Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heed the Call

As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, we are expected to devote our time and efforts related to the work of inviting others to come unto Christ. We are not to spend time listening or watching things of the world, including the news; so when I heard about the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan, I was amazed and devastated for them. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering from the pain of lost loved ones and possessions.

A member told me of an interesting account from an older gentleman who lived in Japan at the time of the disaster. He told of being in a small village where he lived, doing his daily tasks, when suddenly he heard the warning call of a tsunami siren. This call was to warn all who could hear it to immediately get to higher ground to protect themselves from oncoming waves that could potentially kill them. When this man heard the call, he immediately dropped everything he was doing and rushed to higher ground. There were not many that followed. As he got to a safe location, he could see as the rushing, towering wave engulfing the village, destroying all in its path.

I was hit hard when I heard this story. What would have happened if this man would have ignored the warning like so many others? What if he heard it and began to gather all of the worldly possessions that he thought he absolutely needed, taking up time that he didn't have? The results would have been the same as those who were not on the higher ground with him, he would have been swept away with everything else.

Believe it or not, this strongly relates to our own lives. There are many times when we hear the warning call of the Spirit telling us to "get to higher ground", to get to a safer spot, to stop what you are doing and leave. However, the spirit may not talk to us in the form of a loud siren. The Lord demonstrates this to His prophet Elijah in the Bible,

"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" 1 Kings 19:11-12.

The spirit of the Lord is described as a still small voice, one that pierces to the very center. When we hear these promptings, let us take example from this good Japanese man and heed the call. Do not stop and waiver on whether or not he call was legitimate or not, for there is not time. Do not linger with those worldly things that you think you can't live without. Heed the call and move. If not, who knows what disasters are awaiting to sweep you away. Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to send His spirit to warn us of upcoming dangers. Sometimes we may not understand why we are given a warning, but the Lord sees the big picture, we do not.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He runs His church today. I testify that if we heed the whisperings of the still small voice, we will be safe from many spiritual and physical dangers that lie in our paths. Let us all set a new goal to listen for His promptings and heed the call.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stay inside and live

I LOVE to ski. Growing up, I was only a few minutes away from a ski area and I would go often with friends and family. As I began to get older, my love for the sport increased. I would often go by myself practicing techniques and different runs in the hopes that my skills would improve. The more I practiced, the better I got, and the faster I went. I can remember a few choice times where I was skiing by myself, the only thing I could hear was the wind rushing past my hears and the smell of pine mixed with new snow. Those were the moments that I lived for in the winter. I was a speed demon on the snow and nothing could stop me.

I remember one particular day I was skiing with a couple of my friends from college up at a ski area in the Teton mountain range called Targhee. It was a beautiful day. The conditions were perfect, and all of us wanted to go hit the hidden jumps that are very prevalent in the trees. While sitting on the chair lift, I remember one of my buddies asking me if I was going to put my hand in the strap that was attached to my ski pole. I thought about it, knowing that I never usually do, but something told me that I shouldn't that day. I listened to the voice and didn't put my hand in the strap. Going off the chair lift, we proceeded to race down the mountain until we came to a stretch of pine trees. We formed ourselves in a line and one by one went through the trails that led through the trees. As I went through, I began to go faster and faster and I could feel my adrenaline climbing. What could be more fun than this? As I planted my left ski pole into the snow, I felt it sink into a hidden hole and get stuck. I was momentarily tugged backwards, but because I didn't have my hand inside the strap, it was easy for me to let go. As I stopped and looked back at my pole standing by itself in the snow, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the spirit had told me to not put my hand in the strap. Think of what would have happened! My whole left arm would have been ripped from the socket due to the speed I was going and the angel at which my arm would have been pulled back. I left the trees feeling very humble and grateful that the Lord cares about me even when I am not doing something spiritual, like skiing.

One of my best friends is a ski patrolman. We love to ski together and have great times exploring the different runs and terrains that the mountains have to offer. I had a very interesting experience with him that taught me the value of having boundaries.
While going skiing with Dave one day, we decided that we were going to go out of bounds. He knew where some amazing snow was, so I followed him. As I followed him down the mountain, I was a little bit anxious because I had no idea where I was. This was a part of the mountain that I had never been on before and the only direction I had was by following my friend. I remember following closely behind him when suddenly he sharply turned his skis to the right. I followed suit, following in his tracts exactly. The reason why he had suddenly turned was because there was a hidden spring that had melted the snow and had left a 6 foot deep hole full of boulders inside it. As I followed his tracts, my left ski caught under one of the hidden rocks and I lost my balance. To my dismay, I fell headlong into the hole and watched as my skis flew in different directions. I was very lucky that day to have walked away with no major injuries. While falling, I covered my face with my arms and my helmet protected my head, leaving me with only a few scratches.

