Thursday, December 30, 2010

What lack I yet?

J. Golden Kimball started his talk at a Stake Conference with these two questions:

How many of you would die for the church? 

Of course all the hands in the room went up.

Number two. How many of you pay a full tithing? 

Only a few hands went up. 

Then he turned to the Stake President and said "President, these people would rather die than pay their tithing... "

      This story is one that made me laugh a little bit when I read, and at first I thought nothing of it really.  As I have been thinking about it lately though, many thoughts have come to my mind that have benefited me greatly.  

     All these people had their eye on the big picture, they were willing to die for something they greatly believed in.  They were probably so willing to do it because they received a witness that it the church was true, and if they followed it, they could receive eternal life.  However only a few of them were doing all they could to follow what the church taught.  

   It brings to mind the story from the New Testament about the rich young ruler.  "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" (Matt 19:16) The young ruler desired to have eternal life, then Jesus told him some of the commandments to which he replied "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?" (Matt 19:20)  to which the Savior replied "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."(Matt 19:21)  The rich young man had given almost everything. When the Savior told him he must sell all his possessions, that wasn't just a story about riches.We can have eternal life if we want it, but only if there is nothing else we want more.

    We all have a goal of receiving eternal life, it is something we all are hoping to receive.  However, we hold on to things that are holding us back, we aren't willing to give up certain habits, follow certain commandments, or do certain things.  We have one foot on the path that leads to eternal life, and one foot still in the world.  In order to receive eternal life we must put both feet in the path and give everything that we have, just as the savior gave all he had for us.  Don't get me wrong, we will never be able to match the saviors sacrifice, but we can do our best and give the best sacrifice we can, and that will be acceptable to the lord. 

     I know this is true, that the only way to receive all the Father has is to give all that we have. If we almost keep the commandments, we almost receive the blessings.  We all must be willing to give up the things that are holding us back so that we can receive a fullness of Joy. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To bring the world his truth

                                             (Group of Online missionaries in the Santa Rosa mission)

        As a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have the opportunity to spread the "good news" of the gospel with all the world.  I am currently serving as a full-time missionary in Santa Rosa, CA.  I love being a missionary so much, my testimony fuels me everyday to share what has brought me so much joy with my brothers and sisters here. 

    I have such a strong desire to share this with everyone.  This is why I am so excited to be an online missionary for the church as well.  Using the internet enables me to literally spread my testimony to all the world.  I still focus my efforts primarily on the people I serve and teach here in Santa Rosa, but any and all who want to hear this message I do not hesitate to teach. 

     So far as an online missionary, I have had many great opportunities to communicate with and talk with great people who are seeking out truth in their life.  It is no different that regular missionary work, we teach the principles of the gospel, answer questions, and invite people to do things that will strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.  I have been able to talk with those whom I made friendships with in my past area's and continue to help them on there journey into the Gospel. 

     I love being a missionary and servant of the Lord, this is my greatest joy.  I am so thankful for the resources the Lord has provided us, so that our influence can be felt to a much higher degree.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus The Christ


      Tonight I am going to finish up my very mini-series of people in the Christmas story, I will be focusing on Jesus Christ, The Son of God. 

     "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of Heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:10-14)  His birth was foretold centuries earlier by Isaiah, who declared prophetically, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

      He was and is the Son of the Almighty. He was the only perfect man to walk the earth. He healed the sick and caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He raised the dead.  He gave his life for each of us so that we too could be redeemed from sin and death and one day live with our father in Heaven. 

      With all the gift giving and the hustle and bustle that comes during the Christmas season, we all should remember the very first gift given during Christmas, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son..." (John 3:16)

     I am so thankful for my savior Jesus Christ, I know that he truly does live.  I know that just over 2000 years ago, he so humbly came to earth, and did so that we all could live again with him someday in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary, the mother of Jesus


     Today I am going to write about one of the most famous women in all the scriptures.  I am speaking of Mary the mother of Jesus.

