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Came home to #LasVegas this weekend. Couldn't resist a visit to this beautiful #temple. www.themormonlife.com  #lds #mormon #LaborDay Enjoyed perfect weather at the City Creek mall this morning. www.themormonlife.com #Utah #SLC #lds #mormon #temple Found myself at the Univ. of Utah today. #utah #saltlake #olympics #lds #mormon One more from Idaho Falls tonight. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #temple #idahofalls #idaho #byui #lds #mormon Enjoyed the Idaho Falls temple tonight. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #temple #idahofalls #lds #mormon #idaho #byui Beautiful sunset tonight in Rexburg. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #rexburg #idaho #sunset #byui Sunset reflecting off the #Rexburg temple last night. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com. #lds #temple #idaho Jordan River Temple steeple. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #temple #utah #lds #mormon At the cabin today. Happy 4th of July everyone! www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #America #Freedom #4thofJuly #lds Caught a glimpse of the Glenn Canyon dam before heading home. www.themormonlife.wordpress.com #damPicture #damHashTag #arizona

A Front Row Seat

Throughout our lives we hear people say profound things. Ideas that, to phrase it modernly, “blow our minds.” In my experience, hearing such things are oftentimes things I knew, but had forgotten, or didn’t realize I totally understood.

About a week or so ago, I heard someone mention that God is working miracles, and we need to make sure that we have a front row seat.

Where are you sitting?

We all need God in our lives. He is our literal Father in Heaven. He is all powerful. He operates according to eternal laws and principles. As our Father, he lovingly desires to influence our lives for good, and for our growth. The more we allow Him into our lives, the easier it is to see Him working in and around us. We can also see Him working in others.

There are so many resources available to us to help deepen the relationship we have with God. The scriptures are a way of not just reading about ways in which He has influenced the past, but feeling the truth of it. Prayer is a direct conduit of communication to Him. He does listen to us when we pray to Him. He wants to hear us pray to him often. God is literally waiting for us to ask for things in gratitude and righteousness so that He can bless us with the desires of our heart.

The best way to develop a relationship with someone is through communication. The more we talk to our Heavenly Father, the deeper our relationship with Him grows. The deeper the relationship grows, the more we see Him.

God is a visible being. People have seen Him, even spoke with Him directly. Others have seen His influence in their lives and in the lives of others. Many have felt His Spirit.

So don’t sit in the back row in the classroom called life just because it’s the most convenient. Take the extra steps to walk to the front of the class, and grab a front row seat, allowing you to see more clearly the miracles God works every day.

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Picture courtesy of www.reflectionsofchrist.org

Preparing to Serve a Full-Time Mission

This weekend my Sister-in-law gave me a sort of interview. She is preparing to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church in Argentina. This weekend she spoke in Church on the topic of preparing to serve a full-time mission.

As I came home, I thought more about our interview and what I said, and felt like it would be worth elaboration. I thought the topic was important enough to share my feelings, and perhaps offer some condensed advice for anyone currently preparing to serve.

Why would I serve a mission?

Nine months after I came out of the waters of baptism, I received my call to serve in the Tacoma, Washington area. I had been at tenting church for three years when I landed in Washington.

My motivation to share the gospel was, and still is simple – I know it’s true.

Anyone who desires to share the gospel must have the conviction in their hearts, a burning testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that His Church has been completely restored to the earth, preparatory to His Second Coming.

How is the best way to prepare?

Looking back, I was preparing for a mission before I was even baptized. I was placed in situations that required me to teach and stand up for my then new found faith. Most days I spent several hours studying the scriptures. As the youth of the Church prepare to serve, they should invest a great deal of their time in the scriptures. Study them, memorize them, and understand them. The deeper the understanding the easier it will be to teach.

The implementation of Preach My Gospel has helped thousands of missionaries prepare to teach the gospel. I can’t recommend enough for future missionaries, and members to familiarize themselves with Preach My Gospel as the prepare to serve.

Before you even receive your call, and especially once assigned, pray for the people in your mission. Pray that their hearts will be open to receive you and your message. Pray that you will have the courage to speak out and convey the feelings of your testimony.

What makes a mission difficult?

Even though missionary service can be extremely rewarding and gratifying, it comes with a great deal of sacrifice. For many, this is the first time on their own. Such was the case for me. I did a year of college locally and lived at home before I left. It took me about three months to fully adjust to being on my own. Some good advice for this is to befriend everyone around you, especially your missionary companions. Develop a sincere friendship with them, and overcoming the homesickness will be easier.

People can be downright rude. As you’re studying through the New Testament, and reading about the Apostle’s missionary travels, you’ll notice that they ran into some pretty rude people too. Not everyone is this way. Many will politely decline your invitation to share your message, and many will be open to listening, which makes it all worth it. However, some people will be rude, and you’ll just have to move on from it. I took comfort from these words:

“If the church were not true, our enemies would be bored rather than threatened, and acquiescent rather than anxious.  Hell is only moved when things move heavenward.” -Neal A. Maxwell

The hard times you face will be made up for when you see lives change (your own included) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The biggest sacrifice of all is yourself. Whether it’s for two years or eighteen months, you are fully invested in the work. In the temple we covenant with God to consecrate our lives to the work of building the kingdom of God. As the hymn promises, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.” Take that promise literally.

