Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good Things to Come

Today we were driving to go and visit someone who lived near our church. On the way we saw a couple of people we are teaching walking up the road. I didn't think much of it, then as we kept driving we saw their truck parked on the side of the road. It then clicked in my mind that maybe they needed help. So we drove to their house and asked them if they needed anything. They mentioned that their car ran out of gas. So we went with him to his car and he put a little bit of gas into it. It started right up, we gave him a few bucks so he could get some gas, and went on our way.

It reminded me of this mormon messages video:

This family that we have been teaching has been going through some tough times lately as well. They have been down on their luck in a few things. They have found peace and joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has given them the hope to not give up.

We have all had times in life where things just don't go our way, we must always remember that if we follow Jesus Christ there are good things to come. They may not even come in this life, sometimes it will be the life to come that we will experience these good things. But eventually they will come.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Family Home Evening

What is family?  How can family home evening bless me and my family?


       Family home evening is a night of the week set apart to be with your family.  Traditionally, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints set Monday night as the day to be with the family.  We do things such as:  Sing songs, say prayers, do fun activities, share a gospel message and eat some dessert.   The family is the best place to teach the Gospel.  Only at home in families can children learn the true nature of families as appointed by our father in heaven. 

      Families who set a night apart to be together, to talk and to teach, will grow closer together as a family and will receive blessings from the Lord.  Family contention will decrease as we spend this time together and get to know each other better.  We all can too easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  We fill our days with too many activities and spend too much time trying to provide for our families.  Sometimes in this hustle and bustle we are so busy that we don't have anytime to spend with the family we are supporting.  We need to slow down and focus on the things that matter most to us.

     I am so glad that we have been counseled to set apart this day to have family home evening.  I know that as we take this time to be together, happiness in our family life will increase and the Lord will bless our families with the things we need.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blessings for obedience

     Yesterday we were teaching a family and they brought up a concern, they said "In the Book of Mormon it talks about how the Lamanites were cursed with a skin of darkness."  They then went on to ask, "is dark skin a curse, and are dark skinned people all cursed?"  

  This is a concern that many people have.  So the question:  Is dark skin a curse?  Does God really look at the color of our skin? The answer:  of course not!  In the Book of Mormon the Lamanites were cursed because of their own disobedience.  The Lord said early on the the people "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper...and inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord." (1 Nephi 2:20-21) The Lamanites did not choose to follow the commandments of the Lord and they rebelled against the prophet, thus they were cursed.  The curse was that they were cut off from the Lord's presence.  He no longer was there to help or guide them, until they would repent and return to him.  The skin of darkness was placed upon them to distinguish them from the Nephites.  


      Later on in the Book of Mormon the Lamanites did repent, and they were blessed again with the help of the Lord.  The prophet Nephi said of the Lord, "He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." (2 Nephi 26:33)  

     I know that the Lord looks at the level of our obedience, not at the color of our skin or any other physical trait or charecteristic.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The peters


      This is the Peters family, we have been teaching them for about 4 months now.  This is a picture of them and their family during there daughter Athena's birthday.  It was so great to see them all together.  The Peters are going to be getting baptized on March 6th.

    They have had an interesting journey thus far, she was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and he is a native american with a Christian backround.  When we first met them they were willing to learn but the thought of joining the church was not even in their mind.  As the weeks went by things started to happen that helped them build a testimony.  They still felt unsure and not ready, they could see themselves joining after months more of learning.  These past few weeks they have made great strides though, and feel 100% that the church is true, the seed grew within them to a point where they can taste of the fruit.

    I am so happy to see them at the point they are now, the spirit has filled there life.  They are going to be such great additions to the kingdom of God.  They are going to bless so many peoples lives.  I love the Peters family

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vallejo Reunion

       Yesterday and today I had to opportunity to go back to one of my old areas.  I went back to Vallejo where I served just over a year ago.   It was great to be back there and see some of the people I remember.  It was great to see that things are still doing great and the people I love are still going strong.

   There was one person in particular who I was especially joyous to see, his name was Marlon Jones.  I first met Marlon in December 2009.  We were walking down the street and we saw Marlon.  We went over and talked to him and he mentioned he just got out of surgery and that it would be best to come by another time.  At that time I had no idea that this encounter would lead to a strong and eternal friendship.    We went over the next night and taught him about the restored gospel and it brought hope and a sense of freedom to him.  We taught him for several months and he was baptized.  His life has been greatly changed ever since he has embraced the gospel.