    Although little of Mary’s life is actually recorded, what is recorded reveals a pattern of righteousness.  Many prophets had known of Mary’s vital role in the plan of salvation. Her mission had been recorded throughout the scriptures. (Alma 7, Isaiah 7)  From the angel Gabriel, who was sent from God to declare glad tidings to her, Mary learned that she was the one to give birth to the Son of God . The angelic messenger declared, “Hail, thou virgin, who art highly favored of the Lord. The Lord is with thee, for thou art chosen and blessed among women.” (Luke 1:28)  Following the announcement, Mary had a simple inquiry: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34.) Mary’s question was not one of doubt, but of sincere curiosity as to how this was to be, for she was an espoused virgin. To Mary’s question, the angel answered, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35.)

         After receiving the angel’s message, Mary, in unreserved obedience, replied, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38.) In humbly accepting this opportunity of motherhood, Mary exemplifies the quality of obedience to which all disciples aspire.

        Mary truly is an inspiration to us all, and example of obedience.  When faced with great responsibility and uncertainty, she willingly and humbly did all that the lord asked.  I love the way it refers to her in the Book of Mormon, In Alma 7:10 it reads "And, behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is in the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel,..."  Mary indeed was a precious vessel, who the lord prepared for this great calling, she was an elect daughter of God.

       May we all think of the great example of the Mary and always be willing to submit ourselves to the will of the lord.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joseph, the husband of mary


     I decided to write a little bit about the different people that are involved in the Christmas Story.  Today I am going to talk about one who isn't mentioned that much but is such a great example, I am speaking of Joseph. 

     what do we know of Joseph?  Joseph was the husband of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus.  He was a carpenter(Matt 13:55).  He was not the blood father of Christ, but was an earthly guardian of Jesus Christ.  He was looked at and recognized by the Jews as his literal father.  Joseph was of the house and lineage of David.  Thus Jesus, not a blood descendant, was a son of David. 

     Joseph was espoused to Mary and when he found out she was with child, he wanted not to "make her publick" (Matt 1:19) He loved Mary and didn't want to embarrass her. He later received a visitation by an angel informing him that Mary would give birth to the savior of the world.  He awoke and immediately took Mary as his wife.  Joseph was an example of obedience, he submitted to the will of his Father in Heaven. 

   I am even more impressed when I think about how much responsibility was placed upon him.  Who would the father choose as the husband to Mary and guardian and father of Jesus?  After all, we know that a fathers role is to teach his child correct principles and be an example.  This was the role that Joseph was to play for the child Jesus.  Many people would become overwhelmed with this responsibility, many would have felt it to hard.  But Joseph was willingly and submissive to every thing the lord asked of him.  He was a true example of obedience and humility. 

     May we all become more like Joseph and do all that the lord asks of us, with love and humility.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A mighty change of heart

        The gospel of Jesus Christ can change peoples desires and attitudes.  Boyd K. Packer, President of the quorum of the 12 apostles said "a study of the Gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior" 

      As a missionary, being called to teach this "good news", we have the opportunity of seeing many people experience the joy of the gospel.  This joy is a great motivator for them to make changes in their life to bring their lives in closer harmony with that of Jesus Christ.  Thus fulfilling our purpose here in this life, which is to prepare to meet god.  This change comes through sincere repentance.  To repent is to change.  When we repent, we say to our Father in Heaven that we are sorry for the things we have done and that we will be better from that point on. 

      I love the story in the Book of Mormon about a group of people who felt the joy of repentance, it is found in Mosiah chapters 2-5.  I want to focus on a couple of scriptures, King Benjamin, a book of mormon prophet, has just taught about the Savior Jesus Christ and some of the things he would do, when he had finished speaking, the multitude felt the spirit and in Mosiah 4:2 they say "...O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men."  They have thus accomplished the first steps of repentance, acknowledging their sins, being sorry for their sins and asking for forgiveness.  After this they felt the great blessing of the Atonement and the joy of repentance.  "And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ."

       King Benjamin continued on and taught them more on repentance and forgiveness, and then comes my favorite part of this story.  King Benjamin finishes his sermon and desires to know if they believed the words which he had spoken.  They Replied, " 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." (Mosiah 5:2)

        This is such a great blessing that the Lord has given us, that not only will he forgive us of our sins, but if we desire we can even lose the desire to ever commit the sin again.  What a burden lifted off of our shoulders. 

