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, 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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Missionary Congo Bars

Hello all

By popular demand . . . here's a recipe for another favorite missionary treat!

It's Interview Time Once Again . . .

It's February . . . hard to believe it's interview month again . . . seems like we just barely finished.  My how time flies when you're having fun.  (Yes, missionary work can be fun, but it's also hard work :)

Many of the missionaries want me to share the recipe for their interview treats this month!

Congo bars have become a missionary favorite, usually made only for interviews or other special occasions.  I've been told that the missionaries LOVE their interview time with President Klein . . . but what they really look forward to is their homemade treat from Hermana Klein.  Just sayin' . . .

I was very fortunate to run across a good Congo bar recipe from Six Sisters that is much easier to make in mass for a special treat.

Always a Search for Ingredients . . .

I was even more fortunate to be able to locate all the ingredients to make these delicious bars here in Honduras.  You never know what you are going to find at the grocery store . . . thank goodness I bought every package of brown sugar on the shelf last time I found it . . . because today I'm going through it and after a quick trip to the market found that there is none on the shelf at the grocery store.

But here is the recipe!  Hope you enjoy!

Missionary Congo Bars
(adapted from this recipe here at Six Sisters cooking blog)

This is a double batch, meant to be baked for a CROWD
in a large jelly roll pan.

Missionary Congo Bars Recipe:
5 1/2 c. all purpose flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. butter, softened
4 c. brown sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like a mixture of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips)
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
(I actually leave out the nuts because some of our missionary have allergies . . . and besides the big chief . . . President Klein is NOT a fan of nuts :)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in chips and then pecans.
Spray a large JELLY ROLL pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake. (I feel like I underbake them slightly in the center but they are always baked all the way through when I cut them up)

I like to let them cool completely before cutting.  May be frozen and served at a later date.
Yield: about 40-48 bars

 . . . And there you go!
All packed up and ready to go . . .

All 250 of them!

Friday, January 30, 2015

There is a God, and He Loves You . . .

There is a God, and He Loves You . . .

The first and most important message we take to all the world is . . .

There is a God.
He is our Heavenly Father, we are his children.
He has a body of flesh and bone, much like ours, only perfected.
He loves us. Each one of us . . . his children.
He weeps with us when we suffer, and rejoices with us when do things that are right.

He desires to hear from his children . . . through prayer.
He has prepared this earthly experience for us so we can learn and grow.
And through our earthly trials, challenges and experiences, become as He is.

He sent his son Jesus Christ to save us from physical and spiritual death.
He has a plan for us, here in this earthly existence.

From the beginning of time . . .

From the beginnings of all time man has asked the same question, is there a God?  Does he know me?  To seek such answers is the pursuit of religion.  By definition, religion is a belief or worship of a Being higher than our humanness, that has a controlling power.  The very definition implies that knowledge of such a Power comes through belief, or strong belief, which is equivalent to faith.  A belief or faith is also by definition a spiritual comprehension as opposed to knowledge based on proof.

Therefore if we seek for answers of a religious nature, having to do with a higher power or being greater than ourselves, our knowledge must include strengthening our beliefs, through strengthening our faith, rather than from knowledge only based upon proof.

The Foundation of all Righteousness

In an ever more confused and increasingly turbulent world . . . it will be essential to increase our capacity to seek learning by faith.  A quest if you will to seek and obtain and apply spiritual knowledge.  Faith is the first principle in revealed religion and the foundation of all righteousness.  A belief, strong belief, the equivalent of faith requires action on our part.  It is not a passive.  It requires that we participate and actively pursue.

Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares, "Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception." "Are you and I agents who act and seek learning by faith, or are we waiting to be taught and acted upon?

In an ever more confused and increasingly turbulent world . . . the world will surely come to us, with the teachings of men, mingled with their interpretation of scripture, or guidance from a higher power as is convenient to the current moral and political trends of the day.  We cannot wait to be "acted upon" by the world but must be anxiously engaged in asking, seeking and knocking (see 3 Nephi 14:7).

