time thinking about how amazing it is here. We have a goal of five baptisms this month... we have three so far, two from before I came, one from yesterday. We're hoping our investigator Anna can feel ready by this Sunday, we taught her the Word of Wisom this week and she was so willing to live it!! And then we're hoping Roxaná's mom, Glenni,  can feel ready too. She had a date before, but then she got scared, but she's been so interested lately!! We're going to visit them on Thursday. Pray for them! :) 

My area is Cartago. It's on the East side, so I'm pretty positive I'll be in the East mission, unless the apostles review my name and switch it! Honestly, it's pretty cold here haha....and it's just going to get colder! But it's okay, it is so so beautiful!! I'm so grateful to be here spreading the gospel with these incredible people here. I love you all so much!! I have so much more to say but there's just not time really....but know that I love you, that the gospel is true, obedience brings miracles, God loves you! 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Moon 

June 10, 2015 - meeting her companion!

From Sis. Diane Petersen

Hi Sister Moon,
I'm a Senior missionary here with my husband & I moonlight as the unofficial mission nurse. Guess who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday? Hermana Moon. She's 1 of the 3 new "Gringos" that arrived. The other 2 were Elders. There were 16-17 new, Latino missionaries that also arrived. They'all had a great breakfast of Costa Rican Gallo Pinto, I talked to the North American newbies for a few minutes about staying healthy here & Hermana Markle, the official Mission nurse talked to the Latinos. Then they learned who their trainers would be. I snapped a few fotos that I thought you might like to see. I don't recall where she'll be serving, but I'm sure she'll fill you in next Monday. The bottom foto is all the new missionaries, their trainers, President & Sister Wilkinson, the assistants to the President & the office Elders. The mission is splitting July 1st & we're getting 2 new Mission Presidents, so we have double the office Elders in the foto. The Office couple, the Burts must've been busy, so they're not pictured.
Your daughter's in excellent hands with her trainer, Hermana Geis!!
Sis. Amy Geis and Kiana learn they will be companions.

Sis. Geis has been out for a year.  She's from San Diego.

The June 10 "babies" and "parents"

June 8, 2015 - traveling to Costa Rica

I made it to Costa Rica!!! It is beautiful here and everyone is so friendly and great and I am super excited to be here! Anyway. everything is going great! I love you all and I will talk to you again next Monday on Pday! Adios a todo! :) 

At the Costa Rica temple on the night they arrived.  Kiana, Pres and Sis Wilkinson, and the two elders who flew down with her.

The welcoming committee at the airport.

Going to the MTC - May 27, 2015

Kiana was set apart Tuesday evening by President Steven Barfuss - wonderful blessing.

On Wednesday morning, we called Leslie as we drove past SLC, called Kyra after that, had a delicious quick Costa Vida lunch at Jennie's apt, and then Kaylie met us there on her lunch break.

So amazing to see all the missionaries and their families there.

It was funny because there was no one ready to get Kiana once we parked by the curb, so we had a long time to say goodbye and awkwardly fill time - because we'd already said our goodbyes.   And then off to the great adventure!

Barbara, Kiana, Todd

Spencer, Kiana, Jennie
and Kaylie!

A talk in Sacrament Meeting - May 24, 2015

Kiana with Costa Rican flag - photos by Kathryn Beutler
Good morning brothers and sisters!!! It’s crazy that this day is here, crazy that this is even happening, really. I’m excited for the opportunity I get to speak with you all before I leave for the next 18 months. Today I’ve been asked to speak about…today-- about the Sabbath—keeping it holy, why it is here for us, how it affects us, and why it is important, even essential, in our worship.

The Bible dictionary says that “The Sabbath is an eternal principle.” A day of rest was set apart from the beginning of this world. During the creation, Heavenly Father rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it to be a day to rest from our labors. Later, the Sabbath was used as a reminder of the Jew’s deliverance from Egypt, and then even later, as a reminder of the Savior’s Resurrection. Today, we keep all these events as kind of symbolically a part of our Sabbath day observance--we rest from our daily temporal labors just like there was a day of rest after the creation, we take the Sacrament to renew our baptismal covenants, which deliver us from sin just as the Jews were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians, and remember the Savior through partaking the Sacrament on the Sabbath, as Christ’s disciples did after the Last Supper. These are holy, sacred things, and part of what makes the day is so holy is by treating it differently than any other day, and making a conscious decision to act in a way that makes its sacred.

