Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quote of the Day - Elder Bednar

David A. Bednar

True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action. Consider this powerful example:

Under the leadership of Joshua in the Old Testament, the children of Israel transported the ark of the covenant. The Israelites came to the River Jordan and were promised the waters would part—that they would be able to cross over on dry ground.

Interestingly, the waters did not part as the children of Israel stood on the banks of the river waiting for something to happen; rather the soles of their feet were wet before the water parted. The faith of the Israelites was manifested in the fact that they walked into the water before it parted.

How many times in our lives do we want the waters to part so we can cross over on dry ground? Trusting in God enables us to press forward with a brightness of hope into uncertain and often challenging situations.

Be Sure of Your Target

Be Sure of Your Target

On a beautiful fall day several years ago, we were driving to our cabin in scenic Bear Lake, Idaho.  As we began the final stretch of our trip and turned onto the road that took us through Logan Canyon and over the mountain to the lake, I noticed a sign on the left side of the road at the mouth of the canyon. It had a picture of a moose, an elk, and a deer on it.  The caption at the top read, "Be sure of your target".  In other words, don't shoot a moose if you only have a license to shoot a deer.

As we continued up the canyon, we saw lots of pickup trucks pulling campers and trailers,with horses.  The backs of the trucks were loaded with supplies.  There were tents, folding chairs, coolers full of food, firewood and ATV's.  The rear window of most cabs had a rack with rifles on it.  All these images reminded me of my youth.

My dad and brothers used to go hunting every year.  It’s something they looked forward to.  It was fairly easy to get a deer license.  It was more difficult to get an elk or moose license.  The number of licenses available to hunt moose was much smaller than the number of licenses available to hunt deer. Going moose or elk hunting was a much bigger deal.  I remember they had to plan way in advance and submit a request to have their name put in the hat for a drawing to see who actually got the limited licenses available.  Back in those days, most of the men who submitted their name for the drawing actually went to the Division of Wildlife Resources office at 5:00 am in the morning to watch the drawing so they would know immediately if their name was drawn.  It was a big event.  I think my dad and brothers put a lot more thought and effort into going moose or elk hunting than they did deer hunting. 

Over the years, I’ve thought about that sign occasionally.  In the mission field, I find myself thinking about it as it relates to missionary work.  It has many meanings.

Don’t shoot a deer if you have a license to shoot a moose.  Be careful what you aim for.  Know what you are looking for and don’t settle for anything less.  When missionaries leave their homes and families to go preach the gospel, that’s what they should do.  The goal of all missionaries is to find, teach, and baptize.  It takes a lot of effort to prepare for a mission.  The most important thing to prepare is a strong testimony with a lot of faith.  When missionaries reach the mission field, they can get up early in the morning and go hunting investigators or they can be like the lazy hunters who just go through the motions and don’t really accomplish anything.  Some hunters just want to sit around the campfire and tell stories while the avid hunters want to get up early and go out in the forest in search of their prize.  They know what their target is, and they go after it. 

A lot of planning and expense goes into hunting.  Before going hunting, a hunter has to have a gun and ammunition and he has to know how to shoot the gun.  That usually requires hours of practice at a target range perfecting his aim.  Guns are expensive and it takes many hours of work to earn the money to buy one.  Getting the necessary supplies needed for a hunting trip requires much planning and organizing, and it takes money to buy them.  Missions are the same way.  They require a lot of planning, hard work, and effort.  Missionaries need to know what they want to accomplish before ever going on a mission.  They need to attend church, read the scriptures, pray fervently, have a strong testimony, and exercise faith.  They need to get a job and save money to pay for the time they will spend serving the Lord. 

I remember my parents joining with other families when planning a hunting trip.  Friends and neighbors who were also avid hunters joined together and we all gathered at the same location.  It was exciting to be with other families who were looking forward to the same thing.  Future missionaries need to choose friends with the same aspirations of going on a mission to spend time with.  Together they can set goals and learn from each other.   It’s easier to stay focused and make wise choices when others around you are doing the same thing. 

The big prize when hunting is coming home with a trophy animal.  The prize for a missionary is spending 18 to 24 months in the mission field, learning as much as possible from other missionaries with the same goals, converting others and helping to bring them unto Christ.  Strengthening their own testimonies is an added bonus.  The final goal is to get what you are after.  For members of the church that is being sealed in the temple and creating eternal families.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rome East Zone Conference - February 2015

February 24, 2015

Rome East Zone Conference - February 2015

Ether 12:6
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that 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.

These are the kind of people who exercise great faith:

Alma 17:2-3
Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

3  But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.

These were their standards of excellence:

Alma 17:13-15
And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.

14  And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.

15  Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.

Alma 17:16
Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah had undertaken the work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption.

Why they believed they could convert the Lamanites:

Mosiah 28:2-5
That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them.

3  Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

4  And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.

5  And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi.

They had been the vilest of sinners and they had changed their lives and been truly converted.

Alma 19:33-36
And it came to pass that when Ammon arose he also administered unto them, and also did all the servants of Lamoni; and they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.

34  And behold, many did declare unto the people that they had seen angels and had conversed with them; and thus they had told them things of God, and of his righteousness.

35  And it came to pass that there were many that did believe in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them.

36  And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name.

What is your experience here in this life?

Alma 5:14-15
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15  Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

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Beginning Testimony

Beginning Testimony

Beginning Testimony

Happy Birthday

Departing Testimony

Departing Testimony