First of all, let me say that I had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you to all that thought about me and made it so special. I am so thankful for that celebration of the Savior, the time to really remember Him, especially as the events of the week unfolded. My best friend, Chelsea Larsen, passed away this week in a car accident. In many ways it still seems so unreal. I love her so much and miss her tremendously. We were 10 years old and in the 4th grade when we met. We became friends really quickly. We even lived in the same neighborhood and rode the bus to and from school together. Throughout the years, she was an amazing friend and example to me. We took on the world together... elementary school, junior high, high school. We conquered together... graduated high school. We travelled... we took that road trip we'd planned for so long. I am so grateful for the time that Heavenly Father gave me with her. I know that she was truly a gift from Him to me, Chelsea B, and Hayley and all else who knew her. As I've been reflecting the past few days, I am simply filled with gratitude. I have been so blessed. I miss her, but I KNOW that I will see her again. I know this with all my heart. This knowledge brings so much joy and I feel excited for that day when we will be reunited. She may not physically be there when I come home in 13 months, but she is with me now. I will always carry the memories of her with me and all the things that I have learned from her. I know that she will be there waiting for me when my work here on this earth is done as well. I know she's here beside me supporting me now. I know she is with her mother, something that she really looked forward to. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Him suffering for each of us, we can push through this time. I know that He has felt any pain or sorrow that you or I are now feeling. I know that as we reach out to Him and Heavenly Father in prayer, that they will support us and take away some of the pain. They have already done this for me. This has been reconfirmed to me as I've studied Luke 22 and 23 in the Bible and also Alma 7:11-12 in the Book of Mormon... "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." I know because of what Jesus Christ did, Chelsea and each of us will overcome death. I am filled with peace at this time because of Him and the knowledge I have of Him. Yes, this is hard, but I also know that it's necessary, and that it's okay because Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. This is part of the plan and it will all be okay. I WILL see her again. I will, I will, I will. I know that when Chelsea, Hayley, and I are reunited that she'll be right there too. I know that when we put our arm out for her in pictures, as we so often do for whoever is missing, she'll fill it even if we can't see her there. How amazing are the works of God. I can really see His hand in my life preparing me for all the events of this week. He's taking care of me and I know He will take care of each of us as we move forward, making it possible to endure whatever comes our way. I know we will each see Chelsea again.
All My Love,