Wednesday, November 24, 2010

suddenly a light descended

having this wonderful opportunity to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has strengthened my testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ. but how did i get here?
   i remember as a child always going to church and never really putting up a fight to not go, because i knew that it was the right thing to do and where i needed to be. however, i never really had a strong faith in what i was learning. my parents taught me all the time about the gospel, and so i leaned on their testimonies and faith for most of my life. i had a feeling it was all true, that of the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ and that there was a living prophet on the earth today, but i did not know for myself.
   when i moved away from home for the first time and no longer had my parents to lean on i realized that i must do something, so i did. i kept going to church because i felt safe and i made friends with church people, because i knew that they were good people. however, i ended up leaning on them instead of my parents.
   then came the day that i moved to Montana away from everyone i knew and everything i found security in.being away from all that i knew was a difficult thing for me and the first time i had ever done anything without someone. this is when i came to know for myself all that i had once relied on everyone else for was true, and i knew it for me. i moved to Montana for a summer job after i had gotten my associates degree, and i did not know a single soul. i found out that there was a Latter-Day Saint church that was only 20 minutes away from my work, so i found security. however, i had to find peace for myself and safety as well through other means, so i began reading the scriptures diligently and praying more fervently. i found saftey and refuge from the storms of life.  i turned to the Lord for answers and i sought a way to know for myself. i would often ask, "did Joseph Smith truly see God the Father and His son Jesus Christ?", "is the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ?". Heavenly Father did indeed answer my prayers and through many different ways. one way was going to church, there was a day that i wanted to quit and move home and not stay, but i remember so vividly that day that the spirit taught me so much about why i was there and that i have security, and that i was not alone. i came to know for myself, because i asked Heavenly Father and i searched out the answers through scripture study and going to church and fervnet prayer.
     now i am here on a mission to tell the world, well michigan, that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon is another testamnet of Jesus Christ. i know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the earth today, and he leads and guides us and recieves revelation from God just as Moses and Abraham did. i know that the preisthood, the authority to act in God's name, is once again on the earth today. i know that the fullness of the gospel is here today. i know that it is true with all my heart because i have asked my Heavenly Father, and He answered my prayer.
   you to can find out if it is true, just ask!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fisher of men

Matthew 4:18-22
   And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for the were fishers.
   And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
   And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
   And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
    And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

   for Halloween this year i could not decide what to be and then it came to me that we had these random fishing waders in our coat closet in the apartment, so i thought hey it fits to be the "fisher of men". i think that it goes well with being a missionsry and all. i got the other gear from a member who is quite the fisher actually. it was funny because when i called him to ask if i could borrow some things for night, he told me of a sign that he saw once at a church. the sign said, "Be ye fishers of men, you catch them and we'll clean them." oh it got me all excited about dressing up and blogging all about it. so now here i am!
    it is so important for us to truly follow after Jesus Christ. He has asked us so many times to "come unto me" and leave all else behind. we must go forth and follow Christ. as we are all disciples, students, of Christ we have so much to learn from him. as we choose to follow after him and do as he asked us to do, we can only be blessed and grow and become perfected.
   i think of the past 17 1/2 months of my life that have been lived in michigan serving a  mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. as i have gone out every day trying my best to be a "fisher of men", to invite others to come unto Christ, i have found that there are so many people out there who really do  need our help. there are many out there who do not even know that they have a loving Father in Heaven. there are many out there who are lost and confused. this is why i am here, this is why we are here, those who do know and understand, so that we can help others and invite them to Christ. my mission has meant the world to me. i have grown so much as i have lost myself in the work and have devoted my time to helping and serving others, i have found the meaning of our Father in Heavens plan. He really does want us to be happy and more than anything else he wants us to return and live with Him. this is why i am here, this is why you are here. do not be afraid to share the gospel and Heavenly Father's love with others, you never know what life your are going to touch.
   go out and be "FISHERS OF MEN". help them, bless them and love them!

