Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Plan of Salvation

Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

What does the scripture mean? God has a plan. That plan is not only to enable us to live again, but to live again in his presence. This is what we call "The Work of Salvation". This work of salvation includes member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel.

This work of salvation is special to me. I have been serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 11 months. It is very exciting to be able to share the gospel with others. I have been able to see so many people accept the gospel and experience change in their lives. We know that baptism is necessary in order to return to our Heavenly Father's presence. I have seen a few people be able to receive the cleansing power that comes only through baptism. Their faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened, and they were able to be forgiven of their sins and be baptized by proper authority.

But what about people who have never been able to even hear about Jesus Christ? Well, that's part of Gods plan too. Russell M. Nelson said, "Too often we tend to split the Lord’s work into parts that seem unrelated. Whether it is preaching the gospel to nonmembers, serving with new converts, reactivating less-active members, teaching and strengthening active members, or performing family history and temple work, the work really is indivisible. These efforts are not separate. They are all part of the work of salvation."

So what do Mormons do in temples? On it says, "Because all who have lived on the earth have not had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority during life on earth, baptisms may be performed by proxy, meaning a living person may be baptized in behalf of a deceased person. Baptisms for the dead are performed by Church members in temples throughout the world."

Because God loves us, he has provided a way that those we love have an opportunity to accept the gospel past this life. They too can be baptized and receive eternal life with Heavenly Father. There is a place called the spirit world. We go to this place after we die. In this place, there are people teaching the gospel to those who didn't have a chance to hear it. This is a very merciful part of God's plan. It makes everything fair. Everyone will be on an equal level of their opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ and his teachings.

I am grateful for the work that continues on past this life. It is real. This has been confirmed to me over and over again. We must have faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we act on that faith and repent, we will have a desire to be baptized so that we can be cleansed of our sins. After we are baptized, we will be given the gift of the Holy Ghost. With this gift, we can continue to endure to the end and work hard so that we can live with our Heavenly Father and our families again.

Have any more questions about Heavenly Father's plan for us? Check out:

More questions? You can chat with a missionary here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Knew It, And I knew That God Knew It

Recently while going door to door, we came across a man who had some very anti feelings towards the church. Although he was very respectful in conversation, we could tell that there was no way that our conversation was going to end well. His main point to us was we must sincerely question the prophet Joseph Smith. He did not believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. As I bore my testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, and how I knew he was a prophet, he cut me off. He again repeated that I must sincerely question myself in what I believe to be true. As he repeated this to me, a verse of scripture came to mind. It is part of the account that Joseph Smith has given to us. Joseph Smith is accounting to us what his feelings were after he had told others (including respected preachers and pastors) of his experience. It reads:

25 So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.

The part that came to mind while talking to this man was the part that reads, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it." This is how I felt. I reflected about how I learned for MYSELF that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the experiences I have had in learning of this truth. They are very special experiences that Heavenly Father has given me. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that God knows how I feel. To ask me to deny what has been taught to me by the spirit would cause a condemnation upon me. So I can not deny it.

This is why I am on a mission. I have gained a testimony for myself that The Book of Mormon is true. Because The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He was called to restore Christ's church back on the earth again in these days. I love and revere the prophet Joseph. He truly did God's will. I can not deny what I know, neither will I apologize for it. This IS Christ's church on the earth again. We have the fullness of the gospel once more.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Faith-There Can Be No Doubt About It!

No matter what religion you are, we can all say that we have something in common: Faith. Faith is a precious gift our Heavenly Father has given us. Faith is the reason why we have been able to do anything and everything. If you look back throughout history, there was nothing that was accomplished that didn't first start with a lot of faith. If you think about our country itself, there was a lot of faith that went into establishing it. Columbus had to have faith that the world was round and that he would be able to find another land. The founding fathers had to have faith to be able to establish government. You name anything, it started with faith.

In The Book of Mormon in Ether 12:6 we read, "Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." From this scripture we learn that we cannot KNOW of anything until after the trial of our faith. That means that the Lord provides experiences for us to grow in our faith. I know that in my own life, I have had different experiences that have helped me strengthen my faith. Since being on my mission, I am blessed to have those experiences almost every day. Early on in my mission, I was given an experience that has not only changed my mission, but it has changed my life.

