Thursday, August 29, 2013


AY MI MADRE!  what a week!  first off, VARSITY?!?!  Holy cannoli girl.  I can't even believe how stinkin' fast and amazing you are at running.  Isabel, you are one incredible runner and that needed to be said first and foremost.  Second, Emma I miss seeing you dance every day.  As you might know, missionaries aren't really allowed to dance, but I still lay in bed every night and think about how awesome of a dancer my sister is and if I were half the dancer she is then I'd probably brake some rules and whip out some dance moves in the shower.  truly.  Third matter of business.... my family ROCKS.  obviously.  My family rocks for millions of reasons but let me just tell you that every single missionary at the CCM now knows that my family rocks also....
So, Hermana Fletcher and I were walking on Monday night to our TRC lesson and Hermana Rasmussen yelled down the hall "Hermana Huish, there's a package for you!"  So I immediately ran to the office where they keep packages and found a ginormous (how in the world is that spelt??) shoe box covered in multicolored newspaper.  Annika and Michael Christensen... you guys are awesome and I felt honored that you spent over 50 bucks to send me a package.  We ripped that baby open and found the cutest and most wonderful assortment of treats and stuff. 
 We were worried that we'd be late for our lesson so we walked back into the office to get to our TRC couple and out of the corner of my eye I saw my name on another little package.  I kind of screamed (i actually really screamed) and grabbed the package and then RIGHT behind that package was ANOTHER package with my name on it.  Wow I felt cool.  Then elder Porter was sorting through letters and gave me one with my name on it.  THEN he gave me two more.  THEN another elder gave me another package that had my name on it.  I seriously was grinning ear to ear and trying REALLY hard not to boast in all my glory.  K, then Edler porter was holding this ridiculously cute envelope and I pulled it down to see who the lucky missionary was with the adorable envelope and lo and behold.... it said HERMANA HUISH. 
 K, seriously guys, I have never felt so awesome in my entire life.  Everyone was jealous (well, how could they NOT be??) and I felt like the coolest hermana in the history if the CCM.  that is why my family rocks.  (also, I don't have time to go into detail about all the things in the letters and the packages but I LOVE everything.  thanks mom for the amazing camera that I cannot leave alone because I'm so obsessed with it.  thanks also for the CUTEST SHIRT IN THE WORLD.  man, i love you.  Thanks for the sweet rings that i also am obsessed with. thanks for really everything.  and a special thanks for the minion.)
K, Tuesday morning at 4:30 I was having the worst dream ever that President Freestone had gotten all the Hermanas together and told us that we had to watch out once we got to the field because hermanas were getting kidnapped right and left.  well, naturally, we were all terrified and in my dream we all went to bed.  then in real life at 4;30 in the morning we heard a bloody murder scream from the next room.  I woke up and was SO SCARED that my stomach dropped and I literally felt like I was going to throw up.  Everyone just stared at eachother from their beds and I finally ran out of my bed and opened the next door to see what in the world was happening.  Turns out, Hermana Francis has night terrors.  And she also has increadible lungs.
Last friday we went to the university to contact!!!  It was a day that will forever be one of my favorites as a missionary.  We had folletos on the restoration and one book of mormon and we were each told to go seperate ways and meet back in 2 hours.  Well we tried to speak spanish to a lot of people... but you have to remember, my spanish is VERY limited. Many people just smiled and thanked us, some people said "i don't speak english" jerks, some people just waved us off.  Well I saw this one guy from a ways away and just walked right towards him and knew we should talk to him.  He stood up from his seat and started asking all sorts of questions about the folleto and the church!  Luckily he knew enough english to where we could tell him some extra things we couldn't say in spanish. Hermana Fletcher pulled out the book of mormon, I told him if he read it he could KNOW that it is true, and he seemed super stoked to read it!  We were so excited that we couldn't stop smiling afterwards.  We were on cloud 9. 
The adorable french first councelor Elder Cuenot and his wife left this week.  I cried.  She is my favorite.  They went home to paris after being here for two years!  They also sang a song to us during sacrament meeting and they sang in french.  The way they harmonize and speed up and slow down together is ridiculously cute.  I hope I can be that cute one day with my husband.  
We also said goodbye to about 25 missionaries who were leaving to Puerto Rico or Santo Domingo or Santiago.  It was super sad but really exciting too.  Today we actually just got 40 more missionaries from the states and parts of mexico and the DR!  There are a total of 83 missionaries here which is the largest number this CCM has ever seen.  It's super exciting.  It's also super cool to be like the old ones here now and seeing all the newbies scared and tired faces.
On tuesday we had the best devotional i have ever heard in my life by elder Bednar (and no, not in person.  sorry for the confusion.  The devotionals are cd's from past devotionals at the provo MTC... those lucky dogs)  It was on the Character of Christ.  It was an hour and twenty minutes long but I wish it would have been three hours longer.  He talked about the way to build more faith and be more converted unto the lord is NOT to seek for that.  You will be truly converted once you forget yourself and serve those around you.  It was a beautiful message and exactly what I needed to hear. 
My district moved into a smaller room to let the new missionaries get our big room (i think we totally got shafted because the AP's are in my district and they always get the bad deals...) but it's totally ok, because although our new room is the size of a toothpick, we actually study a lot better and the view from the window is better. 
Yesterday I was laying on my bed during gym time and elder hansen barged into the room and said "Hermana Huish, Hermana Rush is here!"  AHHHH!  I ran out of that room so dang fast and down the stairs and gave her a big fat hug.  It was amazing to see a familar face!  She is so adorable and I cannot wait to see her out in the field.  Hopefully as companions one day!!!
The hermanas in my room do this thing where we always try to scare eachother.  We hide in closets, behind doors, under counters.  Sometimes we even hide somewhere for 20 minutes just to get a good scare.  Hahaha, the little things that make missionaries happy.  It gets super intense too.  We love it!
Well, I love you all so much!  I was sitting in the temple today just so happy that I have been raised by two INCREDIBLE parents and have the best sisters any girl could ask for.  I live THE LIFE.  I really do. I'm so blessed.  I love you, I miss you, and I can't wait to hear from you! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Send Olivia an Email!!

