Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Joy Of Service

     Have you ever wondered how you could hold onto the wonderful feelings that we all feel around the Christmas season? This and many other things are thoughts that I have been pondering as we enter the post-Christmas time. First off we need to identify the source of all these wonderful feelings that we feel around this time of year. I feel like it is because people are going out of their way to help one another. They are willing to go the extra mile to help someone that may be in need. As a result, the recipient of the service feels loved and has joy. The giver feels the spirit that comes from giving needed service as well as being able to see the joy in the eyes of the recipient. In Matthew 25:40 it states, "Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me". Now be pondering both sides of this service given, from the giver perspective to the recipients perspective.
   
    “An older boy and his young companion were walking along a road which led through a field. They saw an old coat and a badly worn pair of men’s shoes by the roadside, and in the distance they saw the owner working in the field.
    “The younger boy suggested that they hide the shoes, conceal themselves, and watch the perplexity on the owner’s face when he returned.
    “The older boy … thought that would not be so good. He said the owner must be a very poor man. So, after talking the matter over, at his suggestion, they concluded to try another experiment. Instead of hiding the shoes, they would put a silver dollar in each one and … see what the owner did when he discovered the money. So they did that.
    “Pretty soon the man returned from the field, put on his coat, slipped one foot into a shoe, felt something hard, took it out and found a silver dollar. Wonder and surprise [shone] upon his face. He looked at the dollar again and again, turned around and could see nobody, then proceeded to put on the other shoe; when to his great surprise he found another dollar. His feelings overcame him. … He knelt down and offered aloud a prayer of thanksgiving, in which he spoke of his wife being sick and helpless and his children without bread. … He fervently thanked the Lord for this bounty from unknown hands and evoked the blessing of heaven upon those who gave him this needed help.
    “The boys remained [hidden] until he had gone.” They had been touched by his prayer and felt something warm within their hearts. As they left to walk down the road, one said to the other, “Don’t you have a good feeling?” (Adapted from Bryant S. Hinckley, Not by Bread Alone, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955, p. 95.)

    Did you notice the joy that both parties felt? This story did not take place during Christmas. These boys went out of their way to help this poor man. We can have these wonderful feelings all year long. Just as these boys felt the joy of service, we can feel the joy of service all year long.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Unity of 'Christ'mas

    Have you ever heard the phrase, "There is power in numbers"? This is one of the things that I have really been thinking about as we quickly approach this Christmas. There has always been power in numbers when people unite or when they come together. Countries have been established as a result of people unifying together. Throughout the world and its history there are countless stories of people putting aside their differences and coming together as one. In 2 Corinthians 13:11, Paul encourages the Corinthians to 'Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace' and the spirit of the Lord would be with them. The specific kind of Unity that I personally speak of today is that of Unity with Christ. The Bible and Book of Mormon teaches that we need to come in Unity of Christ. The closest I have ever personally seen that is during the time of Christmas when our thoughts turn to the birth of our Savior. We are celebrating together and are unified in that respect. Forget the presents, forget Santa Claus and the Reindeer and think of how wonderful this time of year is. Why is that? Its because we are celebrating Christ TOGETHER! I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that He Lives! Have a wonderful Christmas this year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On the Road Together

