Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why the background?

    Hello! As my profile says, I am a missionary and this is my missionary blog! On this blog, I will share my own experiences of how I have come to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church and how that knowledge has benefited my life. I also hope to share the experiences of those who also come to this knowledge. This is my first blog ever, so you may have to bear with me for a while until I get the hang of things.

    I have only been out for about six weeks now, so I still don't know entirely what is going on. I have already had some amazing experiences and I have also had some huge struggles and disappointments. In the end though the good has outweighed the bad thus far. Hopefully it remains that way for the next two years!

    One cool thing that I love about being a missionary is that I wear a name tag that has my name along with that of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing thing to literally be a representative of Him. It can be hard at times to remember that I am currently sharing Christ's name, but the fact that I am always dressed up helps me remember that fact. Remembering that I am His servant helps me to remember Him more in my life. It truly is a spectacular responsibility to be called to help God's children remember Him and remember who they really are.

    As I was setting this blog up, I had a hard time picking a picture for the background. There are so many beautiful pictures that I would love to set as my background, but something caught my eye about this one. Partially it was the fact that there is such a green overtone to it and green is one of my favorite colors (the other one is orange if you couldn't tell by the totally matching color scheme I created!). But part of it was also the meaning it has to me.

    I did most of my growing up back East. We did a lot of things and traveled to a lot of historical sites. But my two favorite family vacations were when we went to New York City and the other was when we drove all around the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It may seem interesting and quite frankly contradictory that these two opposites were my favorite vacations. I have actually thought a lot about that over the last few days and I think I've come to a conclusion. I loved traveling in Michigan's UP because of all of the nature there. We spent a day on Mackinac Island where there are no cars and we biked around the entire island. There is nothing more peaceful than biking around the most serene island surrounded by the beauty of the island and the Great Lakes.
mackinac island
We also spent some time driving around the UP and eventually got up to Lake Superior. If you've ever driven across the Mackinac bridge up to Lake Superior, then you know that there is a "town" consisting of probably 20 houses every once in a while and the rest is just a two-lane road in the middle of a beautiful forest. We spent some time at Sleeping Bear Dunes amazed at how big this natural dune was. We even watched a man and his son try to climb back up to the top from the bottom. It is such a steep dune that it was almost impossible for them to make any progress.

    Nature is something special. It is so simple, and yet so complex. As Christ himself says, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin." (Matthew 6:28) Nature is able to grow and develop on its own, all it has to do is exist and it can grow. Yet there are some many factors that have a role in growth. Too much sunlight and they will wither. Not enough and they won't grow properly. If a bee decides to pass them by and not pollinate them, the growth will be halted. Even for somethings as simple as a flower, God's hand is not only important, but it is necessary for them to survive and to thrive.

    In New York we did all of the typical things--went to Broadway and saw the Phantom of the Opera, saw the Yankees, went to Times Square, and went to Chinatown to do some awesome shopping!

Amongst all of this hustle and bustle, I realized how prevalent the Lord is in all of our lives. As odd as it may sound, I find a greater sense of peace when I look at the business and commotion in the world around me than I do in almost any other place. I have come to learn more about God and who He really is by standing in the middle of New York City and pondering about Him than I have in most other religious settings. New York is the busiest city that I have ever been to--there are people literally walking everywhere paying no attention to traffic signals, cars on every road at every time of the day, yelling, swearing, smells both good and rank, and anything else that could possibly happen in such a big city. If someone were to be able to look through a satellite image on such a city, I'm sure they would get a headache from the chaos. I am reminded of a quote from The Dark Knight. Towards the ends, the Joker says "Chaos is fair." I've thought a lot about that recently and have come to my own realization of how this relates to the world. Chaos certainly is fair, but our lives aren't. Our lives are  how they should be, but at times they may not seem fair. So why would our lives, which are full of chaos, not be fair? The answer is simple: Because that's the way God wants them to be. By the laws of the universe, God must be just. But because He is our loving Father he has found a loophole of sorts and that is through mercy. God will be just to the very lowest extent that He has to be, and then He will be merciful to us.

    I know that God loves us and that because He loves us, He has restored the gospel and teachings that Jesus Christ himself established and taught when He was on the earth. I am extremely grateful to have the knowledge the I have a loving Heavenly Father who is always watching out for me and who knows, better than I do at all times, what is best for me even if that is something that will hurt at the time. I know that through Jesus Christ, we can all be forgiven for our sins and be freed from all of our guilt. I know that God lives and that He loves me so much that He sent His Son. I know that Jesus Christ loves me so much that He died to make it possible for me to return to my Father again. I know all of these things through my own experiences and through some amazing resources which I will share over the next two years.

    I know that if we look for Him, we can find God in any setting, even the commotion of New York City. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be Christ's representative.


  1. I love the aquarium! Thank you for sharing your testimony. I will look forward to reading about more of the experiences you have!

  2. I love how I can sense the immediate joy and happiness in your words, right off the bat. "I'm a Missionary and this is my Missionary blog!" So happy and optimistic. :)

    I also laughed at the "I've only been out for about six weeks now, and still don't entirely know what is going on." haha. But judging from your words that followed, it sounds like you have a better grasp on it than you realize. :)

    1. Haha thanks Eric! I always appreciate your great comments and kind words! You are a great friend! :)