Some of you have asked how you can send Olivia an email - so here it is! She will love hearing from you, I will also include her mailing address which is the Mission Office and she will be able to get letters and packages always through the mission office. Once out in the field, that may change, but I will keep you posted. And I will include her mission blog address that I post her letters to as well.

Thanks for all your support, it means a lot to her!!! (and me:) 

Email address:

Blogspot :

Mailing address:          Sister Olivia Huish
                            Santo Domingo West Mission
                           Calle/Hatuey #73 Barrio/ Cacicazgos
                           Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 3

It's been an awesome week!  Literally three hours after I emailed last week everyone started coming down with this GI thing.  It's some illness to do with your colon.  Super fun.  The doctor (who is an ULTRA drama queen) was telling everyone that we would have to lock down the CCM and keep everyone in their rooms while they throw up and get everything out of their systems for four days.  As you can imagine, it scared us half to death.  Hermana Fletcher and I had to go to the doctors the next day to get her some sinus infection medicine and the doctor kept telling us horror stories about daygay (i know i didn't spell that right..) fever and dying.  He's really sweet.  Hermana Flecther just started feeling better this week and it's really awesome!  I love her so much and I'm so grateful we're together.
Elder Cornia started writing this journal called 'the book of conria' and it's all in scriptural language and I cried when he read it.  It was the funniest thing.  I'll have to copy it and send it to you guys somehow.  I also really want him to marry Mel Peters because they would be a serious hoot.  (Mel, if you're reading this, I need your email address) 
There is this little girl who lives in the same hallway and my district's classroom and everytime I see her she stops me and stares up at me and pulls my hair and yells "rubio, rubio!"  it really melts my heart.  So, I tried to learn how to say 'braids' in espanol so I could tell her I liked her braids.  There were also a bunch of cute kids at dinner the other day and they all ran over to us and hugged us and it was SO sweet. 
A couple days at breakfast the cook, Alex, made this banana bread cake stuff and it was BOMB.  seriously the best thing I've eaten in a while.  Probably because it wasn't rice.  Also, it was one of the teachers birthdays yesterday and they gave us all cake with oreos (i'm telling you, people here are obsessed with oreos) and it was killer.
I absolutely LOVE sundays here.  We heard from President Freestone about his life story and it was incredible.  His dad left when he was 7 and his mom was such an incredibly hard worker and so positive.  She refused to date, and especially date someone out of the church, but after several years of being pushed to go on a date with this certain guy she finally agreed.  She said she had a wonderful date but he wasn't a member so she couldn't keep dating him.  He came by the next day to give her a watch for fathers day and said "this is because you have not only been an amazing mother, but an amzing father to your two children for the past 12 years.  He said he wanted to know more about her and her church and after three years they were married in the temple, and after 6 years he became bishop and they have served three missions together.  So sweet. 
On Sunday our district was huddled around the window watching the rain.  It went from light sprinkles to a pour in about 7 seconds and then it started to get stormy.  I LOVE the weather here.  All of a sudden we saw a flash of white like right infront of our window and then a hige BOOM.  It was so loud and we heard the lightening crack on the ground.  It was one of the coolest things ever.  Seriously.  Then, we saw the back up power generator start to smoke.  
We heard a devotional by Elder Ballard Sunday night and it was filmed at the Provo MTC in spring of 2012.  The musical number at the devotional was the one... the only... David Archuleta!  I mean, Elder Archuleta.  All the hermanas were going crazy and all the boys made fun of him (obviously because they were jealous). 
On Tuesday we had a devotional by elder Richard G. Scott and it was AMAZING.  I LOVE him.  It was all about faith.  He also said probably five times that if we have faith we WILL learn a new language.  He also talked about ginine and started crying and said he felt her presence in the room with him.  WOW.
I'm super glad you guys had a good time in Park City with Gramma!  And I'm also CRAZY CRAZY impressed with Izze.  HOLY CATS girl you're incredible.  Dad told me all about your fast mile paces and i'm so proud of you and your effort.  You are going to do amazing things, girl.  I'm glad you are having fun in Junior High , Emma!  And I hope ballet is going well too.  I'm sure it is.. because you're pro at everything dance.  
Two Sundays ago my district sang in sacrament meeting!  It was fun. 
I feel like my brain is going to explode lately.  SO much spanish and PMG and doctrinal classes.  I'm trying so hard to remember everything but it's so dang difficult sometimes.  I also heard that after only two transfers we are going to be trainers out in the field.  yeah.  I was freaking out.  I just hope I can speak spanish by then.... 
Thanks for sending pictures! I love them!  Also, if you send anything else you should send it to the MTC address.  But once I get out in the field the address you have been using is fine.  I can just wait three weeks to get the stuff you have sent!  I love you all and want to hear how you are all doing!  Every time we go to the temple I pray and pray for Christina and Julie and their kids. I love them and I hope their kids are doing well.  I hope YOU guys are doing well too.  I love you and miss you and can't wait to hear from you soon. 
Mom, I haven't eaten chinula yet, but i'll ask hermano Nuñes about it. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


What a week!  
Olivia with her companion Hermana Fletcher!!

