Who are we?

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are currently serving in the mission field of The Church
for a period of three years. This blog represents our own opinions and experiences for these three years. And does not represent or speak
for the doctrine or opinions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

So Much to Share . . . So Little Time . . .

Much to Share, Not Much Time . . .

A continual challenge that we have is to try to fit everything in.  The days are full from morning until night.  We are frequently on the road, traveling, in meetings, training, planning with missionaries, Church Leadership or members of the Church for various reasons.

We have so many messages we could share, so many experiences, trials, challenges, miracles, wonderful occurrences from our own happenings or that missionaries have shared with us . . . but we have so little time to put together the words to express what has come to pass.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

During the month of March the mission has been very blessed!

The mission San Pedro Sula Este has been blessed to have several uplifting and inspiring visitors that have blessed us through their teachings and testimonies.

Our visitors this month include -

  • Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
  • Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy
  • Elder Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church
  • Elder Adrian Ochoa of the Second Quorum of the Seventy with their wives, and . . .
  • Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

This post will be about our visit from Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
(Because he came earliest in the month, I will also be posting the inspiring messages of the other visiting General Authorities of the Church soon)

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Elder Kevin R. Duncan - 

Elder Duncan has much experience in Latin America and had much to share with our missionaries.  He served as a young missionary in Chile, then spent time working in Brazil, later served as a Mission President in Chile, and now is the President of the Central America Area, living in Guatemala with his wife and two youngest daughters.  We were very grateful to have him tour our mission and greet all our missionaries, as well as address them in three different meetings.

I'm going to share many of the thoughts he left with us . . .

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Always begin and end speaking of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New Testament.  He visited the American continent after his death and resurrection, he appeared to many so that there could be no doubt of his resurrection.  These occasions are recorded both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon which is another witness of Jesus Christ.

He is our Lord, our Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father.
He ransomed us with his blood.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

We can do nothing as missionaries except we teach and testify of the importance of the Savior, his atonement and the blessings of the His restored gospel to the earth.

Because of Him . . . all that is good in the world, has come to pass.

Testify powerfully of Christ in all moments.

Are you Living up to Your Potential?

You are very needed here - field is white and ready to harvest, have a great work to do, much potential!

Are we living beneath our privileges?
Do we have the faith required to live UP to our privileges?
Knowing that our Heavenly Father will bless us.

Elder Duncan - "I am here to invite you to receive the VISION of the work you can accomplish in your areas, branches, wards and stakes.  Through much study, and much work, I promise you can receive it!"

We need to envision each of our areas as the future Stakes of Zion!

We need good priesthood leaders!  Men who diligently pay a full tithe and offerings.  I particularly noted his next words . . . "think of the strength behind these faithful men!"  "Speaking of women, I know all the apostles, and believe it or not, each of their wives are better than they are.  My wife is better than me!"  "So think of the strength that comes when we find these faithful men!"

And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite agoodnessof God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things.  Mosiah 5:3

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Envision the potential of yourself and your areas.

An Invitation . . . to be Better . . .

Get rid of those things in your life that are preventing you from accomplishing this great work . . . tablets, extra telephones, telephone chips, inappropriate music . . . inappropriate activities or thoughts . . . selfishness, problems with leaders or companions . . . just stop it, get rid of it today!

Teach the members what are appropriate missionary activity and don't linger longer than necessary after lessons, lunch or dinner.  Teach and testify in every home, with every person.  Keep visits to less than an hour, preferably 30 minutes.

You are a representative of the Savior, you have been officially called by a prophet to represent the Church and the Savior.  Be an example 24 x 7.

We have the power to change the work here that is miraculous.

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

From March 20, 2015

Do Your Part to Hasten the Work of Salvation

Elder Duncan shared Elder Bednar's words from the most recent Seminar for Mission Presidents in 2014.  Speaking of the scripture found in D&C 88:73 -

Behold, I will ahasten my work in its time.

It is very clear that we play a role in helping the Kingdom of God roll forth across the world.  But it is the Lord who hastens His work.  It is the Lord's work and he does the hastening.  It is the Lord who directs and moves His work forward.

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Elder Bednar - 

"Will we keep pace?  Will we as individuals and collectively as a church keep pace with the Lord's hastening? Or will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with? 
Will we learn and teach the Savior's way?  Will each of us here today learn, repent, change, and teach more effectively the Savior's way? Or will we be so entangled in the traditions and patterns of the past that we will be unable to keep up the pace of the Lord's hastening? 
If we always do what we have always done, then we will always get what  
we have always gotten.   
May I suggest that what we have always done and always gotten were good in their time but need to improve as the Lord is quickening the pace.  The Lord's hastening of His work requires us continuously to learn, to change, and to press forward with faith in the Savior. 

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

The Lord's anointed servants are leading the way to more spiritually sensitive, rigorous, and demanding patterns of learning and teaching. 

You were not called to serve today because of what you have done in the past.  Rather, you were called because the Lord has confidence in what you can and will do in the future.  You were called because of what you will become! 
Will we keep pace as the Lord hastens His Work?  Will we shape ourselves to the majesty of our callings?"

