Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's goals

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!  This year was very much a white Christmas on Temple Square and what a beautiful time it was!
Tuesday morning we had Assembly Hall for two hours and I met "Luke." (Name changed for privacy purposes). He was visiting from Florida on his way to Seattle to visit a friend. His flight got delayed so he came to Temple Square. This was his first time to Salt Lake.  I asked if he had seen much and the Assembly Hall was his first stop.  I started asking questions to get to know him.  I learned he had a friend or coworker who was Mormon, but had never talked with them about their faith.  He grew up Methodist but didn't agree with some of the things and stopped reading, praying and attending church.

He asked about the purpose of the temple and why he could not enter. I  explained to him that it was a very sacred, special place where we make covenants, or higher promises with God. I also explained that not even all members could enter right away.  However, that did not mean he could never go in.   There are three questions that are answered when we go: Where did we come from? Why we are here? and Where do we go after this life?  He said he didn't believe in heaven and did not have an answer to any of those questions.  I felt an overwhelming feeling to tell him God loves him.  Then the Spirit prompted me to invited him to read the Bible again as a goal for the New year.  The spirit was very strong and I knew that he felt Heavenly Father's love, even if he didn't express it.

When New Years comes around I often try to think of finding something "new" I want to develop or a high achieving goal I have always wanted to succeed in.  But this experience taught me that sometimes the goals we set for ourselves need to be simple and need to be a skill we haven't "touched" in a while.  I want to invite each of you to make one of your New Years resolutions to develop or strengthen a relationship you haven't had in a while.  This relationship could be with a family member, a friend, or maybe with our Heavenly Father.  Get on your knees and pour your heart out to Him, seeking for His love.  I promise you that whatever relationship you choose, your happiness will increase!  I too will take this invite and you can email me if you want to follow up with my progress.

I know love, hope and charity bring us happiness because they are characteristics of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  God sent us to the earth to make goals so that we can return to live with Him again someday. I know that because Joseph Smith sought to strengthen his relationship with God and Jesus Christ, he was able to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Happy New Year!
Sister Mikeila Aquino

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Finding blessings through trials

Wow!  Another transfer is here!  The words" I have been out for over a year" scare me more and more.  I am grateful that Sister Butler and I were companions.  She is beautiful and I learned so much from her.  We were able to have experiences that strengthened us and helped us to learn more about charity.  If you ever have trials with a friend, do not let the lesson(s) you learn go in vain!  Sister Butler is great in simplicity when teaching and she loves the Lord.  I am going to miss her.
My new companion, Sister Carinote
Sister Butler and I in the Beehive House

I love my new companion, Sister CariƱote.  She is from the Philippines!  We will be serving in the Humanitarian Center and this will be a first time for both of us!
I am sad to say this is President and Sister Poulsen's last transfer!  They both mean so much to me and I am going to miss them! At transfer Conference, President and Sister Poulsen shared wonderful testimonies!

Sister Poulsen shared a simple experience with a powerful message.  This past weekend she had just put up their Christmas tree.  The morning of our transfer conference she woke up to find that the Christmas tree had fallen over.  She continued on to say, "There will be disappointment and adversity that will come our way."  She said it is up to us how we will react to them and encouraged us to always have a positive outlook on life.
This is something I will strive to develop this transfer.  I know I struggle with patience at times, but I know that Sister Poulsen's words are true.  The atonement, Christ's sacrifice for us, allows each of us to have hope, joy, charity and faith.  We cannot control the circumstances around us, but we definitely have control of our reactions to them.  I commit myself and invite all of you to find the blessing in every trial we go through.  Fall to your knees and plead for Heavenly Father's help.  I know He will answer us if we will listen.
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Positivity comes from having charity for others and love for the Savior.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sister Mikeila Aquino

Winter is beautiful!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What gift will you give the Savior this Christmas?

Christmas signifies the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a time of joy, a time of peace and a time of happiness; and yet, there are many who feel the opposite; stress, anger, sadness.  Sometimes we may feel that God does not love us or He has forgotten about us because of the trials we are given. 

The LDS church has made two videos this year to remind us of God's love to His children.  I shared the video, "A Savior is Born."  in my last post. If you haven't had a chance to watch it,  I invite you to do so first, and then to watch this one,  "Imagine a World without a Savior."
As you watch this video, I invite you to ponder what gift you want to give the Savior this Christmas.  Maybe it is using more appropriate language, or saying "I love you more." Maybe it is reading the scriptures, saying more fervent prayers, or listening to our parents more.  Sincerely pray so you can know how to bring yourself closer to Savior this season and this new year.
God does love each and every one of us!  His love is shown through the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without Christ's birth, we would not have joy or the ability to repent.  When I repent and am forgiven, I feel that joy.  I love my Savior.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

I love you all!
Sister Mikeila Aquino

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas is here on Temple Square!

Christmas is here on Temple Square!  The grounds are lit up with beautiful colors and many of God's children gather on the grounds!  Christmas is my absolute favorite season and being here on Temple Square makes it even more special.

As with everywhere else, it is also the busiest time of the year on Temple Square as many hustle and bustle to  to see the Christus or to take pictures in front of the temple with the lights.  It is easy at times to get distracted. The word Christmas has Christ' name in it, but often we are caught up in the other beauties of the season instead of focusing on our Savior, who is the reason to celebrate.  

Last year we started "Sing and Smile."  On our schedules we sing Christmas songs from the hymn book many times each week.  Last night a little girl and her family were walking by taking pictures of the lights.  She then came up to us missionaries and just stood there looking as if she wanted to sing.  So we helped her stand on the top of one of the planters and she started singing with us.  It was such a precious and memorable sight to see!   I realized that best way to find peace in our lives, especially during the holiday season is to center our lives around Jesus Christ; just as this little girl had done.  

Christmas carols are all fun exciting and memorable to sing, but the carols that provide peace, comfort and healing are the ones that share the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I invite each of you to choose one of your favorite Christmas carols that talk about the Savior.  Sing it to yourself or listen to it and then post the lyrics on social media with your testimony of why you love the Savior.  I promise you that this will answer another's prayers and it will help to calm your crazy busy life.  If  you are not sure what song to share or what to say, watch this video that the church recently published and maybe this will give you some ideas!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Away in a Manger."

 Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Our Savior was born so that we may know joy, comfort and peace.  He lived to teach us humility, love, obedience, charity, knowledge and faith.  He died and was resurrected so that we may have the hope to return to live with God again.  Christ was born in the most humble state to teach us gratitude.  I love my Savior.  He is my brother, my advocate and my friend.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Love, Sister Mikeila Aquino

Sing and Smile