He is there through it all……

We all have rough days. There are times when we are so exhausted we don’t even know how we are functioning. Sometimes it feels as if we are running on fumes and are never able to refuel. I’ll be honest and say that I have felt that feeling before when I was in college and before I came out on my mission, but never has that permenant feeling of exhaustion been as prominent as it has been since I have come out on my mission.

Being a missionary is draining in a lot of ways. You are taxed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes it is hard to get up and to keep going, but you do it anyway. At night you stagger into the apartment, barely able to stay awake long enough to plan for the next day and then get ready for bed and are out by the time your head hits the pillow (and sometimes you are asleep before you lay down in your bed). The alarm on our phone is not my favorite thing in the world  to hear, but I get up at its beck and call anyway.

During the day doors get shut in our faces, people comepletely ignore us when we talk to them or we almost get hit by cars. Why do we get up and go out each day and put ourselves through this? Why am I out here? Why could I possible want to spend 18 months away from my family and friends? Why would I want to go to a strange place and talk to people I don’t know everyday? Why??????

Because I have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth. I have been fortunate to have the Gospel in my life and I want to share it with others. My Heavenly

Father has a work for me to do. Right now, that means I need to be far from family and friends, talking with complete strangers, staggering in at night, dead on my feet.

The things I go through, no matter how exhausting, no matter how difficult and draining they may be, I can take comfort in the knowledge that there is one who has quite literally already experienced it all. There is one who has been there, who has already walked down the path on which I now trod. There is one who has done all that, and more. He has experienced the paths that each one of us takes. He has descended below it all. His name is Jesus Christ. He is my brother, the one who has suffered all so that we do not have to suffer and struggle alone.

In Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8 and 122 we read:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes…….

1 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;

2 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.

3 And thy people‍ shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors.

4 And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment‍ and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.

5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils‍ among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

6 If thou art accused‍ with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves‍ for the blood of the lamb;

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge‍ up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell‍ shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

8 The Son of Man‍ hath descended‍ below them all. Art thou greater than he?

9 Therefore, hold‍ on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain‍ with thee; for their bounds‍ are set, they cannot pass. Thy days‍ are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not‍ what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

We are not greater than Christ. He is the one who will lift us up when we can no longer stand. He is the one who is able to make up the difference when we find ourselves lacking. We need to turn to him and let him help us as he so desperately wants to do. Fall on your knees and pour out your hearts to him. He will hear you. He will comfort you. He will reach out for your hand.

When we fall, Christ is there to help lift us up

When we fall, Christ is there to help lift us up


Mountains to move…..

Missionary work is so much more than just going out and knocking on doors all day long. Surprising right?

When you think about missionaries you think about the two guys in white shirts and ties that ride bikes and knock on doors all day long. You NEVER think about two hours of studies in the morning. You don’t think about nightly planning sessions, you don’t think about the time spent planning lessons and planning out things weeks in advance. And you definitely do not think about all the meetings. Even members are shocked and surprised when we mention that we have meetings to attend, weekly, monthly and quarterly.

Now, what is the purpose of all these meetings? We learn so much from one another, that a good part of these meetings involve missionaries teaching one another, to help us become better missionaries and better teachers ourselves.

Sometimes the “trainings” (that is what it is called when a missionary teaches everyone at these meetings), are ones that have a profound impact on you, it really hits you, so much so that you want to share it with everyone.

Today we had one of those monthly meetings. It is called zone meeting. Now, the missions are very well organized (after all, the house of God is a house of order). There is the mission as a whole and the mission is then divided into smaller sections called zones. Our zone, Jax West, has about 19 sets of missionaries, which are further divided into 3, smaller, districts.

The very last training given was by one of our Zone Leaders. It was very short, as we only had about 5 minutes left, but it was the one that for me personally was the most powerful.

The training started out with a scripture, Mark 11:23:

23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Now, we may not ever need to remove physical mountains, but there are figurative, spiritual mountains which we ALL need to remove. Things like pride, selfishness, fear, doubt, laziness, these are characteristics which are all very natural and human, but they are things that keep us from being like Christ.

