Sep 27, 2011

forget not

With General Conference coming up this weekend (you might remember me posting about the last one in April) we have the opportunity to hear from the living Prophet of God, along with the twelve apostles.  I have always loved General Conference weekends (when I was little that meant watching church from home in my pajamas and eating a lot of good food with the family) but I love them even more as a missionary.  Last Saturday was the Relief Society General Broadcast, and we were able to hear from three amazing women, along with President Uchtdorf.  The spirit strongly testified as they spoke, and it motivated me to be a better missionary and disciple of Jesus Christ.  I stole from these tidbits from President Uchtdorf's talk.. enjoy!

Forget not to be patient with yourself:

President Uchtdorf reminded women that everyone has strengths and weaknesses—that no one is perfect, even those who may seem so.
“God wants to help us eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal,” President Uchtdorf said. “It is OK that you are not quite there yet. Keep working on it but stop punishing yourself. “
“Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others,” he added. “Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.”
Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice:

President Uchtdorf defined an acceptable sacrifice as giving up “something good for something of far greater worth.”
“Dedicating some of our time to studying the scriptures or preparing to teach a lesson is a good sacrifice. Spending many hours stitching the title of the lesson into homemade potholders for each member of your class may not be.”
President Uchtdorf noted that every situation is different, and suggested asking, “Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?” in order to distinguish between good and foolish sacrifices.
Forget not to be happy now:

Using an example from the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, President Uchtdorf described how one of the characters, Willy Wonka, hid golden tickets within chocolate bars, promising to reveal wonders to five people who discovered the tickets.
“In their anxiousness, people began to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket,” President Uchtdorf said. Whatever a “golden ticket” may represent to each person, President Uchtdorf warned Relief Society sisters to not put their happiness on hold as they wait for a future event, or golden ticket, to appear.
“The lesson here,” he said,” is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.”
Forget not the “why” of the gospel:

President Uchtdorf said that sometimes, in the routines of daily life, the vital aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ are unintentionally overlooked. “We sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long “to do” lists. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.”
President Uchtdorf reminded the sisters that the gospel is not an obligation, but a pathway leading to happiness and peace in this life and “glory and inexpressible fulfillment” in the life to come
Forget not that the Lord loves you:

In closing, President Uchtdorf said, “Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time.”

“You may at times feel a little like the forget-me-not—insignificant, small, or tiny in comparison with others,” he said, noting: “I hope (the forget-me-not) will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet.”

I loved this so much, and hope you do too. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the speakers this Saturday and Sunday!

Sep 17, 2011

prepare to meet thy God

Yes I'm aware that I look like a nerd.
There are just some things about Tennessee that I don't want to forget.
It is not uncommon to see a sign like this in Tennessee. In someone's front lawn, near a church, or next to the highway.. it is something I have almost come to expect. These folks are very aware that we all need to be prepared to meet our God.  But what the signs don't tell us is how to prepare to meet our God.

In order to be prepared to meet our God, we must first know a little about Him. I've never seen God in person, but here is what I have learned.  Genesis 1 tells us that we are created in His image, therefore we know that God has a body of flesh and bone like ours.  God is our loving Heavenly Father, and he is not far from us (Acts 17:27-19).  He is all knowing, all powerful, and perfect.  The scriptures also teach us that "no unclean thing can enter into His kingdom" (3 Nephi 27:19).  Thankfully, God has provided a way for us to receive eternal life through his son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). 

Then what can we do to be prepared?  We can first have faith in God's only begotten son, Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 2:6-8).  If we truly believe in Him, we will repent of our sins (Hel. 5:10-11). Full repentance is complete with baptism by immersion for a remission of those sins (Acts 2:38).  God promises us that if we are baptized by proper authority, we can be given the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will lead us and help us to continue living a Christlike life!  

Why is this significant anyhow?  Why do we want to meet our God and live with him someday?   "And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." (D&C 14:7)  From what I gather, this is what most of us are hoping for, and the Lord has shown us how we can. 

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Sep 13, 2011

Elda Cospa

Sometimes I get sick of writing about me and my experiences (imagine that) so today.. I am going to write a little more about my brother in Ghana.  I posted about him a few months back; about how much I admire him and look up to him and get overexcited to read his letters and emails every week.  Today I want to share a few tidbits from those emails of his.  Hopefully he doesn't mind. Every time he used to make himself a big delicious meal in the kitchen (he's a much better chef than I am) I would wait until he turned his back and sneak a few bites..or a lot of bites. He always got upset at me for that. Now I am going to sneak a few bites from his emails which I think are more interesting than my own.  I think you'll agree. 