      I know this to be true, there have been many weaknesses I have had in my life and many things I have struggled with.  It was only through the atonement of my Savior, and repentance (Change) that I was able to be freed from these weaknesses.  I have felt the true joy that can only come through Jesus Christ. I have truly experienced a "mighty change of heart"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paris Thomas

Paris is the man, there are so many out there in the world that are just like paris. Like it says in the Doctrine and Covenants 123:12 "many are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it." As a missionary, we go out everyday and search for people like Paris, who need the gospel in their lives. And when we find them and teach them, the Holy Ghost is able to manifest to them the truth of the message we share, and lives are changed.

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can bring people the lasting peace and joy that we are all looking for. Only the gospel will bring us eternal happiness.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whatsoever ye shall seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven


      In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we put alot of emphasis on the family.  It is my goal in this post to give the reasons why this is. 

    We believe that family life here is an extension of what life was like in the Pre-earth life.  We believe before we lived in this life we lived as spirits, as a part of our Heavenly Fathers family.  In Hebrews it talks about this relationship, it says "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Heb 12:9).  and also in Romans 8:16 is says "...We are the children of God." 

    Our Heavenly Father created a plan for us where we could come to the earth, and gain experience.  He sent us here in family units so we could experience joy. Our purpose in this life is to find lasting joy, peace and happiness in families and to prepare to return to live with God.  When Jesus Christ was on the earth he gave unto his apostle Peter the keys to seal families together for time and all eternity. "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." (Matt 16:19)

    Through the Restoration of the Gospel on the earth, we have these powers on the earth again to seal families together for time and all eternity.  In our Holy Temples this great power is manifested and families are eternally sealed. 

     This knowledge that family life is perpetuated far beyond this life is why we put such a great emphasis on family life here.  We are all striving to help eachother live the gospel and prepare to live together with our Father in Heaven forever.  We have recieved lots of guidance in these latter-days about how we can accomplish this.  Just 15 years ago, prophets and apostles announced "The Family: A proclamation to the world" This gives us alot of great counsel about the roles of family members, the importance of marriage, and the blessings of righteous family life.

      A couple of weeks ago, The Quinones family pictured below, made another step towards this great goal of theres to be sealed as a family.  Katy and Marina were baptized, and in a year from now they are going to go to the temple and be sealed as a family.  I am so excited for them to accomplish this goal.

     I know that families truly can be together forever, I know that this knowledge can strenghten families and bring them peace and joy in this life.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

But if not...

      Recently I have been thinking of a story in the old testament, from Daniel chapter 3.  There was a king, named Nebuchadnezzar, he created a golden image and commanded that his people worship it.  Among these people were three men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, they believed in the true God of Israel.   They refused to worship the king's golden image.  The king in his rage commanded them to be brought before him, and threatened if they don't worship his god's then they would be cast into a fiery furnace.  These three men then said to the angry king, "if it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  BUT IF NOT, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image..." (Daniel 3:17-18)

     To this the king was full of fury, and commanded that they be cast into the furnace.  When the king came again to see what happened to them, he was astonished because he beheld four men in the midst of the fire.  He said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Daniel 3: 25)

        We can learn a lot from this story, but what I want to focus on is those three words: But if not...
These three men when facing a great trial, didn't have a perfect knowledge of what would happen, but they believe and trusted in god and that was good enough for them.  When they said those three words, But if not, this was not a lack of faith.  They were just simply saying, no matter what.

      Sometimes in this life we face trials, these may come from a lot of different things: fear, lack of knowledge, being unable to comprehend certain things.  We are placed in a position where we must choose faith, where we must simply be willing to trust in something we believe in but are not certain about.

      In my life I have been in this situation many times, one that sticks out to me the most is coming on a mission.  When I graduated from High School, I was not sure if I wanted to serve a mission, I decided that I would go to school instead.  While at a Young Mens event, I felt very strongly that I should serve a mission.  I wasn't sure exactly what would happen, or even if I was capable of serving.  I didn't know the scriptures, I didn't know a whole lot about the church, but I did FEEL that I should go.  Now that I am here, I KNOW that this is where I am suppose to be, this has been the greatest decision I have ever made. 