Christ, who is our advocate with the Father, wants to have a relationship with us. He wants us to give up those human tendencies, to forsake those qualities and replace them with things like: humility, selflessness, confidence, faith, and charity (to just name a few). Christ wants us to live up to our divine potential as children of God. We have infinite potential, and infinite worth. We are the offspring of deity and as such have the capabilities of becoming like our divine parents. But to do that, we need to give up those things that are not divine, we need to conquer those mountains, and the way to do that is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is our elder brother, he is the Son of God, the perfect example. We should strive to be like him and live as he did. It is through him that we are saved and are able to attain eternal life and exaltation. To follow Him, to truly be able to say that we know him and follow him and love him, we need to develop our own relationship with him

How can we do that? Well, we have the scriptures. We are able to read about Christ in the Old and New Testament and in the Book of Mormon. As we study the scriptures we learn of Christ, his teachings, his character and come to be able to know who he is and the role he plays in our life.

Next, we need to pray. We pray to our Father in Heaven in Christ’s name, aligning our will to God’s. Talking with God as we would a friend, confiding and counseling with him. We need to make God a part of our lives.

Then, we need humility, we need to admit and recognize the need for changes to be made

and finally we need to Ask for the help and strength to make the changes necessary to align our will with God, to come closer to Christ and gain a vision of what the Lord has in store for us.

Ultimately, as we do all of these things we will gain one of the most important yet priceless things: a relationship with Jesus Christ

As we develop and strengthen that relationship we will find the faith to move those mountains, the things that we struggle with, we will be able to over come, but only through and with Christ are we able to do so.

Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen


Christ wants a relationship with us. He is knocking, will we allow him into our hearts?

See how we all can Follow Christ 🙂

Fear not what man can do….

When Joseph Smith was at his lowest point, after he had been betrayed by his closest friends and was imprisoned in Liberty Jail, he cried out to our Heavenly Father “O God, where art thou?”

In the depths of his anguish, feeling so alone and deserted, he turned to the one whom he knew he could always rely on. The Lord. In response to his cries, the Lord comforted Joseph and told him the following:

 “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…..And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good….” (Doctrine and Covenants 121: 6-7, 122:7)

All the trials and struggles we face are for our good. God would never ask us to do something we could not handle. No matter what it is, we should always take comfort in knowing that we are being formed and shaped into the person that God knows we can become.

Even when everything seems to be going wrong, or when it seems like Satan won’t leave us alone, it all actually is fitting in with God’s plan. God is the master planner, and nothing Satan tries to do will ever frustrate His plans.

We may not be able to see the end from the beginning; we may not know all the answers or all the surprises life has in store for us, but we can take comfort in knowing that there is one who does. Heavenly Father is at the helm, and will not lead us astray. We are the ones who turn from him to go our own way.

I know from my own experience that fighting against God is futile. I fought against serving a mission for 7 years. Now I can see that while I thought I was doing what I wanted, and that I was fighting God, in reality I was doing what God needed me to do. I was becoming the person he needed me to be so that when I came out on my mission I could become the missionary he needs me to be.

At the time my will was not in alignment with God’s will. But, when I finally gave my will to God, things may not have been easier, if anything, when you align your will with God’s, life becomes harder, because Satan recognizes the progress you are making and the potential that you are realizing and he does not like it or want you to progress, but as I gave my will to God things did become better, I can tell the difference in my life. As I gave my will to God, I became closer to Him and to my Savior. Now, life isn’t perfect, and there are times when I still try to take my will back from God, but I do my best to put my faith in the Lord and his timetable and allow Him to shape me into whomever he needs me to be.

” Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:9)

Hold strong. Trust in the Lord. Give your will to Him. Life may not be easier, but I know that as we do so, we will feel of Heavenly Father’s love more abundantly and will see His hand guiding us more readily.


We are never alone…..

Life has its ups and downs; its twists and its turns. It wouldn’t be life otherwise. There are dark days and there are brighter days. Yet even at the darkest, lowest point of our lives, we are never alone.

We all have felt it. We have felt lost, forgotten, neglected, unloved, as if no one can hear us or see us. But, all too often we forget, that there is always someone there who understands, who sees us, who has not and never will forget us; there is one whose love is infinite and eternal. Who is he? He is Jesus the Christ, our Lord, our Redeemer, our Saviour, our elder brother. 

Christ lived a perfect life. He did nothing wrong. Yet, he was beaten, bruised, and ultimately killed. Not once did he complain. Why? Why would he do it? What was the point of all that pain and anguish he suffered? 

He did it for US! He went through so much, because he chose to. He chose to be the sacrifice so we do not have to suffer as he did. In our anguish, in our despair, Christ is the one to whom we should turn. He went through it all, and now he can comfort us and help to strengthen us through those trials.

