Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sure Foundation

My parents grew up here in Utah but shortly after I was born my family moved to the east and lived there for most of my life. But it seems like we often took vacations back here to Utah to visit some of our extended family members which I always looked forward to! Being the youngest grandchild on one side and the second youngest on the other side of your family has its advantages and disadvantages.

One of the greatest things is that the cousins I have who are close to my age have become some of my very best friends. We practically grew up together and whenever my family came out here to Utah we made it a point of seeing each other. It is also nice to have cousins who are old enough to basically be my older siblings and offer additional insight and counsel when I was going through a hard time.

One of the biggest disadvantages to being so young in my extended family relates to those who are older; my grandparents. I was too young to really remember much about three of my grandparents before the passed away and the fourth one just recently turned 99! Because of this, I wasn't really ever able to have my own personal experiences with them. I have heard numerous stories from my parents and siblings about my grandparents but I never really got to experience much with them myself.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Knowest Thou the Condescension of God?

In the beginning of the Book of Mormon, the prophet, Lehi, has a very symbolic vision wherein he sees groups of people and their different destinations. Some, the true followers of Christ, end their travels at a tree filled with beautiful, white, pure fruit which symbolizes the love of God. Others make their way towards the tree but then fall off the path and go in other directions. Still others go to a "large and spacious building" which symbolizes the pride of the world and they make fun of those at the tree partaking of the love of God.

After he has this vision, Lehi tells his family about it and helps them understand some of the symbolism but not much. One of his sons, Nephi, doesn't understand the vision very well and decides to pray and ask God to show him the vision as well so that he can better understand it as well as the symbolism. So in the beginning of 1 Nephi 11, Nephi goes and prays to have this vision unfolded to him. In response, the Lord shows him not only the same vision but also give him more than what we have record of Lehi seeing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I am thankful for the amazing family. I am thankful for their kindness and support to me throughout my life, especially since I have been on my mission and have had such limited communication with them. I am thankful for the example that my older siblings have given me on how to live a balanced life between keeping God's commandments and having fun. I am grateful for the many things that they have taught me through their actions and through their words.

I am grateful for my parents who have raised me and all of my siblings in a loving atmosphere. I am grateful for parents who taught me to love God from an early age. I am thankful that they trusted me to make the right choices as I grew up. I am grateful that they have helped me comprehend the love that our Father in Heaven has not only for me but for everyone that has every lived, even though it may be a beginners understanding.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Calf Path

Recently I have had two quotes on my mind quite a bit. I am not sure who originally said the first one, but one of my good friends shared it with me a few years ago. It says, "Following the path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked."

The second comes from a the Book of Mormon prophet Alma as he teaches the righteous people in the city of Gideon. In Alma 7 he says, "I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of [God's] word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round."

This is what I would like to talk about, the relationship between these two thoughts. To do this, I would like to share a poem that I recently heard.

The poem is called The Calf Path and goes like this:
One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Living in Gratitude

Those who know me know that Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays. It is a holiday that is celebrated here in the United States each November in remembrance and celebration for the friendship the early American pioneers made with the Native Americans. It is a time for people to remember what the Lord has blessed them with and to show appreciation for those things, just as one of my favorite Mormon messages shows. It is a time when many families come together and have a big meal and just enjoy being together.

Now don't get me wrong, I love this aspect! I love having another excuse for my huge family to get together and enjoy each other! I love having a huge meal with many great foods that I usually don't eat during the rest of the year. That part of the holiday is wonderful! One family tradition is going around and everyone sharing things that they are grateful for which usually turns into people sharing some of the miracles that occurred in their lives during the past year. I love that too!

But what I don't like about this season is the fact that many people take it for granted. Most people simply accept it as part of tradition; as the way things are; and use it as an excuse to be thankful only one day in the year. It is great to have a day of concentrated thankfulness, but it is a terrible idea to be thankful on one day out of the year which, as it seems to me, is what the holiday has turned into.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Joe's Baptism: A True Family Man

A few weeks ago,  my teaching companion and I were answering the chats that come in on and helping the people learn more about our beliefs. As we were taking chats, we talked with a guy named Joe. Joe came on and we briefly talked with him about some of the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and he said that he agreed with everything that we said! From the very beginning it was apparent to me how much family means to Joe!

So we had a brief conversation with him, asked him to begin reading the Book of Mormon and also read something that our prophets came out with a few years ago called The Family: A Proclamation to the World and we set up a time to talk with him a few days later.

The time came for us to talk with him again and we went into the lesson thinking it would be the same as most other lessons that we teach. But when we started the lesson Joe told us about an amazing experience that he had. As he shared it with us we could tell the strong faith in God that Joe had and his desire to find the truth. Because of that, he was able to have a very powerful experience and quickly came to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God!

