Friday, February 28, 2014

"Temptation is EVERYWHERE" - Trint-

     Once i heard a story of a district meeting, there stood the District Leader. T.W. and he looked upon his district with a gleam in his eye and said,

                                                       "Temptation is EVERYWHERE."
                                                                       How true it is.
     Today's world is full of many types of temptations and things that are meant  to hold us back in this life. Satan is attacking the family on every front, and he is continually trying new tantalizing ways to pull apart the central piece of our Father in Heavens plan, the family. Hardly a day goes by that we aren't exposed to something that is meant to hinder the Light of Christ within our lives. Drugs, Abuse of family, Stealing, Pornography, Dishonesty, you name it. There are many things in this world that Lucifer uses to entice us and pull us away from the light and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

     It reminds me of a great story in the Book of Mormon. We find the man named Lehonti, a captain of an army who chooses not to fight for anything other than righteous reasons, and he flees with his men. The opposing man, named Amalickiah, has the desire to take possesion of Lehonti's armies by fraud and deceit. 

 And it came to pass that when it was night he (Amalickiah) sent a secret embassy into the mount Antipas, desiring that the leader of those who were upon the mount, whose name was Lehonti, that he should come down to the foot of the mount, for he desired to speak with him.

     Just as Amalickiah sent to Lehonti, inquiring of him, so the devil sends invitations to us each day. Try this, do that, look at this, you can stop whenever you want. And he begins to assault us in the most flattering way. 

And it came to pass that when Lehonti received the message he durst not go down to the foot of the mount. And it came to pass that Amalickiah sent again the second time, desiring him to come down. And it came to pass that Lehonti would not; and he sent again the third time.
     And so it is with us, 'just TRY this, it isn't going to hurt. Just one smoke, just one glimpse of a bad website, just one text to tell someone how you hate them. Try it' and over and over he pushes us, in the most subtle of ways. But Lehonti was firm. And so Amalickiah pushes even harder, going almost to the camp. Satan creeps within the internet lines of our homes, the television, the hearts of families as they harbor bad feelings. 
12 And it came to pass that when Amalickiah found that he could not get Lehonti to come down off from the mount, he went up into the mount, nearly to Lehonti’s camp; and he sent again the fourth time his message unto Lehonti, desiring that he would come down, and that he would bring his guards with him.

     He always reminds you that you are in control. 'Bring your guards (you can stop any time you want.)' And so he uses deceit to make us think that we are in control, as he takes grasp. Eventually our story ends, and do you know how? Lehonti dies. After he let Amalickiah in to his life and let him be close, all the while being told 'you are in control,' he dies from poisoning from Amalickiah. A very carefully worded verse reads that the poison was administered by
     We slowly lose control of our lives by letting the devil in by degrees. As we let down our guard just a little, we come down off our mount, or let the Devil come nearly to our camp, we start to lose the will to fight him back. Many any addict has said that they never saw their addiction coming. So what is the best way to avoid it?

                                      DON'T COME DOWN OFF THE MOUNTAIN... DUH!

     As we start to let our standards slip just a little bit, we slowly begin letting ourselves become captive to the will of the devil. We start losing our drive to live free of addiction, we start to lose the Spirit, and we start to douse the flame of faith within our hearts.
      I challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to our Father in Heaven in saying 'I WONT COME OFF THE MOUNTAIN!!!' Set standards and restrictions for yourself, and then never EVER breach those standards. Pray often for strength to resist temptation. And fill your mind and life with uplifting things. A declaration of belief by the Prophet Joseph Smith still rings true in todays world and modern society.

 "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
May we always let Virtue Garnish our thoughts unceasingly, and always keep our lives pure.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


What Exactly is A Superhero?

     Many days as i go out into the world, it is hard to miss the signs of Marvel characters and movie people all around me. I see 'Batman' and 'Superman' symbols everywhere i go. Many a time i have knocked on the door of a home to see a toddler masked in a Batman headpiece sneaking a peak around mom at me.  I've heard a lot about 'The Avengers' and other superhero movies, full of lots of action and worth all of the 2 hours it takes to watch my young companions have assured me.
     But that's not a hero to me.    

     Its made my thoughts turn lately to what a superhero is to Me and what i think of when i think of words and phrases like strong, extraordinary, above and beyond, and saving the day. My thoughts turn to a few people in my life.