       Neil L. Anderson, an Apostle, recently said "Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time."  In the Book of Mormon we learn that we must learn "line upon line, and precept upon precept." (2 Nephi 28:30)  Even though we will not know everything, and even may have some questions, we still can have faith that it is true.  We might not be able to understand how the Savior was able to suffer for our sins and pains, but we can have faith in his atonement.  We must choose faith, and have the attitude and trust that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had.  I promise that if you do, the questions that you have will one day be answered.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blessings of the Priesthood

        What is the Priesthood?  Why do we need the Priesthood?  How can the priesthood affect my life?

       I hope that this post will be able to answer all these questions, as many people might wonder them.

       What is the Priesthood?:   The priesthood is the power of God, and the authority to act in his name.  It has been given to prophets since the beginning of time so they can run Gods church upon the earth.  Multiple times this authority has been taken away due to wickedness and unbelief, but because God loves us he always restores it again.  When Christ came he gave this authority to his chosen apostles so they too could bless the lives of their brothers and sisters.  After Christ was crucified there came a falling away (2 Thessalonian 2:1-3, Amos 8:11-12) The priesthood authority was once again taken from the earth for a period of time.

In the early 1800's Joseph Smith, having been visited by God the father and his son Jesus Christ, and called to be a prophet, was given once again the priesthood authority.  John the Baptist, restored the Aaronic Priesthood, and later Peter, James and John as resurrected beings restored the Melchizedek Priesthood.

        The priesthood authority was then passed down from Joseph Smith to other worthy members of the Lords church.  Now days, all worthy males, ages 12 and older can hold the priesthood.

   Why the Priesthood is needed?:  Because this church is the Lords church and not mans, all things done within it must be done God's way by those he has chosen.  "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you..." (John 15:16).  There are things the lord has commanded all of us to do, like being baptized, and when they are done without the priesthood authority they are invalid, because God did not authorize them.  God is a God of order, and if everyone were allowed to baptize and do it their own way, we would lose the beauty and the meaning of these sacred ordinances.  Kind of like if every single person was a cop, then there would be no reason for one anymore. 

       How can the Priesthood affect my life?:  Though only worthy males are able to hold the Priesthood, this power blesses the lives of all people. "the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon principles of righteousness." " (D&C 121:36).  The priesthood is a blessing is so many different ways, one of those is the ability the bless those who are sick or afflicted in any manner.  this goes along with the verse in James 5 verse 14-15 "is any sick among you? let him call for the Elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick..." By the same power that Jesus had to heal the sick, worthy males who hold the priesthood can heal the sick.  The other important way the priesthood can bless any families life, is that it is by this power that families are sealed together for time and all eternity.  Only through the priesthood of god, can families be eternally united.  This is something that every family should desire, and one all of us should seek after. 
        I know that the priesthood is real, I know that is so essential to the church of god.  With it we have everything and without it we have nothing. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wearing the Jersey


         As you can tell from previous posts, I love sports!!  Bear with me as I talk once again on a sports topic.  When I first made the high school basketball team, I was so excited.  I have been playing competitive basketball all my young life, all in preparation to one day play high school ball.  I didn't know at first how special it was to be on the high school team though, until the day our coach gave us our jerseys.  He said there are hundreds of kids in this school that would do anything to wear that jersey.  One of our coaches was a former alumni of our school who also played for the basketball team.  He said, I bled and sweat, and put my heart into that jersey, don't take it for granite.  It was at this time that I really felt the honor of wearing that jersey.

        As we went on throughout the season, I always tried to remember these things.  I always tried to remember that what I did represented our school, whose name I bore on my chest throughout that season.  On the front of the jersey read "ALTA"  four simple letters that represented years of pride, respect, and honor.  I knew that I must live up to the expectations that came with wearing it.  