Joe's story is one of many the shows that the promise Moroni gives at the end of the Book of Mormon really is true. Through experience, Joe came to experience for himself the invitation and promise that "when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

That is what Joe did and that is what we can all do to find out that the Book of Mormon is true! Here is his  own story:

My conversion story starts several weeks ago. I was perusing on online news aggregation website called Someone had posted a link to a YouTube video about Mitt Romney. The video was very disparaging of both the LDS Church and the presidential candidate. However, from personal experience, I knew that the accusations the video was making were very wrong.

The reason why I did not believe the video was due to spending a year on assignment for work in Pocatello Idaho in 1999 and early 2000. Most of the people in that small town were Mormons. As a group, they were the nicest, most moral, hard working, and ethical people that I ever did meet. This phenomenon wasn’t just for the majority, or a significant fraction. It was to a man, and woman. Additionally, many of my co-workers were Mormons. Often, they would invite met to ice cream socials and they seemed to eat lots of green Jell-O.

After I finished watching the YouTube video, I watched another and another. I continued watching videos about the Church and Mormons throughout the evening. Some were pro-Mormon. Some were anti-Mormon. Some were indifferent. However, I was fascinated.

The next day at work, I found that I could not stop thinking about the night before. All during the day, whenever I had a free moment, I would read, watch videos, or look up various topics. Additionally, I spent the entire evening watching videos online and reading as much as I could about the LDS faith.

This continued for a couple of weeks. I was obsessed with learning all that I could. Much of the material online was positive. However, a significant amount of it was negative. Upon further inspection, most the negative material was an exaggeration, a fabrication, a misrepresentation, or just plain incorrect.

One Wednesday, late in the evening, I was looking up topics, watching videos, and cross checking what I was finding. I must have had several browser windows open with a hundred tabs open. I closed everything and clear my desktop until it was completely empty. Then I opened a single browser window and navigated to YouTube. My search term was “are Mormons Christian?” One of the results at the top of the list was a segment of a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland.

Elder Holland’s talk focused on this very topic. I felt that this was a message meant just for me. He mentioned that while there may be a great deal of debate, there was one thing, of which there should be no doubt. That was we (Mormons) believe in Jesus Christ. Just as importantly, he then spent several minutes describing exactly what that meant. At the end of the video, I exclaimed, “Yes!”

The next day was a Thursday. During lunch, while at work, I visited Right on the front page was a link to “chat with us”. I clicked the link and a new window popped open. In came Elder Ryan and Elder Jacob into the chat room. We talked for about 45 minutes. At the end I asked if there were any books I should buy on Amazon. They said, “No.” Instead, they gave me a link to Family: A Proclamation. Additionally, they asked me to read the Book of Mormon.

When we were done chatting, I read Family: A Proclamation. I remember think that I agreed with all of it. I also wondered why more people don’t say this sort of thing. It seems to be especially needed in these times.

That evening, I found the Book of Mormon online. It became quickly apparent that finishing it in a day and a half was going to be impossible. This was Thursday evening and my next meeting with the online missionaries was going to be Saturday morning. Fortunately, I realized that there was a chapter summary at the beginning of each chapter. I read all of the chapter summaries that night. Additionally, anytime I came across anything really interesting, I would scroll to the text of the scripture and read.

I remember reading that a person was supposed to pray for an answer to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon after reading it. That night I earnestly prayed. I distinctly remember not being very good at it. Afterwards, I went to bed.

During the weeks prior to that Thursday night, I had been having trouble sleeping. This was because my investigations had caused me to ask many difficult questions about myself. That night, after reading the Book of Mormon and praying earnestly for an answer, I had a wonderful night’s sleep.

When I awoke on Friday, I felt an amazing peace and joy in my heart. Additionally, in my mind’s eye I saw the words “The Word of God is the Word of God”. This was a message that was meant just for me. Experiences like this had never occurred before and I know that it is something I should pay attention to. At that very moment, I had a testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. Since the Book of Mormon was true, then Joseph Smith had to be a prophet and the Church really was restored to the earth. Like dominoes falling, I immediately received a testimony for many of the things I read about.

The only thing I felt a little shaky on was if President Monson was really a prophet that spoke for God. However, during General Conference I received a testimony that he is indeed a prophet. This occurred when I listened to him speak and after praying about it.

I write all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Answers To Prayers Of Answers To Prayers.

"Sometimes we can be the answer to the prayers of someone who is the answer to ours."

