Hey everyone! This week has gone by so fast here, it's crazy that it's already p-day again! This letter might be a little bit shorter this week, I'm a little bit sick right now and I'm going to try and get back to my residence hall as soon as possible so I can get a little bit of rest. This week has been super awesome though! Four of the people in our district are headed off to their respective missions this Sunday, so it's been a bit of a weird week knowing they'll be gone so soon! It's seriously been so spiritual though, it's insane. Every Tuesday we have a devotional and a general authority speaks to us every week. This Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from Sister Wixom, and she had some really awesome comments on the atonement and how we should be using it. After the devotional, we meet together as a district and discuss the impressions we had and the things we learned from it. After being here for 8 weeks, I've begun to understand exactly what the Book of Mormon is talking about when it says things like "and the ground shook, and their frames trembled". As we went around sharing our testimonies, the spirit bore powerful testimony that the words which were being spoken were true, and there is nothing we can do to deny it. And the ground shook, and my frame trembled. Obviously there is a possibility that when those prophets were speaking, the Lord caused the ground to quake from beneath them or caused their bodies to begin shaking, but I think it was much less literal than that. When the spirit speaks to us, and when we are truly listening, the same thing will happen within ourselves, so that we might know beyond any shadow of a doubt that what we are hearing is true, and that what we are feeling is of God. That room, #303, in building 4M on the MTC campus is sacred to me, and I hold it very dear to my heart. It's there that over the past couple of months the Lord has helped me grow, and has helped me become something that I never could have been before.
You all are probably pretty familiar with the song "Come thou fount", but I've really been thinking a lot about those lyrics throughout this week. In the second verse it says "Here I raise my Eben-Ezer, hither by thy help I've come", and I've never really put a whole lot of thought into those words. I heard Eben-ezer and I sort of just thought it was talking about scrooge or something, and never really put a whole lot of thought into it. This week though, I was reading out of the book of Samuel in the Old Testament and I came across the same word in Chapter 7. The Philistine armies have once more surrounded the armies of Israel, in a place called Mizpeh, the site of two previous Israelite defeats. Samuel, in desperation, offers up a sacrifice unto the Lord, crying unto the Lord of Israel that they might be preserved, "and the Lord heard him". The Israelites by some miracle manage to defeat the armies of the Philistines. Immediately following this, Samuel lifts up a stone and "sets it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." The word Eben-ezer, literally translated means "stone of help". I've been thinking a lot about this throughout the week. It's forced me to ask what I am doing in order to thank the Lord for all the help that he has given me, what is my Eben-ezer? The Lord is there for us. He will never forget us, He will never forsake us. He is waiting for us to cry out unto Him for help, so that he might save us. I know the Lord lives. I know that he suffered and died for us, and that He knows me personally. I have felt His hand reach down and lift me up, time after time after time. I love you all strongly, and I pray for you daily. I hope all is well, and that it will continue to go well.
Until next time,
(Staryeshina (Elder) Kempton)