When you feel alone, drop to your knees in prayer. Ask for the comfort of the Saviour and His strength, the power to continue on. Many times have I done this throughout my life and have felt my Saviour’s love. I have felt his arms wrap around me. He extends his hand to me, to lift me up and to lead me back to the presence of my Heavenly Father. 

This hand is extended to all of you. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 


Check out this video, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, teaches us why Christ went through all that He did



Reflections on the past….

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago and my wonderful companion has taken great delight in reminding me that I am “old” now (as if 22 is super old). i guess that every year around this time I begin thinking about the past year and my life in general, and this past year has been full of changes.

Aside from just thinking about the past year, I have done some serious reflecting on the past and all the things that have led up to this point in my life. As I go down memory lane, it keeps coming back to a few important things….family…..friends….the Book of Mormon….Heavenly Father….and above all, my Saviour, Jesus Christ.

As a small child my parents tried to have family scripture study with my three older siblings and I. I can remember that Book of Mormon we would read. It was large print and was hardcover, so as a child (I am pretty short and have always been small) it was around half my size. Now, I can’t remember this part but my mother would tell me that when I was two and three before we would have family prayers at night we would be gathered in a circle and I would go over to the piano bench, open it and pull out the Book of Mormon and take it to my parents. This, I am told was something that would happen nightly…..

I can remember being a little older and going panning for gold with my family and with my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandparents…..they had actually collected a good amount of gold flakes when I dumped the pan back in the river (no one was very happy with me, alebit I was only 4-ish)……

A year later having a part in the primary program and singing my heart out…..

Being baptized at the age of 8 and having my family all around me

My baby sister was born a few months later and I remember coming home and waiting to go with my grandparents to the hospital to go see her

Being in primary and being told to stop answering all the questions, to let someone else answer….this led to a period of silence, where I would avoid talking and avoid saying anything in class…..

Going to girls camp when I was 12 with one of my best friends……

Then come the teenage years, which for me was a time of rebellion and a time of a downward spiral, times of darkness that honestly, I am not too fond of remembering. I avoid thinking about that time, because I am not proud of the person I was and the things I did. I can remember trying to get out of that pit of blackness, and falling back into it. I had parents and siblings who loved me (although I did not believe it at the time) and I would not talk to them, instead I felt like I was suffering and struggling alone…..

At a very low point, where I was on the verge of making some serious mistakes and going down a path that would be difficult to come back from, I was in my room feeling alone, forgotten, lost, unloved, questioning everything, doubting God and the things I had been raised to believe. At this point, I opened my scriptures (specifically the Book of Mormon), voluntarily, for the first time in years. As I read, I felt arms come around me and hold me as I began to cry, the tears just began pouring down my face. In three verses I knew that there is a God, who is my Heavenly Father who loves me and is aware of me. He knows me and knows just what I need. Because of the Book of Mormon, I came to know that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God and that He truly suffered for my sins and weaknesses and pains; It was his arms I was feeling around me, because he had already gone through the things I was feeling. I came to a realization that he lived my life and truly could understand what I was feeling. The things I was doing, he had felt, he bore the weight of my actions.

I can remember realizing that and realizing that things needed to change, I needed to change. At this time I may not have consciously known that the Book of Mormon was true, but I knew there was power in it and that through it God spoke to me. I changed that night. I gave up friends I had had for years. during my senior year of high school I was a lot lonelier than I had been before, but I now had goals in life, I had a vision of what I was going to do….

I spent a lot of time on my knees in prayer, a lot of time in my scriptures studying and thinking….and it took a while until finally one day I was praying and the thought came “Sister Elliott, you already know this to be true, you always have, you just didn’t realize it”. It wasn’t some crazy, unbelievable experience, it was simple and came over time, but the fact is that it came. I finally came to a knowledge for myself that the Book of Mormon is true, that the fulness of the Gospel has been restored, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God……all these things I had been taught from infancy were true, I knew it in my mind and in my heart but that was not enough.

As a senior I applied to go to BYU, part of that application process is an interview with your bishop and then stake president. I can remember sitting across from my stake president and actually saying the words out loud, that I had a testimony of the truth. Hearing those words come out of my mouth, hearing myself say them, even though I already knew them to be true, solidified that testimony in my heart.