Driving home that night, I was once again full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for protecting me. I knew that my friend had not purposefully led me to danger, but I learned the importance of the boundary limits that are posted around a ski area. Similarly, our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ set boundary limits for us. Commandments are given not to restrict us, but to protect us from unseen dangers that are in our path. As we listen to the words of the modern day prophets, read the words of the scriptures, and live them, we are able to stay inside our spiritual boundaries and stay safe from the traps and snares that the adversary has in store for us. I testify that the Savior lives. He loves us, and as we heed His words and apply them to our lives, we will be be happier.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Gift of Personal Revelation

What is personal revelation? In the Bible dictionary the definition of "revelation" is to make known or uncover. I find that to be very accurate in the fact that when we receive revelation for ourselves, we are able to uncover truths that we had been searching for, or which we had been yearning for. We are all given the light of Christ. With that light, we are able to feel when something is right and true verses when things are not. When baptised by the proper priesthood authority of God, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift enables us to receive personal revelation and have the companionship of the Holy Spirit ALL THE TIME if we are keeping the commandments that our Heavenly Father has set for us.

"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge that it is of God" (Moroni 7:16).

As the prophet Joseph Smith studied from the Bible to know which church he should join, he read in the book of James chapter 1 verse 5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Joseph described how the spirit worked on him to give him personal revelation saying, "never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did..." (JSH pg.48).

It was personal revelation that led Joseph Smith to go into the grove of trees that spring morning and to ask Heavenly Father which church he should join. This act would later change the course of the world as we know it. I too have found that personal revelation has led me to make good choices in my life as I study out questions that I have from the scriptures.

I testify that as we truly want to know for ourselves answers to questions, and to have the personal companionship of the spirit with us, we must do the things and live according to the example our Savior Jesus Christ has set for us. He set the perfect example for us to follow. We can receive personal revelation as we strive everyday to search for that spirit and those good things that help us feel our Heavenly Father's presence.

"...behold that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God" (Moroni 7:13).

We can all receive personal revelation. What a marvelous gift from God! To learn more about personal revelation, check out www.mormon.org.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"And they did liken the scriptures unto themselves..."

When my mom would call our family to scripture study everyday, I would find myself moaning and groaning. I didn't enjoy reading the scriptures. I didn't understand them and there were so many things that I would rather be doing! As I have gotten older however, I have found that the scriptures mean so much to me when I liken everything I read to what is happening in my life at that time.

The Book of Mormon Prophet Nephi wrote, "...I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." That is so true! The scriptures are amazing and there stories and accounts in them are incredible, however, they touch our lives as we liken what we read to our everyday lives and situations.

One of my favorite heroes in the Book of Mormon is Captain Moroni. He was a strong, mighty man not only physically but spiritually as well. Being put in as captain over all Nephite as the age of 25, he had grown up learning the language of war, and how to protect his people. He was also a man of great faith and love for the Lord. In fact, in the Book of Alma there is a wonderful description of this great man saying, "...if all men had been, and were and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma 48:17). 

During a time of peace, Captain Moroni began to protect the Nephities cities against the angry Lamanities who would soon come against them to battle. He caused that around every city there should be heaps of earth around all the walls. On top of the ridges of earth there would be timbers, the height of a man, constructed and on top of them pickets were put up that were strong and high. Towers were erected to overlook the pickets with places of security upon the towers so that those were up observing the land could throw rocks or shoot arrows to those enemies that were trying to break through to the city (Alma 50).

Every city was protected against the enemy so that there would be no way for intruders to come in. However, as we read later on in the Book of Mormon, there are those who begin to be prideful because of the fortifications that they had just built. They felt that there would be no way for enemies to ever invade the city, so they began to slack off on their duties to watch for intruders, to continually strengthen the protections, and to rely on the Lord for help. We read that the enemy slowly begins to penetrate the walls until cities are taken and Captain Moroni must help them recapture the cities once more.