     One of the most incredible experiences I have had on my mission was to be able to teach the most wonderful couple. Jeff and Angie Maurer. We met Angie in Napa while she was working at the In-n-Out there. As we pulled up she exclaimed with excitement, "Oh Hi Elders"! Being thrown off by the unexpected greeting, she told us that she was a member of the church but hadn't been to church for a while. She did tell us that she wanted us to come by her place because she wanted help getting back to church. The first time that we went over, Jeff who was not a member, was a little apprehensive about having us over. He later on said, "Whenever missionaries used to come by I would just ignore them or not even answer the door". We finally got a time to sit down with both Angie and Jeff. At first it was a visit full of 'stump the missionaries' questions. As we answered the questions he started to soften his heart a little bit. He asked, "Well what happens when we die"? The room went silent but the spirit came into the room. My companion, Elder Berry and I, proceeded to teach the Plan Of Salvation. As we taught, the spirit taught. It was so incredible. This was a question that Jeff had never previously been able to find an answer to that satisfied him. We taught about the Resurrection (Alma 11:43-44) and as we taught about it the spirit intensified. I believe that this is where things turned. He never knew that no matter the physical disabilities anyone may have in this life, at the resurrection your body will be perfected.
     Another one of the things that resonated with Jeff was that life is not a race but a journey and that we will be judged not by how far we get but upon the intent of our hearts and if we have repented of the things we have done that were wrong, no matter how bad they may be. It has helped Jeff develop patience more as he progresses towards his baptism. I have had many wonderful meetings with both of them that have been some of the most spiritual experiences of my entire mission. I love this couple.
     They have also sacrificed a lot to make the changes they have made and the Lord has provided a way for them to continually progress as individuals and as a couple. They even read scriptures and pray together. Both Jeff and Angie are excited about the Gospel and they are now working towards being sealed together for time and all eternity in the temple. It has been such a wonderful blessing to work with both of them and I know that they are sincere and that the Lord has truly touched both of their lives.
     Jeff also has such a strong testimony of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His religious views used to be, "Whatever puts wind in your sails is fine with me". However, that has all changed. In his own words he said, "I believe in this church, that the Book of Mormon is the interpreted word of of God, that He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins; I believe in the Atonement, in agency, and that all things glorious - including the love that Angie and I feel for each other -are possible through the love of God and Jesus Christ". How glorious it has been to play even a small part in such a wonderful conversion. He has undergone a 'mighty change of heart' and both him and Angie are on this road together.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Know That I Am Nothing

     First off, I just want to express my love and gratitude for my Mother. She is the most wonderful and amazing woman and I am so grateful for her for everything that she has done for me.
    When I was a child, my older brothers and sisters would always tell me that mom said that she didnt think I would be very tall when I grew up, and that I would be a really small person. She never thought that  I would make it above 6 feet tall. I was often times referred to as the Baby of the family.
    Whenever I play basketball with my brothers, I usually play the role as the rag doll out on the court because I was so skinny. I would easily get pushed around the court by my bigger brothers. I will have you know that I always stayed on the court though.
   
    When I played volleyball in high school I was never the strongest, the tallest, or the highest jumper but I was able to get by, especially with the help of all those around me. Everyday I would practice on my different skills such as passing, setting, and hitting. When it came down to playing games I would say a prayer to my Heavenly Father asking him to help me play to the best of my ability. I know because he helped me, I never left the court thinking that I slacked off. I always did my best.
     Since I have been on my mission I have recognized this principle even more so. I have worked as hard as I can to be the best missionary that I can. I study the scriptures, practice teaching, and actually do teach others the Gospel. Over time I have gotten better at being a missionary. At the end of the day, one thing is apparent, especially now that I have been out a while. I need to rely on the Lord to help me be the best I can be. No matter what I do I still need him, and he magnifies my abilities. I pray to my Heavenly Father everyday before I go out to work to help me, to guide me, and to be there for me to comfort me. I am here to let you all know that he has been there for me. I know that God is there, that he lives, and that without him I am nothing but with him I can do anything!
    In a Book of Mormon story, Alma 26. Alma and his Brother Ammon just had an extremely effective time among the Lamanite people and brought thousands to the knowledge of the Gospel. They were rejoicing over the many people that were now believers in Christ but after everything was said and done, Ammon says, "Yea, I know that 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". I know that I am nothing but that through Him I can do all things! I hope that we may all rely on the Lord and trust in Him because he will help you in everything you do that is right.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Change of Heart

     As a missionary, you see many changes in  peoples' hearts. It is a glorious experience when you can see the difference that is made in their lives, by simply teaching them the Gospel and them accepting that Gospel into their lives. I felt that I should post a story of someone that I have seen their life change every so often because these are truly amazing people and they have had so much joy brought into their lives because of the message that missionaries share on a daily basis. Keep in mind, it is these kind of experiences that make the hardships of serving a mission completely and totally worth it!