       This idea has come to me again but in a far greater way as I have been on my mission and studied the gospel, let me explain.     

             As we are baptized into Christ's church, we make certain covenants, or promises.  One of these is to "take upon us the name of Christ." (Mosiah 5:8).  As I read this recently I thought back to my Jersey and how I took upon me the name of my high school and all that meant.  As I thought about taking upon me the name of Christ I realized it meant, taking upon me the responsibility to live up to the standard he set.  To try my best  to do and say as he would do and say.  To love and serve as he would love and serve.  This thought was a little overwhelming as I thought, I can never live up to that.  Then I remembered these reassuring words
"be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33)

      Just like the High school jersey there are many people who desire this Jersey, and unlike in basketball where only a few can have it, Jesus Christ invites all to come.  It does come with a requirement, we must be willing "to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of god at all times..." (Mosiah 18:9)  

      "And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of god, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ." (Mosiah 5:9)

     May we all be faithful unto taking upon us the name of Christ, and doing all we can to bring honor to that name.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Holy War


       For those of you who don't know what this is, let me  explain:   The Holy war is an annual football game, played by the University of Utah Utes and the Brigham Young University Cougars.  It has been played since April 4, 1896.  The overall record for the teams is Utah 53 wins, Byu 34 wins, and 4 ties.  For those in Utah this is more than a game, there is much passion between the fans of both sides when this game played during the last week of November.  For me my allegiance is for the Utes!

         In the overall all series, Utah dominated the early seasons, giving them a huge margin in victories.  They then proceeded to split victories for many years.  Then BYU, narrowed the margin under the reign of legendary coach Lavell Edwards.  Utah in the early part of this decade though, picked back up the slack and won often.  Both teams in the past have had great players, with both sides having many great NFL recruits.  This is definitely a time of fun spirited rivalry between these two teams and their sets of die hard fans.  

           Now to relate this.  Today we are in a different kind of war, one that has been taking place for a much longer period of time, even before this earth was created.  It all started when our Father in Heaven gave unto us a plan. "Whom shall I send?" (Abr. 3:27)  Lucifer volunteered to lead out this plan for our Father in Heaven, he said "Behold, here am I, send me" (Moses 4:1).  He later said, "I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor" (Moses 4:1)  This was a defiance to our father in Heaven. 

      Jesus Christ, Father in Heaven's eldest son responded, "Here am I, send me" (Abr. 3:27). He also stated, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (Moses 4:2). With this formal acceptance and selection of the future Messiah, the spirit children of God "shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). It was also a time to signify individual commitment to the Father's plan.

     A third of the host of heaven, used their agency and decided to follow Lucifer, this meant that they could not recieve bodies and they were cast out of the presence of our Father in Heaven forever.  All of us here on this earth chose to follow Jesus Christ, our chosen savior.  He is the one who will redeem us of the mistakes we make while going through this test of mortality. 

      Known on earth as Satan or the devil, Lucifer and his followers still continue the war against the work and the people of God, being permitted to do so to give people opportunity to exercise agency, being "enticed by the one or the other" (2 Ne. 2:16-25).   So now while we are here on this earth, we must chose christ.  For those of us who do, eternal glory and exaltation awaits.  Our Father in Heaven will prevail!!        

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Room

This was an essay written by a boy named Brian Moore,  I feel it explains the atonement very well. 

        In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.  There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that  list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.
       As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through  the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
     This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and  small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly  opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I  would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
    A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed."  The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read,"  "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled  at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. 
Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the  life I had lived.
Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these  thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth.  Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
       When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched ," I realized  the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and  yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast  time I knew that file represented.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

swimming and our life on earth

 Many of you don't know, but I used to swim in High School.  It is something I wished I would have sticked with more, but I am grateful for the time that I did do it.   How I got started in swimming is the swim coach came up to me one day in a fast food restraunt and said "you are really tall, and that is a big foot you got.  What size do you wear?"  I told him a size 16, he said "wow, you got natural flippers, you should come and try out for the swim team."  It is something that I had never done before, but I loved sports so much that I just gave it a shot. I was inspired by the skill and success that Michael Phelps had in the olympics.  He was the best in the world and that made me want to be a swimmer.  At the tryouts my coach said "alright swim the 100 meter race for me."  I said "that is really far."  he said "that is the second shortest race there is."  I felt overwhelmed at the point considering the most I ever swam was maybe 1 lap.  I did as he said though and the result, I got dead last.  The coach though said, I see alot of potential in you and put me on the team anyways. 