Now, after hearing such a story one may ask, "how does that apply to me?" or "how can I liken that scripture to my situation?" In our life we have been given counsel and direction from prophets both old and modern how to defend our families, our homes, and ourselves. Reading the scriptures, going to church, and praying and just a few ways that we are able to spiritually "put up our mounds of earth, walls of timbers, rows of pickets" etc. It seems as though the adversary has no way into our hearts and minds, however, it is when we begin to be prideful and stop relying on the Lord when trouble begins. When we stop doing the little things to continually strengthen our walls and fortifications, that is when the adversary creeps his way into our lives until he eventually  takes over our lives, families, and homes. We have the ability to stop him and protect ourselves, the question in, are we willing to continually take the steps to strengthen our walls?

As we liken the stories of the scriptures to ourselves and to our situations, we are able to find answers that can't come from anyone or anywhere else. The Lord has counseled His servants to record their experiences so that future generations can learn and prosper. May we all take a new look at the words of the prophets and liken them to ourselves that we will be protected and blessed.

To learn more about Captain Moroni or other stories in the Book of Mormon, visit www.mormon.org.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Family...isn't it about...time?

I would always laugh when I would see a commercial about families, especially the ones that the LDS church would put out. You may have seen them before, some sort of situation in which a father would come home late from work, the kids would be anxiously awaiting his arrival, and he wouldn't have time to visit or play with them because he was too busy. By the end of the commercial, he would have taken another look at his schedule and decided that his family was far more important than getting ahead of everyone else at work. The commercial would then end with the narrator saying, "Family...isn't it about...time?"

Sure, the commercials may have been a little bit corny, but as I have gotten older, I have more than just enjoyed watching those commercials, I have embraced them for the truths that they show. The family is the most important social unit that our Heavenly Father has created for us. After all, we are all brothers and sisters to a loving Heavenly Father. I love my family,and I have realized over the years just how much they have done for me. The reason why I value the relationship that I have with them is because of the time my parents took to teach us to choose the right. Of course we had our disagreements, but who doesn't? I always knew that I could turn to my family for help and support and that no matter what, my family would always be there and would always love me.

In 1995, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints brought forth a marvelous revelation for members of the church and for the whole world titled, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". In it, the Lord reveals how relationships should be in the family, the blessings that can occur in the home, and the roles of family members.

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. 'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives-mothers and fathers- will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome, recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed." (True to the Faith, pgs. 60,61)

Our Heavenly Father loves us so he puts us in family units. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families as it shows us how to treat one another in love and respect. As we learn to love God, we learn to love one another and our family relationships will grow and strengthen as we center our lives and actions upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. I don't know what I would do without my family and with the sealing power that binds families together forever, we are able to be sure that death can never break the family. Families are eternal and ordained of God and as we make time for them, our familiess will be blessed. 

To learn more about Eternal Families, visit www.mormon.org.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My thoughts on "Two Brothers Apart"

This video really touched home for me. In my life I have found relationships, especially with those in my family, to go through ups and downs. When living the teachings of our Savior, we are able to mend relationships, no matter how bad or tattered they may seem. I firmly believe that our Heavenly Father and our Savior care about the details of our lives, and when we turn to Them, they will soften our hearts and make weak things become strong unto us. I know that the Savior lives and loves us. He has changed my life and the lives of my family members and I know that He can for you as well. Families are eternal.

Want to learn how families can be together forever? Visit www.mormon.org

Two Brothers Apart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Joseph Smith the Prophet

*" I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true: and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."  - Joseph Smith Jr.

Have you ever had a burning question of the soul? A question that no one seems to be able to answer? A question that eats you inside and out every day you don't find a solution? I have, and so did someone else. As a young man, Joseph Smith wanted to know what of all the many churches he should join. Growing up in up-state New York in the early 1800's, a large religious revival had taken place and churches were everywhere. Joseph stated, "...great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, *"Lo, here!" and others, "Lo, there!" ". However, although he was persuaded to join many different churches, he was confused as to which one was the right one to join. All the pastors and ministers of the different denominations seemed to argue one with another about doctrinal points found in the Bible. Joseph recorded,

*"While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Espistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."  This passage hit Joseph to the very core, and he knew that the only way for him to find the answer to his burning question of what church was correct and right was to ask God.