Every week at the ward we attend, I am spiritually uplifted and fed. The talks are always so humble and filled with the Spirit that it is almost impossible to not walk away feeling better than when the meeting started. And yet in my year of attending this ward, nothing that has been said has hit my nearly as hard as this quote, said as almost a passing comment. I still don't quite fully understand why this hit me so hard but there is so much power behind that simple thought.

The story that preceded this short statement was one of the most powerful I have ever heard. The speaker talked about how the prayers of a wandering woman were answered as she helped answer the prayers of a girl who had slept in.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Soul Did Long To Be There

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, one of the past leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, once said, "Repentance is a rescuing, not a dour doctrine. It is available to the gross sinner as well as to the already good individual striving for incremental improvement. Repentance requires both turning away from evil and turning to God."

I think repentance is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will be the first to tell you that for much of my life I didn't understand this principle very well at all! I always saw repentance as a painful, scary thing not as the liberating process that it really is! I still don't really understand why I always saw it that way but I still held that view going into my freshman year of college. At the beginning of the first semester something happened that helped begin the shift in my view point towards understanding what Elder Maxwell way saying. Then, during my second semester at college, I took a class to help me prepare for my time as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee

As a person is preparing to leave for their mission, there are a number of things that they have to do and take care of before they leave and as they prepare for the next two years. Buying clothes and supplies, packing, making sure you have everything that you need, etc. One thing that happens for most missionaries is what is called a farewell talk. Usually the Sunday before they leave, they give a talk in sacrament meeting, the first meeting in our church services.

When I gave my talk before I left, I spent a lot of time talking about God's love for us. I shared some experiences I have had in my life that have helped me know for myself that God really does love me. I also talked about how there are times in our lives when it seems like God has abandoned us and that He doesn't love us, but in the end, He is always there for us and always loves us! If there is one thing I know in my life and can testify of, it is this fact; that God loves each of us individually and uniquely. That is what I have experienced and come to know throughout my life. So when I gave that talk, I decided to speak on that subject that I knew best.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Of Rivers and Waves!

I can't believe that it has already been a year since my first blog post! It has been fun to go back and read some of my earlier blog posts and see how much I have changed, not only with my writing but also my personality and character!

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make a post exactly a year after my first blog post, but I wasn't sure what to write about. I wanted it to be something epic and awesome but I just wasn't having any ideas of the sort come to me! I was pretty bummed about that because I thought that would be a fun way to celebrate the one year mark for my blog!

Then one day I was reading in my scriptures and I read a verse that I read at the beginning of my mission that  I have thought a lot about over the past year or so and which has had a pretty big influence on me! I didn't quite understand at the time that I initially read it so I wrote home and asked my family if they had any advice for me. A few family members responded with some good insight, but it was my aunt and uncle who said something that really got me thinking.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

As Many As Should Look...Should Live!

"And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died...And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:6,8-9)

In the Bible we find one of the greatest stories of travel ever. As commanded by the Lord, Moses leads the children of Israel out from their bondage to the Egyptians to a land of promised freedom. At one point in their journey, the people began to whine to Moses asking him why God had lead them out of Egypt and why they had to do such a hard task. In response, the Lord sent "fiery, flying serpents" to them. Many of the people were bitten and suffered greatly because of this added trial. But He didn't leave them helpless. He commanded the prophet Moses to make a symbol--a brass serpent--that they could look to and receive the promised blessing of a being healed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Press Forward!

Last night was really hard for me. There wasn't really any huge thing that made it bad, just a number of little things that added up to make it a pretty disappointing night. When we went home for the night, I left our office just feeling really drained wondering what was going on and why things were so hard. I am working my hardest, I am trying my best to be obedient, why aren't things working out? On the walk back to our apartment I spent most of the time praying and asking Heavenly Father what was going on and what I needed to do to turn things around. We returned to our apartment and I started getting ready for bed.

As I was brushing my teeth and thinking about things, a hymn popped into my mind that I haven't heard for a while. In the LDS hymn book, it is hymn number 81, "Press Forward, Saints." I was pretty confused as to why this particular song came so suddenly and randomly into my mind, but as I thought about the words and the message it teaches, I soon realized that it was the answer to my prayers!

