Thursday, April 14, 2016

NYC Car Show and Bunkbeds (13 Apr 2016)

- First off, I've never been happier in my life. I love how close I feel to God and how much of His joy I feel daily. Nothing in this world compares to it. Once you experience it, you'll never want anything else and you'll do whatever you can to have it.

The weeks are coming to a close. I can't believe I am going to be coming home soon. I am just trying to finish strong. I have never, ever in any sport event or anything like it worked this hard or felt this tired. Even President Smith was saying that he used to wake up at 3 in the morning, take a 2-hour flight to his iron man race, then bike 120 miles, swim around 2 miles, run a marathon, and then fly back home...and he would be able to wait until he got home to fall asleep. But he said that now, here, doing 5 hours of interviews with the missionaries, he goes home and just crashes completely. Working in the Spirit is so hard and difficult. It literally takes everything out of you. But it's good. I know if I am able to do this, I can do anything in life.

- Wow, was General Conference AMAZING OR WHAT? It was cool because we knew beforehand what Elder Holland was going to talk about and that he was going to speak at the end. I guess that's some of the perks for having him here in person (which was surreal)....such a crazy thing. Let's just say I've seen the most growth from me during this last week on my mission. I have had “ah-ha” moments (yes mom, I remember those still, haha). It was the best conference I have ever been a part of…I felt a lot.

Here are some of my thoughts from my notes and what I've been studying:

Do you ever carry around a lot of pain, guilt or regret? "Certainly those who are less spiritually mature may indeed make serious mistakes--yet none of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done. God is the perfect judge. He sees beneath the surface" (from Conference).

Has there been someone who has seriously hurt you in your life? It is the same for you as it was promised to Jacob (Nephi's brother) in the Book of Mormon that God “will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction” (Jacob 3:1). Come close to God and with Him who can be against you? With the power of God, no one can harm you in the end.

I love this too: "One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person."

I think there will be a lot of surprises at judgment day because people judge others by their actions, we judge ourselves by our intentions, and God judges us by our circumstances mixed with the amount of potential we have chosen to develop with the knowledge we have been given.

I love this as well: Forgiveness is the very reason God sent His Son, so let us rejoice in His offering to heal us all. The Savior’s Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive. If you are having trouble forgiving another person or even yourself, ask God to help you. Forgiveness is a glorious, healing principle. We do not need to be a victim twice. We can forgive.

- So on more of a funny/awkward note, Dominicans don't believe in neutering there dogs (at least not the ones I know). So they are always very aggressive and excited. Well, they love the missionaries. In fact, this week I've gotten forced upon by 6 dogs in the middle of appointments, right in the middle of teaching how to have eternal families. Haha. I will never see dogs the same way again.

- We had a fun Pday (preparation day). We got to walk around the New York International Auto Show. It was the CRAZIEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN. Dad, you would die. Even you mom would die. We need to come back next year during this time so dad can see this. 

- So we were in an elevator with our two other roommate elders yesterday moving someone from an apartment. We took apart the bunk beds and put them in the elevator. Up comes this lady on the stairs and she just starts looking at us weird and watching what we are doing. We ask her if we can help her—she says she was just trying to get to the elevator so she could make it to the basement (there are no stairs here to the basement). We tell her to come on in. So in this tiny elevator are the beds, her, and us four elders. She asks us if we are from Utah. So we knew right there that she had heard of Mormons before. We explained where we were from and then she told us, "Yeah, my ex-girlfriend was actually Mormon." We said, "Really!?" Haha, and she said, "Yes, and it was quite interesting and a little bit awkward." Then one of the missionaries who didn't understand what she was saying asked her in a very enthusiastic voice, "Wait, really?! Why is that!?" And then she said, "Well, for very obvious reasons I would say" hahaha and we all (including her) just started busting up laughing and he was very embarrassed. It was a good laugh. She was awesome. Very funny highlight of the day. I've never had that happen before on my mission.

- I've come to feel the happiness that the gospel brings. My soul daily is filled with the spirit and joy. There's nothing in the world that compares to it. Whatever we have to do to have that spirit more in our life, it's infinitely worth it. I love how there is no end to feeling closer to God. The more we choose to act in faith and follow Him, the more we are happy! It never ends. It just keeps getting better and better.

- Oh, I almost forgot. Elder Richards and I were asked to do a musical number for the mission leadership council meeting and so we decided to write (in 2 days) a rendition of God Be with You Till We Meet Again. We did it and it turned out beautiful. We are going to play the duet in the Spanish and English ward, and I'm a little scared because the English ward is full of musical geniuses...especially opera singers. All the big opera singers in NYC who are Mormon and come from all over the world live in the Inwood there's a lot of pressure. :)  Every time we walk into the church there's opera going on.

Mission Leadership Council (MLC)

Family, thanks for being my eternal family!  I love you guys.

Ya tú sabes que la vida está buena cuando tienes Dios en ella :)
(You already know that life is good when you have God in it)

Elder Celaya

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