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Every Member a Missionary . . . and . . .
Every Member a Member!!

Elder Duncan shared a video with the missionaries of easy ways to involve the members more frequently in their teaching.  Encourage the members be active in teaching, attending firesides with investigators, inviting neighbors and friends into their homes for the missionaries to meet with.

Think how beneficially the time is spent if a member invites two families into their home for the missionaries to come teach!  Saves the missionaries a great deal of time finding, and they feel the Spirit of a warm Latter-day Saint home, as well as make very good use of the missionaries teaching time.

Continually invite less active members to come back.  Involve them in reading the Book of Mormon so they can remember that same Spirit that testified to them originally of the truthfulness of gospel principles.

Members are Key!

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Always be Finding - Always!

During lessons, invite everyone in the house to participate.  Invite the the neighbors in.  Ask each person for references.  Point out moments when the witness of the Spirit is strong.  Invite everyone to come participate in the next lesson.

Elder Duncan brought an  example of a teaching sheet for all investigators, filled with lesson plans and gospel principles.

Our assistants have already created one special for our mission that each missionary will have available to use with each of their investigators.

Use the Area Calendars - 

Each missionary, investigator, less active or active member should have a copy of the Area Calendar to use to track their personal scripture study, prayers, Family Home Evening, temple work, family history work.

Use the calendars!

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … : for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”—Matthew 6:19, 21

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

A Mission of Angels - 

We have a mission of angels on the other side of the veil doing their part to hasten the work.  They are preparing the hearts of many to receive the word of the Lord.  

 For behold, aangels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.  Alma 13:24

How do we work with these Angels?  Through the power of prayer, fasting, planning, study, planning to teach and praying for the proper preparation.  What would the Savior have us do so that we can be prepared to assist these missionaries from the other side of the veil with their work?

And there was ano inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their bhearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming— Alma 16:16

Today is a New Day! 

From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015
From March 20, 2015

Faith is the key.  

Through faith we can overcome whatever challenges we may find in our paths.  It's easy to have faith when times are good, when things are easy, when our appointments come to pass, when our investigators come to church, when they progress and read and study and pray as we have helped them.  

Having faith during the hard times is hard!  But it is the most important time!  

Faith is the basis of testimony.
Faith represents sacrifice.
Faith is a miracle.

Faith is a gift from God.

"It is marvelous and wonderful thing that thousands are touched by the miracle of the Holy Spirit, that they believe and accept and become members. They are baptized. Their lives are forever touched for good. Miracles occur. seed of faith comes into their hearts. It enlarges as they learn. And they accept principle upon principle, until they have every one of the marvelous blessings that come to those who walk with faith in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is faith that is the converter. It is faith that is the teacher."
--Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, February 28, 2015

There is a God, and He Sent His Son . . .

In a previous post - 

 entitled There is a God, and He loves You . . .

We shared an important message that we, missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  take to all the world.

God is our Heavenly Father.  We are his children.  He loves us.  

Because of his great love for us, we are here in this mortal existence on earth to learn and grow through challenges that bring us closer to God and help us become stronger.  Despite experiencing many challenges and trials in life, God's plan is a plan of happiness.

It is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

As we learn about Jesus Christ, we can discover lasting inner peace, great joy in this life, and a continuing eternal life of joy and happiness.

In the above referenced post we answered many questions such as, "Why it's important to know of God's existence", "How can I know that God exists?", and "Why do I need God and Jesus Christ in my life?"

If you are seeking answers to questions, you may want to start by reading this post first.

As an important part of God's eternal plan for his children, or our Heavenly Father's plan . . . it is important to understand that . . .

There is a God, and He Sent His Son . . .

As missionaries we share wonderful news that brings great comfort to many; that your life did not begin here on earth.  Nor will it end when you leave this life.

In addition to our physical bodies, we are made up of a spiritual or immaterial being as well.  This spiritual portion of our being is immortal.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other religions as well refer to this portion of our being as our spirit or soul.  So we are essentially created with two very important parts . . . our physical bodies, and our spirits which during our earthly existence dwell within our physical bodies.

Before we were born on earth our spirits lived with our Heavenly Father who created us.  Part of our Heavenly Father's plan for us was coming to earth to receive our physical bodies.  Our bodies allowed us to experience both great joy . . . and pain . . . experiences necessary to strengthen us and allow us to progress.

Just as our own children cannot learn, grow and progress if they stay forever in our homes and under the watchful and nurturing eye of their parents . . . we like all children everywhere had to leave our Heavenly home to learn to grow through experience on our own through the ability to make great choices and decisions and experience the consequences that bring growth and change.

Heavenly Father Knew We Would Make Mistakes . . .

Heavenly Father knew we would make mistakes in our mortal life.  Sometimes through our choices or decisions and the choices and decisions of others, He knew we would experience great pain, remorse, adversity, misery, shame or guilt.

