Monday, March 31, 2014

You are successful!


Success. . .What is success? Our society today will tell you that success is measured by the wealth you obtain, the position you hold, your style of clothes, the beauty of your outward appearance, the number of acquaintances you have, etc.  As a child success was something I always longed for. A status which I strived to obtain.  The thought of being known as successful was something that I thought would cure my problems and bring me happiness. Well here is the truth. If we measure our success off of what the world considers “success”, constantly comparing ourselves to others, we will never feel successful.  Instead we will open the door for self-doubt. Which is one of the adversary’s greatest tools.  So how do we become or feel successful? It’s simple. By having a paradigm shift. By seeing success for what it really is. By realizing what success is in terms of our Heavenly Father. 

Towards the end of January I came home early from serving an LDS mission in Honduras. It was something I had planned to do for the next 18 months of my life and after 3 months in… my feet were back on American soil.  While my time in Honduras was some of the best times of my life it was also the hardest, and a wall of challenges existed that I couldn’t seem to just break through.  My once planned future turned into a foggy area of “What now?”.  And to top it off, I had never felt so unsuccessful in my life.  Not only did I not complete by intended time of service, but I had already deferred for college and… I was jobless.  According to the worlds standards, I was pretty unsuccessful.

So how did I get out of this slump of feeling so unsuccessful? By realizing what success is in terms of our loving Heavenly Father and not according to the terms of the world.  I shut the views of the world out which allowed more room for my Savior and Heavenly Father to take root in my heart.  Too often we look at our lives, comparing it to others, and we think to ourselves “I’m a failure”, “I could have done better”, “Why can’t I be stronger?”, or “Wow, I wish I could be like them”.  I beg of you to please stop. Just stop.  Our God is not a harsh God, rather He is our loving Heavenly Father.  He isn’t tallying our failed attempts but instead rejoicing every time we pick ourselves up, wipe the dust off of our knees, and place our feet in front of us. 

Two of the most successful people I know just happen to be my sisters.  One used to have many addictions with substance abuse and the other is currently going through a divorce.  The trials they have overcome and continue to battle each day make them some of the most successful examples in my life.  So whether you feel like you’re on top of the world or you feel like you’re an unsuccessful parent, child, student, teacher, employee, boss, athlete, etc…remember, success is not measured by the heights you reach but instead by the distance you bounce back after you’ve fallen.
 
Con amor,
Paige Porter
 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Forever Changed

I can still vividly remember that June summer day in 2013 when I opened my mission call. Called to serve and assigned to labor in the Honduras SPSE mission. The spirit flowed so strong that it nearly seemed tangible, I knew with all the conviction in my heart, that it was exactly where I needed to be.   Yet here I am, 3 months later, not in Honduras.  So...was Honduras wrong?  NO.  Honduras was hard. Honduras was a challenge.  Honduras was a place that exposed my weaknesses.  But..Honduras was everything right!

Many people may ask what it is that exactly happened during those 3 months in the mission field.  And truth be told there are no words to explain the things I saw, felt, and experienced.  However, this much I can tell you.  It was and continues to be the hardest thing I have ever had to experience so far in this mortal journey. And secondly, I AM CHANGED FOR THE BETTER.   And isn't that the purpose of a mission ? To have a change of heart? Yes brothers and sisters..yes, yes it is! 

I often think of Abraham and how God asked him to sacrifice his son.  In obedience to the Father, he went and lied his son upon the alter.  But did he end up sacrificing his son? Well we all know how the story goes...No.  No he did not. The Lord only wanted to see if he would go.  If he would be willing to have the faith to do that which the Lord had commanded him.  I firmly believe that the Lord gives us Abrahamic trials in our lives.  Sometimes He knows that they may be more than we can handle or complete, but He wants to see if we are willing.  If we have faith.  If we will at least try to do that which he commands!  And when through our efforts we still fall short... the Lord comes in, just as he did with Abraham.  He provides another way. In reality...He provides the way that He had planned all along :) The way for us to be truly strengthened and grow in ways that we never knew or thought were possible. 

