Tag Archive: Enduring


That One

Wow its amazing how much there is too learn. I remember way  back before I had left home thinking I was ready to go and serve my mission, be the best Elder ever, come home, go to school and ride off on that adventure called life.
I’m going to focus a bit more on that first part, the part where I was leaving off to go on my mission. Early on in my mission as I was serving in my first area I wondered, why am I not making a difference? Why are people not listening to us? Why, why, why? I felt like I was sinking like Peter when he was going to Christ.
Jesus and Peter
During this time of hardship and frustration my trainer and ultimately one of my best friends shared this story with me and it changed me and it still changes me, even though I’ve known this for months.
    A young man was walking down the beach at sunrise with his grandfather. It was low tide, and there were many creatures to be seen. They laughed, talked, and explored the tides, until they reached a spot where thousands upon thousands of starfish covered the sandy beach.
     “Grandpa? What is going to happen to all these starfish?”
Starfish
     “They are going to dry out and die on the beach, then high tide will come and wash them all up and it will happen again tomorrow.”
     “That’s awful! Isn’t there something we can do?”
     The young man then picked up the nearest starfish, and hurled it as far as he could into the ocean.
     “What are you doing? There’s no point. You can’t save all of them, it’s just the way it has to be.”
     The young man continued. He threw another starfish in the ocean, then another, then another.
He wasn’t going to give up that easily.
     “You can’t save them all, it doesn’t matter!”
     The young man threw one more starfish into the ocean, turned to his grandfather and said,
     “It mattered to that one.”
     He turned around and threw another starfish. Without a word, the grandfather bent down, picked up a starfish, and hurled it into the ocean.
   Sometimes being a missionary you feel like the grandfather, you see so much filth, so much sin and so much bad you just want to give up. You want to quit and go back to a blissful ignorance. However as disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to help those we see in need.
In honesty this has gotten me through the hardest times on my mission. There have been many times when I’ve felt like I’m not doing anything, nothings changing and since it never has it never will change.
But that one. One thing I can promise is that you will make a difference to that one, you will find that one.
For me, I’ve found that “one”, you can find that one who needs a hand, a shoulder to cry on, the one in need of comfort. When you serve them and help them you’ll know, you’ll know the difference.
The great thing about this work is that its not our work, we aren’t in charge, we have the Godhead at our side. As it says in D&C 68:6, we will be standing right alongside our Lord Jesus Christ.
We will make a difference, not because it is our work or we are that strong, but rather because when we side with Christ we know that good will prevail.
When you feel like your not making a difference or not doing enough just remember,
It matters to that one. 
Starfish 2
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So for me and for most other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there can be a lot of ways living our faith can be hard.

This would be me, a normal Mormon boy

This would be me, a normal Mormon boy

 

Being a born and raised member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon many people have asked why am I a member.

 

Those who tend to have an unfavorable outlook on the Church and all members will say I am just a member because it is what I was raised with and I was brainwashed into it.

 

Others will say that there are many great benefits received from the Church by being a member and that would be why.

 

Others say that it might have a peaceful feeling and it’s what feels good to me.

 

Yet others will say how I am a member because I couldn’t handle reality without a crutch and that crutch being my beliefs in deity.

 

And still more will say I am merely following in my families footsteps because my family would be disappointed in me if I left the Church.

 

Whenever I encounter these sentiments I have many thoughts but one thing that always comes up is how none take into account that I might have been able to use my free will, my agency to choose to be in the Church and have that belief in Christ.

 

To be quite frank, if I hadn’t believed this Church was Christs church there is no way I would have kept going as a teenager. For a long time I didn’t know that this Church was true, I didn’t know that there were indeed prophets on the Earth, I didn’t even always know if Heavenly Father really was there.

 

But I wanted to know.

 

However throughout this time I believed it might be true. I had lived in the Church, seen my parents examples of living the Gospel and I had seen many of the blessings that the Gospel brings. Despite all of those examples, I still couldn’t say I knew my Heavenly Father knew me, that this was Christ’s Church and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

Effort

 

It took studying and work for me to learn that all of this is as it claims it is. It took my own actions     to get me motivated to serve a mission and to stay a member of the Church.

 

 

 

That’s the thing so many people do not get about Christ and life in general.

 

The good things, the things that actually last take that hard work. Knowing that God is there, that Christ really died for us, that will take work.