Trials come to all of us. They are the purpose for mortality. When hard times come up what do we do? Do we curl up in the corner and let them overcome us or do we do our best to endure through them and press forward? Those who seek to follow Christ and His example press forward. So for all those who want to be true followers of Christ, this is a qualification. We have all been through times, and perhaps may be going through a time right now, when we wonder how it is possible to overcome what we are going through. The hymn that popped into my mind last night, combined with the wisdom of experience, taught me the three main ways that we can press forward through every difficulty that we experience in this life!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Always on the Move

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a video that included clips from a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the main leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The sheer power of the Spirit that I could feel from his words made me want to read the entire talk instead of hearing just a few clips from it. I soon found the whole talk on and read it a number of times within a few days. To read, Elder Holland's talks are always very powerful, but if you know anything about talks given by Elder Holland, it is that nothing (and I mean nothing!) compares with hearing him give it. The words themselves are powerful but when you hear the love and fire behind his voice it is almost impossible to not know that the words he speaks are true. This, of course, is true with all of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency (the main leadership units of the LDS Church) but most especially true of Elder Holland.

Anyways, in this phenomenal talk entitled "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence", Elder Holland references events in the life of the great Biblical prophet, Moses. As a young shepherd, Moses one day went up "into an exceedingly high mountain" and spoke with God face to face. Because of his faith, God showed Moses all of His creations. Following this great vision, as Moses is pondering on what he saw, the devil comes to him trying to tempt Moses to worship him. The moral of the story, Elder Holland describes, is to not let our guard down. That is what his whole talk is about. It is about being prepared for temptation to come before great spiritual moments and not letting down our guard when those great spiritual moments happen in our lives.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Dangers of Procrastination

I am a huge fan of wearing long-sleeve dress shirts! No matter the temperature, I love wearing long-sleeve dress shirts! I absolutely hate having to wear short-sleeve ones. You can always tell when I am not going to have a good day because that is when I run out of clean long-sleeve shirts and have to wear a short-sleeve one instead. For whatever reason I just feel our of my element. It just doesn't feel right!

Sitting at a desk all day is not very strenuous work at all. In fact when I first came on my mission I imagined that I would go home with all of my clothes in pretty much the same condition they were when I came on my mission! For the most part I would say that is pretty accurate. But I guess typing and using a computer mouse all day can wear down the elbows of long-sleeve shirts!  Who would have thought? :)

A few months ago I was going about my regular, day-to-day activities as an online missionary and I leaned on my elbow and noticed that it felt pretty cold. I looked at the desk, saw nothing, and figured I was losing my mind so I went back to how I had been sitting. But again I felt this cold sensation. Again I checked the desk and it felt fine. This time I decided to look at my shirt (as sad as it is to say, one of my favorite shirts!) and found the reason for the temperature difference! I noticed that there was a small hole right over my elbow so that when I had it in just the right position my elbow poked through and that is what I was feeling.

"No big deal," I thought, "it is just a tiny hole, it should be fine for a while." So I ignored it and went back to what I had been doing. I eventually got used to that chill that ran up my arm whenever I put it on my desk and just acknowledged that I had a small hole.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Recognizing our Personal Liahona, Part 3: Timing is Everything

And the trilogy continues... :)

In part one of this trilogy I talked about a scripture in 1 Kings 19. As I was writing my thoughts about this scripture, I had to go in take care of something. As I was away I had another thought about that scripture. I figured I would just work it into the original post but as I continued with it I realized that would have made it way too long! I mean let's be honest, it is already a fairly long post. I didn't want to make it any longer than I had to! So I decided I would just write a separate post about this idea. I am glad I did that because over the past few days I have thought of a few other things to talk about with this idea so now it gets to be a regular sized post instead of a short post with a random thought attached to it! :)

In the previous two blog posts, I have been talking about the Holy Ghost and how to feel and recognize His promptings. This post is still about the Holy Ghost, but I am going to take it in a different direction than the others. This time I want to share another insight about not just how the Holy Ghost comes to us, but rather when He comes. In 1 Kings 19 (this is the scripture that prompted this thought!) we read,
"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
"And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
In the first part of this blog trifecta I used this scripture to point out that the communications from the Holy Ghost are small things that are hard to notice. As I thought about the verse, I learned something new that I had never seen before! I have always loved these verses because they explain how the Holy Ghost communicates, but up until a few days ago I never realized that they also explain when the Holy Ghost talks with us. Notice the order in which things happen in these verses. The Lord tells Elijah to go to the mountain. While he is up there, he experiences a strong wind that breaks parts of the mountain he is on, then a strong earthquake, then after that a fire, and finally the Lord sent the Spirit to him!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recognizing our Personal Liahona, Part 2: All the Small Things

I wasn't intending for my last blog post to have any sequels, but today I was in the temple reading through some scriptures and a few things caught my eye. They tied right in with my last post so I decided I would make another post about it. As I kept finding scriptures, though, I realized that I had two different ideas going on that both related to feeling the Spirit. I didn't want to put them both in one post and make a ridiculously long blog post that nobody would ever read, so I decided to make them two separate posts. So welcome to the second installment of the "Personal Liahona" trilogy! :)