     I think most people could agree that a great source of superhero quality people in their lives is their family. Mom, Dad, siblings. They teach us who we are and help us become who we are meant to be. I am so blessed to have a wonderful family that cares for me and loves me. I am grateful for each of them and all they do for me.
     What makes them heros? What is it that they have taught me?
     My mother always taught me how to love learning. As we grew up she made sure we gained a love for books and reading, for writing, for exploring and trying new things. She made the world come alive as she took us through many a book. I remember as i got older many nights spent in our living room plopped on a couch having a discussion on a book that my Mom and i had both read. Discussing points we liked, strengths in the plots, different characters and their attributes. Many an evening we spent, and though to her we may have just been talking about books, it really meant a lot more to me inside. She taught me how the world could come alive and be a part of me, how i could explore any topic, country, or culture, all with just the turn of a few pages. I am so grateful she taught me to learn. And over the years, many of those conversations turned to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She helped me begin to put together the picture of what a true hero is and what that means to me. 

     My father has always been an example of hard work in my life. He has always been a hard worker and been very dedicated to being the best he can as an employee. Working a 60 hour week is pretty typical for him, then coming home and spending all day Saturday catching up on little projects around the house. We always got up early on Saturdays. I usually woke to the smell pf pancakes and bacon wafting through the house, and was fed the breakfast of a king. Then we would strap on some boots, grab some gloves, and off we went. Many a service project was attended, many a person helped. And many lessons were learned during this time. 
     I remember specifically when i was getting ready to come on my mission and i was saving a lot for this time in my life so i could afford to come and give two years of service. I was working and on the side i would cut and haul loads of firewood to sell to people which is big business where i'm from. I would often feel some stress that i was not getting enough done to be worth my time, or not working my full potential. Without complaining he always helped me. I would go after work in the evenings and cut loads of wood and he usually turned up to help me. Those few precious hours were some of my favorite. I learned a lot just in that short time, and it has staid with me as a missionary. Go the extra mile, do a little more than you have to.

     My Mission President and his wife have also become superheros to me. I signed the papers, and trusting the call from a prophet of God i left behind work, dating, education and friends to leave to the great Northwest to preach the gospel. From the first day, walking off the plane and into Oregon, till now as i near completion, i have felt a burst of 'superhero-ism' from these two wonderful people. Many new things have been taught and learned while here for me. I am so grateful for all they have taught me! When i realized just how much time and effort is put into being a mission president, it brought a new appreciation for the concept of going above and beyond in the things we are asked to do. I am so grateful for them. They are truly your parents and best friends while away from home.

     And so i rest my case, superheros do a lot more than stop bad guys and wear stretchy pants! Superheros have some really rare qualities, and some very lasting impressions on people.
     A superhero is someone who notices the unnoticed. Someone who does more than they are asked to, and does things JUST because they're asked to. They don't need a reason why or even a good reason to do every little thing, they do it because they've been asked to. A superhero is someone who lifts others, who whispers prayers on behalf of others more than for themselves. Someone who encourages, inspires, who tells you to dream big and then achieve. A superhero is someone who will tell you you can do it when no one else sees hope. I have a testimony of them, and the biggest hero of all,

Jesus Christ.

     He is always here for us. He is always watching, and He knows us. I am so thankful for Him. I know He lives and He loves us, that He truly has all the power to help us overcome by faith. I invite you  to come to know who He is more fully in your life, then go out and live the life He has. Be like Him. Be someones

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Things You Learn As A Missionary

There are a lot of things that you learn in two years, following are some excerpts from my journal:

Every Day Matters:
1. Sometimes you will be given food that you will bless a second time in your head just to be safe.
2. You will meet people who are having a bad day... every day.
3. 20 year old men throw really good whiny fits, worthy of reality TV.
4. Your pants can and WILL rip... in the most inopportune times and places.
5. Vintage ties are cool, not ugly.
6. You can get going fast enough on a bike to get a concussion....
7. If you and your companion are fighting, say you're sorry, then hug him. You'll both cry before to long.
8. There will be days when you have no appointments, it seems the city has been evacuated, and you also have the flu... then it will start raining.
9. It is both possible and realistic to fall asleep while praying.
10. Some food that you make out of the stuff you find in the kitchen of a missionary apartment would make eating bugs seem like a good idea.
11. No one wants to hear your problems... so don't be a whiny baby.
12. 20 year old men also have tendencies to think that sinks are more like dish burial sights till the Resurrection and they magically will rise and clean themselves and go into the cupboards.
13. Thrift stores- Used to you is straight from the factory to me.
14. Older folks will feed you till you are stuffed... then announce dessert. A true testimony of enduring to the end.
15. If you play hacky sack or disc golf in Oregon, you have instant connection with most of the population.