I went to BYU for three years and absolutely loved it! I was happier there than I had ever been. I had friends who cared about me and who I could trust. I met some of my best friends there, and no matter where life takes us all, they will always be my best friends. I studied Arabic, and spent a semester in Jordan with some of the most amazing people I have met….but, I again found myself on my knees in prayer asking for guidance, that prayer and the subsquent answer led me to where I am now, serving a mission, sharing the things I know are true with those I come in contact with……

Life is a journey, and takes us through all sorts of unexpected things, to unexpected places, however we are never alone and we do not have to try to navigate life alone. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what shows us the way and helps us to get through all those twists and turns and road blocks that life throws at us. The Book of Mormon serves to help give us direction, to point us the right way. Find it. Read it. Live it. Love it.


Love that knows no bounds…..

When I initially started thinking about what I wanted to say today I was stumped. Nothing seemed right. However, as I continued contemplating I began thinking about my parents and things that had happened when I was a child. Now, I am the 4th of 7 kids but I was the youngest for the first 6 years of my life. So, there was a marked difference from before my little brothers were born. One of these differences was the bedtime routine.

When I was the youngest there was just my three older siblings and I to put to bed (but my siblings are at least 4 years older than me so it was more of just putting me to bed). So, we would have family prayer and then my parents (usually my dad) would ask each of us kids two questions. It was always the same two questions. The conversation with each child would go something like this:

Dad: Who loves you?
Me: Mama and Daddy.
Dad: Who else?
Me: Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
Dad: How long will we love you?
Me: Always and forever.

This conversation would take place 4 times each night. Now, the responses we gave were conditioned responses, so the words did not have much meaning to a child as small as I was. However, it was the repetitive, routine of this conversation that would stick with me throughout my life.

Once my little brothers were born this routine changed. My little brothers are twins, so putting them to bed took a lot longer and was much more of a process now, so the nightly Q&A stopped. However, I never forgot those words, and from time to time I would remember those questions and their answers, but still not really understand the significance of them.

I hit my teenage years and as happens sometimes, I hit a downward spiral. On one of my darkest days, I had hit rock bottom and tried to go 6 feet under. I was home and in tears and then my daddy came home and just held me while I cried. As he held me he too started crying (which is something I have seen him do less than 10 times in my life) and he said these words:

“Sister Elliott, who loves you? You know who loves you, right?”


“Your mother and I do and we will love you always and forever. But there is someone who has loved you for far longer. Our Heavenly Father has loved you longer than you can comprehend and he will love you for far longer than you can imagine. You will always be my little girl in this life and in the life to come. But, you were a precious daughter of God before you were my daughter and will be forever….”

Of course, the confused, lost teenager that I was just started crying harder and the words, while they held meaning at that moment were ones that would fade away and would turn back into being words from childhood.

The night before I left for my mission my father gave me words of advice. As he spoke to me his eyes began tearing up and those tears began to fall when he said, “During those hard times there are two things I want you to remember:

Who loves you?

I responded (with tears in my eyes): Mama and Daddy

“Who else?”

I said: “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ”

He asked: “How long will we love you?”

I replied: “Always and forever”


Those words were some of the last words my father said to me before I got on the plane and left for my mission.  This time, the words have stuck. In the 4 1/2 months I have been on my mission I have had some pretty crazy things happen. I have had low points and high points. But, something I am always reminded of is that I am a Daughter of God. I am precious in His eyes and will be no matter what I do. I never want to disappoint my Father in Heaven because he knows what I am capable of and I cannot think of a worse feeling than meeting Him and realizing that I did not become the person He knew I was capable of becoming.

God loves us with a perfect love. He sees beyond our faults and our weaknesses, and our imperfections. His love is endless and knows no bounds. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to be a sacrifice for us so that we can return to live with Him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”  —John 3:16-17

I know that God lives. I know that He is my Father in Heaven. I know that He loves me more than I can comprehend. I know that He has a plan that will enable all of us to live with Him again. I know that my Saviour Jesus Christ is at the center of that plan. That through Christ and his sacrifice we can be made clean and whole. We can repent and change for the better, we can be healed of any pain or hurt. I know that this love is extended to all people everywhere. God is no respecter of persons. Race, age, gender, those things do not matter to Him. The one thing that matters is that I, you, and all of us are His children.

When it comes down to it, all the knowledge of men does not compare to this one simple truth:

We are children of God. We have a divine heritage with a potential to become like our Heavenly Father.

It is a wonder and a blessing to have this knowledge and have the opportunity to share it with the world.