     I feel like I should share the story about Marlon Jones this time around. One night Elder Bevan and I were on an exchange together in Vallejo and a miracle happened. It was pretty late and was really dark and we decided to go see someone who said that they were interested previously. They were not home but upon turning around, we saw this guy across the street who was drugged up and smoking a joint. At first we were hesitant to talk to him but the Spirit told us that we needed to talk to him. Even though he wasn't totally all there he accepted a Book of Mormon and invited us to come back. Marlon began reading in the Book of Mormon and never turned back. He quit smoking, drinking and doing drugs. He felt the difference in his life. As he was trying to quit smoking it was very tough for him so he memorized a scripture that he would recite in his head every time he would get a craving, Jacob 3:11. Sure enough by his Baptism date, he had quit smoking and was ready to follow the example of his Savior and be baptized! It has changed his life. About 3 months later, he baptized his own son Marlon Jr. and today he is the Sunday School teacher in the Vallejo 2nd ward. All this came from proselyting on a dark night in the streets of Vallejo California!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

    Well I know that some people would say that this post is coming a little bit too late but tonight as we were visiting with one of our investigators, Sister Dotty Watts, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and I felt like I needed to share a little bit of my thoughts. At about this time, we are in between two different Holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both Holidays we should be giving thanks for all that we have. Tonight, we watched a Christmas video called Joy to the World and it was a moving testimony of the gratitude we should have for the gift of our Savior Jesus Christ.
     In this DVD, it pointed out the birth of Christ in the Bible and then talks about the prophecies given in the Book of Mormon that Christ would be born and the signs that accompany it. I wont elaborate too much at this time about the different signs but if you would like to dig deeper it is in Helaman 13-15. The point is that our Heavenly Father really wanted everyone to know that He has sent His Son here to this earth to save us. It talks about it in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and even by the mouth of our modern day beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson. So as we look forward to this wonderful Christmas season, always remember what you are celebrating. We are celebrating the fact that our Heavenly Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth. I love this time of year but I hope that we can keep this Attitude of Gratitude always with us!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Become As Little Children

     As of late I have really been pondering about how wonderful and pure children are so I thought that I would write about a few. I am the proud uncle of about 16 nieces and nephews and I am so proud of each and every single one of them. I love each one of them with all of my heart. They mean the world to me.
     Here is a picture of two of my Nephews, Joseph (left) and Derek (right). Every night, these little boys pray for their Uncle Mikey. They have so much faith and I can feel their prayers as I have been on my mission serving the Lord.

      This family is just the cutest ever. (From Left to right) Jane, Faith, Jacob, and Sage all exemplify being obedient to everything that they are asked. They care for each other and look out for one another, always making sure no one is getting into trouble. They are so much fun to be around and you can feel the Spirit within their sweet countenances. Little Jacob was just born about 2 months ago now and also is a wonderful example of Purity.
      This is little Corwin Porter. He is the biggest bundle of energy and loves you perfectly. He is always looking to be like his older brother Berkley. He is always wanting to be where the excitement is. I havent seen this little boy since he was about 2 months old but my love for him grows every day because of how wonderful and pure he is.
    These kids are goof balls but I love them for it. (From Left to Right) Kaylee, Emma, Sage, and Berkley. They are among the oldest in their respective families. Kaylee is always going, Emma was the first of the Grandkids to follow the example of their Savior by being baptized just recently. She was so excited for her baptism and could hardly wait for the day. She knows that Jesus is her Savior. Sage is always making sure everyone is alright and loves to be a great helper. Berkley is one that I hear about a lot. This is the man that takes copious notes whenever he goes to church meetings. He is always wanting to go work with his father. Most of all, he loves the Gospel and he has a very strong testimony of that Gospel. He knows that Jesus loves him, and that his family can and will be together forever. He is such a good big brother!
     You may wonder why I am talking all about my nieces and nephews right about now. Thinking of them really helps me see as Jesus Christ sees. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus Christ gives an answer to the question, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. It says, "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In Mark 10: 14-16 he said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of God".
     These little children are perfect. They have nothing wrong with them and they ARE the greatest in the Kingdom of God. It states this quite well also in Moroni 8:8, "Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them".
     I testify that if we become converted to the Lord as these beautiful children are then we will be able to obtain all the blessings that our Heavenly Father wants us to obtain. If you would like to learn more about how you can become closer to your Father in Heaven and your Savior Jesus Christ please visit http://mormon.org/

