Sharing my joy!

“That they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God…Now they were desirous that salvation shout be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish.” (Mosiah 28:2-3)

Joy is one of the first things I think of when I think of the blessings that I have in my life because of the gospel. I have been very blessed to always have the gospel in my life. I love my life with the gospel and without these truths I wouldn’t have anything.
The scripture above is the thoughts of the sons of Mosiah. At one point in their lives they not only didn’t’ believe the gospel, but they taught people not to believe these things and worked to destroy the church. Well, they had an amazing conversion experience, and completely turned their lives around. The scripture above were their thoughts after this whole experience. They had experienced something amazing and wanted to share that with everyone. They didn’t want anyone to be on the path where they had been headed at one point in their lives. Click here to see a recap video of their story.
I’ve seen this in my life as well. I had the opportunity to serve a mission and share the gospel that I love. When I left for my mission I thought I had a deep testimony of the gospel, but I was in for a wakeup call. I deepened my testimony immensely as it was tried over and over again. I saw that as I deepened my testimony, that my desire to share the things I knew grew immensely. I wanted more than ever to have all people be as happy as I was.

Click here for a video about choosing to serve God and the blessings that come.  In this video I love a qoute that is said, "Hard as seems thing today, they will seem better the next day, if you choose to serve him this day." We can start now and we will see blessings now. He loves us!

In the end, this is what I know. This church is true. No doubt about it. This church has Jesus Christ’s gospel and brings more joy than anything else in life can provide. It teaches truths that will great enrich anyone’s’ lives. Find out more here: www.lds.org or www.mormon.org


Faith, Repentance, & Forgiveness

This semester in college, I'm studying the Book of Mormon a lot, as I've talked about before, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm learning a lot. This week, I read the book of Enos. I've always loved this book, because the amazing story of repentance and forgiveness. Enos goes hunting and while wandering the woods starts to ponder about the current situation of his life. He feels like he hasn't lived well and that he needs to repent and seek forgiveness. It leads him to pour out his soul in prayer to God seeking forgiveness, which he received. He prayed for a day and a night and continued to pray for another day, seeking his own forgiveness, but also seeking blessing for the well-being of others. I'm going to point out verses that have stood out to me while reading. One is about truth. Enos is forgiven and God tells him so. Enos immediately responds with words that I love found in verse 6, "And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away." I love that phrase, "God could not lie." It is so true. God doesn't and can't lie to us. He is truth. I think that is amazing and really helps us turn to him to trust him.
This trust leads us to receive the forgiveness we seek when we repent. We learn in Enos that this forgiveness is possible because of our faith. After Enos is forgiven, he asks God how it was possible. God responds in verse 8 by saying, "Because of thy faith in Christ." His faith in Christ, our Savior, allowed him to repent of his sins. When we have faith in the atonement of Christ and in Christ we are able to be forgiven of all our sins. So that in the end we, "shall stand before Him; then shaall [we] see his face pleasure, and He will say unto [us]; Come unto me, ye bessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father." I'm thrilled for the day that we get to stand before God clean of our sins because we have repented of our sins through faith in him. Below is a modern day story, similar to Enos's story. Please watch. It is powerful and I love it!



Gratitude, the power to be humble

Nephi, like I pointed out in my last post, is a huge example. This week while reading 1 Nephi 18 I realized the gift that gratitude is in our lives, especially when experiencing trials. Nephi was in a hard situation. It isn’t easy to be tied up for three days with little to no care. Then when he was untied his ankles and wrists were very sore and swollen. In that circumstance, the natural man wants to complain and murmur about the situation. We can learn what it looks like to conquer the natural man. Nephi not only doesn’t complain, but he thanks God for helping him out of the situation he was in and asks for help to escape the storm they were in. While being tied up, he remembers what words were said concerning the wicked and what would happen to them. After being released, Nephi prays to God and the compass again starts to work and they begin to be led in the correct direction. As it says in chapter 17, the wicked will be led as long as they keep the commandments.
This all strikes home for me this week as I have been struggling with some things of my own. I've been going through some rough trials. It has been very uplifting to read about what Nephi did and work to apply it to myself.  I've been working hard to see the good things that are coming from my trials and I have found that it helps me have more of a "Nephi" attitude. About gratitude, I watched this video clip from President Monson talking about the divinity of gratitude that I want to share.


Overall, I really just know that God loves us. He gives us a lot and we are to be grateful for all that he has given us. We must recognize that which he has given us in order to feel the love of God more in our lives. I love Him and I know he loves us. We must look to him and be grateful for what we have been given.


Tender mercies

I am currently in a Book of Mormon class that has been very insightful for me. I have read the Book of Mormon many times, and love the content there. I get so much out of it. For those that don't know what the Book of Mormon is, please visit this link and learn more. It is an incredible book comparable to the Bible that will bring much joy into your lives.
Well, one of the biggest things that I have learned this week is about tender mercies. Since reading the first assigned chapter in this week's reading, it seems to come up all the time now. Nephi mentions in the very first chapter that he will write the tender mercies that the Lord shows unto him and his family. Tender mercies are blessings that come from the Lord because he loves us. I have learned in my studies this week that tender mercies can either help us simply see that the Lord is there, but they can also have a larger effect. One being, tender mercies can provide us with strength and wisdom. I have studied it a lot, and I'm grateful for the insights I have gained regarding tender mercies.
Tender mercies also help us see the Lord's hand in our lives and help us be more grateful to him for what he does for us. This is a particular area as I have read this week that I have felt that I need to strengthen. I don't always take the time to thank God for the many things that he does for me and I need to do better. In the past, I have taken the time to record daily those tender mercies and I saw how it changed my outlook on life and helped me be more grateful.
I love my Heavenly Father and I am so grateful for the things he has done for me daily. Sometimes it is as simple as a rainbow on a bad day (this happened to me last week). The tender mercies can also be more profound like an answer to prayer. For my husband and I, it was finding a place to rent in a short amount of time. The blessings and tender mercies are there. We just have to open our eyes to see them.