       Over the course of the season, I went to practice everyday and did a vast variety of excersises and learned the techniques I needed to become a good swimmer.  At the beggining of the season I was always placing last in the last heat.  Over the course of the season though I progressed and learned.  I built up endurance and was able to accomplish alot more than I ever expected.   Do to my body build, I naturally raced the sprints, the short fast races where there was little room for error.  In swimming if you progress 1/10 of a second a month you are doing great.  It is gradual improvement that can get discouraging at times.   I learned to love it so much, and by the end of the season I finished 1st in my heat.  I was so proud of what I was able to become and the time I put in to accomplish it made it all the more rewarding. 

     So now to tie this all back to the gospel.  Before this life we all lived with our father in heaven as spirit children (Heb 12:9), we were all very comfortable there and each had our different talents.  Our father in heaven proposed a plan that we could come to earth and recieve a physical body.  We would go through testing and trial.  It was something that we didn't know anything about or how we would do here.  It was new territory that many of us were probably uneasy about.  But our father in heaven, Just like the swim coach, sees the great potential that we have even when we don't.   At first many of us might struggle to get comfortable, we fight make mistakes and it may seem as though we will never be good enough.  Our father in heaven never gives up on us though, he is always there to support us to the end.  

     When we go through this life we learn basic principles that enable us to improve the quality of our life.  We build endurance as we go through the trials of this life.  We have a great example to look up to in this life, a perfect example.  That is Jesus Christ, as we model our life after his, it gives us something to aspire to, our goal is to be just like him.  Just as the young swimmer desires to be like Michael phelps.  Hopefully by the end of the season, or life, we will be different.  It will be gradual, even unnoticable at times, we go through constant refining.  As it says in the scriptures "we learn line upon line, precept upon precept" (2 Nephi 28:30) But in the end we will be champions if you put in the effort, and do the things that the savior has asked.  We will look back at our life and realize the potential our father saw in us from the beginning. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Daily

With the Thanksgiving holiday season right around the corner, I wanted to write this post and tell you all the things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my Father in Heaven, and all his love and patience he has for me everyday. I am thankful for my savior Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice that allows me to change and progress and become better everyday.

I am thankful for my wonderful family, for all there love and support and the things they have done for me in my life thus far, and the things they continue to do for me.

I am thankful for the people here in northern California, and the wonderful things I have learned from them, and the ways they have let me serve them the past 18 months, I will always love these people so much.

May we each look around us and see the things that we are so blessed with. Even in the hard times and the trials of this life we have so much to be thankful for, may we each count our many blessings, and return thanks to our Father in Heaven for all the things he has given us to be happy in this life.

please take the time and leave a comment with the things that you are thankful for, Let us share with one another our many blessings, that we all may rejoice together.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Defense wins championships!!


        As many of you know, I love basketball.  I have played it ever since I can remember, it has always been a part of my life.  From Rec. basketball, to AAU, to highschool, to just watching my Lakers play on the T.V.  I have thought alot about the game of basketball and tried to see how it applies to the Gospel, so hear it goes. 

       In the sports world you hear the cliche alot that "defense wins championships"  and that good defense leads to good offense.  Many people say "well that is true but if you can't score a point you can't win"  that as well is true, you need to have a good balanced attack.  But like in the picture above, if you are able to get the other team to make turnovers it leads to easy lay-ups on the other end.  No matter how bad of an offense you have, lay-ups should be a guarantee.  It is all set up by the defense.  Too many times in basketball though, people get in the mind set of, we will save our energy on defense so that we will have more energy on offense, or we will just out shoot them.  Many times my highschool team just tried to get into a shoot out, and we played casual on defense.  While this worked sometimes, most of the time we were playing from behind, and it usually ended in defeat.  Another important thing to remember in the game of basketball is that it is a team sport and no one man can do it on his own.  He must rely on his teamates to help him out when he needs them.  All of this requires practice and development of different fundamentals, basketball is game of many elements, on defense you need to be able to develop good communication, court position, good defensive stance, hand placement, boxing out, and many other things.  Without all of these key elements you won't be effective.  Now to compare it to the gospel


