About Me

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I am a Mormon Missionary serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission. I enjoy serving the people of Michigan and love the area. I am also an ice cream addict in the process of recovery :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I Know

  As a missionary there are many situations that I run into each day. We talk to hundreds of people and as a result have many interesting experiences. One of these experiences that happens quite frequently is when people ask the question "Why do you believe what you believe?" It is usually followed up by the question, "Is it because you were raised that way?" Some people then have even invited me to step outside of my comfort zone and look into other ideas and philosophies. At this point in time, I often have to pray for help to avoid the negative and sarcastic thoughts that flood my mind. This is especially true when someone refuses to listen to what I believe but tells me I should be more open and look into other things. If only I could some how, at that moment, help that person to understand the irony of the situation. However, I know that they are my brother or sister and I try to lovingly invite them to learn more and if they refuse I move on.
    What is it that motivates me to keep going? Why, amidst all the opposition and tribulation, would I continue to pursue a course of action that does not benefit me in any worldly way? The answer is that I am doing something that is far beyond the comprehension of the Natural Man. Those who are caught up in carnal passions, desires, or pursuits cannot understand. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). To understand what I know, one must view my knowledge with spiritual eyes.
    How are we to develop spiritual eyes? The first step is humility. We have to recognize that we don't know everything. We have to understand that we ourselves are weak and completely dependant on our Heavenly Father for daily support. We then must seek out understanding through study and prayer. Those who put the effort in to find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge will receive them. Our ability to discern things of a spiritual nature is increased as we consistently seek after them. This is why humility is so important. Those who are proud will not put in the time to find out the things of God. Those who do not find out the things of God will never know the happiness and peace that comes to those who know. "And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of  humility, he will not open unto them. But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints" (2 Nephi 9:42-43). It is my testimony to you that if you are willing to humble yourself and put forth the effort to find God that you will find Him. He is there and He wants to bless you. Choose to follow Him and your life will be filled with peace and joy. I know that this is true and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Contend No More

    It's cold outside, the fear of rejection weighs upon me, and it is starting to get dark. There is still a couple of hours before we are to go in but the circumstances push me to retire early. Am I justified in this? The natural man tells me, "You couldn't possibly find someone at this time of day... Besides, it's freezing cold." As the flesh tries to convince me to go home, I have the feeling that I should stay out and work. We continue to talk to people and it becomes colder and gets even darker. Thoughts of our warm apartment overwhelm my judgment and we begin to walk to the car. Instantly, I feel the sting of guilt. I know I should stay out longer but I don't want to be miserable. Do I stay and endure or do I satisfy the flesh?

    Recently, I came across a scripture that I have read multiple times but I was deeply impacted by it this last time. In Alma 34:48, Amulek instructs us that we should, "Contend no more against the Holy Ghost." As I read this I received an answer to my prayers. Consecration has been on my mind and I have been trying to make a better effort to be "all in." The wisdom in this phrase is powerful. "Contend no more against the Holy Ghost..." What does this mean? It means that when it is cold outside and we feel like going home, we should keep going. It means that we should always do what we know is right. It means that we should never give in to what is convenient, cheap, low or vulgar when we know it is contrary to the laws of God.

    How does this apply in our daily lives? Think back to a time where you said or did something that you knew you shouldn't have. Just before you did it did you feel a tinge of guilt? Did the thought come to you that you should not do what you were about to do? Each of us have these experiences every day. The Spirit is always there trying to give us guidance and direction. The question we have to ask ourselves though is are we willing to give up our will and listen?

   Obeying the still small voice is one of the hardest challenges that I have had throughout my life. Everyday I feel that I should not say or do something but because of pride and carnal interest, I do it anyways. What if I were to always listen to the Spirit, where would I be? If every moment we let the Spirit in to teach us the lessons we needed to learn, we would progress as fast as the Savior did. Listening to the Spirit is a talent that has to be developed. It is the greatest talent, but the greatest things don't come easy. It takes patience and diligent perseverance to acquire such an ability. So where do we start?

   The first thing that we should do is Spiritually prepare ourselves to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. We need to study the scriptures and pray. We need to have an attitude of reverence at all times. We need to, "[put] off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19). Each day we have opportunities to exercise our faith and we must actively seek to become better. As we act and listen, we will become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Ghost in our life.

   I would like to end with a scripture that I have come to know to be true. In D&C 112:10 it reads, "Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers." I know that this is true and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.