This week has equally been the hardest and the happiest weeks of my entire mission. After hearing about Marissa's passing I was very much in shock, and that shock continued for a few days. I remember after hanging up the phone just sitting there and just trying to wrap my mind around it with the other 1000 things of the day also going through my head, so at that point the spirit whispered to me "Apply your faith". So I went to my knees in prayer, and felt that I should ask a blessing. It is interesting how well Heavenly Father truly knows us, and also on the flip side, Satan knows us. Satan never attacked my testimony of the plan of salvation. That is too rock solid. He merely tried to make me feel throughout these last few days that I would never be worthy enough to be with her again. However, In the blessing, of course it said that Marissa was fine and would be watching out for and supporting us. I can sincerely say that at that moment in the blessing I felt a very warm hug from her. I don’t think there is anyone else that it could be. After talking to President a little bit, Elder Hanis and I went back home. Then that thought came back to me about "applying my faith". Somehow this time it clicked, I knew what I needed to do to access the atonement. I prayed, studied 2 Nephi 9 a couple of times, had the blessing, reached out in service to others trying to help members of my district, and in some ways it has been one of the happiest weeks of my mission as well. I had the opportunity to testify with conviction to everyone that Jesus is the Christ, that he has lifted my burdens, and freed my sister from the bonds of death. At that point, the feeling of the spirit washed over me like it has on countless times on my mission, and I knew everything would be ok. That everything would work out for the best. Plus of course, if there is something else that I have learned on my mission it is this: In the greatest times of opposition, come the greatest blessings. Three huge blessings for this week: 1. Michal passed his baptismal interview and cried at sacrament meeting. He had a spiritual confirmation that the church was true which was enough for him to want to live the law of chastity and prepare for his baptism on the 25th. 2. New members' meeeting: David Zapletal from Plzen came in attendance gave me a big hug and told me that he is so grateful that I opened my mouth and showed the gospel to him and gave him such a happier life. Baptisms are great on a mission, but the most true joy I have felt has been seeing the converts endure to the end. 3. I received an email from Olda in Brno that things are going well for him and his returned missionary girlfriend, and he has plans of proposing leading to a temple marriage.
So, in conclusion, the atonement is real. It doesn’t matter how deep in trials we may be, Jesus Christ and his atonement reach down and in the words of President Utchdorf "lift you up on his shoulders and carry you home". I love my sister very much, and I will miss her for the short time that we will not be able to see each other, but in the same breath I know that I have been lifted by Christ and that our burdens can and will be lightened through him. If we merely apply our faith! Have a great week! Choose the atonement!