K, it has been raining like crazy over the past week.  Like, it will be so sunny and hot and all of a sudden it will just POUR.  I love it more than anything.  It gets super sticky though, but it's still the best. 
My district is AWESOME.  I seriously laugh out loud all day long because of elder cornia.  He is the biggest goof ball and on top of that he laughs at all his own jokes and terrible magic tricks and our whole district just dies laughing because he's laughing so hard.  It's the greatest.  He also talks in like scriptural language in a news castor voice ALL THE TIME and it's really so funny. ( Here at the CCM we think every little dumb thing is funny)  I also LOVE hermana Fletcher.  We may like to do total opposite things, but we really get along and just have fun. 
This week we had a bunch of progressive investigator lessons (fake role-play lessons) and by the end Hermana F and I just tried to do it without staring at our notes (which we always do) and we kind of actually did it!!  I bet our grammar was terrible, and we definitely used some spanglish, but we did it and we felt totally awesome afterwards. 
Monday night we do this thing called TRC.  I have no idea what it stands for but basically its when your companionship teaches the temple workers or other mission couples a little lesson.  (p.s. all of these lessons, and fake investigator things are in spanish. everything.  nerve wracking, yes.)  So we gave our little lesson and then afterward we just talked with the couple.  They are Elder and Hermana Haws from Mesa, Arizona!!  They were adorable and his spanish was sublime.  We got to talking about the areas we will be serving in and Hermana Haws said that the East side (hermana fletcher's mission) is SUPER green and tropical and stuff.  THEN she said, "the west side isn't as green.  It has some green parts but mostly it's actually like a desert.  Like, you'll swear you're in Arizona."  really?  Is this kind of some mean joke?  I was totally deflated.  Arizona?  REALLY???  Her husband butted in and said they really haven't gone to the west side that much so they don't exactly know, and he said it's probably pretty green too.  I just think he said that because I looked like I was about to cry.  But, whatever the West side may look like, I'm excited to get out in the field! 
I still love playing volleyball at gym time.  But, they pump up the balls so hard that I get hige bruises down my arms.  It looks like I have a disease... Sometimes we play ultimate frizbee too and it's so so so much fun!  But I always sweat like a man it's pretty gross.  Actually, it's really gross.  But I figure all the elders smell worse so whatever.  Hermana Fletcher wanted to run the other day during gym time which made me SO happy.  We ran millions of circles around the temple parking lot and halfway around the CCM.  She has pretty bad asthma so we couldn't run a ton, but it was still the best feeling.
K, about the food.  I really wasn't even joking.  We have rice and beans every day for lunch with some kind of meat.  Sometimes chicken, sometimes beef, sometimes you just close your eyes and hope that whatever you're eating doesn't make you puke.  We've already had some very sick elders.  doesn't look fun.  We have a big fruit bowl for lunch every day but if you don't get to it fast you get the fruit noone else wanted at the bottom of the bowl.  The mangos are TO DIE FOR.  And there are always bananas.  I think I had three bananas in one day because you always know a banana is safe to eat.  I'm already sick of the rice.  I never eat it because they dish up your plate for you and they give you a ginormous pile of rice and beans.  For breakfast they have pancakes some days, french toast, cereal, eggs, and oatmeal.  I usually have a pancake with pb and bananas on it, or some oatmeal. 
We went to the store today!!  yes, we broke outside of the jail walls!  I had to get some shampoo and more pens and I also found this little bag of local guanabana lollipops!!  I FREAKED OUT because I remember mom always talking about guanabana.  So i'm pretty stoked to share them with my district.  I swear every other hermana and elder got a pack of oreos.  It was pretty funny.  It was also SO HOT.  oh my gosh I swear if I was outside for a minute longer you would have gotten a phone call saying that your daughter melted into the sidewalk.  The store was about ten minutes away and we walked across busy streets like it was nothing.  Cars were honking horns and people were yelling and it was so hectic out there.  They cram like 17 people in one tiny car and they all stick their heads out the windows and point at the missionaries.  I also was profusely sweating which, i'm sure, was very attractive.  
We went to the temple again this morning.  Loved it.  Next week we go through in a spanish session and i'm already getting nervous. 
I started reading Jesus the Christ, and even though I'm on page 7 I can already tell it's gonna be a good one.  I'm also loving Preach my Gospel.  It's such an incredible and inspired book. 
One of our district's teachers is Hermano Nuñes.  I don't klnow if I already told you about him, but he is hilarious.  I'm pretty much in love with him.  He also wears the sweetest ties.  But he's just all over the place and speaks spanish SO fast sometimes it's ridiculous.  He brought our class a mango the size of my face because we begged him to and then we just stared at it because it was too hard to eat.  He also taught Hermana Rush and brought a picture of her to show me of her birthday at the CCM.  I can't wait to see her in the field!! 
All the haitian missionaries left Tuesday early morning.  On sunday we sang 'god be with you till we meet again' (which is never most likely) and then the most adorable french couple who were their mtc presidents sang 'you may rescue you may save' in french and it was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen.  All the hermanas cried because the haitians left.  haha  BUT, yesterday we got four jamaican sisters!  they are so pretty and hilarious and their voices are great.  We also got a couple latinos.  The jamaicans and latinos will only be here for two weeks though because they already know their languages.  \
We are technically only here for five weeks and two days because they counted that first thursday night we got here our first week.  So I leave the CCM on September 11th. 
Thanks for sending a camera, mom!  You'e the best ever.  And I miss you all like super much.  (All the dominicans say super)  I'm so happy that school is going well and all.  I love you all like crazy and can't wait to here from you in a week!! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