If you would have told me three months ago that I would be back, I would have told you you're crazy.  Boarding that airplane took more courage than I knew I had and taking off that name tag took more trust in the Lord than I actually knew I had in me.  However here I am, and it's right.  It is God's plan, specifically designed and tailored for me. A plan with mountains to climb, but a plan that will enable me to become more than I could possibly imagine.   He knew what I needed to learn in Honduras, and he knows what I need to learn now.  I may not be able to see the grand and final picture, but I have the trust and faith that His hand is guiding me along always.  Through all of the hard times, I have come to know without a doubt in my mind, that our Heavenly Father knows us each individually. He has a plan for each and every one of His children.  He loves me and He loves you.  It is no coincidence that the first principle we teach as missionaries is "God is our Loving Heavenly Father".  Our challenges and triumphs, the good and the bad..ALL things testify that we have a loving Heavenly Father.  I know God lives.  I know He loves me.  And whether I return to the mission field or not...I will forever give praise to His name in serving as a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I will forever praise Him and give glory to His name, because it is through Him that I am forever changed.

Con amor,
Hermana Porter

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Every rose has it's thorn.

Well family and friends...I am not quite sure what to say.  I can honestly say that these past 6 weeks and this past week specifically has been the craziest thing of my life. From President Klein talking me through anxiety attacks on the phone at night, to receiving a surprise phone call from my parents and receiving a fathers blessing through the phone, and...to top it off having surprise "cambios" before cambios even happened...Yup ...let me explain.  Hna. Rioja and I had just arrived to Progreso after a 2 hour bus ride for a zone conference, when we walk in and some other sisters say to me, "Hey President Klein sent us for you. We are your new companions.  We are going back to Tela right now for you to pack up your stuff and come with us.".  Say what?!  SOPRESA!! So we did.  We went back to Tela and shoved all of my stuff in my bags in about 15 minutes and now I am here in a trio with Hermana Turner and Hermana Riviera.  I cried the entire bus ride there and as I left Tela. I didn´t even have the time to say a proper goodbye to my companion. Once again thrown out into the open blue. So many new things and surprises being thrown at me at once...truth be told I can´t even remember the name of where I am right now...La Paz I think? I feel like a lost puppy hopping from place to place and feeling without a purpose.  Later that night we ran into President Klein at the church here with the new missionaries who just arrived.  He pulled me aside and asked how I was... I couldn´t contain my compusure.  I just sat there and cried as he held me in his arms.  And then he gave me the news that I wish I wouldn´t have heard concerning having my called reassigned because of the complications I´ve had here with anxiety.  Before I can have my call reassigned I would have to come home...

Long story short..The mission is harder than I ever thought it would be and continues to be so. As mom and dad know I have had some problems here with anxiety.  A weakness and struggle that I never even knew existed until I came to the mission. I am not quite sure where I will be in a week or two from now. Honduras or home.  But this I do know...I will serve a mission.  If it means I have to take a break for a few months so be it, and if not, great!  Brothers and sisters, family and friends, there is something I have learned here in the mission.  A life lesson that I will never forget.  Every rose has it´s thorn.  It is here in the mission that I have discovered mine.  But as the scriptures say in Ether, "I give unto man weaknesses that they may be made strong".  I know as I press forward with faith, and the knowledge that God has a plan for me, I too can be made strong.  No matter what happens in the future, I wouldn´t take back the weaknesses I have discovered in the mission or the nights where my pillow was filled with tears.  Because through it all, I have progressed.  I am stronger now than I was before.  I have my thorns but I am still a rose.  Because truth be told...Every rose has it´s thorn.  

Con amor, 
Hermana Porter  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beautifully Simple!!

Hola familia y amigos!!!
Well I would try and write something cool in Spanish but truth be told the language is still a barrier for me right now so I`ll stick to the English;)  haha.  Another week down...crazy!  The days seem like weeks here and the weeks seem like days!  

