Father’s Day Move

There is a woman in our ward whose husband died a few months ago, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters. The family had additional changes in circumstances after the death of the father that necessitated a move to another state. Unfortunately, the only day on which they could move was a Sunday and not just any Sunday, but Father’s Day.

I will always remember the first counselor in our bishopric standing up in priesthood meeting and saying that there was nothing better we could be doing on Father’s Day than helping a family who has just lost their father. These inspired words touched the hearts of the men in our ward. The evening of Father’s Day found 21 of us at the home of this dear family who were still grieving for their father. There were so many of us that we formed an assembly line and routed boxes and furniture out of the house and into the truck, filling the moving truck in less than a half hour.

Isaiah 1:17 -> “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

I pray that the Lord will bless and comfort this family.

American Idol and No TV

These past two weeks I’ve been extremely busy trying to get things organized at home.  Right now all our TVs are packed away and our internet is seldomly used.  This lends time to sit around, talk and visit with friends and family.  Another thing it does is add a personal touch to home.  Rather than coming home and keeping eachother company while watching TV, we’re keeping each other company!

It even some brings missionary opportunities with my Mother in law, who is staying with me for a few months, that probably would have been harder to come by.

One caveat: I’ve been missing American Idol – but not before I got to see Brooke White audition!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxRpacN0-LA]

My friend Joey pointed out to me this article from Deseret News today.  There are two LDS singers in American Idol’s top 24.  Including Brooke White, there is also David Archuleta from Salt Lake City, who auditioned in San Diego.

With the top 24 starting, it looks like it is time to hook the TV back up.  But I’m going to try to keep Sundays a non-television day to go along with keeping the Sabbath day holy.  That should be an easy one since we have Tivo.

Oh Bishop, My Bishop!

I admit, when I first started going to Church I wanted to call the Bishop the Warden instead. I wanted to do so only because the Church was called a Ward. It seemed fit that the Warden would be in charge of the Ward. It took me two months to get that out of my system and I’m happy to report that I never once slipped up…at least I don’t think I did.

I don’t know if my Bishop will ever know how much I admire and appreciate him. Not because he holds a prestigious title, that he presides over Sacrament or is in the highest office of the Aaronic priesthood. The reason why I appreciate him is because he is just a man. He is a man who is kind, caring, humble, sincere and the first one to admit his faults.

If I did not know him and saw him walking down the street, I would know he was a righteous man, obedient to the Lord. He is a man that has the Spirit with him, always.

I know how hard his calling can be and he does it with a smile and with all his heart. He is one of the many men in my ward that I look up to as an example of what I want to become. He is a man that has his spiritual affairs in order.

Last Sunday for Church, I caught him in his office and met with him briefly about arranging to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood since I was Sustained in the last Stake conference. When he saw me, he smiled. He shook my hand and was genuinely happy to see me. We sat in his office for a second and I told him of my plans and how I wanted my best friend to ordain me.

Afterwards, he told me how he was proud of me and put his arm around my shoulder. “How are you doing?” he asked me. “I’m trying as best as I can.” I replied. “The best you can is good enough and that is between you and the Lord.” Like many times before, he spoke about how he is not perfect, has his faults and he tries his best as well. He also spoke of the wonderful gift of the atonement and how he relies on it in his life. At that moment I felt the Spirit bring me Peace and Comfort. It washed away my feelings of inadequacies.

His kindness and humble attitude strengthened my testimony. He made my day. He made my week. Even though I thought something horrible happend less than three hours ago when a Deacon forgot to pass us the bread for Sacrament, I felt safe and set for another week.

He is just a man, but he is my Bishop. And I wish I could find a way to thank him for that.

A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect BEFORE your Baptism

If you are taking lessons from a missionary and decide to get baptized, there are certain things they want done before the actual baptism.

Today, there are four lessons before your baptism. Missionaries want to sure you understand what you are taking on by being baptized.

The four lessons are broken up by topic:

  1. The Restoration
  2. The Plan of Salvation
  3. The Gospel of Jesus Christ
  4. The Commandments

I will write about these four lessons at a future date.

You can decide to be baptized at any time during the four lessons. After committing to be baptized, the rest of the lessons (if any) will be taught before it is done. There is also a baptismal interview that is done before hand. This is done by a missionary district leader.

The following questions asked are:

  1. Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father?
  2. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?
  3. Do you believe that the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?
  4. Do you believe that [the current Church President – which is Gordon B. Hinkley at this time)] is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?
  5. What does it mean to you to repent? Do you feel that you have repented of your past transgressions?
  6. Have you ever participated in an abortion? A homosexual relationship? Have you ever committed a serious crime? If so, are you now on probation or parole? *
  7. You have been taught that membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints includes living gospel standards. What do you understand of the following standard. What do you understand of the following standards? Are you willing to obey them?
    1. Are you willing to keep the Sabbath day holy, including partaking of the sacrament weekly and rendering service to fellow members?
    2. What do you understand of the law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relationship outside the bonds of a legal marriage between a man and a woman? Are you willing to obey this law?
    3. What do you understand of the Word of Wisdom? Are you willing to obey this law?
    4. What do you understand of the law of tithing? Are you willing to obey this law?
  8. When you are baptized, you covenant with God that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of Christ and keep His commandments throughout your life. Are you ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?