When I moved away from home this year, I had to make a decision--how I would treat the Sabbath. Growing up, I’d sung “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday.” My family had set a tradition of keeping Sunday a day different from the rest. But, this year at college, I didn’t have my family there  with me, telling me what to do, singing that “we clean that house and we shop at the store” on Saturday, “so we won’t have to work until Monday”. I had to choose for myself how I would treat the Sabbath. And, I am so grateful that I had had the example of my parents my whole life, and decided to pretty much follow the standards that we had set growing up. But, I realized one thing this year living by myself, one thing that the Primary song doesn’t exactly teach-it’s not just Saturday that you need to prepare yourself for the Sabbath. It takes conscious effort every day of the week to be prepared for the Sabbath--I couldn’t just set aside all my labors until Saturday or else I would not get everything I needed to done that day, and then I’d be stressed on Sunday, and just waiting for Monday to come. But, I found this year that there were huge blessings by doing this and keeping the Sabbath day holy--I found that I had more time during the other six days of the week to get all the homework, playing, and cleaning I needed to get done, and another blessing that I especially noticed and appreciated was that was that I could feel more prepared for the sacrament.

The sacrament became so much more important to me this year while I was at school. School was stressful, friends were hard at times, living by myself was crazy. This year was the first year that I really appreciated the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement, and the strength that taking the Sacrament weekly could be. Elder Holland said of the Sacrament, “One of the invitations inherent in the sacramental ordinance is that it be a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul.” And, I think keeping the Sabbath day a special day helped the Sacrament be more of a “renewal for the soul.”  If I went home from church and kept the Spirit with me by doing activities that I generally would not do on other days, then I could ponder more on the Sacrament. This really blessed my life, and gave me the strength to do all the things I needed to do the rest of the week.  
you can see our beloved Logan Temple in distance!

This ties into how keeping the Sabbath day holy is so so important--even essential--in our worship. There are a lot of things in this life where if we come prepared and willing to sacrifice some things, we get much more out of it. I love to run, and to race. I’m going to compare keeping the sabbath day and how this affects our worship to kind of like running a race. If you want to perform your very best in a race, it requires sacrifice before hand--hours of training so you’re prepared physically and mentally the day of the race. This is like preparing yourself during the other six days of the week for the Sabbath--scheduling your time to make sure you do all the things you need to do before Sunday to be ready for the day, so you don’t have to do activities you don’t feel comfortable doing on the Sabbath. And then, the day of the race, there are other things that could affect your performance and results of the race. If you wake up and eat of ice cream an hour before you go race, you could still go run the race, but it may not be a super effective breakfast in getting you prepared for the race, and you might not perform as well as you had hoped. It’s not that ice cream is bad at all--it’s just not something appropriate to have before you go run a race. This again ties to our Sunday worship. There are some activities that are totally fine, but if we do them on the Sabbath, it can affect how we feel when we go to Church that day, which could affect our worship, just as the ice cream for breakfast could affect how we race. IF you go to a race unprepared, and having eaten junk food for breakfast, you might even end up going into the event with the mindset that you weren’t even going to try your hardest on this race--it was just a practice run, or just a fake. The same goes with the Sabbath. If we go to church unprepared for the Sacrament, we might not go into it with the mindset of how important the Sacrament truly is for us, and how important this ordinance is. But, if we keep the whole Sabbath holy, we are more mentally prepared for this important ordinance, just as you are more mentally prepared for a race if you train for it and eat right. But, the Atonement is real, and works. Even if you do wake up on Sunday and do activities that aren’t necessarily the best for a Sunday, it does not mean that you necessarily come to Sacrament unprepared--you can still have an incredible spiritual experience, and no one should choose to not take the Sacrament just because they feel they haven’t completely been perfect in Sabbath observance. No one is perfect--that is why we need to take the Sacrament, to renew our baptismal covenants! This past year at school I had 2:30 church, and sometimes it was hard to remember that it was actually Sunday til the middle of the afternoon, because church wasn’t for so long! I noticed that if I did things in the morning that weren’t necessarily bad, but didn’t super prepare me for the Sacrament or make the day truly feel like a Sunday, then it was harder for me to get to feeling the Spirit at church. I still could eventually, but I really did feel like it affected my day, and thereby the rest of the week, because I truly hadn’t had a day of rest. And, even if we have 9:00 church, and have the rest of the day after church, we should still live in an attitude of worshipping God for the whole day, and keep doing activities appropriate for the day--just like if you’re at a race and done racing, you’re still at the race course and should cheer others on who are racing, and keep in the right mood for the event.