Friday, October 29, 2010

the trial of our faith

lately i have been down a rough road. the end of my mission is drawing nigh and the work in my current area has been a bit slow and more difficult than any other area that i have served in. everyday that i wake up i fight with myself and it takes all  that i have to get up and get going. now i am not one that will give in or give up easily. i like to fight and i like that challenge, but this is a time that has been harder that any other time on my mission. i know that a mission can be hard but i never thought it would be this hard. i have been praying earnestly and fervently for strength and patience and acceptance with what i have been facing. i know that my Father in Heaven is with me and that he does love me, but i have truly felt alone lately.
   a couple of days ago i was reading my scriptures in 3 Nephi 26 and i came across verse 11, and it hit me hard what the lord said, "I will try the faith of my people." he really does try our faith. i knew at this point that i was and still am facing a trial in my life, because He wants me to grow and to prepare for what is next. i know that He is with me. He led me and helped me to understand, that just as the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 121:7 reads, "..., peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."
   it is great to know that as we read the scriptures that we can be taught and can receive so many answers to our prayers. as i was getting ready to blog today about trials i remembered a scripture found in Ether 12:6 that reads, "...I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." we really do receive so many blessings after we go through trials and as we fight for what is right. trials help us to know what it is that the Lord would have us do in our times of need and discouragement. when we are willing to follow after Him then we are showing that we are "walking by faith and not by sight' (2 Cor 5:7)
  trials really are for us to grow and learn. even though i have had a hard time personally, i know that it is only through our trials that we can find ourselves. after all it is not our trial that defines us but refines us.
  when i think about this as i have relived all of this as i have typed, i realize that i am fighting i am not giving in and that Heavenly Father is with me and He always has been. i know that He loves me, i just need that reminder ever so often. it is about fighting with Christ not against him that matters the most, and has helped me to continue moving. not stopping for even a brief moment, unless it is a time for learning and teaching.
  our purpose is to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32), and if that means going through trial after trial then i will make it through, because i know that i am being perfected every step of the way. i know that because our Heavenly Father loves us and that he will continue to guide us and help us to make it through. we need to take His arm that he has so graciously and mercifully offered unto us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choose This Day

this is something that i have thought about lately. it is something that i cannot stop thinking about actually.
   i was reading in 3 Nephi 13:24 that reads, "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." these kind of scriptures always bring me back to a wonderful quote that my dear friend came up with "they both know you but only one loves you, so who will choose?" which draws me to the scripture found in Joshua 24:15 that reads, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve;..."
   as president Eyring spoke in his message that it is so important for us to choose this day. he also metioned this,
     "As the risen Savior, He is this day and forever the Light of the World. It is He who invites us to come unto Him and serve Him, without delay. His encouragement to you and to me is this: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."
      That is as true of a day as it is of a life. A morning prayer and an early search in the scriptures to know what we should do for the Lord can set the course of a day. We can know which task, of all those we might choose, matters most to God and therefore to us. I have learned such a prayer is always answered if we ask and ponder with childlike submission, ready to act without delay to perform even the most humble service."
  as we serve the lord and as we choose to follow after Him we will be eternally blessed. what a great choice we can all make.
   as we all have a choice to make, i ask you to think about who truly loves you and wants you to be happy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

come unto Christ

how do we come unto Christ? this is something i have really been searching out lately. there are always the  answers of going to church, praying, doing service, loving one another and reading the scriptures. i have been trying my best to do all of these things, especially reading my scriptures more often. it is great to because as i was reading my scriptures i came across some verses that explain how we can come unto Christ as he has invited us to do so in 3 Nephi 9:14 which reads, " Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I recieve; and blessed are those who come utno me."
   now how is that we come? in Mosiah 3:19 it reads, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, foreve and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to sumbit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." by putting of the natural man we can come closer to Christ and follow him with a  full heart and purpose. we are able to feel the Holy Spirit stonger and we can be guided by him and feel of his love.
   there are promised blessings that come to us as we come unto Christ. one of these promised blessing we can read about in 3 Nephi 9:22 which reads, "Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will i recieve, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again: therefore repent and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved."
     i love the hymn Come unto Jesus because it puts it so simply the things that Christ will do for us and how we can truly come unto him.
                     Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden, care worn and
fainting by sin oppressed. He'll safely guide you
unto that haven where all who trust him may rest, may rest

Come unto Jesus; He'll ever heed you, though in the
darkness you've gone astray. His love will find you
and gently lead you from darkest night into to day, to day

Come unto Jesus; He'll surely hear you, if you in
meekness plead for his love. Oh, know you not that
angels are near you from brighetest mansions above, above

Come unto Jesus from every nation, from every
land and isle of the sea. Unto the high and
lowly in station, ever he calls, "come to me, to me."