* – If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you will be sent to the mission president for a follow up interview.

These questions were taken from my own experiences and cross-referenced with Preach My Gospel Chapters 3 and 12. (Thanks Joey)

The Importance of Going to Church

Two weeks ago, I failed to make it to church. One thing after another, after another compounded and made it impossible for me to go. This was the first time that I missed a church meeting. I remember the moment clearly.

I felt anxious like I was missing something-and I was. The feeling I had was like I was trying to start a car with no gas. It just didn’t work. I felt empty for the remaining of the week. I felt drained. I literally felt my spirituality slipping away.

I looked forward to the next Sabbath all last week. After making it to Church yesterday, it felt like a fresh breath of air. Taking the sacrament to renew my covenants was the best feeling. Last Sunday was Fast and Testimony day as well. Hearing the testimonies of other Church Members literally filled my spiritual reservoir. I really enjoyed the second and third hour classes.

I’ve realized that going to Sacrament, Gospel Essentials class and Elders Quorum is a definite need in my life. This three hour block nourishes my spirit and strengthens my testimony. Anything else that involves the Church or its members is a bonus!

It is true that obedience to Heavenly Father brings joy, peace and happiness.  I can see why Jesus Christ said:

The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27)

An Amazing Sabbath Day

This weekend was an amazingly spiritual one. Having the Aaronic Priesthood, I was blessed to participate in the sacrament ordinance and perform the blessing of the bread.

What is said during baptism, blessing of bread, blessing of water are the only three ordinances that must be said word for word in the church. Anticipating this day, I have been studying the sacrament bread blessing prayer and sacrament water blessing prayer for over two months and had it down to a science.

Of course when I was driving to church and walking down the hall to the Bishop’s office for a quick meeting, I ACTUALLY FORGOT THE WORDS! “It figures” I thought. However, having faith that I would be able to perform this ordinance by the grace of Heavenly Father, I did not fear.

Before discussing what is done for the blessing of the bread with the Bishop, we knelt down and he said a wonderful prayer: That I may be able to officiate successfully, have clear thought and speak clearly and precisely. This eased my tensions further.

After the meeting, I must’ve drank from the water fountain at least ten times, trying to thwart off a dry mouth. When my mouth is dry, my speech suffers. It didn’t work. I had a card that the ward mission leader gave me when I was conferred to the Aaronic Priesthood. It was titled “Suggestions for ordinance work” and it had the list of blessings and prayers in it. I read off the bread prayer over and over. It made me feel a little bit better.

Sitting up in the stand during sacrament meeting was going fine. The church was unusually crowded that day. The entire church was filled. So much that I could not see my family anywhere; they were in the lobby. “More people to witness me messing up and saying the prayer twice” I thought.

And then I found out why it was so crowded-there was a baby being blessed and there were a lot of people in town visiting. When the Bishop asked that the people participating in the blessing to come forward, two full middle rows stood up! It was revealed to me later that day that 320 people attended sacrament meeting.

The second hymn started and my heart started to beat faster. Nervousness set in. We all stood up in unison. We approached the table and uncovered the bread. I began breaking the bread…I got the end piece again! Those things are harder to break apart. While breaking the bread, I had the epiphany to make it the pieces slightly smaller so we could have enough for the entire congregation and so I would not have to prepare and bless the bread TWICE. I successfully got two trays done, the other three priest handled the rest.

I finished first and stood there reverently. The other priest continued breaking the bread until they were done. The hymn was finished and the sister playing the organ concluded the song. Panic set in!

Having been on the end of the line and wanting to avoid running into the priest next to me, I carefully moved back until I was clear and then proceeded forward and to the middle of the line. They raised the cloth up and held it for me. I proceeded to kneel down on my left knee and slide out the microphone tray.

The little light turned red-the mic was hot! “Here we go, you’ll do fine.” I said to myself. Now the microphone tray has a tiny microphone in it and has the bread prayer and water prayer so you can read it while speaking. In my opinion, it wasn’t designed very well. Having to put your mouth right at the microphone, you cannot really read the prayer very well. The words are too close.

All of the sudden, peace and calm came over me. I began to speak:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)

It was a miracle! I made it through and I think I didn’t mess up. I looked to my right at the Bishop for approval that I said it correctly.

He nodded his head “yes.” I had made it. I was even more relieved when I found out there was enough bread and the Teachers and Deacons began their way back to the sacrament table.

Later that afternoon, I was interviewed by my Bishop for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was an amazing Sabbath Day.