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

God's Words...Never Cease


     One of the things that brings me comfort through my life is that God is never done speaking. God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. He has always used Prophets to reveal his word. Every time the Church was on the earth or the fulness of the Gospel was being preached, God has had a prophet. They are Men of God and they are valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ. These prophets literally speak to God. They receive Revelation from God and then reveal God's will to his children. They are also given authority from God to do what they do. In Ephesians 4:11-14 it specifically tells us that God will have Prophets on the earth until we all come in unity of Christ. We are not there just yet. God still wants to Guide us today through prophets. I know that there is a Prophet on the Earth today. I know that he receives that revelation and has that Authority. I affirm my testimony that God lives and that the heavens are NOT closed but that they are open even still. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it has brought me so much joy. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baptism of Angelica Lopez

So today was the baptism of Angelica Lopez. It was a very spiritual experience and she has really taken huge steps in changing her life. She has been taught by missionaries for some time and decided after much prayer and thought that she wanted to draw closer to her Heavenly Father through baptism. he has followed the example of her Savior Jesus Christ in being baptized. In 2 Nephi 31:5-7 is states:
 5 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being aholy, should have need to be bbaptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be cbaptized, yea, even by water!
  6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
  7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be aobedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
I am so happy that she decided to take this step in her life. I am so grateful I was able to be a part of it also. Her father is Jose Lopez, he received the Priesthood this morning so he could baptize his daughter. It was a wonderful experience and it is something that is going to bring their family together and one day Together Forever!
This is what its all about!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Only True God & Jesus Christ Whom He Has Sent


I add my testimony to Elder Hollands, I know that Jesus Christ lives. I hope that as you all watch this video that you may feel of Gods infinite love for you as I did. As you feel of that love, I would love to invite you learn more about that by visiting http://mormon.org/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Pearl of Great Price

     The gospel is referred to as a pearl of great price and it left me to wonder just what does that mean. Why does the savior compare the kingdom of heaven to a pearl as in Matt 13
 45 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

  46 Who, when he had found one apearl of great price, went and sold ball that he had, and bought it
         What exactly is this pearl of great price? The other day I learned how a pearl is made, Within a mollusk a pearl is formed as a defense mechanism against a possible irritant such as a parasite. In order to protect itself the mollusk creates a protective barrior around this "parasite" or "irritant" and in time this forms a pearl.
 I found this process by which a pearl is created to be very interesting and I wondered how often we look at the kingdom of god as an irritant. How often we look at the commandments as an irritant when by keeping this commandments we are creating a protective barrier around ourselves and thereby become a pearl of great price!
      God gives us commandments out of love because Our Heavenly Father knows all things and therefore he does know how we can protect ourselves from the deadening affects of sin. A mother or father will give certain rules or restrictions to their children because they have experience regarding those things they are restricting. For example a mother tells her son not to play in the street because of the danger of getting hit by a car. A father does not allow his daughter to date until she is of age. These so called "restrictions" are quite liberating. We must abandon this notion of a harsh unloving god who gives us rule after rule.
         One of these commandments that many people often misunderstand is the word of wisdom. Many people know that we as mormons do not drink coffee, alcohol, tea, and we wont smoke. Many look at this commandment as a huge restriction but actually by not using those substances we liberate ourselves from the deadening effects of addiction and many other dangers from this unwise decision. The reason why the lord calls this commandment or revelation "the word of wisdom" is because our all knowing heavenly father has given us this commandment out of wisdom just as a wise mother or father gives the rule to "not play in the street" out of wisdom.
       This commandment and other commandments are not restrictions but tools to sanctify and perfect us. We are on this journey to become more like our savior and God has given us ways to do so, by keeping these commandments we of ourselves become this "pearl of great price". The savior speaks of a man who sold EVERYTHING he had to obtain this "pearl of great price" in the parable listed above. Now obviously the lord does not expect us to sell our home and car and all our "worldly" items, but he does expect us to sacrifice our sins and forsake them. "Sell our sins" in a sense that through our forsaking of our sins we lay hold upon the great gift of the grace of Jesus Christ. By  forsaking our sins we obtain this pearl of great price or rather we become a pearl of great price.
       I think this principle of becoming a pearl of great price is beautifully illustrated within the Book of Mormon: Moroni 10:
 32 Yea, acome unto Christ, and be bperfected in him, and cdeny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and dlove God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be eperfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
     To become perfect in Christ! Now that is your pearl that is created over a period of time by surrounding what appears to you to be an "irritant"(The commandments) with your obedience and this obedience creates this feild around you, sanctifying you day by day and protecting you until you emerge in the kingdom of god as a pearl of great price.
        I hope you can all continue to become a pearl and continue to be perfected in Christ so that you too may one day be at rest and have a fulness of joy in the kingdom of our father!
     