 Christ has invited all to come unto him and to follow him. there are many blessings that await us as we do. it makes me think of my best friend who once told me "they both know you but only loves you, so who will you follow?" what a great question. i know that Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ do love us and they want what is best for all of us. they truly will guide us and lead is safely home as we choose to follow after them. come unto Jesus and he will guide you. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the role of the holy ghost

i was reading in preach my gospel (a missionary guide) about the role of the Holy Ghost and i came across this, "....The Holy Ghost has a santifying,cleansing effect upon us. The Holy Ghost testifies of Christ and helps us recognize the truth. He provides spiritual strength and helps us do what is right. He comforts us during times of trial or sorrow. He warns us of spiritual or physical danger. The Holy Ghost provides thepower by which we teach and learn. The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of our Heavenly Father's most precious gifts. Through the power of the Holy Ghost we can feel God's love and direction for us. The gift is a foretaste of eternal joy and a promise of eternal life. "

      the Holy Ghost really does have a huge  responsibility, and i am so grateful that he is so understanding and patient with us, with me. i have definitely felt of his love, comfort, peace, joy and strength. i would not have made it this far without him. i am so incredibly grateful for this wonderful gift that i have, that of the Holy Ghost. it truly is a powerful gift that is given to us by a wonderful and loving Heavenly Father. the role of the Holy Ghost is one that can only be guided by one who truly does know us and love us, that one is Heavenly Father.

Friday, October 15, 2010

what does it mean to HEARKEN?

this past weekend we had stake conference in Lansing and the President Ritchie gave a wonderful talk about listening to the spirit. in his talk he mentioned the word HEARKEN and how it means to not only listen but to also do. this is something that has really stuck with me ever since, so i decided to search it out a bit more.
in a talk given by Russell M. Nelson ( - Ensign Article - Listen to Learn) he talked about the meaning of HEARKENing in all different ways. Elder Nelson mentioned that HEARKENing is linked to obeying. in the talk that he gave it is noted in the footnotes (15) that "the word obey comes from two Latin roots: the prefix ob “to” or “toward,” and the root audio, audire “to hear” or “to listen.” This root occurs in words such as audio, audience, or auditorium. Literally, then, the word obey means “to hear or to listen toward,” that is, “to comply."
so when we think about HEARKENing to the counsels of the Lord, are we obeying? to HEARKEN is not to only listen to, but to also go and do. i have thought a lot about this question in my own life, and there are many times that i have heard the counsels of the Lord, but i have not done what he asked me to do.
here is a silly story for you: when i was serving in the area of Cadillac, Michigan it came to be transfer time, and i had to go to the Grand Rapids for a few days before i got my new companion. as i was packing to leave i kept getting the impression that i should really take my snow boots. people kept telling me that it was going to snow, but i did not really believe them. so as i kept packing i kept getting the impression to take my snow boots. well me being stubborn did not want to take them, because i did not think that it was going snow and i also did not want to lug them around everywhere that i went (they were quite the snow boots). did i HEARKEN? truthfully i did not. so we got to Grand Rapids and of course there was not snow and no sign of snowing either, so i thought good thing that i did not bring my snow boots. well come that next morning there was eight inches of snow on the ground. so what did i not do...... HEARKEN! i should have HEARKENed to the spirit. after all he kept telling me to take my snow boots. so i trudged around in the snow for a couple of days in my regular missionary shoes with very cold feet. now if i would have only HEARKENed, my feet would have been a whole lot warmer. i have definitely learned my lesson in HEARKENing to the spirit.
there is a scripture found in 2 Nephi 9:29 that reads, " But to be learned is good if they HEARKEN unto the counsels of God." how true this scripture is. that is something else that Elder Nelson talked of, that the Hebrew word for both HEARKENing and obedience is the term shama' which means to "to hear intelligently." by HEARKENing we are learned, we are becoming like our Savior and our Father in Heaven, we are obedient.
as we HEARKEN to the spirit and as we learn to obey, we are promised great blessing from our Heavenly Father. remember that HEARKENing is not merely listening but it is doing!