We were at a meeting where there were several missionaries gathered. It was a meeting that was meant to build us up and help us improve as missionaries. Nearing the end of the meeting, our leaders took us out of the room, a companionship at a time. When it came to be mine and my companions turn, we met our leaders holding towels in their hands. They asked us to trust us as they tied the towels over our eyes so that we could not see. They told us that we could be walking on tables that were laid out across the stage. They informed us that eventually these tables would end and that it would be hanging over the edge of the stage (similar to a plank). My leaders quietly whispered to me to take small steps. Eventually we were brought to the edge of the final table. A poem was then quoted and we were asked to take a step off. At first, I was terrified. I couldn't manage to make my body take a step off. I was then asked again, but still could not. Finally, I was asked for a third time. So I took the step off. It was about three inches from the ground. I learned from this experience that way too often, the Lord asks me way too many times to do something before I actually do it.

Recently, I was blessed with an opportunity to be on the other side of this situation. I was asked to lead the sisters through this situation. I watched as they took small steps through the maze that eventually led them to the edge. I watched as they were asked to take a step of faith and step off. I watched as they hesitated. I couldn't help but remember my own situation. I remember feeling terrified. As I took that step of faith, I realized--the Lord will never ask me to do something that he knows that I am not capable of accomplishing. He has placed people in my life to help me along the path. Although I can not see, he is always helping me. The Lord asks us to take steps of faith. If we will follow his direction and counsel, we will be blessed.

I know that if we take those small steps of faith, we can be strengthened. I have a testimony that faith is very important. If we exercise faith, the Lord is going to bless us more than we can ever imagine!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

Wow! I can't believe that it is almost mothers day! I am so grateful for a wonderful mother who has always been there to love and support me. She is simply the greatest mom ever! She is so patient, loving, and kind. You can never be in her presence and not feel loved and appreciated.


I would encourage EVERYONE to check out! We know that motherhood is the highest, and holiest of callings. I am grateful that my mom understood the importance of the role of motherhood. I would not be who I am today without her righteous influence in my life. It truly was her that taught me everything I know.
Thank you mom for everything you have done and continue to do for me! Your sacrifice and love is the greatest! I love you!
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."--Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Everlasting Beginnings

This last transfer in the Washington Vancouver Mission has been a crazy one. I have had to say goodbye to another companion (my 6th in the last 7 transfers), watched great missionaries/friends go home, and witness the Lord hasten the work by calling two English assigned sisters to speak ASL and Spanish. While reflecting about the reasons for these changes, I remembered President Uchtdorf's talk "Grateful in Any Circumstances". My favorite quote from this talk says this:

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
"Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless‍ and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
"The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
"How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
I have a testimony that these changes that have taken place here in Washington are not true endings. It is only part of the everlasting beginnings. God has a plan for us. It is an infinite plan. These small changes that take place in our life is only part of that plan in preparing us for the eternal progression he wants us to have. I am so grateful to know that our Heavenly Fathers plan is a perfect one.


The Book of Mormon: A Challenge

As I have previously mentioned in my blog before, the Washington Vancouver Mission was given a challenge to read The Book of Mormon before the end of this next transfer. This morning, my companion and I decided that we would study in Preach My Gospel in chapter five titled "What Is the Role of the Book of Mormon?" We came across a quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. He said:

“Please do not take the Book of Mormon for granted. Pray for a vision of how the Book of Mormon can be used more effectively in your mission. I promise that as you do so, your mind will be enlightened with the direction that you should take.”

Something that President Taylor has taught us about a lot is having a vision. (Vison+Discipline=Destiny) So now, any time I see the word VISION, I stop and focus my attention a little bit more. So when I saw this word I had to pause. Elder Wirthlin tells us that we have to PRAY for a VISION of how we can use The Book of Mormon more effectively.

What is your vision when you read The Book of Mormon? What do you hope to get out of it each time you read it? Do you have questions that you want answered? At the end of The Book of Mormon, there is the famous challenge:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
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.
We must renew this challenge in our hearts EACH and EVERY time we open The Book of Mormon. As we do so, we can have a renewed testimony of its truthfulness. With that renewed testimony, we can receive answers to our questions. I am so grateful to have The Book of Mormon in my life. I know that as we read it with a vision in mind, we can receive answers to any questions we may have!