On a spring morning in 1820, Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees that was behind his house. Not being much of a prayer, he decided that he was going to go and offer his first vocal prayer. It was a beautiful morning. In his own words he recounts,

*I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me....When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other- This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

That day the world changed. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ really did in actuality appear to Joseph Smith. Revelations have not ceased among men! A new prophet was called in these days to lead and guide the church of God just as in the days of old. I am a witness that Joseph Smith really was called to be a Prophet. Was he perfect? No. Do we worship him? No. However, through Joseph Smith, our merciful Heavenly Father once again brought forth His priesthood power, the authority to baptise, establish and run His church, and to lead His disciples on the Earth today.

Not sure if this is true? Do you have doubts that Joseph Smith really did see God? There is a sure way to know. All prophets bring forth fruit. With the priesthood power that was given to Joseph Smith from on High, he was able to translate a book of ancient scripture that is comparable to the Bible. This book is called the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and all that He stands for. I testify that if you read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart if the book is true, you will get an answer of its legitimacy. If the Book of Mormon is true, then that is evidence that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, he couldn't and wouldn't make it up. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the priesthood power is back on the earth and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church back on the Earth again. I KNOW this to be true. I have done it myself and am a living witness of the divinity of Joseph Smith the Prophet and the Book of Mormon.

Test it. Read it. Pray about it. What do you have to loose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything.

* Excerpts from Joseph Smith's History

Want to Learn more about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon? Go to http://www.mormon.org/.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let Him Lift You

A couple of Summers ago I worked at a Youth Ranch in the Teton Mountain Range called Badger Creek. There, I was part of an incredible experience to help shape the lives of youth from all over the country. We were able to have a week of intense fun doing all sorts of activities including high and low rope COPE courses, white-water rafting, horse-back riding, and hand cart trekking. I have never had so much fun in my life taking those youth around and watching them as they created their own life changing experiences.
During one of these hot, summer days was an experience that I will never forget.

I was on top of  a high ropes course tower called "the climbing tower" which involved the youth climbing up a rock wall belayed by their fellow teenagers down below. When they got to the top of the climbing tower, they climbed over the edge and stood on a platform that was at the top. They would then be unstrapped from their belays and hooked onto a separate carabiner that was connected to a sturdy strap and a zip line. They were then told to jump off the platform into the abyss and have the faith that the equipment would hold them. It was pretty intense to say the least.

While at the top of the climbing tower one day, it was my responsibility to make sure that the kids made it to the top of the tower safely, were strapped correctly to the zip line, and were able to get back down to the ground with no injury. I was looking over the edge of the climbing tower at the boys and girls that were excitedly scrambling up the wall. They were having so much fun and most wouldn't even take a second of hesitation before hurling themselves off the tower on the zip line. There was, however, a young woman who started making her way up the wall. She was shy, and tentative in the first place to begin climbing. I watched her carefully and her belays to make sure that all went smoothly. After getting about a third of the way up the wall she stopped. "I can't make it" she said. "Let me down." It made me sad that she wasn't going to continue the rest of her way up the wall after all, so many had succeeded before her. I called to the other youth to give her encouragement. This helped a little as she began once again to slowly inch her way up the wall. As her strength gave way she stopped and pleaded to be let down. It would have been easy for me to tell her belays to let her down, but I just couldn't let her fail. I bent over the side of the wall and talked to her. "Becky (name has been changed), I KNOW you can do this. Here, I will reach my hand down to you. Just make it to my hand and I will help you up the rest of the way." She was panting and she had perspiration running down her face. There was a moment where I thought she wouldn't do it, but then the strength came. With a look of determination, she pursed her lips and once again started up the wall. The space between my outstretched hand and hers became shorter and shorter until finally, she caught hold of mine. I clasped on with both of my hands and helped her up the rest of the way with the cheers of her comrades beneath her. She had made it! After giving her a hug and fastening her into the zip line, I turned to her and said, "Now here is the real test of your faith. Jump off the tower and trust that the equipment will catch you." She hesitated for a moment, looked around, smiled, and then hopped the tower into nothingness. I was so proud of her!