Sunday, November 14, 2010


        Today we had the opportunity to go to Stake Conference, for those of you who do not know what this is, let me explain.  In our church there are many members spread in various parts of the world, in order to help the church function at it's highest capability we separate the members into what is called "wards" based on demographics, ward genearally have about 150-250 people.  Several wards, usually about 6-10, make up a stake.  So for us here in the Santa Rosa, there are 10 differents wards in the stake.  Today all those wards joined together for one fantastic meeting. 

       One of the topics that stood out to me was the temple.  For many not of our faith, the temple is a big and unknown building, that brings much curiosity and questions.  I will explain why temples are so important and how they have blessed me in my life. 

      The temple is the house of god, It is a place where where the family can be sealed, or joined, together for time and all eternity.  This is the most important ordinance that goes on in the temple. My family has not yet been sealed but I know that one day we will be, and we will be able to live together forever, this is my greatest desire.  I also know that one day I will have a family of my own and we will be able to go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity.  This is my greatest goal in life. 

     In the temple we do other very important work, that is vicarious work for those who have passed on.  There are many who go through this life, and they never have the opportunity to hear the name of the lord and accept his gospel.  He has given us certain requirements, such a baptism, that we must do to make it back to him.  It doesn't make sense to me that those who never had a chance here should just be cast out, and go to hell.   But I do realize they must abide by the Saviors requirements, this is where this work in the temple comes in.  We can stand in place for these people and be baptized in there name, they then can choose to accept this ordinance or reject it.  For those who accept it, the doors of heaven are opened unto them.  This brings me so much peace to know that my ancestors who never received this message, will have another opportunity. 

     This is why the temple is so important.  I would love for others to share about there testimonies of the temple with us. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

After the trial of your faith

                                      "Now, we will compare the word unto a seed..."  Alma 32:28
       There has been a certain subject on my mind the past couple of days, that subject is Faith.  One lady who we were teaching in my last area sparked these thoughts of mine.  It is a common thing among many people who investigate this church, initially there is a sense of excitement and curiousity, this is where that seed of faith is planted.  This sense of curiousity leads them to research, it is during these early stages that something else happens though.  The adversary is the enemy of god and "he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Ne. 2:27)  He doesn't not want us to find the remarkable and wonderful truth of the restoration of the gospel.  It is in these early stages that he throws at us his snares and traps and doubts.  He leads us to forget the feelings we had as we read the scriptures, heard the wonderful truth of the gospel, and experienced the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  He gives unto us misinfomation, false doctrine and lies, and in this time that little seed of faith with which we have planted is at risk.  It is at this time that our trial of faith occurs, where we must decide if that seed we have planted is a good seed or not. For the honest seeker of truth, the answer will come but not until we do our part. 
 "..behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me." (Alma 32:28)

         Many people neglect the feelings of the Holy Ghost, which is the one sure answer we have.  Many people put their trust in their own understanding, or in information from others.  The scriptures teach us that "by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5)  We must put our trust in our Father in Heaven and in the feelings of the Holy Ghost.  For "everthing which inviteth and enticeth to do good is of god" (Moroni 7:16)  So for all who are still in doubt about the Gospel, read the Book of Mormon, think of the way you feel.  Go to church, and pay attention to your feelings.  Pray, and ask for comfort.  I promise as you do these things you will "Feel" that this is true.  And for all who have done these things before, I urge you to REMEMBER!!  Remember the feelings you had. 

