On A Mission

I envy the missionaries that serve a mission to spread the gospel. As a convert past his teenage years and with a family to take care of, I felt that I had missed out on this amazing experience. I thought I could only hope for the many opportunities to help other people learn more about the full gospel of Jesus Christ as I have.

One question I often hear among the brethren is: “Where did you go for your mission?” It seems like such an ice breaker, which is something I definitely have a need for.

There is hope though! Early on I learned that seniors can go on missions as well. In Mike’s parents are on a two year mission! When I retire, I would like to go somewhere on a mission. It would be amazing to put everything away and concentrate on the gospel and serving. But that time seems so far away. I can’t wait.

It is said that “every member is a missionary.” That is true, but it didn’t feel the same. Not until I read a chapter in the Doctrine & Covenants that really get my pumped up:

Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. (D&C 4)

The verse that stands out to me is:

…if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work

And there you go, I’m on a mission!

Thomas S. Monson

Thomas S. Monson was named the 16th Church President on Monday.

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He also called to serve with him in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring as his first counselor, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as his second counselor.

It was also announced that President Boyd K. Packer, 83, is the new president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

All I’ve really known was Hinckley as the prophet. I am not too familiar with President Monson but from what I’ve heard from my good friends I am excited to see where the Church goes from here.

Glenn Beck on Hinckley

Came accross this on YouTube and just wanted to share, in case you haven’t already seen this:

Glenn Beck pays tribute to the late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z58eHBnEHhk]

I Wasn’t Ready

I believe that this book, There Is No Death, brought me closer to understanding the truths that my friend Mike touched upon when he began teaching parts of the Gospel. I believe this book softened my heart and also prepared me for the missionaries that I met three years later.

I remember after a few weeks after reading the book we were discussing it during lunch when it hit me; that all the things Mike had been teaching me were in fact true; that there was something more going on than just this life. It is a moment in my life that I will not forget. As I look back now, knowing what I knew, it was the spirit confirming what he was teaching and what was in this book as true.

Why I didn’t follow up on this? I guess I did not know what to do with this testimony at the time. I did not plant it and nourish it. (See Alma 32:28-43)

It did not fall on good ground, perhaps stony ground. (Matthew 13:3-8) I did not act on it. I’m thinking it was out of fear for change.

Tasting of the truth was exciting and I was eager to learn of all the great and wonderful things of the gospel. I often went way ahead of myself. In a way, I wasn’t ready. I wanted to have my friend personally teach me all he knew, but he insisted that I have the missionaries over.

I now realize why missionaries should be involved. They are set apart to spread the gospel. They are more prepared to answer questions that come up. They are divinely inspired and assisted to share their great message. I did not have the fundamentals that the missionaries teach. The important fundamentals like: Who we are, who Heavenly Father is, who the holy spirit is, and who Jesus Christ is – and why what he did was so important, the plan of salvation (the plan of happiness).

I see why things are taught in a certain order now and why it is said “concept upon concept, precept upon precept.” That used to annoy me when I didn’t receive all my answers, but now it makes perfect sense.

How the Youth Honored Hinckley

Preparing for school took a different turn for thousands of teenage Mormon students who, some 12 hours earlier, had learned of the death of their Church president, Gordon B. Hinckley.

The students responded to a flood of text messages from teens in at least six states, suggesting they arrive at school in their “Sunday best,” rather than their accustomed jeans or other casual clothes, as a symbol of respect and honor to their deceased leader.

A few of these students shared their thoughts about President Gordon B. Hinckley.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M1BmT8Wmak]

The Life of President Gordon B. Hinckley: 1910 – 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley, who led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through twelve years of global expansion, has died at the age of 97.

President Hinckley was the 15th president in the 177-year history of the Church and had served as its president since 12 March 1995.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=FQsAEsN0R7Q]

Gordon B. Hinckley

hinckley_medium.jpgIs it weird that I am not saddened?

The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley has died at the age of 97.

Being less than a year into this, I can’t say that I’m too affected by it. I have only really heard him speak once during the Semi-Annual General Conference. I enjoyed what he had to say in October and was looking forward to him this April.

I realize the progress this Prophet made for the church during his presidency and admire his works. The world went from 56 to 224 temples? Amazing!

So is it weird that I am not saddened by his passing?

No. I am happy for him!  Happy because of the plan of Salvation.

I found out last night when my friend Mike gave me a call.  I said a prayer for his family to have peace and comfort.  I wasn’t saddened really, just  a little surprised.  I thought he was kidding around when he said he was hoping to make it to April’s General Conference.

He had lived a great life. I know where he has gone. He is with our Father in Heaven, his wife and his other family. And he will get his reward:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)

How much can the Bishop Help?

Alot.

Last night, my Bishop made extra time for me and met with me at 9:30pm at night.  We talked for a good hour and a half about the things that were bothering me.

I feel spiritually recharged and like I can take anything on.   Things are falling into place as if the Lord has prepared a way for me out of my situation.

It was past 11:00pm when I left church.

I felt relieved, with a new energy and my testimony strengthened even more.

I really appreciate my Bishop and the hard work and dedication he has to the ward.

Faith, Home Teaching, Obedience and Meekness Really Do Work

Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.

I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.

It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.

There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.

The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.

Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!

Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.

After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.

I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.

I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.

My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.

After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.

My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.

What can I do for you?

Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.

I told him about my problems and he counseled me.

My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.

“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”

My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.

He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.

“This is easy” he said.

“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”

He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.

My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.

My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.

I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.

What else good can come from doing home teaching?

Having a home teacher!

At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.

I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.

He said:

“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”

When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.

When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.

I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.

I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.

There Is No Death: The Extraordinary True Experience

After my friend Mike came back from his mission, we ended up working at the same company and he would share bits and pieces of the LDS Church beliefs with me. I remember sitting in my office over three years ago when my friend Mike started talking about a book that he borrowed and read.

Before he even started speaking I began to have what I described at the time as just cold chills, now that I look back it was more like the spirit talking to me. I was extremely excited to hear about the book he had just read and I knew I just HAD to read it.

The name of the book is called There Is No Death: The Extraordinary True Experience by Sarah Lanelle Menet.

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I believe I read all 128 pages TWICE in one weekend, both times in one sitting. I usually don’t do that, but this book has something to it.

This is a story about a women that had a sad and abusive childhood. After attempting to commit suicide due, she leaves her body and enters the spirit world learning much about the beauty and peace that follow this life for those that have lived good lives. She then visits ‘hell’ where her abusive father resided. She learns about forgiveness and the importance of it in our lives. She returns to her body and tells her story after keeping it to herself for several years.

Menet answers many questions in her writings, such as:

  • Why we are here on earth?
  • What Deja Vu is?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Where we lived before being born?
  • What happens to us when we die and the degrees of heaven?
  • Who are guardian angels?
  • What is the basis of people claiming reincarnation?

The book does a few dark topics such as events that have happened (and haven’t happened) which will lead up to Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ to Earth. However, the the positives in her book greatly outweigh the negatives.

One more note that I’d like to add – At the time of reading the book, I did not know she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until the very end. Also, she was not a member when she had her experiences as well. She later found that the teachings of the Church matched what she had saw during her experience.

This book definitely had an impact on my life. I recommend this book to everyone, whether you are: an Investigator, a recent convert or a long-time member.