Here is a video of Elder Bednar talking about tender mercies and explaining them a little better for us.



Blogging again

After a long absence I am back into the blogging world. I have so much to catch up on. My last post was about me going on a mission and now I'm home from my mission and married! Yeah, a lot has happened. I'm currently living in Provo while my husband attends UVU to get a degree in business. I work full time in Salt Lake where I manage an art gallery and I am attending school full time through an online program provided by BYU-Idaho where I am studying Web Design and Development! That is a brief synopsis and there will be more later, but for now I have my blog at least started again!


Leaving on my Mission!!

I'm being set apart as a missionary in about 36 hours so here are the addresses to write me. My mom will be posting my emails here as well as pictures on my missionary blog, sistercloward.blogspot.com (you can also click the above tab, "Leigh's Mission". If you want to receive the emails when she forwards them, email sister.cloward@gmail.com. 

MTC address: (I will be in the MTC until May 28)

MTC Mailbox # 250
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
(you can use the MTC mailbox number above to write me via dearelder.com as well)

Mission home address:

Sister Sarah Leigh Cloward 
Baltic Mission
Cesu iela 31-2K2
Riga LV-1012

Also, my mom will be printing emails sent to sister.cloward@gmail.com and mailing them to me every other week.So, feel welcome to send emails there if you don't want to pay any money for postage.

In case you didn't get the chance, read up about my mission call here.


A Tribute

As all of you should know at this point, there were 20 kids shot and killed at an elementary school in Connecticut. This is a video I found in tribute to those who died on this tragic day in America's history.

If the video doesn't work above, click HERE to watch it as well.

I know that there are many suffering at this time because of the lives lost in this horrible act of violence, but I also know that there is peace available to those who are suffering. Through the Jesus Christ we can find peace and forgiveness in this hard time. I know that the children who died were welcomed into heaven with warm embraces and much love, and that they are at peace there. I hope that we can all find peace and forgiveness in the wake of this trial. May God watch over those families who lost loved ones and may we all be mindful of those who are suffering around us, and keep them in our prayers. 


Mission Call!!

I definitely should have posted this earlier, but here it is anyways. I got my mission call about a week and a half ago! When the President of the church announced that the mission age was being changed for woman to be able to go on a mission, I just knew that now was my time to share the truth of the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm so excited.
Well, drum roll... I'll be going to the Baltic mission on March 27!! The Baltic mission has four countries which are Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Belarus. I will be speaking Latvian, so I will probably spend most of my 18 months there in Latvia! I'm excited and spend most of my free time now learning about the area and what it is going to be like!! Here is a map of the countries in relation to Russia and Poland.


Change is in the air!!

Well, I have big changes in my life coming up. I'm sure most of you have heard how the mission age for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints has been lowered. So, men can now leave at 18 and women at 19. Well, I'm 19! So, I'm taking a leap of faith and going on a mission! I'm almost done with my papers. I've done my part of the papers and had my final interview with my bishop. All I need now is my final interview with the stake president and he'll submit the papers to the church headquarters where they will decide where I'm going to go. I'm hoping to have my mission call by Thanksgiving, but we'll see how behind they are with the many papers of other people they have gotten so far.
The first thing people ask me when they find out I'm going to go on a mission, is where do I want to go? I always tell them I'm willing to serve wherever I'm called. But in all honesty I would love to go somewhere French speaking, whether it is Canada or France or some country in Africa. It doesn't have to be French speaking, but I would love to be fluent in such a beautiful language. So, I'll post it on the blog when I know where I'm going, but if you feel so inclined you are welcome to post a comment with where you think I will go. :)


Salt Lake Diversity

Working in Utah has been quite the learning experience. I've enjoyed it so much. I couldn't ask for any better jobs than what I have now. My favorite job is in Salt Lake. One thing I've had to learn is to drive in Salt Lake. I love it though. Salt Lake is quite the different, diverse place.
Well, while working at the art gallery the other day. I sold a piece of artwork to Elder Steven E. Snow. For those who don't know who he is, he is a member of the seventy and also the church historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He came in and bought a large print of the St. George Temple. It was a great experience to sell something to such a great man.
In great contrast, on my way home from work that evening, I was driving past an intersection and looked over and there were two police officers. As I looked more closely, I saw them arresting someone right there on the sidewalk. Growing up in a small town bubble, I have never seen someone get arrested. It shocked and scared me. What a stark contrast from my earlier experience!
So, Salt Lake has really shown me what differences there are in the world. It is really only possible to see both of these stark contrasts in Salt Lake! I couldn't see and meet a general authority and then see an arrest in any other big city besides Salt Lake. I love working in Utah!