You Are So Beautiful

HOLA FAMILIA!!  k, my P-day is Thursday (obviously) so I've been dying all week to write...
K, before  my first plane ride I met Hermana Hambin (thegirl whose mom was freaking out when she saw us).  She's adorable, but she probably thought I was a creeper when I just walked stright up to her and said "Rachel Hamblin!" When I got on the plane I was sitting next to this little Indian Man and his wife was across the median thing.  They were legit Indian too.  The ones I LOVE.  So we didn't really talk at all but I listened for sure to them talking (maybe I am a creeper?).  BUT when the plane landed my nose just started instantly bleeding!  Like what the heck?!  The flight attendees would have yelled if I got out of my seat before we were at a complete stop so I just sat there and shoved my fist up my nose.  The Indian man looked over and literally jumped out of his seat.  I had blood running all over my hands and face which is something you normally don't expect to see on a nice airplane ride from Phoenix to Miami.  Well, he was a sweatheart and ran down the hall to get me all the napkins he could find.  My love for Indians just keeps intensifying. 
In miami we met up with 20 elders and like 8 sisters and all got on a plane to the DR.  Our flight was delayed so we didn't get off the plane till LATE when it was pitch black outside.  We were all hustled onto this big bus and driven to the CCM (say-say-emmeh).  Their driving is so insane too.  We were given dinner once we finally got there at like midnight, and then put into our rooms.  I am with six sisters in a two bedroom room (split with a door in the middle).  For the first day I didn't have a companion because she was still arriving so I had to stick with the elders in my dristric all day, which I'm sure they loved.  My companion came friday, late afternoon.  She is Hermana Fletcher, from Utah.  She's super duper sweet and pretty quiet until she laughs, which is great because you all know how loud I can laugh.  I really really have grown to love my district over the past 7 days!  It is 6 elders and us 2 hermanas.  It's super fun because they're just dorky and weird immature elders, yet sometimes they just surprise you and say something really awesome or are so on top of things that i'm just like where did you come from??  My DL is Elder Cunico who is probably the most respectful and ready to be a missionary.  Every day we wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast at 7, and then start personal study at 7:30.  We then have lots of spanish lessons and gospel PMG lessons and stuff.  Every day is just a hige blur because we learn so much stuff and I can't remember like 80 percent of any of it.  I really really need help with my espanol... I just hope it starts to come better next week. 
 Our main teacher is Hermano Nuñes.  He's HILARIOUS.  Seriously he's the funniest thing ever.  All the teachers are dominican, too.  They are really amazing.  We always joke around with him too and he just says the randomest things that make us die.  
The temple is three inches away from the CCM, which is pretty cool.  We went to the temple this morning!  My district did sealings (I don't even know how to spell that?) and then an endowment session.  It was so cool.  Also, the DR is the place to be.  Provo MTC doesn't even compare.  We can walk around the temple whenever we want, we know everyone here and always just joke around with the dominicans.  There are like 15 Haitian elders who are adorable and all the hermanas are obsessed with them because the only english they know is "you are so beautiful". 