And there are also a lot of spiritual things that you learn in that time. Here are a few that stand out from my journal and experiences.
Spiritual Matters:
1. The Book of Mormon will become something that is precious to you. You will learn to love and cherish it.
2. There is nothing on this earth quite like walking into a font and baptizing someone.
3. You will knock on countless doors, and with enough faith, you will also be let in those doors.
4. Prayer is a tool and a privilege. Use it often, use it in reverence.
5. The Holy Spirit will guide you, learn to rely on it. I have knocked on doors and had them opened by a person that has said, 'i was in the other room asking God to send me help.' ALWAYS follow it!
6. Jesus Christ is real and the Reason. He is constant, He is kind, and He will never leave any of us alone. He is a constant force in the lives of many people that you will meet each and every day. Help others to have faith in Him. That is your purpose as a Son or Daughter of God. 

     I know these things are true. They have blessed me! They have strengthened me. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I can ride my bike, with no handlebars.... they literally fell off.

-I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars... They Literally Fell Off-

Life is full of races.... of failures and losses, and also of great victories. Sometimes the way we take our losses can be the biggest victory we will ever have.
     Something that my trainer and I really focused on in our companionship was being in shape to ride bikes. Each Wednesday night we would correlate with our Ward Mission Leader, an agonizingly long visit where we talked about who we had seen and then get any help with the work we needed, once the clock struck 8:50, it was game time.
     Goal: Apartment
     Distance: 1.3 miles
     Objective: Play bicycle tag on the way home, and don't be the last one who was it when you got home.
     This was a weekly game that i really looked forward to, bicycle tag. On this particular day, in the early summer of central Oregon, it was perfect racing weather. Each week my trainer managed to beat me, but this time i would win. This time, i was giving it my all. I had to win, i had to be victorious, no time to be a loser. And so with the stroke of 8:50, we exited to the parking lot to unlock our bikes, and time stopped...

*click* helmet buckled
*swish* backpack on
*chk-chk-chk* pant leg tucked professionally into my argyle socks

And the game was on.

     He was off in a flash, i swear that i saw smoke leave his tire as he took off from the church parking lot. It was exhilarating, i became like a lion with a gazelle in front of him. My one objective? Catch him as quick as i could. As we jetted out of the parking lot onto 7th street, i really came into my element. Flying past the high school, northbound in our quiet town of Lebanon, OR. This was about the closest thing to any excitement im sure this town had seen in a long time. We raced through the streets, weaving into the trees, bunny hopping curbs, it was a thrill! And all the while the hunter locked into the target, i approached closer and closer...
     Just as we were about to hit the main street, i was within inches of the tag. With one last push, giving every cell in my body a signal to push harder than ever before, i stretched out my hand for the tag, and then.... He took a hard right into a neighborhood. I never had seen this one coming, quick as a flash, i tapped my brake and went after him, forgetting one detail.....
I had just tightened my back brake.
     Some people complain their brakes don't work, i'm complaining my worked too well. Within an instant, my tire came screeching to a halt, sending me into a slide at high velocity around the corner, i saw the curb coming, and braced for impact.
     Onto the front lawn of a perfectly happy family i ejected, putting many record setting long jumps to shame on distance, as my body screamed over the grass, leaving streaks of green all over my brand new shirt, i rolled and rolled, and finally halted. I closed my eyes for a second, doing a self assessment for injuries and thinking surely i was dead. Then opened my eyes to find not only was i alive, but i was also alive and on the front lawn of a family who couldn't have been more surprised than if i had just popped out of a grave in their front yard. All 5 of them were standing there looking at me. I assured them i was alright as i picked up my bicycle and pride, and limped to the street. Hopped on, and took off. With a new fire within me, i took off knowing that the next time i would win.
     Often the race of life tends to resemble this, we have a corner or turn come into our lives when we least expect it, and we cant correct in time. The sign of a true Disciple of Jesus Christ, is that we get up, and keep going, with a renewed vigor that next time we wont let that happen again. We keep going, we keep striving, we keep pushing. 
     As we rely on the Savior, we may have the comfort that comes from knowing that as we stand up and hop onto our bicycles, Christ will not only wipe our tears and dust our trousers, but He will give you a push to help you take off again, then cheer you all the way to the finish. May we always dust off, stand up, and keep going when a trial comes into this race we call life.

