First off, thanks for the letters and emails! It's seriously good to hear from home.
I got a picture of Willie B. and us. It's sad because he's no longer interested, but it's hard with his background in Babylon if you will. The many influences that were around him had a lot of influence on him.
I've learned that the greatest sins we commit come later in life. He beckons us back our duties when we spend whatever amount of energy "feeding ourselves". He is so quick though to help us repent and regain the path to discipleship.
There has been so much light on my mission as I've kept the covenants (however imperfectly) made in the temple. But despite the greatness of my God in giving me such great spiritual experiences, I am constrained to lament with Nephi, O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; (2 Nephi 2).
I marvel though at the strength of the Lord! My guilt and sorrow have been swept away forever. I am happier and more appreciative of His sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.
"The Apostle Paul taught that 'godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death.' Godly sorrow inspires change and hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down, extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation." ("You can do it now!" President Utchdorf, November 2013)
That is so important in repentance! Turn to God, feel sorrow for offending Him, try to love Him no matter the separation you might feel from Him, and quickly He will heal you.
I'm forever grateful for the Atonement. I almost wish we weren't in a fallen state, but that would thwart God's purposes for us. To us has been given the power to act, and we need His help to learn to choose right
consistently. We can be happy, we can receive tender mercies even while we feel the guilt from sin.
The Savior lives! The work is true! He truly does have power to cleanse us from sin. It's unfortunate we sometimes have to fall to rise beyond where we were. We may "not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until [we] are perfected." (D&C 67:13)
Trust in Moroni's promise, no matter how wretched we may feel, no matter what responsibilities we have been given, we can successfully complete our missions here on earth, if we will. Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
I know that's how I will succeed in my mission despite living under the fall of Adam.
I love you all, I want to share His message of hope for the lost and for those who are sick with everyone I know. He truly has "overcome the world." His grace will carry us through this world if we will repent, to a "far better land of promise." (Alma 37:45) Repent, there is such incredible joy waiting for us and additional strength in overcoming our trials. No matter where we are He can redirect our lives back to Him.
I love you all and I'm praying for your welfare daily,