For an hour each day we get gym time... which I love because a few sisters play volleyball with a bunch of elders and it gets kindof intense.  All the sports are outside because the CCM is puny so we have a small parking lot to play soccer, and basketball and then a nice space for colleyball.  I get really into it and my intensity plus the humidity makes me sweat like a man.  It's pretty gross.  Also, shout out to Emily Glauser for putting up with my TERRIBLE volleyball skills for a whole Molten season, because now I'm not even afraid to play and get my knees scraped and I'm just really glad I'm able to play because its what I look forward to EVERY day out here.  Exercise is the best way to relieve all this stress!   We decided to kind of switch companions for during the exercise time with Hermana Hamblin and her companion because Hamblin also loves to play volleyball and her companion doesn't so it works out perfectly!  And it's also allowed, so I still have not broken any rules.
K, I know you're all wondering about what I eat every day.  Rice and Beans.
I've been writing in my journal every day, and I'm so glad I am, so thank you Annika and Michael for that advice.  I know I will be so happy to look back and be able to see where I was at and my progression every day.   Also, thank you all for the cutest letters!!!  I'm not gonna lie I read half of them on the plane because I had nothing else to do..... Lo siento.  But i really loved them all and I finished all of them yesterday and they were all so helpful and uplifting!  I love you all.   Well so far Sunday has been my favorite day!  We had an awesome fast and testimony meeting and I got the courage to bear my testimony (which had to be in spanish!)  it was short and maybe it didn't even make sense, but I did it!  Also, I have played the piano a couple of time (yes dad, you read that right!) and I lead the music quite a bit.  I LOVE every time we sing the hymns, as a whole CCM or even just our district.  The spirit is just so strong.  (Also, myentire district like ROCKS at singing, and we seriously go into like four part harmony every time we sing a hymn which is like 5 times a day or more... so we need to form like some kind of missionary band one day because I think that would be pretty cool, no?) Ok, sorry back to Sunday.... we heard from Elder Bednar and His wife from some conference a couple years ago but it was awesome and about listening to the holy ghost.  Really cool stories he shared and he also is supper funny.  THEN, we watched the atonement video that I've probably seen a bajillion times but this time it just really got to me and I started crying hard core and I am just SO grateful for our savior and all that he has done for me. 
Annika, thanks for the letter, I hope your b-day was ok besides the fact that the Titanic IS a really depressing movie (i never understood why that movie made people go so crazy) and i really want to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  I was definately thinking of you, and talking about you a lot which I'm sure wasn't so fun for the hermanas in my room.  Also, Izze and Emma, thank you for the cute emails!  I LOVE hearing from you girlies and its finally hitting me how hard a year is gonna be without you guys.  seriously.  Isabel, I can't wait for cross country for you this year!    Emma, I hope your new dance studio is going well!   Dad and Mom, thanks for the fifty emails!  haha and I'm not being sarcastic... I looked really cool when I opened my email box and had literally 17 emails.  halfly thanks to you guys.  Dad, your cool story about the guy who wants to be baptized is awesome!  If only it were always that easy! 
K, sorry mom, but my camera stinks.  Everything just turns out black and brownish.  The lighting is awful.  So could you send me a low light one or should I just buy a new one?  Because I don't even care to take pictures they're so bad.  K, I only have 5 more minutes or this dang computer is going to turn off..... so I love you all more than my luggage.  I am praying for you guys every day and hope that every thing is going well back in Mesa!  Has it been raining?  It has here!  I LOVE IT!  
  I'm probably forgetting like a million things but I guess I can write them next week if I have to.... HASTA LA VISTA. 
p.s. the hallways ALWAYS smell like tacos and churros. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