The Race of Life- Thomas S. Monson 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Transfers- A lesson in Discipleship

Transfers- A lesson in true Discipleship
     The inevitable finally happened.                          Transfers.
     I am sitting with my new companion Elder Gurvine. He has been on his mission all of 2 days! We just double transferred into a little town called Eagle Point way down in southern Oregon. It has been a lot of fun.
     This has been my fourth double transfer of my mission, a double transfer being where two missionaries get moved into an area at the same time, all former people being taught and knowledge of the area is swept away. If you're lucky, the missionaries before you kept a very detailed area book and records of the area... well... we didn't strike gold this time.
     Walking into the little apartment at about 10:00 pm, after driving for 3 and a half hours from Eugene. I was tired. I'd been up at 3:15 on Monday and at 5:30 Tuesday, and 6:15 Wednesday. Not much time to sleep when its transfer time! We walked into our humble abode, and i took a look at the area book. It looked like something off national treasure when i opened up its dusty pages. I would have lost a hundred dollars on a bet that it was a historical artifact that Nicholas Cage found. Not good. Late though, so time to move on.
     Took a peek in the fridge, shutting it within a nano second. It seems that monsters really do exist, and there's one living in our fridge. I cracked it again to make sure, and my what wonderful amounts of food there are! All in various shades of pink and green, the mold monster breeds well in the fridge on leftovers!
     As I slipped into bed that night, unfamiliar walls dont really bother me much anymore. I laid there and thought to myself of my first night in the mission field, in much the same situation. Walking into an apartment i'd never been in before, laying down to sleep in an unfamiliar room, and a smile came to my face. Oh how i have grown since then.
     Many people have wondered why i came out on a mission? Sometimes i wondered that even myself, but now as i hit the homestretch in a full sprint, i realize all the miles behind me and how much i have changed. Lots of mistakes and also many succesful choices lay in the dusty trails of memories. It is much easier to look forward with hope, than it is to look behind you with regrets. It is much easier to keep going than to give up, when you finally understand what it means to cross the finish line. Maybe i didnt know what that meant when i started, but now i see why God asked me to serve. Now i increase my stride for the finish line. Jesus Christ is my support, the Spirit my coach, and eternal life is my mark. 
     May we each reach our potential, through meaningful and masterful goals. The kind of goals the Savior would have us set. Push a litte harder, love more, be kinder, help the helpless, lift the heavyladen, be a ray of hope for those in the darkest of nights, become a Disciple.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Working on Transfers- Inspiration


     Well its the end of yet another transfer here in the OEM. The end of another 6 weeks as a missionary. Time for some changes. Time for some new people, places, and things to fall in place. Time to grow and serve better than before.
     I always feel a really special Spirit as i prepare for this sacred last few days of the transfer. As i keep my Mission President in my prayers, i am so grateful that the Lord has placed me with him and his wife, i trust them, and i am thankful everyday for all they do for me. As i have faith in the decisions he makes to move me  and push me harder than ever, i have no question that it is the will of the Lord for me.

     I've been reflecting on change a lot lately, letting the past go and embracing the opportunity to have a fresh start. What a beautiful part of our Heavenly Father's plan, that each day when the night comes and we may not have been all we could be, the Lord promises us that tomorrow we can be new. Tomorrow brings a fresh start, vivid clarity, and the ability to achieve dreams. Tomorrow is full of the kind of hope only a faith in God can bring.

     The best way to accept change i have come to conclude on my mission is by embracing it. 
     As i drove away from my beloved first area in the mission field, leaving 6 months of memories and hard work behind, i shed a few tears. Surely i'll never love anywhere like this again i said, if only i knew how wrong i was. Now almost two years and 6 areas later, there have been many repeats of that same scenario. Driving away with all your things, praying that somehow you'll make a difference in this new place you're leaving for. Praying one day it will be as special. And i know it will, if i let God change me while i'm there.

     How will you let God change you?  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Comforter

A Comforter- 

     Many times as i take a step back to look at my life, i notice the quiet influence that the Spirit has had on me of comfort. I have felt the Spirit buoy me up many times, and fill me with hope and peace, the kind of peace that Earth craves and only Heaven offers, that is one of the many roles of the Spirit.

    John 15:26 "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"

     As i feel the Spirits comfort, i know that the Lord is watching over me. It provides me with a sense of belonging, a true sense of my identity as a Son of God. That God is truly my Father in Heaven and that He really loves me and cares for me. I am so grateful for his guiding influence in my life. As i have experienced the many sorrows and adversities that go along with missionary work i have often felt the Spirits influence wash over me, a quiet feeling or sense of hope. I know that this Spirit is given from God to me, to remind me that He cares. Its a big world out there and many of the things a missionary does are challenging, but nothing is impossible with God at my side.