Work can cure a lot of things

Work can cure a lot of things

One of my grandmothers was a firm advocate of this. One of her favorite quotes that permeated my families lives and mine was entirely about this principle.

 

 

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worth doing will take time to do.”

 

So what is ultimately important is not so much about the stuff of Earth. But the knowledge we can gain about our Heavenly Father, Christ and the morals that can only be learned from right and wrong.

So what are you doing that is worth doing well?

 

Christ and children

Christ doing whats worth doing

Christ’s Experiance

This past month I hit a low.

 

I became frustrated at what I was doing and for a bit I just wanted to quit and give up. However some very wise Elders I know were there for me in my time of need and they helped me up. They gave me the strength I needed to keep going even though things weren’t the best. I was able to lean on them and start back up.

 

After a bit of reflection I started thinking about how Christ has felt everything. Absolutely everything and how much that really is. That meant that Christ knows what I felt when I was feeling down, he knows what I felt when my grandpa died and knows what its like to grow up in the 21st century. He knows it all. That’s why he’s able to comfort us and help us through the Spirit and through others. He knows exactly what will help us the most in our times of need.

 

A talk I heard once by Sister Okazaki in Church, spoke on this subject of what Christ has felt. Sister Okazaki you could tell from her talk had come to know what Christ had done. She said,

 

“We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family.

But we don’t experience pain in generalities.

We experience it individually.

 

That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you.

 

He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election.

 

He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid.

 

He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia.

 

He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam.

 

He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

 

He knows all that.

He’s been there.

 

He’s been lower than all that. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections.

 

He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.”

 

Whenever you feel no one can help, no one knows what you are feeling turn to the Savior. Turn to Christ and he will come to you and heal you. All that is required that you let him in.

 

Will we be converted that he may heal us?

 

Will we let the Living Waters of Christ come and quench our spiritual thirsts.

 

I promise you that if we let Christ into our lives, we will be able to overcome every difficult day we have. It may not be easy but you will get through it. So keep with it.

 

Godspeed my brothers and sisters and just keep going.

 

So just remind yourself that you’ve been through hard times and you’ll go through them again. But with Christ you will be able to do it.

Getting through rough days

Getting through Rough Days

Courage

Try Again

“Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I’ll try again tomorrow.”

President Thomas S. Monson

Short post today but as we come closer to the Holidays, that season that is filled with the Spirit of Christ often people become discouraged.

They didn’t find that perfect gift, they don’t have the money to make this Christmas as special as the last one, they can’t be with their family and various other things.

In life we make mistakes, we won’t always have the perfect day and we will make mistakes. Often those mistakes can seem earth shattering to us.

However when we realize we don’t need to tackle the world in one day and that the mistakes of today don’t determine our future. We will find success in the future.

So maybe you failed today, try again tomorrow and learn from those mistakes. As you keep trying our Heavenly Father will bless you and you will be able to overcome. Things will be all right in the end.

Being Exceptional

So when I first became a missionary in the missionary training center or the MTC, my group was headed by a branch president, someone who presides over meetings, offers us advice and keeps going in the right direction. Basically he oversees us. My group was lead by President Stice.

 

Now President Stice was in his early 50’s, like a coach who is extremely firm in his beliefs but doesn’t force them. He always would explain them and try to help us see why he acted the way he did.  He does it his way and tried to be the best example he could for all of us new missionaries. He would use enough fire to really get our attention and to motivate us but not enough to really hurt us.

 

So our first night in the MTC he asked us a simple question. “What type of missionaries do we want to be?”

 

Pretty simple question right?

 

Now this was our first night so keep in mind we were as timid as little rabbits still venturing into the great unknown of missionary life. So as you can imagine it was pretty silent for a little while.

A couple of the bolder souls started trying to give answers . “Good, obedient, diligent, the best.” were some of the answers.

 

President Stice looked at us in a loving but firm way and informed us of what answer he was looking for.

 

“Exceptional.”

 

“I want you all to be exceptional missionaries. It’s easy to be an average missionary but to be an exceptional one, that takes something special but it will make all the difference, I promise.”

 

Now this doesn’t just apply to being a missionary, it can go for everything. So think about what type of student you are, what type of worker you are, spouse, brother, sister, discipleship of Christ.

 

Just like its easy to coast through being a missionary. Doing what’s required what everyone else does, just going with the flow. Being average.

 

I however want to focus on being a follower of Christ.