As far as my investigators go..:)  As I mentioned in my previous email we had two baptisimal dates for this Saturday but we will only be having one.  Hermana Antonia!  As far as numbers go this week, they could have been better.  We couldn`t find Hno. Celso this entire week and he didn`t come to church and the number of people who attended church dropped to 52.  As missionaries we do our part, but people still have agency.  Sometimes I wish they didn`t ..;)  Hna. Rioja and I are praying a lot not only for  our investigators here but for the members and less-actives.  There is a lot of less-actives and we spend a big majority of our time working and teaching them.  Many people have been baptized but truly don`t know anything of the church or just simply can`t remember.  The understanding of many of the people here is truly like children.  It requires us to teach clearly and in simple terms....I LOVE IT.  It is a constant reminder to me that the gospel is beautifully simple and simply beautiful:)  It isn´t complicated.  The doctrine is clear.

 My favorite experience of the week would have to be when we taught our most "simple" lesson:)  We had taught this Hermana three times about the restoration and every time when we returned to teach her more she couldn`t remember anything. Later that night as we were planning to teach her again , I looked at Hna. Rioja and said, "Necesitamos a ensenarle como puede orar. Solamente sobre oracion. ( we need to teach her how to pray.  Only about prayer) ".  Since this Hermana can`t read I decided to draw a picture for her.  I drew closed eyes, a picture of our father in heaven, a heart filled with pictures of family, food, the ocean, and then  a picture of Jesus.  The next day we went to her house and taught her how to pray.  I practiced with her about 10 times repeating words and explaining the pictures. "First we close our eyes, then we begin by saying Heavenly Father, then you can express the things in your heart like your family, your food, the ocean.  Anything in your heart you can express to God.  And when you`re done talking with God you finish in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  :)" It was one of the most humbling experiences.  Sometimes we forget how blessed we are to have the knowledge that we do, that we know how to pray, that we know God lives!  This Hermana didn`t know who our Savior was or that she had a God who listens to her until we taught her!  At the end of the lesson this Hermana offered one of the most simple yet sincere prayers.  Brothers and Sisters...these are the moments in my mission that I will never forget!

As far as things are going for me here..I am definitely adjusting and learning to love the people and the life here. The Lord has not taken my trials from me but as it says in Mosiah 24:13-15, "I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders...the Lord did strengthen Paige Porter that she could bear up her burdens with ease".  I love you all.  I know the Church is true.  I know God lives and loves us.  I know our Savior lives.

Con amor ,
Hermana Porter

A New Beginning!

Familia y Amigos...

FeLiZ AnO NuEvO!!  It is still weird for me to think that it is 2014...time and Holidays don`t really exist here in the mission.  I hope you have all set your goals and plans of action on how you can progress and improve!:)  It has been another challenging but good week here in the mission.  So much happens every day and it becomes difficult to remember it all but I will try my best.

We still have two baptisms set for the 18th of this month for Hermana Antonia and Hermano Celso!  WOHOO!  Hermana Antonia is super pilas (aka amazing) and has truly been prepared by the Lord.  We are continuing to teach her and prepare her for her baptism.  Hermana Celso is super pilas tambien!!!  He has some personal challenges with the Word of Wisdom but we are still continuing forward and shooting for the 18th for his baptism. He has some difficult addictions but that doesn`t matter...I know the Lord is a Lord of miracles and anyone can change through the power of  the Atonement!:)  We have taught and found a lot of others but as of right now they are the only two investigators we have that are truly progressing.  Yesterday we hit an attendance of 70 members at church...truly a miracle!! The attendance hasn`t been that high for quite some time now...our goal is to have 80!!!  Hermana Rioja and I have spent a large majority of our time teaching less active members..it is unbelievable how many have been baptized here but truly aren`t converted.  We are working hard to strengthing their testimonies and desires to remain faith and endure to the end!!  President Klein always tells us that the numbers of baptism aren`t important.  If we can help raise the attendance at church, it is of equal importance!!  SO TRUE!!!  The Lord doesn`t want us to simply be baptized or to go to church here and there...he wants us to remain firm in the faith, to endure and enjoy to the end!!!