     If you would be interested to learn more about our "unique" message to the world then visit  http://mormon.org/

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Never Be Ashamed

       Today I feel like a should share an experience that I had as a teenager. Have you ever been in a situation where you had feelings that you should not do what your friends were doing? Especially when you know what they are doing is wrong
      In my last blog post I talked about how important it is to follow your spiritual compass. It is also important to never be ashamed of the guide that you have in your life. In other words, to stay true to what you know and feel is right rather then giving in to the temptations that are all around you. 
     When I was about 16 years old, I went on a hike in the Grand Canyon. It was probably one of my favorite hikes ever. To get down into the canyon you have to proceed down several switch backs until you finally get to the floor of the canyon. From there you follow the canyon about 7 to 8 miles until you get to your final destination which is beautiful water falls and rivers all around. It is definitely worth it. At the time I had just received a brand new Global Positioning System (GPS) that I can use while I hike.It tells me how far I have hiked and much farther I have until my destination and provides a basic digital compass to keep you on the path. In addition I can use these same paths to get me out of the canyon. As I was hiking, I was with several good friends. They all gave me a real hard time about my GPS saying such things as, "Mike, we are in a canyon there is no way we can get lost", or "Mike, do you really think that thing is going to help you much"? I looked past these comments and still used my handy GPS to navigate to our final destination.
      On our way out of the canyon however, there was a huge rain storm and so we carefully proceeded to hike out of the canyon. I stayed in the middle of the group just hiking along, and referring to my GPS as often as I felt. At one point I realized that we had gone past the place in which we had to turn off to go up the switchbacks. The rain had washed out the trail that was originally there. I informed everyone that we were not headed in the right direction but that we needed to turn back but very few listened to me. I finally got them to look at my GPS so they could see how far off we were and so we all turned back and with everyone gathered around to follow what the GPS said, we safely got out of the canyon and away from the danger of flash floods and the sort.
      The reason that I bring this up is because the spirit is always there to guide us, just like my GPS was there to guide me. I could have felt dumb or felt ashamed for using the GPS on such an easily navigated canyon but if I had deserted this GPS during the rainstorm, who knows how long we would have hiked and gone off course. In the end everyone was using my GPS to get home. Likewise, we all need to use the spirit to help us get back to our Heavenly home. Never be ashamed of the guidance your Heavenly Father gives to you to help lead you through the storms of life.
If you feel like want to learn more about how you can follow the spirit more and to increase your faith in Christ visit http://mormon.org/  to learn more about it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How Is Your Spiritual Compass?

       Today I thought that I would share about one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon! It is in 1 Nephi 16. The basic story is that Nephi and his family are in the wilderness and his father Lehi found this Liahona, or in other words a compass, to help them get through the wilderness safely. This Liahona was provided by the Lord and pointed the way that they should go and even on some occasions it would have some writing on it, giving them some specific messages. There is one catch to this special compass, it only works according to the Faith and Diligence and Heed which was given unto the Lord. If they complained, then the compass didnt work, if they were not choosing the right, the compass wouldnt work. The only way that it would work was if they were walking the correct spiritual path, only then would it show them the correct path through the wilderness.
    As I ponder about this story, many different things come to mind. The biggest one is, ''Am I giving all the faith and diligence that I need to in order to receive guidance from the Lord"? By all means, our Liahona is not the high tech GPS that we find in new vehicles these days, our Liahona is the Spirit of God or the Holy Ghost! As it says in 2 Nephi 32:5, "The Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do".
     What have you done today to be worthy of the Lord's guidance? Did you say your prayers? Did you read your scriptures? Did you give a helping hand to someone who needed it? In all ways we should live worthy of the Spirit. I humbly testify that if we live worthy of the Holy Ghost in all things, then we will never go astray. The Lord is always there for you to help you through all things! I love my savior Jesus Christ! At the same time I know that I am weak and that I need to rely upon the Lord for all things. So How Is Your Spiritual Compass?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hurrah For Israel!