 

Do we live as Christs followers at all times? Do we really do what Christ would do? Do what Christ wants done?

 

Of course the answer for all the time is no. We all make mistakes we’re human. The important thing is are we trying. Are we trying to be exceptional followers of Christ?

 

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is being exception. During those hard times when everything goes wrong, when you feel you just can’t do it by yourself. When you feel you just can’t stop making mistakes.

 

Its during these times we need to remember, God gave us our weakness’s.

 

In Ether 12 we are taught we’re given our weakness’s by our father so that we can grow. We grow in the hard times because its in the hardest situations that we learn the most.

 

Just like the finest steel is forged in the hottest fire so are the strongest testimonies and strengths are forged in the hardest of times.

 

An apostle of the Lord taught this in his talk of Come What May and Love It. In this talk Elder Worthlin taught that when we are going through those hard times we can choose to be discouraged by it or we can choose to move on and learn from our experiences.

 

As we learn to love the hard times with the good we’ll be able to grow, in faith, in strength and in understanding of our Father’s plan for us. We will become exceptional sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Our father may have left obstacles in our paths, mountains to climb but I promise you, if you rely on Him you will be able to overcome.

 

In closing I would ask you all to watch this video, “Mountains to Climb” and try and relate with those in it. Think of a trial you’ve had or are having in your life and after seeing how these people overcome think how the Gospel can help you just as it has helped them. I promise that with the Gospel of Christ as the center of our lives we will be able to overcome our mountains.

We can be Exceptional.

What we all Want

So as a missionary we get the great opportunity to go out and help people.

Our calling is quite literally to do what Christ would do were he with the very people we are with. Now of course I don’t do this perfectly or even very near perfectly but I’m trying. So while trying to be a true representative of Christ there are a few things I have noticed that are common to many, many people.

The biggest desire, the most wanted thing I notice people in life want is stability. They work so hard to try and have their own permanent possessions, they work to have a stable relationship with their friends and family. Its a constant fight to preserve that stability in life.

This desire for stability is also present in our spiritual natures. So many people want some big, huge, constant thing. Only problem with that is, that’s not how this universe works.

The way I see it is, Anything worth doing is worth doing well and anything worth doing well is going to take some effort to do well.

So that’s why we can’t just wake up and have changed because the universe’s laws don’t work like that.

There are eternal laws that everything obeys, yes everything. An example for me of one of these came to me in the form of playing the piano. I remember the first time I decided I was going to learn a real performance song. Its name was Song of the Ocean, by Jon Schmidt.

Song of the Ocean has 8 pages in it. That’s 8 pages I have to learn to complete the song. Now I in my foolishness thought I would be able to go about learning it as I had previous easier songs. Playing the whole thing through multiple times till I had the muscle memory of it.

 

Well I was wrong.

 

I had to learn it page by page by page by page. It was tedious, it was time consuming and it was hard. My family can attest that for the first week I had to focus merely on the first two pages to get the underlying theme down so I would be able to play it throughout the harder parts.

 

This relates to life and everything because nothing comes without work. In order to learn a song on the piano, you have to practice, in order to have a strong relationship with your spouse, you must show them that you love them. In order to know if there is a God, you have to put some work in there to find him.

 

God is our loving Heavenly Father but just like any good parent he does not coddle us. He wants us to get up and try to find him. He’s left us search lights, hints, notes and all sorts of things to help us but we have to follow those hints, those lights in order for them to do anything. If we just sit around waiting for something to happen, you will never find that stability you seek.

 

That’s why we as missionaries we invite people to pray, to read the scriptures and come to church. Those are just some of the ways you will find our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I promise you there is nothing that will bring as much stability as this. If you are waiting for something to happen for you, you will be waiting until the end.

 

So just like how I couldn’t learn Song of the Ocean in one day, you probably won’t find out Heavenly Father in one day. You’ll have to work for it, you’ll have to make an effort to come to him. His arms are open and reaching out to you  but he won’t force you to come into his arms.

 

I don’t know all of you reading this but I do know this about you. You are a child of our Heavenly Father, and the way to find the most peace, the most stability, in our lives is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’d love to talk with any of you if you have any questions about what I’ve written so always feel free to message me.

So if you’re looking for peace, stability, hope, joy or comfort, Christ always stands with his arms open. So in the words of an ancient prophet.

Come unto Christ and be perfected in him. Please do, it will be worth every moment of heartache and trouble to come to the Prince of Peace.