Speaking of enduring to the end..:)  last week Dad wrote to me about a conference talk given my Elder Maynes called, ¨The Strength to Endure",  so I decided to read it some more and tear it apart and ponder it a little deeper.  The mission is hard...life can be hard...but we must endure!!  In his talk he mentions that we have a loving heavenly father who has designed our earthly existence so that we can individually learn the lessons we need to learn to qualify for eternal life in His presence.  This really stuck out to me...Heavenly Father gives us challenges, and the life we have, so we can grow and be worthy in the end to qualify for eternal life! In reality we should be counting our challenges because they are helping us to qualify!  Brothers and sisters, friends and family, I want you all to know that I know God has a plan for each and every one of you and for me.  Many times the plan is difficult, but if you can endure and "become the rock the river cannot wash away" you will be exalted on high!  I would be lying to say that the mission isn`t hard...IT IS HARD.  I still have my days of discouragement, I am still learning to adjust and learn how to love it.  But in the grand scheme of things...my struggle and your struggles are beautiful.  Because through them, we are being shaped and molded into the people we must be so we can return to live with our Father in Heaven once more.  Keep on Keeping on...I´ll be doing the same here in Honduras!!  

Con amor, 
Hermana Porter

***Funny experience of the week...Me and Hna. Rioja taught a pastor of another church haha so awesome! He was nice and willing to listen.  As we sang a hymn to him, gave a prayer, and then began to share our testimonies about our loving Heavenly Father he started to get teary eyed.  Than out of no where...literally out of no where, he started to make some kind of tribal cry while punching his fist to the sky.  Than after he did his thing he just returned back to normal...I was seriously just taken by shock and wanted to laugh SO bad..but of course I didn`t. He then asked to sing a song for us..so of course we let him:)  Once we were done and out of sight I seriously just busted up laughing.  There is a lot of different religions and traditions here and we have crazy experiences every week!:)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Hola!!!

Well after washing my clothes for two hours by hand this morning (
still not finished ), and running/walking 3 miles to even get here to
this internet cafe, ....HERE I AM :)  They literally were not joking
when they said that our mission was like camping.  I am literally
camping in church clothes, have about 15 mosquito bites on my left
leg, and my hair..oh goodness my hair.  I don`t understand why the men
think I am pretty here, because I definitely don`t feel like it;)
.hehe.  Livin la vida loca!!!

As I am sure many of you know my first two weeks here were extremely
hard.  I had thoughts of going home and wondering why I am here, but
as I said...Here I am :)  This past week has been hard but better.
The mission never gets easier, it just gets better:)  It gets better
as I learn how to rely on my Savior.  As my sweet mother said in her
letter this morning, we cannot try and carry all of our burdens by
ourselves.  When we hand our burdens over to the Savior, it is easier
to press forward and as my amazing Father said..we must endure! I am
learning to do exacty that!

Amazing news...We have two dates for baptism on the 18th of January.
What a great way to start the New Year!!  Hermana Anotonia is our
first investigator..she is amazing!  She is about 70 years old or so,
mas o menos, and is so ready for baptism.  I don´t understand
everything she says haha, but for some reason every time I look into
her eyes I think of Grandma Porter.  And when I think of Gndma. Porter
I feel at home..I feel motivated...I want to love others more!  Our
other investigator is Hermano Celsor.  We found him only 3 days ago.
Truly a tender mercy! He knows and has received almost all of the
lessons before in the past but i guess it just wasn`t the right time
for him. We invited him to church and he came..for all 3 HOURS..!! Si
hombre!!! I am so excited for the both of them.

In closing I want to share a quote that hangs on my wall from Richard
G. Scott.  It is directed towards missionaries but it can honestly be
applied to everyone!  It`s a new year which means "change" right?:)
Every year we are called to do something new.  A new calling, a new
challenge, whatever the case may be, life is full of change.  And
change can be hard..trust me, I KNOW because I am living in ChAnGe
right now!  When you feel like you can`t move forward, or your goals
are out of reach..don`t give up.  Don`t settle for the most traveled
path, shoot for the stars and remember this quote.  "Remember, the
Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail. Sometimes it may seem
terribly hard, but He wants you to grow. He will not abandon you.  He
inspired your call.  He knows who you are.  He knows what you need.
He knows what He wants you to become, and this mission experience is
an opportunity He has given you to discover things about yourself you
never knew; capacities you never knew you had, strength beyond what
you felt you had, and the capacity to love and serve which will
sustain you throughout the rest of your life.  Remember you have been
called and He will fit the task to your capabilities.  I testify in
the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

I love you all!  Happy New Year!! I`m excited to hear from you all in
2014!!! Congrats to our newest family member on the Porter side...Baby
Olivia! Hurrah for Israel!!!