I bear witness to these things in the name of my Lord and my Saviour, my elder brother, Jesus Christ, Amen.

And so it begins….

Honestly, I never know where to start with these things, so I guess I should start at the beginning…. When I chose to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


Growing up I heard stories from my mother about when she served her mission in France. I loved hearing her stories but never seriously considered serving a mission. Traditionally, the age women could serve a mission was 21, so I had a while to make up my mind. However, that changed in October 2012, when the historic announcement was made that the age was lowered for when young men and women could serve missions. For young women, the age was lowered from 21 to 19. At the time I was almost 20 1/2, right in between. When the announcement was made I actually was on a study abroad program in the Kingdom of Jordan, so I was able to postpone thinking about what the implications of the age change had for me until I returned to the states. However it was at the back of my mind.

My mother told me that shortly after the age change had occured, people started asking her when I was going to put in my mission papers. When I heard this I was so angry and outraged. In my mind I was thinking, “How dare these people automatically assume that I even want to serve a mission? How dare they try to predict and determine what I want to do with my life?” Obviously, serving a mission was not an idea on the table at the time and my heart was hardened so that it would not be for some time.

I returned to BYU in January 2013. I had two roommates, both of whom were freshman (and I was finishing up my junior year). One of them, Robin, and I became particularly close. Robin was so excited to serve a mission. She didn’t turn 19 until September, but she had already made up her mind to serve. She would light up every time she talked about going. I on the other hand would shut down, and do what I could to change the subject.

Well, my life had become stagnant. I was losing interest in my classes, which is something I had once loved. I was bored and it was a trial to study, I had to force myself to do my homework and to go to work, I functioned that semester through sheer will power. I was taking three religion classes, which I think helped to give me the strength to make it through the semester. I also had a calling in my ward that required me to go to several meetings and leadership trainings. These things were not connected at all, and yet one thing kept coming up. Missionary work.

I was constantly being pounded with phrases like “Serving a mission” or “When you serve a mission”, people in classes would bring up serving a mission, or even in the material, and none of my classes were missionary oriented, would bring up missionary work. After some time I was kneeling in prayer and finally took the hint. I asked my Father in Heaven if serving a mission is what He wanted me to do with my life. The answer I received was not one of an overwhelming affirmation, but it was rather a neutral feeling. Ultimately, the choice was mine, God wasn’t going to tell me what to do one way or the other.

So, I went back to studying, going to classes, doing homework, trying to have a social life, but things kept coming back to this overwhelming question of what I should do. I was nearing the age of 21 and one of my friends in particular (who had already served a mission) would ask me a lot about whether or not I had decided (I had told him of my dilema and he never pushed, just listened and made suggestions). By this time, it was March and I needed to decide if I was going to look for housing for the Fall or get a deferrment and hold my place at school.

I finally broke down and read in my scriptures and then I pulled out a blessing I had received and had not read in a long time. In it, it specifically mentions being a “Missionary in the Kingdom”. I had my answer. I got back down on my knees and told the Lord that I was ready to do what he wished of me, I was ready to put my life on hold to serve Him. That time I received a feeling of comfort, and in the back of my mind the thought came, “Sister Elliott, you have known all along what you were supposed to do, you have known since you were almost 14 years old. You just fought it, and I am glad and proud that you have stopped fighting”.

So, with that choice, my plans completely changed. I only had 1 year of school left before I would graduate with my bachelor’s degree….yeah, that got put on hold. I went home for the summer and worked. I filled out all the paperwork, had the appropriate interviews, had my picture taken (that actually was the hardest thing for me to do and for about a month was the only thing stopping me from putting in my papers…..I really don’t like pictures that much 🙂 and finally subitted my papers. Two weeks later on October 31st 2013 I received an envelope in the mail. Enclosed was a letter that said “Dear Sister Elliott, you have been called to serve as a Missionary in the Florida Jacksonville Mission….”

And with that, my future was decided. I entered the Missionary Training Center on February 5th, 2014 and arrived in Jacksonville, Florida on February 18th. That was almost 4 months ago. At the beginning I had my doubts as to whether or not this is truly what I should be doing, and if this is where I am supposed to be. But, I now know that all the things that happened transpired to get me to this point and this place.

Like Jesus Christ, I am going about my Heavenly Father’s business, spreading the Gospel to all who will listen, and building the Kingdom of God on the Earth. And I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world.