September 12th

"Remember Kingsley?  We baptized him in Mamponse right before i was transferred.  Well now two of his sons have been baptized and his daughter and wife will be baptized on the 24th!!!!  All of that just because of one contact Elder Thom and I made one Sunday afternoon.  I can't describe how happy i am about that.  Seeing an individual change is amazing, but seeing an entire family change is even better."

September 5th 

"I'm rocking out to some awesome gospel rock here in this internet cafe.  Gotta love Ghana (and Tennessee)!  This week we've been prospering work-wise but suffering physically.  We've been without electricity probably 5 out of the 7 days this week.  Here they call it "light off."  The three worst things about having no electricity are: 1. Our water pump doesn't work, which is as good as not having any water at all.  2. Our fridge doesn't work and all the food inside starts to spoil (I have 5 KGs of chicken in our freezer that's going to be completely defrosted by the end of today if the power doesn't come back on) and 3. Our fans don't work!  Which makes for hot sweaty nights.  It's not fun!  Ghana really needs to figure out this electricity business.  Luckily this internet cafe is really nice and has a generator.  Something we missionaries don't have."

August 29th

"One cool experience we had this week, we contacted and taught this guy named Sammuel B on Saturday.  We committed him to come to church and he said he would, but after doing this work for this long i've kind of lost faith in people when they say they'll come to church.  But then Sunday came and he showed up during sacrament meeting!  After sacrament meeting we were taking him to the gospel essentials class and one of the members walked up to him with a big smile on his face and gave him a big hug.  It turns out this guy is Sammuel's uncle!  After church Sammuel told us how much he loved the service and said that he'll definitely be coming back next week.  Experiences like that keep me going, missionary work is so sweet.  I have the strongest testimony about following the promptings of the spirit."

Ok, that's all for now.  I sure do love my little bro. Miss him like crazy but I know the sacrifice is worth it. He is blessing so many lives out there. 

Sep 3, 2011

a poem for Wendy

This post is long overdue, considering I met this lovely lady in 2010 and started this poem quite a while ago, but hey...better late than never.

A loving daughter of Heavenly Father,
You showed His kindness without falter,
But yet you did not know Him;
As you walked your path the light seemed dim.
You were content but not complete,
Still searching for that something
That could answer all your questions.

The Elders met a Baptist,
Who directed them toward your house;
You sat out on the porch with them,
Polite, but not about to give in.
"I'll listen for a while" you thought,
"But will not change my lifestyle",
(Little did you know what lay ahead).

It was then that we moved in,
Just two weeks after you'd met them,
You welcomed my companion and I,
As if we'd known you all our lives.
The dog became my biggest fan,
And little Eli preferred Larsen,
Even your husband let us come.

We asked you about what you'd learned,
Your face lit up, the spirit burned,
Our teachings were so new to you,
The premortal world and afterlife too.
We taught that Christ is your Redeemer,
Jehovah, Savior, stain remover;
We recognized the spark inside your soul.

Soon Thursday nights became our favorite,
Each week reserved for just the Bakers;
We'd say our prayers and answer questions,
Play with the boys and all their Nerf guns.
But nothing made us smile inside,
Quite like the tears welled in your eyes
Each time we testified.

Finally the day arrived,
When you agreed to be baptized,
The excitement was so evident,
Behind your nervous smile that moment.
We got to welcome Heaven's daughter,
As you ascended from the water,
In the whites you'd made us iron the night before.

You still continue learning,
And you have the tools for searching,
As we all keep pressing forward,
In this gospel of our Lord.
He loved you and your family,
Enough to send His missionaries
To the ones who were prepared.

To the recently called primary leader,
Whose son now calls himself "Brother Skyler"
And tells us he'll serve his own mission someday;
Thank you for letting us in dear Wendy.
I've been able to share my testimony,
This message so sacred and pure and holy,
With one of my very best friends.

Sep 1, 2011

the power of one

Because of one who partook of the fruit
We each can live and die too.
(1 Cor. 15:22, 2 Nephi 2:22-25)

Because of one who spilt His blood,
We can all be lifted up.
(2 Nephi 2:6-8, 3 Nephi 27:14-26, John 3:16)

Because of one who decided to pray,
We have God's word alive today.
(Joseph Smith History 1:16-17, Eph. 1:10, 2 Nephi 3:11)

When I feel weak because I am just one,
I think of all these ones have done.
(D&C 35:13-14, 2 Cor. 12:9, 2 Nephi 4:20)

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