    Today when I saw him again I felt the same way as Alma and the Sons of Mosiah did when they met together again for the first time in several years, Alma said "Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord" (Alma 17:2)   As I saw and talked to Marlon today, he is still my brother in the Lord.  He has such a strong testimony still and a devotion to follow Christ.

     I can't wait for the day that I get to reunite with all those I have met, and to see them still strong in the gospel.  It is what gives me added strength to always be obedient and live faithfully.  As Joseph smith said "there are many of whom I have loved, to them I am determined to prove faithful."

     May we all live faithfully in our testimonies of the gospel, so we can dwell in joy together.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

There is sunshine in my soul


    The past couple of days have been dark, cloudy, and rainy, here in Santa Rosa, CA.  I feel that when it rains there is a dreariness that comes over us and our moods are changed.  These feelings seem to last until the rays of sunshine fill the air again.

     Likewise we have times in our life where our soul is filled with a dark, cloudy dreary feeling.  These feelings come from the storms of life.  These may be caused from a lack of obedience to Gods commandments, recent hardships in our life, or other things that draw our attention and thoughts away from the Savior.  Many people do not know how to get rid of these feelings.  They don't know how to bring in the rays of sunshine into their souls.

   I Think of a song that we sing in church that goes like this 

There is sunshine in my soul today,

More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,

For Jesus is my light.  

Oh, there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine
When the peaceful happy moments roll.
When Jesus shows his smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

Jesus Christ is the light that will illuminate our souls and bring the joyous, peaceful, warming rays of sunshine back into our life.  I know that he lives and that as we turn to him we will be filled with light.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

O Remember, Remember

We each have times in our life where we think to ourselves "God has forgetten me." or "God never answered my prayer." We look at the immediate circumstance we are in. I have these same feelings alot. I look back at my day sometimes and say what a crappy day, nothing good happened. When I reflect more carefully though I see the tender mercies of the lord, and I can see his many blessings in my life.

A big problem we all face is that we forget. We have experiences that are given to us to build our faith and we forget. We pray at times for guidance and direction and we don't recognize when God sends us the answer. Sometimes it is in a different way than we were expecting. I know that the Lord does answer each and every prayer. If we truly reflect upon it we will see the Lords influence in our lives.

I think of a story I heard a couple of months ago, it goes like this:

A man has been notified that his house is going to be flooded and he needs to get out of the house. He says no I don't have to, God is going to take care of me. Then the flood starts to rise and a sheriff comes along and tells him to get out. The man says no, God is going to save me. So, the floods continue to rise, and he climbs on top of the house. A boat comes along and he's told to climb into the boat. He says, no, no , God is going to save me. Finally, a helicopter comes along and they lower the net to rescue him. The man says, no, no, God is going to save me! Well, the man drowns and goes to heaven. When he gets to heaven he says to God, "why didn't you save me?" God says, "I sent the sheriff, I sent a boat, I sent a helicopter, what more did you want me to do?"

  I know that the Lord does answer prayers and that he does guide us in our lives.  May we all remember the blessings he has given us.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

As I have loved you

"As I have loved you, love one another.

This new commandment, love one another.

By this shall men know ye are my disciples

If ye have love one to another." 
(John 13:35)


  On this holiday may we all remember the words of the Savior and his command to all of us. We know that he was the perfect example of love and as we try our best to emulate him people will recognize us as his followers and disciples. We also learn in 1 John 4:8 that "God is love"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Awake O My soul

  Yesterday we were visiting with a man who just two weeks ago was in the depths of addiction.  He is a recent convert to the church and after he was baptized fell back into his old lifestyle of drugs.  He has been struggling with it for several months now.  When we went by two weeks ago, he was discouraged, depressed, and down. We told him to pray everyday for strength to go forward.

    We went by yesterday, and immediately as we walked in something felt vastly different.  He was happy, he was optimistic.  He was beaming with joy and hope.  As we continued to talk he mentioned that he has received answers to his prayers, and that he had been clean for 2 weeks now.  He mentioned how much better he felt and the hope he had for the future.  It was such a cool thing to see.  And it reminded me of verse from Nephi's Psalm in 2 Nephi 4 in the Book of Mormon "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."  (2 Nephi 4:28)

      His soul truly has been awakened!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Faith has a short shelf life

   Today we had a meeting with several other missionaries serving in the California Santa Rosa area.  We talked about various different things.  One thing that stuck out to me that I wanted to talk about today was that of faith having a short shelf life.


