Monday, September 2, 2013


Dear Family,

I'm grateful to hear from you guys. I know it's been a rough week at home and I hope everything is well. I want you to know that I am praying for you all the time. Thank you for being honest with me and telling me what's going on (with Brady), the last thing I want is to not know what's going on at home. Sometimes families think that they have to protect their kids from the truth, but it's really not that way. I can know what's going and still keep myself focused on the work.

I guess more than anything, right now I want to share my testimony with you guys about the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I always think back on those first three weeks of my mission. I didn't understand a word my own companion said to me, the people laughed at me every time I opened my mouth, I was in the hospital (a hospital that scared the living lights out of me) for some unknown rash that could have meant a disease that sent me back home, my companion was bedridden for 3 days, I was scared to death every time I looked out my window and was reminded that I was literally living in the Amazon jungle.

I was so close to going home. I really thought I was dying and I felt like serving a mission was the biggest mistake I had ever made. To say the least, I was miserable and thought there was no hope. 

It was at that time that I turned to an old habit of mine that I had used as a little girl to get through tough times.  I wrote a poem. I remembered being told that our trials are like the Refiner's Fire. They're there to make us better.

I wrote:

I never thought that I would have,
To pass through trials quite like these.
It seems like every waking moment,
Brings me right down on me knees.
And as I cry unto my Father,
I feel Him hold his breaking daughter.
And His love alone
Is enough to keep me from going home.

Well, I’ve found myself in the Refiner's Fire,
And it's sure burning bright for me.
In the Refiner's Fire,
I'm finding out who I was meant to be.
In the refiner's fire,
I'm learning all I have to learn.
In the refiner's fire,
I'm earning the stripes I have to earn.
‘Til I’ve been refined by this fire.

I know that somewhere down the road,
A different me awaits.
She's stronger and happy,
The light of Christ glows in her face.
But right now I'm just a scared little girl,
And it seems I'm holding all the world,
On my shoulders and I can't ,
Under the weight of it all stand.

Well, I think I'm in the refiners fire
And it's sure burning bright today.
In the refiners fire,
The old me is burning away.
In the refiners fire,
I'm being taught from above.
In the refiners fire,
I'm becoming worthy of the ones I love,
For them I'll endure this refiners fire.

It was through the Atonement of Christ that in just 5 short months, I've changed from that scared little girl that I was into the Missionary that's known for being bright and happy. He knows us. He feels our pains. He helps us overcome them.

Elder Holland shared the most poignant testimony in the Mormon Message entitled "Better Things Ahead" (Good Things to Come).   This message kept me on my mission and I hope it keeps you all pressing forward. Sometimes we don't understand why things happen to us, but I know that God has a plan. He will help us overcome everything. All of His plan is so that we can be happy again. That is really what keeps me going. Maybe my situation really hasn't gotten a lot easier, but I'm bright and happy because my relationship with God and with my Savior Jesus Christ has gotten better.


I love you. Push forward. Be strong. Your letters to me make my week better. Don't stop writing. I'm not disappointed in you, I'm still as proud as I could be. Those scriptures and advice that I sent you weren't just for your mission, they are for life in general. Take the advice and volunteer in the Temple, it will save your life. I'm praying for you everyday. God loves you and is there for you. Don't let this change your mind about serving your mission. Take it as an opportunity to keep preparing.  I would have loved to have a few extra months of preparation! Our deal still lives on. I want to see you in the LA airport in 13 short months, with your name tag, companion, and all. I'm here for you. You're my twin brother and there's not a thing in this world that I wouldn't do for you. I love you.

I wish I could be there with you guys right now, but I'm helping out more here in Peru than I could at home. God will keep blessing you.

It's been a great week. I had some really miraculous experiences. I'm learning what it really means to be a good missionary. It doesn't mean counting my baptisms or having the most contacts each week. It sometimes means dropping a whole morning's worth of appointments to comfort an investigator. It means learning charity and loving the people, even the ones that are unlovable. It means praying more than sleeping. It means forgetting yourself and realizing the two names on the nametag: My family, and Jesucristo are the two people that I represent right now. It means being obedient even when it's hard or even when it doesn't make sense.

It means a lot of meetings, a lot of heartbreak, a lot of closed doors. Luckily, closed doors also means opened windows that we have to go and find. It means learning to laugh at yourself and get over your pride. It means adjusting to a new culture. More than anything, it means opening up your heart and allowing the Atonement of Jesus Christ enter in and make us who we need to be..even if it means more time "in the fire." It means turning to Him for the comfort, counsel, and love that we need. 

I remember sitting on the beach of Lake Powell one quiet afternoon and drawing in the sand. It didn't matter what I drew or how deep I drew it, the waves always smoothed it over. This is the Atonement of Christ. We never know what will be drawn on the beach of our lives. Trials, sins, pains, sickness, depression, hurt, anxiety, inadequacy, stress, weakness, or just about anything. Nevertheless, the waves on the Atonement are always crashing on our beach. They truly are powerful enough to smooth out anything. . .no matter how deep it is.

I love you all with all my heart. I'm looking forward to another great week and I know I'll have plenty of miracles to tell you about next Monday!!!

Hermana Simonson

Here is the link to the talk Meg was talking about: Elder Holland, "Good Things to Come".  It's the full version of the video.  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Hermana Simonson teaches me something profound with each letter. She is in my daily prayers, along with 75,000 other valiant servants in the field! God bless!