The Loud Voice of the Adversary - 

In recent years, with the rise of increasing use of the Internet, the loud voice of the adversary, in direct opposition to people of faith would proclaim that there is no evidence that God exists.  Evidence is the body of facts or information provided with the purpose to convince that a belief is true or valid.  It is meant to convince another of truth.  Even in a court of law the evidence is often contradictory, even one eyewitness can contradict another.  Scientific evidence is subject to many different interpretations, or may be unreliable due to errors in collection and analysis.

Therefore in a quest for reliable spiritual, religious, faith based knowledge, physical evidence only or the lack thereof cannot be deemed genuine, sound or true.  In people of faith, and particularly to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have experienced miracles and personal tender mercies of a spiritual nature, the evidence comes in the form of their own personal experience.

The Evidence of God's Existence - 

Try convincing the many that have been healed by God's priesthood power that evidence of God doesn't exist.  Try convincing those who entered the waters of baptism spiritually ill and burdened with a lifetime of sin that evidence of God's healing power doesn't exist.  The multitude of these seemingly insignificant in a great universe, acts of physical Godly power multiplied by the millions upon millions through thousands of years . . . and you begin to get a sense of the cumulative total of the evidence not just of God's existence but of His active intervention in human lives.

Ultimately the knowledge of God's existence and power can only be spiritually discerned.  But until the Spirit of the Holy Ghost which witnesses to the heart of man the truth of all things . . . that heart will remain without the evidence it seeks, and the natural man will continue to be "acted upon" by the world all around.

How do we Receive a Spiritual Witness?

But how does the Holy Ghost testify of truth and witness unto us?  Yes, through our feelings or senses, but much more than just a feeling . . . if you have ever felt a witness of the Holy Spirit then you know it's not just following your own subjective feelings.  It is something very different.  If you don't believe you have experienced a witness from the Holy Spirit it can be difficult to fully explain.

Some scripture examples might be helpful:

 Acts 2:37, 38  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men andbrethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Luke 24:32  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 
Matthew 16:15-17  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 
John 14:26  But the Comforterwhich is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
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: 

Mere Words Cannot Express . . .

It is fundamentally difficult to understand another's own personal manifestation of the Spirit due to the limited vocabulary of mankind.  We don't have the correct words to describe the significant experience that takes place through the senses to describe a spiritual witness of the Holy Spirit.   Because few have the poetic mind and descriptions necessary, we are left to try our best to convey what we've experienced, and it can be different for everyone.

Why Believe?

Why is a belief, strong belief, the equivalent of faith in God important in your life?  Sooner, or later, all of us will need our Heavenly Father and the Light of His Son, Jesus Christ in our life.  Sooner or later we will all need the Savior.  We all make mistakes we cannot fix, experience losses we cannot recover, and face pains, persecution, tragedies, burdens, and disappointments we cannot handle alone.

The good news is that we don't have to handle them alone.

When we stumble and fall, the adversary, even the devil, Satan, wants us to think we're not good enough to get up and get back on the right path.  When we face serious challenges, sometimes we find it difficult to trust in the Lord.  But trusting in Him brings us the hope we need in order to face our challenges.  If you've ever faced a natural disaster, been the subject of cruel gossip, experienced a life-changing challenge, had a falling-out with a friend, or stood up for what's right . . . you know you need the Lord's peace.

Comfort . . . Peace through the Atonement - 

The Savior is important to us because through his Atonement, teachings, hope, peace and example, He helps us change our lives, face our trials, and move forward with faith.

You can find the Savior's words of eternal life in the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  They offer a foundation for happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

We turn to our Heavenly Father and the Savior by:

  • Praying to Heavenly Father for the Spirit to be with us.
  • Reading the Lord's words in the scriptures and as revealed by living prophets.
  • Attending the temple.
  • Studying the Savior's life.
  • Applying his Atonement by repenting of our sins.

When we feel the Savior's peace, our hearts need not be troubled or afraid. (John 14:26-27)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

God lives
And he does love you

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...