    We are told various times in the scriptures to nourish our faith and exercise our faith.  But what does this really mean? What does it mean to "nourish" or "exercise" our faith?  And what can it really do?

     I think of the scripture in Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon that talks a lot about faith, and it compares it to a seed.  One verse that sticks out to me is Vs. 38-39 "But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof."

    Sometimes we invite people to learn about this gospel, which can produce fruit that is "most desirable above all other fruit"  The people plant the seed and it might even grow a little bit.  But then they don't take time to water and feed the plant, by reading and praying.  The seed dies and they never taste of the fruit.  Or they do get to the point where they see the fruit, but then think all is well.  Then the tree withers away and they have no more fruit. It is essential to always nourish, and water the tree.  If we let our faith sit on the shelf, it will grow old and die. 


    The phrase "exercise our faith" sticks out to me alot as well.  Think about when we physically excersise... It takes along time to build up muscle even with daily training.  But if we were to stop for just a month or even a week, those muscles we build are weak again. We must at that point start all over.

      I know that we all must continue to strengthen and nourish our faith and never stop.  No matter where our tree is, if it is sprouting or it fills the sky.  We can never stop nourishing and exercising our faith.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Be ye not weary in well doing

   Today my thoughts will be brief.   We played basketball today, and it was the first time I have done so in about 2 weeks.  The whole time I was feeling fatigued, and tired.  Afterwards, I was exceedingly tired and sore.

     Sometimes we feel this way in life, we may feel too tired to do the right thing, we want to lower our standards at times because it is too hard to live a Christlike life.  We let opportunities to serve and help people slip by because we are "weary."  When I feel this way I think of what the apostle Paul counseled us to "be not weary in well doing." (2 thes. 3:13)  There are times in our life that we feel tired.  It is in these times that our true character shows.  Will we make the right decision or not, will we reach out to those who need our help or not.  Will we keep the commandments or not.


       I know that Christ can give us strength.  Paul once again said "I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phill. 4:13)  As we put our trust in Christ, we will have strength to push forward in the times when we feel tired in our lives.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Too hard to believe?

   The message of the restoration of the Gospel is miraculous.  Many people find it hard to believe, and many think that we are crazy to believe what we do.

     Joseph Smith, a 14 year-old boy, prayed to know which of all the churches was true.  In answer to that prayer, God the Father and his son Jesus Christ appeared to the young boy and answered his prayer.  They told him that the Gospel in it's fullness was going to be RESTORED to the earth again.  They told him that he would be called as a prophet and help in this great work.  Later he was led by an angel named Moroni to ancient scriptures written on golden plates.  He was able to translate them by the gift and power of God.  The priesthood was then restored to the prophet by the laying on of hands by Peter, James, and John, three of Christ's original apostles. 

    I know that this is true and that all of these things did indeed happen.  So how can you come to know these things are true?  How can one possibly believe a story so crazy as this? 

    I think it is important for one to first believe that God is a God of miracles. Many of us believe that in the past God was able to work many mighty miracles.  We read about them all the time in the Bible:  the parting of the red sea, the raising of the dead, the healing of the blind, the visitation of God in the burning bush to the prophet Moses.  Many of us believe that God wrought miracles in the past, but it is hard to believe that he could do so now.  "And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?" (mor. 7:35)  We must each answer this question for ourselves.


     When we firmly believe that God can indeed work miracles we can then come to know that God has indeed restored his gospel upon the earth.  And the way we come to know is the same way Joseph Smith did.  We must Pray,  "And 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.   And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Mor. 10:4-5)

  I know that God is a God of miracles and that he appeared to the young boy Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet.  I know this because I have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon.  I know that you too can come to know this is true by the same power. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Alex Boye

We all come from different backrounds, different experiences and different lives. But no matter who we are and where we were at one point, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for us. Everyone in the world can find greater peace and happiness by living the Gospel. Alex Boye is one of my favorite examples of this, as he has embraced the gospel he has found true happiness. He is now one of my favorite singers.