We had so many cool miracles this week! I want to share two 🙂
companions spend most of the day being trained and practicing various missionary skills. It was in a different location than where it is usually held but it was really cool because we went to Downtown Tampa to proselyte and there were so many people about. We met a professional Tennis Player from Georgia who wants to meet with missionaries there as well as a wonderful man, Valentino, who, after we taught him a little bit and prayed with him, said that he felt so much
better and wants to learn more. Something that I really took away from this meeting was about Consecrated obedience. They asked us all why we came out on a mission. I commented that I came out for a lot of different good reasons but I have discovered some better ones of why I have stayed on my mission. We all begin things for different reasons but why we continue and finish things is what is most
important. As I pondered more about why I have stayed, a thought came to mind, “because it has made me the happiest in my life so far.” I was kind of surprised by it at first and then I felt that Spiritual witness and then I just felt so warm and happy inside. It is so true. I have gone through some hard things and been wading through a bit of a refiners fire and it isn’t always fun and easy. Yet, I am so happy I get to be here. It’s a deep happy that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
April 24, 2017
Garden Party. That is where we dig up the ground a little bit and lay sod so the yard can grow all pretty. We were there from 8am-12 and it was so tiring but SO FUN. Then, right after lunch, we had Zone Training Meeting. Yeah, we didn’t think that completely through. We put it the same day so the missionaries could save miles but that means everyone was in the bathrooms at the church to clean themselves off of dirt and sod.
The last thing I want to mention was an experience during Gospel Doctrine (we combined) in YSA. This is what made it a mixed day. We were talking about Spiritual Gifts and the subject got on the topic of the leaders of the church, specifically the Prophets and Apostles and what Gifts of the Spirit they need to obtain to be able to fulfill the responsibilities given to them. One of the guys in the class started sharing his opinion and it quickly started getting on the edge of false doctrine. The
problem is, he started getting defensive when the teacher was trying to correct and I could feel the Spirit leaving. It was the worst feeling in the world. Eventually, we were able to move past and he talked more with the branch President to clear up some misunderstandings but it was a learning experience for me. I so strongly and distinctly could tell the Spirit wasn’t there for a while. I realized that I have taken for granted almost my whole life of having the Gift of the Holy Ghost; feeling that comfort and peace and content when i am striving to be obedient. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. It is such a precious gift to have the Spirit always with you. Why would you do anything to prevent that?
been to church in a while. Well, we had talked to her mom on the phone asking about how Brighton felt and she said that Brighton has been wanting to be baptized for a while! Woohoo! We taught them about the Book of Mormon and then set a date in June for her to be baptized. I am sad I won’t be there to teach her more but I will definitely be going to her baptism. After all, I am only moving 30 minutes away.
Wednesday: Transfer Day!! I had to be in Tampa at 8:30 for the training meeting. There were three sisters and two elders that came out and I got the Ginger companion! YES! Her name is Sister Saunders and she is from Riverton, UT. It was amazing to see how immediately we knew some of the reasons we were made companions. She struggles with some of the teaching skills I did when I came out and she was praying for an obedient trainer and was so grateful she got me because I was exactly what she needed. Little did she know that she is what I was praying for. I got the female, awesome version of Elder Calhoun from The Best Two Years (minus me being Elder Rogers
haha). She is so amazing. She is so diligent and ready to work and doesn’t even need a trainer in my opinion. She has helped me focus on my mission so much more and I am grateful.
donate all we have to the poor and the needy but if we are not willing to make the covenants God asks of us at baptism by someone He has authorized to hold His priesthood, it will do nothing in the eternities. But I think one of the most important reasons He wants us to make those promises is so that we will be able to receive His gift to us, the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I still need to understand just how precious a gift that really is.
The first one we tried had a woman that wasn’t interested, but on the way to the second one, there were some people unloading a car with plants. We offered to help and talked to them for a bit. The woman just moved in and one of her employees, Austin, was there helping unload things. Turns out he recently moved from Tennessee and has gotten away from church but wants to get involved again. We invited him to church and he was really interested. We also gave him a pamphlet and got his number and address to teach him. You never know who is being put into your path.
to the YSA Branch. They don’t have any missionaries assigned because they are all so spread out but they are so small and struggling to get people to come. We are trying to be there on Sundays to help bring some fire in and I hope we can do something to help. We had Easter dinner with a family from our assigned ward, the Gipsons and they are so great! The mom is an English major so we bonded ( her oldest daughter is named after Elizabeth Bennett! YEAH!) and the other two girls are so funny. The youngest is one of those stubborn types that tries to be hard on the outside but I can tell is soft and as we were leaving I told her it would be my transfer goal to get a big hug from her (she doesn’t give them often) and she said, “well, I like you so…” haha! mission accomplished! Sister Saunders and I both felt like we can help these girls get on fire for missionary work. I am excited!
speakers. She was talking about the love Christ showed us through His Atonement and how we need to accept that sacrifice and share that love with others. But what stood out to me most was when she said. This isn’t a physical or temporal battle with the world. This is a spiritual battle. I heard that and thought back to my mission up to now and my biggest struggles were spiritual and still are. That is the way they are supposed to be. The things of the world pass away, including physical challenges. But the Spirit is eternal. That is what we are fighting for. Our Spirit and Soul. We know our bodies will be resurrected and made whole but what about our Spirits? Will they become whole from scars of sin? President Boyd K. Packer said in his April 2015 talk The Plan of Happiness,
“Our physical bodies, when harmed, are able to repair themselves, sometimes with the help of a physician. If the damage is extensive, however, often a scar will remain as a reminder of the injury. With our spiritual bodies it is another matter. Our spirits are damaged when we make mistakes and commit sins. But unlike the case of our mortal bodies, when the repentance process is complete, no scars remain because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The promise is: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.””
