they called me on a mission

This morning, I get set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Wednesday I enter the MTC to begin my mission serving the people of Jamaica! I can't use any social media on my mission, so this blog is going to be a blog minus me until October of 2015!
If you want to keep up with my adventures in Jamaica, my dear darling mommy will be updating my mission blog every week! You can find it here.
I just want you all to know that I know I belong to the true church. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he restored Christ's church to the earth in these latter days. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to serve a full time mission, and I just know it will bless my life, my family's life, and so many other's lives. I know my Heavenly Father loves me, and I know He wants the best for each and every one of you because He loves you too! I believe in Christ. I know He is my savior and redeemer. I know the Book of Mormon is true more than anything I've ever known in my life. You guys, that book is amazing. If you haven't read it, I would love it if you would! You can get a free copy mailed to your doorstep here. I am so grateful for my life. I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful for my friends. I'm so grateful for my church. The church is true! I love you all!
Signing off,
Samantha Justine
If you want to find out more about what I believe, visit this page, my mission blog, or contact me on my mission! (Because I just love getting mail! And talking about my church!)



Last Monday, my mom and I both had work off. So naturally, we decided to grab our winter clothes and snowshoes and drive up to snow! We did a gorgeous little loop trail, had an awesome lunch (ramen noodles anyone?), and had a lot of laughs.
I love that lady!
Samantha Justine 


mission pictures

I am incredibly blessed to have crazily talented friends who volunteer to take my mission pictures for me! Kelsey took these a few weeks ago, and they're exactly what I wanted! I am so excited to serve the people of Jamaica... 16 more days!
I'm so excited!
Samantha Justine


i can do hard things

Eight months ago, I sat on the bank of the Sweetwater River in the middle of Wyoming listening to a devotional about missionary work. After the devotional ended, I prayed about mission work and came to the realization that I needed to serve a mission for my church. It was the strongest and quickest answer to any prayer I've ever experienced, and that one little answer has made a world of difference in how my life is playing out. 
If you would have asked me this time last year where I thought I would be in a year, I would have told you that I'd be finishing up my freshman year of college, getting ready to move home for the summer, and maybe looking into a study abroad program for my sophomore or junior year of college. 
I would never in a million years have told you I would be two weeks away from devoting 18 months of my life to serving The Lord. In fact, if you would have told me that my life would be where it is now a year ago, I probably would have laughed in your face. 
I'd be lying if I said the decision to serve a mission was easy for me, or if I said I was completely ready and fully prepared for this next adventure in my life. 
I'm not fully prepared. And I am by no means completely ready. In fact, I'm scared silly. I'm terrified of leaving the only country I've ever set foot in to live in an entirely new country with a new culture and no familiar faces to welcome me. I am nervous to leave my family and friends for a year and a half. I'm worried about countless trivial things, but none of that matters. 
None of it matters because I know that I'm doing the right thing. I have a sure faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of that faith, I know that prayers are answered. By that knowledge I can be sure that my prayer eight months ago on a riverbank in Wyoming was answered, and I can be sure that I recieved confirmation that I am to serve a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
If you would have asked me a year ago if I'd ever serve a mission, I would have told you there's no way I would ever be strong enough to do such a thing. 
A year later, I now know that I alone am not strong enough to do such a thing. But what I realize now is that if I rely on the strength of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I am strong enough to do all things. I don't know what trials and challenges the next year and a half hold in store for me, but I do know that, as Ammon said in Alma 26 in the Book of Mormon, "I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things". 
My wonderful momma reminded me all weekend that I can do hard things. I know that I can do hard things. I won't be able to complete my mission alone, but I know I will be able to complete it because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
Samantha Justine 


oatmeal bread

This is by far my all-time favorite bread recipe in the history of bread recipes. My mom's been making it for years, and she taught me how to make it before I left for college. It's definitely one that I've added to my recipe book for when I have my own family one day.
I made this particular loaf with the kids from work, which is why it's shaped like a turtle. You can definitely make it into just regular loaves too, that's how I usually do it!
You will need:
1/2 cup warm water
2 T. active dry yeast
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
2 cups flour
1 T. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
3-31/2 cup flour

Just a little disclaimer: This bread is super picky when it comes to the whole rising thing, so be sure to follow the instructions exactly or you could end up with an oatmeal pancake :)
Stir yeast into 1/2 cup warm water and allow to sit until bubbled up. In a sauce pan, mix 3/4 cup boiling water with oats and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add buttermilk, oil, and honey. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Add yeast and oats, beat well. Gradually add flour to make a stiff dough. Flour a cutting board and knead for about 10 minutes. Let dough rise 1 and a half hours. Punch down, form into loaves, put in bread pans, and let rise until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
The original recipe says to bake it for 45-50 minutes, but my oven always burns it if I leave it in over 35 minutes, so mess around with it to see how long yours takes to bake!

Enjoy your amazing oatmeal bread! It's delicious!
Samantha Justine


sunday thoughts

"If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word." -Henry B. Eyring

Happy Sunday! 
Samantha Justine 


one month down!

Martell's been on his mission a month this week, and per tradition (see here), that meant it was time for a package! Now, this is the last package I'm sending before I leave on my mission, and possibly the last package he'll get from me on a mission... because let's face it, sending stuff to the Philippines is EXPENSIVE.
So, I wanted to do something that would last longer than a few days! I decided to do some "open when" letters for different things that will happen on his mission. Each letter has a short little note, a general conference talk or two, and some kind of special little treat or surprise. I'm doing this for a few of my other close friends that are on a mission, but I figured I'd just talk about it with his package since it's already a part of this post.
In Martell's one month mission package, I included:
+Open when letters
+Some of his favorite candy and snacks
+Some cheap little dollar store toys (because who doesn't love being a little kid sometimes?)
+A short little note from me
+The traditional "1" candle to celebrate one month day

I threw some fun little decorations on a box, added some shredded paper, filled the box, and it was ready to go! It was such an easy little package to put together, and I think it turned out super cute!
Now to get ready for my own mission! Martell being gone a month means I only have a month before I leave... and I have so much to do still!
Samantha Justine