This experience has since made me think. We are all going up our own climbing walls in life. Some times the wall is steeper than other times. Once in a while we may loose our strength and feel as if we cannot make another step up. I have felt this way many times in my life and I know that I will feel it again. However, if we are only to look up to who is at the top of the tower, we will find our loving Savior, even Jesus Christ standing up there to greet us. He can see the full picture and our progression. He knows that we can make it up the wall if we but try a little longer. When we feel like there is nothing left but to go downwards again, He reaches out His hand to us to help lift us up. It is up to us to let Him. If we just go up a bit further than we think we can, grab His hand, and hold on, He will lift us to places that we never could have imagined. Once at the top of that trial, that mountain, whatever it may be, it is then up to us to trust in Him to lead us the rest of the way, even if we can't see the path in front of us. I testify that I know that the Savior lives and He is there for each of us as we turn to Him. His hands are always outstretched. Let Him lift you!

Welcome by Del Parson

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Be Strong, and of a Good Courage.

Do you ever feel like life is crushing in on on you? Do you ever wake up in the morning thinking, "Why? Why do I have to go another day? I don't know if I can handle this again." I know I have. Fear and discouragement is something that has the tendency of eating us from the inside out. Fear is the absence of faith. Not to say that when we are afraid, we are bad people because we don't have faith; however, when we fear, then we are not relying on the Christ, who is the center of all hope. We can do all things through Him.

The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi has a moment when he is overwhelmed by his sins and the sins of his people. He becomes discouraged and upset at how easily mankind is susceptible to sin. However, his attitude is turned completely around as he looks up to the light rather than down to the darkness. His words are so inspiring and uplifting:

"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.....yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God." 2 Nephi 4: 28-35

Incredible. I have found that in those moments when I don't know if I can go on another day because of the fear, anxieties, or whatever else the case may be, simple and sincere communication with our Heavenly Father calms me down immediately. He knows us. He knows us by name and exactly how we feel. Sure, life is hard, but it's ok to cry as long as we keep moving forward.

In the Bible is my favorite scripture. It is in the book of Joshua 1:9 which reads,

"...be strong, and of a good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest."

That scripture has always spoken so much to me. I find that I am afraid a lot, and when I think of this scripture, it comforts me so much to know that we are NEVER alone. Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS mindful of us and knows how we're doing. There was actually a song written from this song that I have sung before.

"When the world and its temptations seem to call you by name,
be strong. Be strong.
When they question everything you put your faith in everyday,
be strong. Be Strong.
And when your trials seem like they're too hard to bear,
Remember someone else stands by you, who's already been there.

Be strong, and of Good Courage.
Be not afraid, stand firm in the faith,
For the Lord will be with us where ever we go,
Be His, be one. Be strong.

When the world tries to convince you to make the wrong choice,
Be strong. Be strong.
With the noise that's all around you, you can't hear the spirit's voice,
Be strong, Be Strong.
And when you stand for something right and stand alone,
Remember someone else stands by you, in your Heavenly Home.


I still get scared. I still fear the unknown, however, with the help of sincere prayer and the words of the prophets in the scriptures, I know that everything will be ok. W just have to trust Him who is mighty to save. I testify that Christ lives and knows us. We are never alone. Be strong.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Testimony of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is a very special book to me. It was by the Book of Mormon that not only did I realize for myself that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was true, but I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Priesthood of God was restored to the Earth, and that the full and pure teachings of the Savior were once again restored to all mankind. This book is true. You can know for yourself! Don't take any one's word for it, but by sincerely studying and praying to know of it's truthfulness, you WILL get an answer from the Holy Ghost that this account is real. I love studying from the Book of Mormon and the Bible together. Everything makes sense! Read, ask questions, pray about it! I testify that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any other book and can get us closer to our Savior than by anything else.

I will admit, I was kind of sceptical at first when I read the promise at the end of the Book of Mormon written by the last prophet Moroni. He gives a powerful promise to anyone who will read the Book of Mormon saying,

" And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

I had finished the Book of Mormon and desperately wanted to know if it was really true. I had grown up with this faith...was it just my parent's, or mine as well? After finishing the Book, I set it down next to my bed and I knew what I needed to do next. I was afraid to pray! What if I didn't get an answer!?! What if all the things I believed were false!?! However, I knew that the only way to find out for myself was to take the advice of Moroni and to pray. I knelt down at the edge of my bed, and I began to offer a simple, sincere prayer to my Heavenly Father. I told Him that I wanted to know if this book was really true and if the faith of my fathers was real. An overwhelming peace came over me. Usually I have thoughts rushing in and out of my head, things from the day, people I need to visit, stuff I need to get done; but for one incredible moment, there was NOTHING in my head, just peace. I knew that was my answer. I felt completely content with life, everything was going to be ok, and I KNEW that the Book of Mormon was true.