One of the men in the temple today suggested that we all do a little studying while we were there today. He specifically suggested that we turn to the Index or Topical Guide (found in LDS scriptures to help study the scriptures) and look at the scriptures that talk about small things. He shared a few examples from history about the importance that the little things can have on us and encouraged to look at those scriptures and find more. I was surprised to find that a few of them talked about the Liahona! So I read those verses, read the verses around it, and was inspired with a new perspective on things--especially on feeling the Spirit!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recognizing our Personal Liahona

There is a story in the Book of Mormon about a family on a trip. Lehi, a prophet, lived in Jerusalem and told the people of their wickedness. He, with many other prophets, prophesied that if they didn't repent, they would be scattered and destroyed. The people were very stubborn and quite frankly didn't like anybody telling them that they were doing the wrong thing so they rejected Lehi and even tried to kill him. Thankfully, God warned Lehi and told him to take his family and get away. So Lehi took his family and some basic needs and went into the wilderness.

One morning, after being in the wilderness for a few days, Lehi opens his tent door to find a "round ball of curious workmanship" which we later learn is called the Liahona. This ball acted as a compass and "did work according to the faith and diligence and heed" that they gave to it. As they  were righteous and obedient to God's commandments, the Liahona pointed them in the right direction. As they were rebellious and wicked, the Liahona stopped working and they got lost. Eventually, by following the Liahona, Lehi and his family were brought by the Lord into "a land which [was] choice above all other lands".

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Total Eclipse of the Gospel

A few weeks ago we had the great privilege of watching a solar eclipse (yes I know I am way behind on this post). I had never seen one before so it was kind of a big deal for me! I also love the wonders of the solar system and I am always fascinated with how it all works so it was an especially great treat to get to watch this event! I tried doing the whole pinhole camera thing with the pieces of cardboard but that was a futile attempt. I tried everything I could think of so that I could safely watch the eclipse but in the end nothing worked so I ended up just watching it with my bare eyes. I do realize that this is not the best idea, but I wasn't about to miss what could have been my only chance to watch a solar eclipse!

So I watched it happen and noticed other things happening at the same time. I noticed that as the moon got closer and closer to blocking the sun, clouds rolled in and began covering the sun. At the same time, as would be expected, it got darker and darker for us. I didn't think much of these things at the time and just kept enjoying the phenomenon that I was witnessing.  I very much enjoyed getting to watch the eclipse and when it was over I went back to my usual missionary activities.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Alana's Baptism

It has been a while since I have made a post on my blog! And the best part is that this is another baptism story! New post and baptism story; double bonus! :)

Back in February my teaching companion and I talked with a woman named Alana on chat. The chat went really well and she seemed very interested and intent on developing a relationship with God and coming to know if Jesus Christ was true. Right from the beginning she was willing to do whatever it took to improve her life and find greater peace and joy in her day-to-day life. The first chat was great, we became friends with her on Facebook, and she said she would send us a message to work out a time to talk again. I waited to hear from her for a few days and still hadn't heard a thing. After about a week of not hearing from her I figured she must have changed her mind and decided she didn't want to meet with us again. A few days later I got a message from her! She said that some things had come up (which you will read a little more about in her testimony) so she wasn't able to send me a message any sooner. We set up a time to talk and started teaching her.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lessons From Popcorn

Anyone who knows me knows that popcorn is one of my all-time favorite snacks; that and M&M's! Whenever my family and I would sit down for a movie or to play a game I would often pop a bag of popcorn and eat the whole thing by myself without any thought. They always told me how unhealthy it was but I didn't really care. It tasted good! What else mattered? :)

Since I have been on my mission I have been working hard on eating healthy foods instead of the junk that I used to eat. I have been doing a pretty good job! I have Raisin Bran for breakfast every morning, I have salads for lunch and dinner almost every day, soda only at one meal a week, and have been eating a lot less candy and other junk foods. I never would have willingly touched a salad or even a vegetable before my mission and suddenly here I am eating them every day! I would say that is quite a big change from how things used to be!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lloyd's Baptism

Back in December I was introduced to an awesome man named Lloyd. He is someone that my companion at the time, Elder Hathaway, had been in contact with for a little while. So Elder Hathaway and I started teaching him more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and out beliefs. From the very beginning Lloyd told us about some of the amazing experiences he had had from simply seeing his local missionaries. I will let him share those experiences though! From before he even started talking with us, Lloyd had had some amazing experiences. I remember the first time we talked about them and we asked how he felt about it. He said he would need some time to think about it. Later that night (probably around 2 am his time) he sent a message sharing his thoughts on those experiences. This became a fun pattern of us teaching him a little bit, then him taking it and pondering and praying about what we shared, and sending us a message in the middle of the night with his findings!