          I would love for people to share with us there experiences of overcoming their trial of faith.  So please share!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back in Santa Rosa

      I am officially back in Santa Rosa now, it feels like coming home.  I served here for 6 months of my mission starting about 1 year ago.  Then I departed for Ukiah, thinking that I wouldn't have the opportunity to come back.  The lord is merciful though and gave me another opportunity here in Santa Rosa.  My companion is Elder Eccles, he is a fantanstic missionary.  I hope to learn alot from him, and make this time in Santa Rosa even better than the last, I have my work cut out for me. 

   I have thought alot about certaing things though as I have come back, it was like coming home.  It has probably been the least stressful time that I have been transferred.  I know the area, I know some of the people, and I have a positive outlook on Santa Rosa already, I am truly happy about serving here again.  But I can't help to think about the how little this joy is to the joy I will feel when I go to back to my first home with my Father in Heaven.  This is truly what keeps me going, the knowledge that one day I can return to my Father in heaven and have a joyous reunion with him.  This is why I live the gospel, and this is why I share the gospel and why I am on a mission.  I want to help people feel that comforting assurance that one day they can live with their Father in heaven and with their families.  One of my favorite scriptures comes from the last verse of the Book of Enos in the Book of Mormon which states
   "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen."  My greatest desire is that I to may here these reassuring and comforting words from my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

  I invite all who read this to share with us your feelings on what they think this joyous renunion with our father in heaven will be like.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Packing up

   Today is a sad and a great day.  First off, what makes it sad. I am being transfered to Santa Rosa tomorrow so this is my last day in Ukiah.  I am really sad because of all the friends I have made here and all those people that have made an impact in my life.  It is always hard to leave an area because of these friendships, but I know that where ever I go I will make new friends and new bonds.  It always helps me though to think of the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verse 2 " And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."  I love this because I know that all the friends I have made here on my mission, I will meet again.  I hope I will meet them again in this life but if not I will in heaven.  It makes me reflect also on a quote from Joseph smith "there are many of whom I have loved, to them I am determined to prove faithful." I WILL PROVE FAITHFUL!!  So to all the people of Ukiah, I love you all and will miss each and everyone of you.

     Now for the great part, I am going to embark on a new journey which will bring with it many memories and many friends.  It is also comforting to me that I already served there and have friendships already.  Though I will not be able to visit many of them, the memories make the transition much easier.  I already have a very very positive view of Santa Rosa.  I can't wait to see what the lord has in store for me this time around.  So for all the people in Santa Rosa, here I come.  I can't wait to meet you all. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

testimony meeting

       Today is the sabbath day, and it is a special one at that.  The first Sunday of every month we have what is called "fast and testimony meeting."  First of all we fast for two meals, and we take the money we would have other wise used and give it to the churches fund to help those who do not have any.  This is following the scripture which I love, that a member of our ward read today,  the scripture says "
  Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" -Isaiah 58: 5-7
         The second part of this special day is that we have the opportunity to share our testimonies.  It is an open mic for all who want to go up and share about there testimonies or experiences they had that built there testimonies.  It is a day where the spirit can be felt extra strong, because it is simple people sharing simple declarations of truth, which is the definition of a testimony.  I invite all who would like to share your testimonies as well on here, so that others can here what you know to be true.  so please share with us your testimonies!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An Introduction

     I thought for my first post that I would just introduce myself.  I am Elder Darion Bevan, currently I am serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Ukiah, CA, although that will be changing in a couple of days.  I am going to be serving in Santa Rosa, CA. 
       A little bit about my backround. I am from Sandy, UT,  I have lived there all my life.  I have two Brothers, and older and a younger.  My older brother served a mission in Manaus, Brazil.  My little brother is going to be going on a mission very shortly.  I grew up playing a number of sports, Basketball being my favorite.  In highschool I also played volleyball and was on the swim team.  I have to say that I love sports, I would watch them all the time.  It didn't matter what was on, football, tennis, track, badmitton, I loved them all.

     My mission has been the best experience of my life.  I have met so many great people and made friends that will carry on throughout the eternities,  nothing can replace the experiences I have had.  I have also grown a very strong testimony of my savior Jesus Christ, and the church.  I can't even imagine where my life would be right now if I had not served a mission. 

     I know this church is true, I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of god.  I may not know much but atleast I know these things.