     Today I thought that I might explain why I decided to rename my blog to Hurrah For Israel! What does that even mean and where does it even come from? This statement represents the sacrifice of the early members of the church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has always taken up the admonition of our Savior Jesus Christ at the very end of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 28 verses 18-20 which says,
   "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore , and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen".
      I have always loved this scripture and it has always given me motivation to know that my Savior is with me always! In this scripture the Lord commands his people to go forth and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Baptize them.
      During the early periods of the church, there were many missionaries that were sent overseas to preach the Gospel, which often brought much sacrifice because of the hard times. There was one missionary in particular that I have always had a special admiration for and that is Heber C. Kimball. Heber was called to go on a mission with Brigham Young and as they were both leaving their families, they were practically on their death beds. They were extremely sick but they were promised that if they were faithful then the Lord would provide for their families and would protect them all along their journey. As they were leaving on the carriage it was a sad parting between their families. As they drove off they both mustered up enough strength to stand in the carriage and proclaim, 'Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel'. Israel meaning the Kingdom of God. They went on to serve a faithful mission and had much success in bring others unto Christ through baptism.
       I am so grateful for the examples of Sacrifice that have been in my life. Those that have given up their comfort so that others can have a happier life through receiving the Gospel. The greatest of all sacrifices that comes to mind is that of our Savior Jesus Christ. (Alma 34:8-15) His Sacrifice is infinite and eternal and I know that it is only through him that we can truly enter into the Kingdom of God. I am now a missionary and there are those tough times but just as Heber C. Kimball proclaimed I do now, "Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel, Hurrah For Israel"!
     

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simply Overcoming The Complexities of Life

      So for the past several days I have really been pondering about what can make us happier as 'Children of God' (Rom. 8:16). I promise that if you simply do these three things, you are guaranteed to have more happiness. You may ask, how can anything simple bring me happiness? In a story told so wonderfully in 2 Kings 5 of the Bible, Naaman, who was the Captain of the Guard for the King of Assyria was afflicted by Leperosy. He sought high and low for a way to be cured and he heard of a Prophet Elisha in Israel. He brought all of his horses and chariots to Elishas very door and was met by a simple messenger. This messenger simply relayed a message from Elisha saying to wash in the Jordan River Seven times and he would be healed of his Leperosy. Thinking of how absurd this was because there were plenty of more clean rivers in Syria he was about to turn away and ride back to Syria. If it werent for his very simple servants saying 'if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?'
      It was a very simple thing that Elisha told Naaman he must do but how many times do we do the same thing as Naaman and refuse the simple thing thinking that its just too simple to be true?
     Upon emerging the seventh time from the river Jordan Naaman was completely cleansed of his leprosy, or in other words the thing that was holding him back from full happiness. The key is simply increasing your Faith. We increase our faith most when we do three simple things.
1. Pray to our Heavenly Father daily. He is your father in Heaven and just like any other parent wants to hear from you so too does Heavenly Father. PRAY DAILY!
2. Read from you scriptures daily. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon have been given by inspiration of God and are the words of Christ. They testify of Christ, they preach of Christ. They will bring you closer to Christ. READ SCRIPTURES DAILY!
3. Keep the Sabbath Day Holy! The Lord created the earth and the Heavens in six days and on the Seventh He rested. Attend church on Sunday so you can be uplifted and edified with one another. I know that going to church, even as a missionary, helps me become rejuvenated and gives me strength to overcome my challenges. GO TO CHURCH!
    "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise" (Alma 37:6)
    There are small and SIMPLE things we can do to overcome the complexities of life. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves us and that if we increase our Faith in him by doing these 3 Simple things then we will be happier!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting used to things!

     After a year and a half of not using a computer for anything but writing family, I am now going global over the internet. I will tell you what, it has definitely taken some getting used too. I was completely clueless because I have never done this before. I think I will be able to get the hang of it sometime soon. Hey, at least I have finally got my blog up, long time coming too.
    Having the experience of trying something new is both absolutely wonderful  but at the same time, a tough change. It reminds of when I first came out on my mission. I had no idea what I was doing. I hardly knew the scriptures and I definitely didnt know how to teach people using them. Likewise, I am now here, hardly remembering how to use the computer and sometimes thinking, 'Why in the world am I doing this'. But what I do know is that the Lord will bless me and he will help me accomplish everything that he would have me accomplish. It brings back the quote I heard in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. "Just Do Your Best And The Lord Will Do The Rest". I know that is true without a doubt. Until next time!