Mark 2:27 reads, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” This scripture was kind of puzzling to me at first, but after thinking about it, it’s actually really cool. The world uses Sunday as a day of recreation—a day to fit in the fun and chores that they did not have time for earlier in the week, a day to do what they want. This attitude is that of “man for the Sabbath.” Man is the one choosing the activities. Man is doing his own will. Man is not using Sunday the way it was designed to be. When we live with the attitude of the Sabbath being made for man, then we use it as it was intended to be: as a day of rest and worship. Then, the Sabbath is for us--it relieves us from the burdens and struggles of the week, cleanses us from the world, renews and strengthens us. But, how do we know what is okay to do to make sure that we are living in a way so the Sabbath is for us, and not us for the Sabbath? In the last General Conference, Elder Nelson gave a wonderful talk called “The Sabbath is a Delight.” In this talk he discussed how he used to look at lists that other people made, and then figure out what was okay and not okay to do on Sunday. Later on, he realized that this wasn’t exactly necessary--instead of looking at lists, he would just try to figure out what sign he was shoiwng to Heavenly Father through during certain activities. He would ask himself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” I love this idea, and it’s really helped me understand more why doing or not doing different activities on Sunday is such a personal matter for each and every one of us. If we’re unsure about an activity, we can ask ourselves, is choosing to do this activity showing God that I understand that it is His day? Is this activity helping to build the kingdom of God on earth? Is it helping me worship God better today, remember the Atonement and that sacrifice better, helping me rest from the cares of the rest of the world? Is this activity preparing me mentally for taking the Sacrament later today, or, if it’s after Sacrament meeting, helping me remember Christ and the covenants I made renewed earlier that day? It’s honestly such a personal decision, and each of us have to decide which activities denote what signs between you and the Lord.

What we decide to do and not do doesn’t just affect us personally and our worship though--it helps set a good example for others, and can honestly change the world. The Bible dictionary says, “A decay in the national religious life always follows any tendency toward carelessness in the matter of Sabbath observance.” We live in a world where religious life is decaying, and we do not want to add to that decay by becoming careless in our Sabbath observance. I’ve seen how treating the Sabbath day differently than other days can affect not us personally, but hundreds of others. I was on a jump rope team during high school, and we competed at a national competition where the “elite” competition called “Grand Nationals” at the end of the week was held on a Sunday. There were some people on my team who always qualified in a few events, and when they did, would withdraw because it was held on a Sunday, and they felt the sign this showed to God was not the one they wanted to demonstrate. Eventually, the organizers of the competition changed the day of Grand Nationals to Saturday. I know that Heavenly Father played a role in it and was blessing these kids and showing that appreciated their sacrifice. Now, younger kids on the team do not have to make the decision on whether or not they’ll jump on Sunday, which is such a huge blessing, and helps keep there from being more “carelessness in Sabbath observance” for all the kids across the nation who participate in the competition.

Hermana Luna!
There are so many blessings that come from keeping the Sabbath day holy--many scriptures promise great blessings. Heavenly Father knows that 24 hours seems like a long time to a lot of us to dedicate to Him, but He gives us so much in return. Isaiah 58 says that “If thou turn away...from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight...then I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.” Doctrine and Covenants 59:16 says that if we keep the Sabbath day holy, “the fulness of the earth is [ours].” Riding upon the high places of the earth and having the fulness of the earth honestly make dedicating 24 hours out of 168 in a week so, so worth it. And, those 24 hours we sacrifice don’t even have to be painful to give up--as Elder Nelson taught in his talk when quoting Isaiah, the Sabbath can, and should, be a delight to us! It’s a day to renew our covenants, cleanse ourselves from the world, join together with Saints to strengthen, love, and teach each other. I know that as I’ve strived to keep the Sabbath a holy day I’ve found that I have more time during the rest of the week to accomplish the things to get done. I’ve grown closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father through dedicating one day a week to them. I’ve grown closer to my family as I’ve spent time with them on Sunday, rather than going out and doing things with friends. The Sacrament has become more meaningful to me.

(unfortunately, the end of her talk is missing, but it included her testimony of the gospel, the Savior, the Book of Mormon.)

Yep - it'll take some time.