hey familia!  I'm safe and sound at the CCM.  Can't wait to tell you about it.  LONG day.  Seriously.  K, well I hae to make this short so adios.
love, liv
ps I got to sit by the cutest indian family on the plane!!!!  as you can imagine I was in heaven.  tell you more about it later. 

Mission Farewell Talk


Good morning brothers and sisters….  For those who don’t know me, I am Olivia Huish but in three days I will be Hermana Huish, serving in the Santo Domingo West Mission in the Dominican Republic.  Obviously a Spanish speaking mission would have been much easier if I had taken Spanish in school a little more seriously…  but I am so thrilled learn the language and, in fact, serve in the same country my mom did 25 years ago!  

Easter Sunday of 2009 I received my patriarchal blessing.  At the time, I didn’t completely understand its worth, I just thought it was merely a vague forecast of what could or could not happen in my future…. But boy was I wrong.  The sacred words written on those pages have, over the years, become more and more dear and personal to me as I have seen so many things in my blessing come to pass.  I understand the sacredness of patriarchal blessings, but I would like to share a couple lines of my blessing with you today, It reads, “ Olivia while you are yet young, you will have the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary.”   Ever since last October, when I heard the announcement in the Saturday morning session of conference about the missionary age change, I KNEW those words were for me and I knew that a mission is what I needed to do. I mean, my patriarchal blessing even gave me a small hint of the age change by saying while I was yet young.  But those inspired words aren’t my favorite part of my blessing… it later goes on to say, and this is talking about those I will teach, “You will participate in their life experiences and witness their happiness as the gospel changes their lives.”   What sticks out to me is happiness.  I will be able to see people become truly happy through the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