Con amor, Hermana Porter

The dirt road our casa is on...aka river!! haha nothing stops the work of the Lord!

La Playa!!

Feliz Navidad

Mi familia y amigos...

FeLiZ NaViDaD!!!!  Wow...can you believe it is already CHRISTmas?? I
can`t...especially not when I have frizzy hair and sweat dripping down
my face every day because of this heat ;)  I hope you all have caught
the christmas spirit and are serving those around you as christ would.
Christmas has been a tool for as a missionaries to strike
conversations and share the gospel.  I love it.  We just stop people
walking down the dirt road and say , ¨podemos cantar un himno de
navidad por ustedes?¨  We then sing our little hearts out and bear
testimony of the Savior and our Loving Heavenly Father.  That my dear
family and friends..is the TRUE Christmas spirit.

Well truth be told this past week has been hard...I seriously have so
much respect for every person in the world who has served a mission,
because it definitely has it`s hard moments.  Today I want to begin
with a story of a man who wanted to remodel his house. This man told a
designer that he wanted to remodel his house and the designer agreed
to help him out.  The next day when the man walked into the house the
walls were knocked down and everything in the entire house was gutted.
¨Why have you knocked EVERYTHING down?¨, the man asked the designer.
¨ I only wanted to remodel it, paint the walls, and switch a few
things around.¨  The designers reply was this... ¨Because I know what
we can make out of this house.  We can make something grand, we can
make something beautiful.  But first we need to start from scratch.¨
I am like the man in this story ...and God is the designer!!!  The
mission has been hard because literally everything..all of my pride,
everything I had before has been knocked down and gutted out of me.
Sometimes it hurts, sometimes its lonely, sometimes i feel empty and
abondoned.  But all of these things are for my good, because now God
can build.  He can build exactly what HE wants. Not what I want, what
HE wants.  With my will submitted, He can make me and shape me into
something more grand and beautiful than I could ever imagine.  He is
the ultimate designer and I am learning every day how to submit my
will to Him.  President Klein made a really good point to me this
week.  He said, ¨Hermana..I know you have a testimony, I knew you
before the mission, and I know you have a lot to offer.  But truth be
told, none of that matters.  It doesn`t matter what you were, what
matters is where you are going. :) ¨  He is exactly right.  So ask
yourself...where are you going?  What are your plans? It`s never to
late to start fresh and make a change.  Let the Lord and Savior work
in you.  As the Words of Mormon 1:7 says, ¨and now, I do not now all
things;but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore,
he worketh in me to do according to His will.¨

In closing I want to share my highlight of the week and a funny
experience.  Highlight:  CHINO WAS BAPTIZED! Hurrah for Israel!!
Hermana Rioja and I really didn`t have to do much, he was prepared by
the Lord and the Elders before us defintiely planted the seed.  Seeing
him be baptized and watching his wife and kids watch him enter into
the waters of baptism was amazing!  Funny experience: had my first
real rainstorm here. CRAZY.  The rain was so deep that we couldn`t see
the roads and I fell into a gutter, banged up my knee, and literally
had water up to my chest.  Hilarious..you should have seen it.  Just
imagine it haha Hermana Porter walking through water trying to find
someone to teach and share the gospel with..too good!! Nothing stops
the Lords work..not even crazy rain storms:)

I love you all and hope that you have an amazing Christmas filled with
the true love of Christ..Charity!!

Con amor,
Hermana Porter

The baptism of Chino with his wife Heidi
 
Hand washing mis ropas!
 
Bautismo de Chino!!! Chino is on the right of the picture, president Mencia thumbs up!
 
Feliz Navidad!
 
Best package ever...muc​has gracias!!!​! xoxo