Monday, June 13, 2011

Progressive Post: Trust in the Lord

I am so proud to be a missionary serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission. I love the hills, the diversity of flowers and fruit, and the redwood trees. California is a beautiful state. It is rich in landscape and in people. I have especially loved and appreciated the people of California. I am currently serving in Vallejo and I agree one hundred percent with what Elder Jones has said about this area. My brothers and sisters here have taught me so much about perserverance and about holding to the simple truths of the gospel.
PreviewRather than restate everything that has been written about Vallejo, I want to talk about my experiences in the Northernmost city of our mission, Crescent City. It is the first area I have served in therefore it will always have a special place in my heart. Having gotten the pleasure of serving in both wards all the members in that city are family to me. It is no different with the people I taught and contacted. I love them and I appreciate what they have given me. I've never met a more humble city than Crescent City. Above all that I was taught the main lesson that I learned from my five months stay was to trust in the Lord.

I'll let Alma the Younger sum it all up for me: "I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day. And I would not that ye think that I know of myself—not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God. Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things" (Alma 36: 3-5). Not only was I born into the mission in Crescent City, but I experienced a spiritual rebirth. That rebirth was a result of the trials and challenges that I faced as a new missionary.

Before I came on my mission I would often back down from a challenge. There were many opportunities in my life that I missed because I was afraid of failing. Rather than manning up and seizing the moment I cowered and withdrew. Fear had always overpowered my faith. For the first time in my life I buckled up and got to work. I seized every opportunity I could to serve others and to teach. I worked myself into the ground for the people there. I stood up for what I believed and I lived what I preached. Because I chose to exercise my faith I was able to accomplish miracles. The biggest miracle however was my own spiritual growth.

When I first came out I had some fears and doubts about my ability to be a successful missionary. The Lord took care of that fast. I was nailed time and time again with experiences where I had to choose to act in faith or cower in fear. Never before in my life did I go through that many challenges all at once. It seemed like there was no end to the trials I was facing. I had to rely on something other than myself to make it through. I quickly learned that I could trust in God. Each time I put it in the Lord's hands everything worked out. Relief came and miracles happened in every case. God provided for me. His "grace was sufficient"(Ether 12:27). That lesson has helped me through all of my trials since. I have learned to face trial with faith. From my first months in Crescent City I have had the capacity to enjoy every moment of my mission. This is because I know that I can put my trust in the Lord.

I believe His words to Alma and his people when they were delivered from bondage. The Lord told them "this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."(Mosiah 24:14) I know that that is true. I am so thankful for the privilege it was to serve in Crescent City. I now have the faith to do all that the Lord requires of me. I know that He will go with me as I strive to deliver others from their afflictions and bring them into the waters of baptism. This is Church is most definately true. I love the experiences I have had while serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission. I'm excited to hear from Elder Trey Williams about what he has learned from his experiences on his mission. Keep following the Progressive Post.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"How Firm a Foundation"

We hand out a pass along card that has a picture of the Salt Lake Temple on it. On the back are a few questions of the soul and an invitation to visit the website I love the Salt Lake temple. Many people that we give the pass along card to are astonished by the beauty of the building. I admit it is a wonderful sight to see. What is even more astonishing however, is the temple's construction.

The Salt Lake Temple took 39 years to build. The foundation of the temple took 14 years alone. President Young said he wanted to see the temple built so strong that “it will endure through the Millennium”( That is why so much time was spent on building the foundation of the temple. If the foundation will hold and stand so will the work on top of it. A sturdy foundation enables the rest of the building to function as it should. A house with a weak foundation will not stand. However, a house with a strong foundation can withstand the rains, floods, winds, earthquakes, and other tests that confront it. Brigham Young and the early saints understood this concept and took it into consideration as they built the temple. In fact, after 5 years of building the foundation the Saints had to completely restart because a crack was found in one of the foundation stones.

When Christ had established his Church he also established it on a firm foundation. We read in the Ephesians that the Church was "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." When the apostles were martyred the foundation was destroyed and the rest of the Church was affected. Eventually that Church fell. God understood the importance of that foundation and in our time he has built a new one. That is the reason why he called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and under his hand ordained 12 Apostles. With that foundation restored God once again brought His Church back onto the earth with the promise that it would stand until Christ will come again.

The Salt Lake temple is a testimony of the faithfulness of the saints and of the importance of this Latter-day work. It stands as a witness to all nations that Jesus is the Christ and that he leads and directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today. He does this through living prophets and apostles. This is the same foundation that the original church was built upon. I know that this is true and I am grateful for the foundation upon which this church is built. I know that it will never fall. The Lord stated through His prophet:

"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

Til the end has come the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will stand as the Lord has promised. This is because of the foundation upon which it is built "which is a sure foundation, whereon if men build they shall not fall."(Helaman 5:12) That foundation is the same as when Christ had originally formed his church. It has been restored and it will not fall. Of this I testify as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beans and Crackers or Feast and Music

I am so excited to finally be able to read Conference in the Ensign. It is such a great blessing. We get to read the words of modern day prophets and apostles over and over again. This morning I studied President Uchtdorf's talk titled "Your Potential, Your Privilege." As I read, I remembered when he delivered this message in April. He began his talk with this story:

"There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea. He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.

He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit, but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.

On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges."

How often in our lives do we live beneath our potential? If we understood our relationship to God we would come to see that our potential is limitless. The fact that we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father testifies to us that we have divine potential. God's purpose is to enable each one of us to recieve the blessings he has and to live with Him through the eternities. That was the reason we were sent to Earth in the first place. This life is our time to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32) How would we feel if at the end of our life here on Earth we discovered that we lived far below our potential? We would be unprepared to meet God because we didnt use our time here wisely. Instead of enjoying the abundance of joy that life has to offer, we sat in our room and ate beans and crackers. We would feel much like the man in President Uchtdorf's story.

President Uchtdorf stated: "We live beneath our privileges when we fail to partake of the feast of happiness, peace, and joy that God grants so bountifully." There are many people out there who are living below their potential. It is not any fault of their own. "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." (D&C 123:12). Guess what? We know where to find it. The only way to enjoy fully the blessings of God in this life and in the eternities is found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is because the Gospel in its fullness has been brought back onto the earth. There is no other way.

We are all on this cruiseship together. It is our responsibility to help everyone live up to their potential. Would we let our brothers and sisters sit in their room and eat beans and crackers? For me that answer is no. It is up to all who have been warned to warn their neighbor. I will do all in my power to help others reach their divine potential.

Spread the word.

Read President Uchtdorf's full address, "Your Potential, Your Privelege"