            I think a huge part of this life is learning to be happy, or should I say decided to be happy.   And not just happy when it’s convenient or when life is sailing smoothly, but happy through it all. My favorite talk of all time is by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, from October Conference of 2008.   His mother taught him at a young age to “come what may, and love it.”  Elder Wirthlin then explains, “I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring.  Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result. “ 
In Phillipians chapter 4, Paul so beautifully says
 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Three years ago I ran the Catalina Island Marathon off the coast of Southern California.  After months of preparation I excitedly bounced to the start line with my uncle at 4 in the morning.  The gun went off and I was filled with excitement, I felt invincible, and I had no care in the world. 17 miles later the excitement was completely gone, all I felt was pain, and I had too many worries to count.   I remember looking up at the clouds and whispering at least 30 times, “If this is my time to come home, I am so ok with that…. Just take me NOW.”  I was definitely not following elder Wirthlin’s advice and loving the many miles and hills that came my way.    Luckily I had an incredibly patient uncle who pushed me through those last 9 miles and across the finish line, but I learned a valuable lesson that day… marathons are NOT easy.    More importantly though, I lived through it, I survived and I wish I had not been so negative because it didn’t help!  It just made those last few miles so much harder than they would have been if I were positive.  I had to do it either way, so why not happily?

In the scriptures there are so many wonderful prophets and apostles who have experienced affliction and adversity.  Esther fasted for her life to be spared as she helped to save her people from the king.  Nephi had faith to obey all of God’s commandments even if it meant giving up everything he had and having brothers who would try to kill him on countless occasions.  Abraham, Moses, Moroni, Daniel, and so many others experienced affliction and adversity that tried, fortified, and refined their characters. 

Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is crucial.  Although these experiences are difficult to bear at the time, they are what we need to build our character, stretch our understanding, and increase compassion for others.

It’s so easy to get discouraged in life, the world tells you that you have to be a certain way, have a certain style, make a certain amount of money, the economy is tough, standards are dropping, people are talking, loved ones are getting sick, addictions are rising.  Life is hard.  But aren’t we so blessed to have the gospel.  The knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ and of his atonement.   The infinite atonement that knows all sorrows, feels all pain, understands all confusion.   Christ has suffered it all, and he is the only way to find true peace and happiness. 

Remember the words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered in the darkness of Liberty Jail:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”
I am so blessed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives me an eternal perspective.   I can be happy and have peace through my trials because I know where I come from, I know that my heavenly father loves me, and I know that if I am living righteously I can overcome my trials and they will only be for my benefit.   In D&C 122 the Lord continues to comfort Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail.  The end of verse 7 reads, “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

I was talking to my brother in law the other day about mission things and if I’ll be homesick and I said, “well, I’m usually not the type to get homesick, but you know, every missionary goes through those phases that are kind of lonely and depressing.”  Michael quickly said something along the lines of, “no, you don’t have to have lonely and depressing phases on your mission at all.  Yeah there will be hard days, but you can still be happy and make the most of them.”  Those words were so comforting, and SO TRUE.  On my mission, and throughout life, challenges will most definitely come.  And when they do come we need to be ready to face them happily. 

2 Nephi 2:25 reads, “Men are, that they might have joy.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained what joy is.  He said,  “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”

While I was living in Los Angeles over the past year, I understood more than ever how the gospel of Jesus Christ brings me true happiness.  I had roommates and friends who searched for happiness at all the wrong places. Although they might have had a couple hours of fun, they were never ever truly happy. Instead they were unhappy, lost, and they definitely didn’t know who they were, or what their purpose in life was.   I had many instances where my roommates or friends would ask what is different about me, and why I seemed so at peace, happy, and confident about life.  And I owe that all to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Richard G. Scott said, “Find a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and ask for the restored truth. Obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, ponder it, live its principles, and you will find happiness now and forever.”

I know that when we follow the gospel standards and live righteously we can obtain true happiness.

President Thomas S. Monson said, “I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure.  Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.”

I know that we have a loving heavenly father who created the plan of happiness for us to be able to have true happiness…………