In our earthy existence God has given us commandments, that through obedience we can learn to experience joy, and learn to make choices between right and wrong.  We can read about the commandments in the scriptures . . .  a favorite is found in John 14:15.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments"

 But the scriptures also teach us that "no unclean thing can dwell with God".  1 Nephi 10:21.

Since all of us are mortal here, living in an imperfect and mortal world, try as hard as we can we all will make mistakes.  We all will make choices that go against the commandments of our Heavenly Father, we all make some bad decisions, bad choices or act in ways contrary to the divine law of God.

So how can we as imperfect beings return to live again in a perfect world with God, our 
Heavenly Father?

God sent His son Jesus Christ . . .

God sent His son Jesus Christ to earth to give us a way to overcome our mortal sins and imperfections.

 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

Our Heavenly Father sent His son Jesus Christ to take upon Him, by His suffering, the sins of all who would live upon the earth, and to overcome physical death.   Jesus Christ, through His suffering became our Savior and our Redeemer, and made an infinite atoning sacrifice for us.  He is the only way by which we can return to live with God, our Heavenly Father.  The mortal ministry of Jesus Christ upon the earth ended through his suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.

Resurrection, meaning through death, His physical body separated from His spirit.  Then on the third day after His death, His Spirit and body were reunited again, for all eternity, never to be separated again.  Thus, giving each of us, God's mortal children, the gift of repentance and forgiveness.  Only through his mercy and grace can anyone be saved, and through the power of resurrection, overcome the physical death of our own bodies.

After His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to many people, showing them the wounds in his hands, feet and sides, showing them that he had a physical immortal body of flesh and bones.

These events are called the Atonement.

Jesus Christ saves us from sin.

Jesus Christ saves us from death.

For that . . . he is very literally our Savior and Redeemer.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . 

We will ALL be resurrected.  We will all be resurrected regardless of whether we have done good or evil in this life.  We will have a perfect immortal body of flesh and bones, that will never again be subject to death, pain or disease.  The power of the resurrection makes it possible for us to return to God to be judged, but does not guarantee that we will be able to live in his presence.  For that blessing we need to be free from sin.

Being made free from sin is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and striving faithfully to keep his commandments throughout the rest of our lives.  

Through continually evaluating and making changes to improve our lives, we may obtain forgiveness and be made free from sin, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  We are relieved of our burdens of guilt, shame, doubt - through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and become worthy to live in the presence of God once again.

As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can also experience overcoming trials, challenges, grief, sickness and pain.  We can find peace, joy, and consolation.

How can we follow the Savior and become like Him?

When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind ... And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37–39). Other ethical teachings of Jesus include loving one's enemies, refraining from hatred and lust, and turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:21–44).

In paying for our sins, grief, and pain through His Atonement, the Savior did not relieve us of our personal responsibility.  We must show that we accept Him and will strive to follow his commandments.  

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, one of the twelve apostles on the earth today, tells us - 

Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places.

We can learn of the Savior and follow him through studying his life as found in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and other scriptures.

  • Jesus taught that baptism was necessary to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:5).
  • Jesus began His preaching by inviting His listeners to repent (see Matthew 4:17).
  • He affirmed that keeping His commandments would require His followers to leave what He called “that which is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; see also verse 13).
  • And the Apostle Peter later declared, the followers of Jesus were to be “a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).
  • Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1).
  • In the familiar parable of the lost sheep, Jesus taught that we should go out of our way to seek after any of the flock who have strayed (see Matthew 18:11–14Luke 15:3–7).
  • Jesus taught that when we are wronged by persons, we should forgive them (see Matthew 18:21–35Mark 11:25–26Luke 6:37). 
  • Most Christians give to the poor and the needy, as Jesus taught (see Matthew 25:31–46Mark 14:7).
  • The Savior directed His followers to take His teachings to every nation and every creature. (see Mark 16:15)

Participate in Sacred Ordinances . . . 

The Savior instituted the ordinance of the Sacrament, or communion as other Christian religions call it.  He commanded His followers to participate in this sacred ordinance in remembrance of Him.  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we follow that commandment each week by attending church services on the sabbath day where we partake of the bread and water in His name, and renew covenants to always remember Him and keep His commandments.

For members of the Church, the Sacrament meeting in the most sacred and holy of all the meetings of the Church.  If we are to be His disciples and be committed members of His Church, we must remember and reverence the sacrament.  By doing so we express our desire to follow the Savior, and allow His Atonement to work it's blessing in our lives.  Participating in the sacrament increases our love and appreciation for our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ.

Be Ye Therefore Perfect . . .

The Savior taught in Matthew, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect".  We understand that we become perfect only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and it is part of God the Father's plan for his children to return to him.  By following the example of the Savior, we become "like" him . . . and become "joint-heirs with Christ". (Romans 8:16-17)  Meaning we have the opportunity for eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

There is a God . . . and he loves us.
He sent His Son.

His son, even Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which we teach to all people everywhere . . . every missionary message that we share . . . is only an appendage to this testimony.

Indeed He Lives.  
We express our great faith and confidence in Him, as we strive to live His gospel.

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