After a few months of teaching him we talked a lot about baptism. He knew the Church and knew that baptism was something important but was still having some problems with it. For the longest time it seemed like his thought on baptism was something like "It will happens when it happens." (You will have to correct me on that if I am wrong, Lloyd!) And for the longest time it seemed like things kind of hit a standstill with us but Lloyd continued to do the right things--go to church, pray, read the Book of Mormon, meet with the local missionaries, etc. Then one day in early March, we got a message from Lloyd saying, " Look forward to meeting Saturday. Oh by the way, I have a new profile pic on skype....." Of course we immediately checked out his new picture to find that he had decided on a date to get baptized!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Experiment

Three weeks ago we had a leader of the Church come talk with us missionaries. As part of his talk, he talked about how we can become great missionaries. He shared a few things but said the most important thing is to love everyone around you more than yourself. I really want to be a great missionary so I have been thinking a lot about that. How do I love those around me? I know I need to, but how? That is the real question. And for a while I couldn't come up with anything. I thought about emailing my parents and asking them. I thought about talking with my mission president and asking him. But that just didn't feel right. This was something that I wanted to figure out on my own. I didn't want to have the answer given to me by someone else but I wanted to experience loving others more and receive the answer from God. The only problem was that I still couldn't figure it out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Look Up!

About a month ago my mom sent me a letter and in the letter she included a talk entitled "Look Up" from this January's Ensign. I read the talk and a lot of things really resonated with me. In his talk, Elder Cook talks about how in our lives it is easy to compare ourselves and our lives to those around us--to look to the side. But all the brings is either boastfulness or hurt pride, both of which are harmful. But he proposes a far better alternative and that is to look up and see how our lives compare with what God wants from us and how we are doing in the eyes of God. He then goes on to say "I think the challenge for all of us is to try not to look sideways to see how others are viewing our lives but to look up to see how Heavenly Father sees us."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sarah's Baptism

When I first came into this mission, I was introduced to the idea of passing out sheets to other missionaries here asking them to give us a name of a friend from home who could use the gospel in their life. So I would go around with my companions seeking referrals from missionaries. I realized that a great source would be to go to my old teachers, chat with their class for a bit and then get a few referrals at once. And besides, it would be nice to chat with my teachers again. One day I went to one of the classes and received a few referrals from different missionaries. Many of the missionaries would include information about their friend to help us understand them a little better and help us know what we could teach them. Most of the referrals I got that day were the same way. But one of the ones I got just had a name and the city that she was from. For some reason I was very skeptical of this referral and didn't think anything would happen with it. But I sent her a message on Facebook just like all of the others and waited for a response.

And the surprising thing is that it actually came! She was the first one to actually respond to one of the emails that I sent out. At first she didn't want to meet with us online, but after a little coaxing and persuading I was somehow able to get her to agree to try it out once. Then once turned into twice. And twice into thrice. Then before any of us realized it, we were having lessons twice a week and she was meeting with her local missionaries!

Now for her part of the story!

Since I got contacted by Elder Tucker, my life has been changed forever. He and his companions and the sister missionaries started teaching me of the gospel of Jesus Christ 5 months ago, which I had already had an understanding of somewhat. But, after being taught in the way I did. Things had come out in a different light. And I gained a new understanding of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel.


I just had this thought this morning and I know I am a little late on everything, but I wanted to make a little post about Easter. Growing up, I always knew that the true meaning for the season was on Christ and His resurrection, but I usually focused on the worldly, commercial aspect of it all. I mean seriously, who doesn't love Cadbury eggs? :) But as I have been on my mission and as I have devoted my time and attention to learning more and teaching others more about Jesus Christ, I am more excited than ever for this Easter season. I am excited for the opportunity to this year focus my attention on the One who made so many things possible. Because of Him, we can be forgiven for our sins; because of Him, we can live with our Father in Heaven again; and at this Easter season, we focus on the truth that because of Jesus Christ, we can all live again in perfected, whole, complete, resurrected bodies. As someone who has such physical limitations, it is an exciting and comforting thought to know that my struggles are only for a little while and that because of Jesus Christ, I will one day have a perfect body. What peace it is to know that!