Fight the Great Fight!
First of all, transfers are next week and I can’t believe it came so fast! Sister Hunt thinks we will both stay but then she has all these crazy dreams of me emergency transferring and leaving her again. haha, who knows. I seem to be a stayer.
March 27, 2017
Why is Joseph Smith’s experience important in the Restoration of the Gospel?
Revelation- 1 Cor 2:11-14
Ephesians 1:10; 2:19-20 “19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” ;3:3-5; 4:5, 11-14
Acts 3:19-21 restitution
James 1:5-6; 2:17
Joel 2:28 young men see visions
Jacob 4:9 despise not the revelation of God
Mormon 9:7-9 God is same so he reveals “7 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
8 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”
D&C: 42:61 given revelation upon revelation
D&C 50:24 receive the light until a perfect
Why was Joseph Smiths vision important in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
For those of you who may be visiting here for the first time, I would like to first share what that vision was.
At age 14 in 1820, a farm boy named Joseph Smith was living in upstate New York during a time of intense religious excitement. Joseph attended many churches and listened to countless sermons but he was not content and soon became confused. He sought to know what God wanted him to do and which church to join but he said in his own words, “if any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know?”
His answer came after diligent study in the scriptures where he read James 1:5 which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He knew then that if he asked God his question, he would receive an answer. So, he found a place in a grove of trees near his home where he could pray in solitude. The experience that followed his humble prayer has been shared billions of times in hundreds of countries since that peaceful spring day. Joseph wrote of his experience, ” I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me… when the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Joseph Smith saw God, our Heavenly Father and His son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ answered his question and told him that he was to join none of the churches but that a marvelous work was about to come forth. We know that that work is the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in these Latter-days.
Knowing this experience happened, why is it so important? In the October 2009 General Conference, Tad R. Callister of the Quorum of the Seventy gave a talk entitled, “Jospeh Smith-Prophet of the Restoration” wherein he spoke of four fundamental truths Joesph learned when he emerged from that Grove of trees after his first vision. I would just like to list those:
“First, he learned that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate, distinct beings.
The second great truth Joseph Smith discovered was that the Father and the Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones.
The third truth that Joseph Smith learned was that God still speaks to man today–that the heavens are not closed.
The fourth truth that Joseph Smith learned was that the full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not then upon the earth.”
I would like to focus on that third truth he learned: God still speaks to man today– that the heavens are not closed. As I studied for this talk, that is what kept coming to mind. In one word: Revelation.
In the Restoration pamphlet that we share with people just beginning to learn about the church, it defines revelation as, “Communication between God and His children, usually through the Holy Ghost. Individuals can receive revelation to guide their own lives, but only God’s chosen prophet can receive revelation for the whole world. Revelation comes in many forms, but most often it comes as thoughts, feelings, and impressions.” So, there are two kinds of revelation: personal and through a prophet.
There is a scripture I would like to share that demonstrates both of these methods of revelation.
Matthew 16:13-19 “13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The rock Christ spoke of is explained by Paul in Ephesians 2:19-20 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”
Prophets and apostles receive direction through revelation from Christ to lead His church on the earth.
After the apostles were rejected, centuries passed without this foundation. Joseph was called to restore that foundation. As soon as Jospeh walked out of that grove, Revelation given through a prophet for the salvation of mankind began again.
However, not only did the work of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ begin when he walked away from those trees, but Joseph came out knowing that he could receive answers to his questions: that he could receive personal revelation. When we read or hear of the experiences and revelations of ancient and modern prophets, we need to understand that personal revelation is just as important. Just as Christ was pleased when Peter knew of His divinity, not because man told him, but because the Spirit witnessed it, He wants us to know truth the same way. As we study, ponder and pray, we can receive personal revelation to guide our everyday choices, answer our questions and teach us truth. We have a wonderful opportunity this coming weekend to hear the words of modern day prophets and apostles. They have been called and given the authority to receive revelation for the whole world but as we listen, it is up to us to seek our personal revelation through the Spirit; to allow the Spirit to confirm the truths they speak to our hearts and teach us what we need to do now to come closer to Christ in our day to day life.
In the Book of Mosiah, the righteous king, Benjamin taught his people the words of the prophets and asked them if they believed.
Mosiah 5:2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
When I was 12, my family visited many of the church history sites up north and we had the opportunity to visit and walk through the grove of trees where Joseph went to pray. I had decided before the trip that this was going to be my opportunity to really KNOW whether Joseph had that vision and if he really was called as a prophet. To be honest, I was looking for a big boom. Fireworks or a big display from the Spirit that it was true, but I didn’t get that. As I sat on a bench by myself, I prayed and waited. I searched my feelings but nothing miraculous came, just peace. I have come to know now that the peace I felt was nothing short of miraculous because that was the Spirit speaking to me. The Spirit has never been loud for me. Sometimes it is so soft, I don’t realize it’s the Spirit guiding me but I know He speaks to me in peace.
Every time I have sincerely read the scriptures or heard the words of the prophets and apostles, I have felt that peace. Because of that feeling, I have come to know that Joseph did see our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that he received personal revelation, an answer to his question. I know that he received revelation as a prophet of God, called to restore Christ’s church today: A church that is built upon the foundation of prophets and apostles and guided by revelation. I know that The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lords Kingdom once again on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is evidence of these truths. And most importantly, I know that if we each come before God in reverent and humble prayer, seeking His will for us, He will reveal it to us by His Spirit and as Moroni promises, “…by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.” I promise that if each one of you prepares to receive personal revelation as you listen to the revelation that has been given to the prophets and apostles this coming weekend, you will have the truth of all their words confirmed to your hearts and you will receive answers to your questions. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.