Everyone receives answers differently. I know some who felt a blanket of warmth sweep over them as they prayed, some felt joyful, some feel inspired. There are so many ways to feel the spirit. However, Heavenly Father knows us perfectly, and will give us the answer that we need in His own due time. My prayer about the Book of Mormon was not the first time that I had prayed about it. It took time. It took effort, but most of all, it took faith that an answer would come. And it will! If you don't know for yourself if the Book of Mormon is true, then I give you the same invitation as Moroni. Read it! Study it! Ask questions! Then turn to the source of all wisdom and ask God if it's true. This book has changed my life, and I know that it will change yours if you let it.

Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Comments on "My New Life"

This Mormon Messages video, "My New Life" has changed me. I had never seen it before, maybe you have, but there was something incredibly special and humbling about it. How often do I take everything in my life for granted? How often do I go throughout life just day to day without stopping to look at the beauties that are around me, including my family? Life can change in less than a second, and if we're not careful, we may miss the big picture. We may miss that everything we have is on loan to us from a loving Heavenly Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine.

Next time you see or talk to a family member or good friend, tell them you love them. How often do we forget to do that. I know I do. There are so many opportunities to look beyond ourselves, to see farther than we think we can. This week, I am going to try to look for the little blessings, and thank Heavenly Father every night for them. Join me?

My New Life

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The inside scoop...

I can only imagine how curious people are about what happens on a regular daily basis. I was always so curious before I came out as to missionaries actually DO!  Well, let me sum it up for you...we talk to people about Jesus Christ, and invite them to change their lives in Him. Sounds easy? Possibly. Personally, I find missionary work to be a variety of different things including fun, frustrating, exhilarating, tragic, humbling, and hopeful to name a few. How many people go around and talk to random people about God. In this day in age, that subject is unfortunately something that not many people care to discuss. However, one thing that we emphasize as missionaries is that we are not here to take away people's faith in Christ, but to add to it.

Our day consists of studies in the morning, service at the Local Food bank (which I LOVE by the way),  and the rest of the day is appointments/ finding new people to teach. One thing I love is going to bed at night happy because I know that we have worked hard trying to share the message of hope and love that we have with everyone that we meet. The Church of Jesus Christ, the VERY church that Christ established when He was on the Earth has been restored to the Earth in its purity and fullness! How neat is that!?! I love sharing that with people. With that knowledge, people's lives can and will change for the better,but first we have to trust in that God that gave us life. We really can know truth, if we simply take some time to learn of Christ, to read of Him. The Bible is a great way to gain that knowledge, also reading from the Book of Mormon answers life deepest questions. The Book of Mormon is a companion to the Bible. It's main purpose is to convince everyone that Jesus really is the Christ, to add a second witness to the validity of the Bible, and to show the world that Christ's church is back on the Earth today.

It's simple really. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet, called of God to restore the Church, if he was a prophet, then God truly does talk to man in our day! I love it! I love the message we share. That's what we do. As missionaries, we are normal people, but we have a divine calling and purpose. What more could I want?!?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just gettting started!

I've never had a blog before, but I'm excited for this new adventure. As a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have the wonderful opportunity to share my testimony of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to serve. I love meeting new people and sharing amazing spiritual experiences with them! Sure, missionary work is hard, really hard, but the rewards from sharing the gospel with others far outweigh the struggles that we go through.

I decided to name the blog "Hurrah for Israel" because of one of my favorite stories. Two men, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball were asked by the Lord to serve missions. They and their families were all suffering from a serious illness and it was almost impossible for them to even get out of bed. However, they had faith in the Lord and knew that if they still went, they and their families would be greatly blessed. As they struggled into the wagon that was going to take them away to their unknown future, both Brigham and Heber couldn't stand the thought of leaving their wives and children still lying in bed sick. They stopped the wagon, struggled to help each other to stand and cried with a loud voice, HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!! Their wives heard them and came to the door to wish them farewell. This shout of hope and encouragement is something we can all say when we go though rough times in our lives. With faith in the God of Israel, nothing is impossible. Hurrah for Israel!