Thursday, May 26, 2011

Called to Serve: On the Other Side of the Veil

This last week I heard from a friend that someone who meant a lot to me had passed away. I was shocked when I heard the news and thankful that I had been informed. It was a great blessing to have heard because I have been away from him for 6 months. This man and his wife had joined the church a year ago. They are stalwart saints who have powerful testimonies of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I served in their area they treated me like family. I love them and they will always be a part of my life. Here on the earth and in the eternities. I want to tell you a bit about his death and bear testimony of the life after.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Will Follow You

This weekend was a very special weekend for me. I got to be a part of a few baptisms. After the first baptism I gave a talk. At the beginning of the talk I asked her how she felt. Her response: "I've never felt this good in my life." I have ran those words through my head time and time again. It was special for me to hear her say that. Baptism is such an important event. It marks the beginning of a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) Everyone who is baptized by priesthood authority experiences rebirth and is cleansed from their sins. This is exactly what happened to our recent convert.

Following that baptism we had another baptism. This was a young man who was 18. I got to have a one on one interview with him. He is a special kid and is going to do a lot with his life. During his baptism he spoke. While he spoke he read this poem that he wrote:

"I go through stages of obesession and depression no doubt self inflicted
the wind in my sails has all but vanised
im stuck
not up nor down here nor there
but no where
after lifetimes of self defeat from the stress i finally realize
who cares where i am or where im going
im here and i have you to help me through
then in less than a moment my sails have been filled
but yet something is still left unsaid
even with the horizon in my midst
the past a dream forgotten
i shutter
and the seas themselves begin to quake
was it a mistake
i put my trust in you
and now the waters shake
i tremble and curse your name
even though i am the one to blame
now again
im stuck
in a rut
just mabye ill ask you one more time to fill my sails take them as you will
no matter that be rough, or smooth seas
just to get another glance of the land on the horizon when my fear forsook you
my mind be the sails i ask you to fill
my heart the compass to direct me
i will follow you!"

He is a follower of Christ. He showed that by being baptized in the same manner Christ was baptized: by immersion and by someone who held the priesthood. What a sacred and holy event. I'm grateful I got the privilege to attend. These things are true, baptism is real. The authority has been restored. The examples that my brother and sister have set this weekend by being baptized has changed my life just as it has transformed theirs. I thank them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small and Simple

I have a very sporadic personality. For me it is easy to pick up new things and drop them fast. I love change and I used to get uncomfortable with consistency. It has always been in my nature to expect big results in a short period of time. To put it simply I'm more of a sprinter than a long distance runner. Rather than being able to conserve my energy I like to get it all out in quick bursts. This pattern of thought and behavior unfortunately is not in harmony with God's way. It is a symptom of the carnal mind, a result of our temporal existence in the flesh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Important Than What You Do

Life is busy. There are so many different things that go along with it. As a missionary the list of things to do seems endless. Everyday I worry about what I should study, what I should say, who i should see, where I should go, etc. I'm sure everyone at some point has felt a little worn down by an infinite to do list. I know that with all the things I do it is easy for me to overwhelmed. With the list of to do's being so great I find myself asking: what should I focus on? I have learned an invaluable lesson lately about what is most important in life.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Way

The more I learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the more converted I become. I am just so grateful for the organization that God has established. He is most certainly a God of order. Look at how expansive and organized the universe is, or even the Earth, and the human body. He is not a creator of chaos. ALL things are done in order. It is no different with his Church here on the earth.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Because Jesus is the Christ

One of my favorite hymns is "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." I found out some new information about it tonight. It was the last hymn that Joseph Smith heard before he was martyred. John Taylor sang the song all the way through twice. My affection for this hymn has grown even deeper. I love it. It is all about serving the Lord through our actions towards others and our commitment to giving our all to him.

I'm sure as Joseph Smith sat in Carthage Jail this verse took on significant meaning for him:

In pris'n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor's doom at morn.
The tide of lying tonuges I stemmed,
And honored him 'mid shame and scorn.
My friendship's utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak, my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, "I will"

There have been many who have died defending the faith. Joseph Smith is just one of many. Christ had asked for their life, and they willing gave it. What has Christ asked you to do?

I'm grateful Christ has not yet required my life. He has asked me to do other things though. One of which is give up 2 years to serve a mission. Along with that comes many other responsibilities. I am asked to talk to everyone, to invite others to be baptized, to follow a missionary schedule, to build up the ward where I serve, and the list of things goes on. These things seem so little to me when compared to what others have done for Christ. It matters not what he asks us to do. What matters is whether or not we are willing to do it.

The reason why Joseph Smith, myself, and many others act when they are called is simply because Jesus is the Christ. We understand that Christ has given us his all. He gave us his life. He suffered for our sins, sorrows, pains, temptations, and afflictions. He was despised and rejected of men. He descended below all things. Yet he overcame death. He conquered sin. He rose above all things. He sits at the right hand of the Father. All power is given to him in heaven and in earth. He is our Savior and our Redeemer.

If he did all those things for me I know that I can do all things through him. In fact he has promised me all things if I am faithful. These promises are extended to as many as will come unto him. His arms are open to everyone. He invites everyone to "Repent and come unto me and bebbaptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day."(3 Nephi 27:20)

This is my calling: to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to recieve the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I am here to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. I do these things because Jesus is the Christ.

Find out how you can serve Christ by reading the rest of the lyrics to "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief"

Read in the Book of Mormon what Christs expects of you, "2 Nephi 9)