There is a reason members of the Church who have served recount stories from their missionary service until their dying days. Missionary service, along with transformative power of the Atonement, allow God to mold you into the very image that you were created to be – His. It is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life, and it is work that you can find yourself engaged in even after full-time service has ended.

My hope is that as the youth prepare to serve, they will feel ready. They will feel motivated by the conviction in their soul. They will feel as did Paul:

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in castings; By pureness by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” -2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Make the most of your mission. There is no better way to follow in the very footsteps of the Savior than by sharing His message of life.

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The Lie of “Happy Wife, Happy Life”

One of the most popular pieces of marriage advice is the age-old saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” I’m sure the majority of husbands have heard this at one time or another. I heard it at my wedding. I even heard it before my wedding! And I am sure I have even offered the advice to others.

But it’s not entirely true, and it is definitely not good advice.

A marriage involves two people. Two people who have committed to love and serve each other forever. The blessings of marriage are equally available to both husband and wife. Happiness in marriage should not be conditioned only upon the husband serving the wife so that she is happy. A successful marriage consists of both a husband and wife who are selfless and always striving to serve each other. No one keeps score, because it doesn’t matter who does more, as long as each is always trying.

So let’s do away with that old phrase and start sharing better advice with our friends. A friend of mine, a girl in fact, recently suggested the following:

“Happy spouse, happy house.”

It is that easy. No one wants to be the one doing all or the majority of the work around the house. We all know, house chores do not give anyone true joy. Satisfaction perhaps, but it comes with a price. Instead, if we always look out for opportunities to serve our spouse, we bring joy into their lives, and if both husbands and wives do this right, then happiness results from such service, the marriage becomes strengthened, and the word “chore” and the phrase “honey-do-list” become eliminated from our day-to-day lives.

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Our homes should be a refuge from the world, full of love. When we come home, there should be no contention or blame about housework. For me, when I see something that needs to be done, I see an opportunity to make my wife happy, and that is all the motivation I need.

A broken home is not worth a fight over dirty dishes.

 

 

Making God Proud

My wife and I were married in the beautiful Salt Lake City temple on August 30th of last year. This October we are excited to welcome a little boy into our lives.

Some may think this is all happening too fast, and that we should have waited a few more years. Everyone has different reasons. Some say we should take more time to ourselves, get to know each other better, or be more prepared financially.

So why so soon?

First of all, it was no accident.

Just as Adam and Eve were commanded in the Garden to multiply and replenish the earth, so to were my wife and I commanded when we were sealed together.

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God’s commandments should never be taken lightly. God knows everything about us. He knows what’s best for us, and knows the right time for anything to happen. I trust God. He is my Father. Though I don’t fully understand, as I do my best to be a father to this little boy, I’m sure my understanding will increase.

The whole purpose of this life is to build families. Families are eternal. Our relationships with our families are to be kept in tact as we pass on from this life into the next. The only way that is possible is through the ordinances of the temple. Heaven would not be heaven for me without every member of my family.

I love my Heavenly Father, and like all sons, I want my Dad to be proud of me. I know that by doing what my Dad wants me to do, He looks down on me with pride.

My life is not about me or what I want. It’s about my family. It’s about my wife. It’s about my son. My life is dedicated to serving God and keeping His commandments. By loving and serving my family,  I serve God, and, with all the hope in my heart, make Him proud.

A True Confession

Recently I’ve had quite a few job interviews with various companies. Some interviews have been face to face, but since I am currently out of town from the city I am moving to, many interviews have been over the phone.

I don’t mind a phone interview, especially for sales/customer service jobs. It helps the interviewer understand your personality on the phone, and in my opinion, is a great way to tell if you could do well at the position.

When it comes to interviewing for any kind of sales position, you can bet your entire savings account that you will be asked, “Do you have any sales experience?”

I’ve had one serious direct sales job in my life selling knives one summer. So as an answer to this question I used my missionary service as an example of my sales experience. I would say that it was a lot like sales; the only difference being the product.

Over the past few days I have really reflected on that response. As a missionary, I did not sell anything. I made no money. In fact, many people (myself included) sacrificed financially towards my missionary service.

There was however, a product. This is a product people believe in. A product that has affected the lives of millions. A product that affected me personally. A product I wanted everyone I met to have. And, the best part of all, it was completely free.

It’s change. Complete change through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

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When you sell something, you don’t really care about the person you are selling to, at least not long term. Those I taught the gospel to as a missionary have my heart, my prayers, and my support. Even today, four years later, and for the rest of my life I will care about them and the progress they are making in their spiritual journeys.

My service as a missionary was a special time in my life, full of experiences that I will never forget. I saw people change their lives because of the message I shared with them. The same message changed me, and continues to change me. The message is this: God lives. He lives and He knows our situation. Jesus Christ has restored His Church to the earth to prepare the world for His Second Coming. Living prophets speak for Them today. Families can be sealed together as eternal units. There is hope in a decaying world.

Never again will I use my mission as an example of sales experience. Yes, it was experience, but it had nothing to do with sales. It was life experience. It was experience serving God, doing His errands. His work. It was for Him and His Son. And whenever They need me to do something, I’m ready to serve again.

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