It’s time. Twice a year members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught by Church leaders over the course of a weekend.
These occasions are quite special. These are no ordinary men. They are real servants of God, comparable to prophets and apostles of old. These men have the same callings and responsibilities as Moses, Paul, Peter, James, and John. The speak for for and testify of Jesus Christ.
So I invite you, active members, semi-active members, believer or non-believer. Come and see. Come, listen to a prophet’s voice. You will hear the word of God.
General Conference will air on television, radio, and internet the weekend of October 4.
There are days in our lives that we never forget. All of us have at least one in common.
Where were you 13 years ago today? First of all, can you even believe it’s been 13 years?
I was in the seventh grade. I had woken up and headed downstairs for breakfast. The first channel to appear when the television came on was the news. I saw a really tall building that I recognized from Home Alone, and there was smoke coming out of it.
I went back upstairs and grabbed my mother, and told her what I saw. No sooner did we both come down the stairs, I saw a little dot moving from the side of the TV towards the two buildings. The next thing I saw was a great explosion.
I couldn’t comprehend it. All I knew was that day was going to be a different day. When I arrived at school, we were told not to watch the news of listen to the radio. So of course, in each of my classes, the teachers had the news on and we watched, and tried to understand what was happening, and who was responsible for such tragic events.
You don’t realize you live under a flight path until they ground the planes. You get so used to planes flying over all day that they drown out and you subconsciously ignore them. But that day was different. There were no planes in the sky that day. Not one.
Thirteen years ago today, my life changed. Others lives changed much more dramatically. Many lost friends and loved ones. Many gave their lives. They shall never be forgotten.
No matter who you are, or where you were on that day, take a moment to pause and reflect on how it affected you and your loved ones. It’s important that we remember the past, and remember that even though America was damaged that day, we are stronger because of it.
Unfortunately, it’s the events like those that took place on September 11, 2001 that help us remember what is most important in life. Hence the saying, “never forget.”
May we never forget that life changing day, and may we remember those affected in our prayers always. Remember, as Americans, we stand united. Always.
I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that God has His hand in all aspects of my life.
This past Labor Day weekend my wife and I traveled to Las Vegas to visit my family. For once, I was sure I hadn’t forgotten to pack anything. It was a reassuring feeling as we drove along.
And then I unpacked…
Though we were going to be out of town, my wife and I still planned to attend Church on Sunday. One of the great things about a Latter-day Saint service is that no matter where you are in the world, the format is the same, and you always feel welcome. And since I grew up in Vegas, it was nice to see good friends again.
Anyways, I’m unpacking my bag, and there is no tie for my Church outfit to be found. Thankfully, I knew that my dad, who hates wearing ties, would have at least one somewhere in his closet.
As I searched I found a semi-attractive purple tie that didn’t really match the outfit I had packed, but just underneath it, was something I didn’t expect.
For the past year, since our wedding day, I had been searching for a lost blue tie. I had no idea where it ended up. Until now. There is was, one of my favorite ties, sitting there in my parent’s closet. It was a great surprise.
This event caused me to stop and think. Had I not forgotten to pack a tie for this trip, I would have had no reason to look in my parent’s closet and find my lost tie.
How can anyone have experiences like this and not give credit to God?
“…for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” -Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
God really is in the details of our lives. Even with somewhat menial things like ties. God knows all of our situations, and will oftentimes make it seem like we are forgetting one thing in order to find something else that matters more.
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.
Picture courtesy of www.reflectionsofchrist.org
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.