There are so many things I wish to say on this matter of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, but I don't think anybody would read such a long post! :) So I will do my best to condense all of my thoughts. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I know that He lived a perfect life and was treated in a manner that He didn't even somewhat deserve. I know that He was crucified and, just as He Himself prophesied, rose from the tomb. He is my Savior and He is your Savior. The words of a familiar church hymn come to mind, "Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Perfect Preparation

Sometimes in our lives the Lord calls us to do hard things. We can either rebel against these things or we can put our faith in God and that He ultimately knows what is going on. The prophet Nephi from the Book of Mormon is a perfect example of this!

His father, Lehi, is commanded by God to take his family and leave Jerusalem. Obedient to God's commandments, the family packs up and heads into the wilderness. After years of traveling they finally make it to a sea and the Lord commands Nephi to build a boat so that they can sail across the waters to the promised land. Having strong faith, Nephi obeys even though he doesn't know how to build a boat. While Nephi is being obedient and building this magnificent boat, his not-so-righteous brothers, Laman and Lemuel, start mocking him, telling him he can't build a boat and trying to break down his confidence. But Nephi is resilient and knows that the Lord commanded him to build this boat. So he keeps at it, finishes the boat, and eventually they all make it to the promised land.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Example of Faith

When I was really young, on the way the church my family and I would listen to tapes called Scripture Scouts. These tapes are awesome! The tapes take stories from the scriptures and simplify them and help us learn to apply them to our lives.They always have catchy little songs to go with them. To this day, one of the ones that I remember most says "Alma and Amulek deep inside dark inside dark and lonely prison walls, with the power of faith Alma cried, and the Lord heard his call."

Every morning we have an hour to study and learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and to help strengthen our own testimonies about what we teach. This morning, I once again read the story of Alma and Amulek. For whatever reason, I was in the right mental state so that I was able to learn an amazing lesson about faith. I know I just made a post about faith, but I felt like this was a perfect follow-up because it ties in so well with my other one!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Principle of Faith

I have always heard people say "It's okay, God is in control." And for much of my life I wondered, "How does that make it okay? It would be okay if I were in control of it or if I knew what He is planning. But how can this be okay?" One of the biggest things I have wondered this about is with people. I would often pray and ask God questions such as "Why don't I have a lot of friends?", "Why did they have to leave me? They were the one good friend I had.", and "Why are there so many mean people?" (apparently I asked why a lot).

Over the course of my mission I have had those questions answered. I have met some of the most amazing people. I have met people who have changed my views and changed my life. As I have thought back and reflected on this I realized that God gave me those hard times so that I would appreciate those that I have met now.

I know that this is a very simple and pretty small example, but one thing I have learned in my life--sometimes gently, sometimes forced upon me--is that everything that happens truly is for a reason. God is in control of everything. Everything that happens is for a reason that He is well aware of. Accepting this is an act of faith. It requires us to put our trust in God and trust that He really knows what we need and what will, in the long run, be for our best!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Parable of the Talents

I feel like I have been blogging a lot recently, but this thought has been on my mind a lot recently so I felt like I should share it and what better venue to share it than my blog?! :)

I don't remember who or when it was, but I was recently reminded of one of Christ's many parables. As I'm sure you have guess by the title of this post, it is the parable of the talents. Now, there are a few different parables that Christ tells that involve talents, but the one I want to talk about is in Matthew 25:14-29. A quick summary of the parable goes like this:
A man was planning on going on a long trip so he called three of his servants and, according to their abilities, he gave them different talents, or pieces of money. He gave five to the first, two to the second, and just one to the last servant. While the man was away, the first servant doubled his talents and so did the second, but the last dug a hole and hit the talent in the ground.

Friday, February 3, 2012

From Troll to Testimony: Aubert's Baptism

A month and a half ago, someone that I had been teaching for about a month got baptized. The first time I talked with him on chat he didn't seem very sincere so I kind of shrugged him off and suggested he go to church and read the Book of Mormon. A few days later he came back on and said that he had gone to church and that he really wanted to learn more. So I excitedly said that we could teach him.

As the lessons progressed, I realized that he was more prepared to hear and receive the gospel than I ever imagined could be possible. From the very beginning he had deep insight and understood everything that we taught. He not only understood each individual concept, but he understood the meaning behind it. I was continuously amazed at how intelligent he was!

Sure he faced some challenges along the way, but in the end Aubert was able to get baptized and is now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had to teach Aubert and get to know a little bit about him. Here is his testimony and the story of his conversion!

I am Aubert, I am a 16 year-old student from Quebec, Canada, and I’m a Mormon. I was baptized on December 18th, 2011, and confirmed a member of the Church on the 25th (it was the most amazing Christmas present EVER). Let me tell you how I found the Church.

Anyone who is quite familiar with the Internet knows that the Mormon chat on is a tool MANY people use for fun. I used to be one of those people, and that is how I found the Church. I used to go on the missionary chat and ask missionaries stupid questions like: How do magnets work? I and other Internet trolls would disguise sentences like that one and ask the missionaries until they realized we were just fooling around.

One day, as a school project, I was asked to pick a religion and write a paper about it. It was quite a big paper, and after good thought, I chose the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. I decided, for some reason, that instead of simply doing a research using Wikipedia, I would read the Book of Mormon, meet with missionaries and go to Church so I knew what I was talking about. I ordered a book of Mormon, and it was delivered to me by two missionaries. I was surprised to learn there even was a chapel in my town, and I was filled with what I would later learn was the Holy Spirit when I met up with them to talk about the basic beliefs of the Church.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Game

We usually get two cars to go to church so that we can all go. But yesterday, they only had one for us to use. So instead of going to Sacrament meeting with the BYU wards, a few of us stayed back and went to Sacrament meeting here in the MTC. We weren't sure when or where we should go so we kind of just guessed it. We guessed wrong in that we happened to pick a Spanish one. But there were two talks that were in English and with regards to those, we definitely picked right! The focus of this post is on one of the talks from that meeting.

One woman got up and spoke of a game. In this game, your bank deposits $86,400 into your account every day. But like all games, there are certain rules and restrictions. There are three main rules to this game:
  1. As soon as you wake up in the morning, your account has $86,400 and at the end of the day, whatever you have left goes to $0. The next day this cycle repeats. You can't put the money into a different account or even withdraw it to save up from day to day. 
  2. You are the only one who can use this money. You can us it on others, but you can't just give them money. You are the only one who is able to us this. 
  3. The bank can decide that the game is over whenever it wants. There may not be any sort of warning or advanced notice. The game is over whenever the bank decides.
So that's it. Those are the rules! So what would you do if you were in this game? What would you do with your daily allotment of $86,400? Would  you buy everything you have ever wanted? Would you just let it sit and use as much as you need? Would you buy things for other people and help them? What would you do?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Max's Baptism

It was at the end of September that I first met Max. From the very beginning I could tell that she had been prepared by God to receive this message. In one of our first meetings with Max she asked about piercings. Elder Callahan and I told her that our leaders had asked that women only have one set of piercings on their ears. A few minutes later she responded and said that she had just taken all of her piercings out! From that moment I knew that she was ready and willing to do whatever it took to follow God. And she was!

In her own words, this is her experience:

"It was in August 2011 I decided that I didn't want to live my life as it was before because I was kind of a foul mouthed little so and so. I looked up religion on the internet and I came across The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, so I went onto and spoke to a missionary and asked him some questions about the church. 

Steven's Baptism

A few months ago I posted the story and testimony of my friend Liz who was baptized in October. A  few months later she told me that she has a friend who had been to church with her and who was interested in learning more and she asked if we would be willing to teach him. Of course we said yes! I had no idea at that time what kind of an awesome guy was asking us to talk with.

In our first lesson with Steven, he was perfect! I don't think I have ever seen anyone who was so prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and actually apply it to their lives! From the very beginning I knew that God had been preparing him to meet with us. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to meet Steven and to learn from him. I think I learned more from him than he did from me! :) Here is his great story and amazing testimony!

"What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist? Can I really make a difference in someone's life?

    If you are asking yourself these questions and feel as if you're missing something in your life, perhaps you feel an emptiness in you that you want filled, then I recommend you read The Book of Mormon. It has given me so many blessings and even provided answers to the many questions I had regarding life, whether it be spiritual or otherwise, it is a fountain of information and a great gift given to us by God to reach everlasting salvation in his celestial kingdom of Heaven. If you don't have a copy of The Book of Mormon, feel free to visit, you can receive a free copy and learn a lot more about the Mormon religion.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Me

That's right, it's time for the cliche new year's post! :) I usually try to avoid the stereotypical, cliche things but I decided to do a post anyways about the new year and my own personal goals.

So last night I was talking with one of the good friends that I have made over the past almost six months and she asked me if I had made any new year's resolutions yet. I responded and told her that I hadn't and proceeded to tell her why I thought it was dumb to set goals once a year. She replied, "Well these are my goals..." and told me the goals she had set for herself.

They were really good! I thought back to some of the goals I have made in the past. There was the one year when they were all things like "Don't do drugs." Well I've never been into drugs at all so I definitely accomplished those without any effort. Then there was the year when I really wanted to change and set goals of "Don't do this, don't do that, and do this every week." After what I considered a complete failure at those goals, I pretty much tossed them out the window after about two weeks and never thought of them again.