Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3/4/15 - Got a ticket - Grrrrrr

     Well I survived transfers again.  This is my 4th transfer in El Paso 11th ward!  By the time I leave here I will be done with 1/4 of my mission. I feel like it was just yesterday I was at a watery eyed airport farewell. I DONT LIKE THIS, my life is passing me by - in 3 months I will be 20 years old yuck! This week Elder Goff and I decided to find some new investigators and we found 4!  We have had such success with using the Book of Mormon, it is such a blessing to have this record to solidify the fullness of the everlasting gospel.   Last transfer I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover for my 5th time, in 42 days.   I learned so much this time as I read it.  I love how every time that I read I learn something completely new. David a Bednar says when he reads the Book of Mormon, he searches on different gospel subjects like the atonement and highlights them as he reads the whole book cover to cover!  He said he has 4 or 5 hundred Books of Mormon and Bibles which he has done this with. That makes me want to read the scriptures more and more. I know that each time I have read the Book of Mormon I have come closer to my Heavenly Father and family than by doing anything else. I know that this gospel blesses lives and I am so thankful to be blessed enough to serve more. I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you!

After I mentioned that we were studying the Beatitudes in Sunday School - he added, "The life of Jesus Christ videos (on LDS.org or Mormon Messages on YouTube) are awesome - watch the Beatitudes, in brings a whole lot more meaning to the scripture - I would recommend watching those with the family back home they are really powerful.

P.S. Mom, I think you should read 1st Nephi chapter 5, sariah was a worried mother and then when nephi returned from his mission she realized how blessed she was. I love you mom.  (II don't know how he knew I had been missing him - it reads something like this when altered a little to fit : "... behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted.
8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my SON to flee into the wilderness OF EL PASO TEXAS; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my SON RICK, and delivered them out of the hands of HIS DIFFICULTIES , and given HIM power whereby HE could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded HIM.  :)

2/24/15 Zone Conference and an Apostle's Chalky Pat on the Back

Elder Holland of the Twelve Apostles - Chalky Hand Print where he clapped Rick on the shoulder.  Read about it near the end of the post.

What an eventful week and busy.  The first part of my week was very dry and I didn't get to feel like a missionary we spent the majority cleaning and moving apartments. I never thought so much junk could be accumulated in a missionary apartment boy was I mistaken. Nevertheless what few lessons we got in, we brought our all, and set 3 baptismal dates. I love missionary work so much! We had a once in a life time opportunity to hear from 4 general authorities in a zone conference Sunday morning - on the other end of town. Elder Villarreal, our area Seventy, spoke to us about Mosiah chapter 28 verses 2-3 and how everything they wanted to do was all because they loved God.

Bishop Gerald C. Clouse spoke about consecrating our lives to the lord he referred to Mark chapter 10 in the Bible
17 ¶And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.
 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

He was confused about the term taking up our cross and following him. In the French version of the Bible it does not say that - and he was from France. A Joseph Smith translation of Mathew 16:26 says that Jesus said “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments." He then said that was the decision for him when president called him 7 years ago and said, "Brother Clause you are called to be a seventy until you turn seventy - do you accept the call?" he had to make up his mind to take up his cross and follow him, and in the words of Jesus "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

            Craig C. Christiansen of the presidency of the seventy spoke on the wrestle that we have before prayer.  He referenced Alma chapter 8 and the book of Enos in the book of Mormon
 2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
 4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

His point was that sometimes we pray for what we want - but if we pray to the father for what he wants for us and really seek to know -he will always give us what we need at that - and that we all have the capability of receiving personal revelation from the Holy Ghost.

Last I come to Elder Jeffery R Holland of the quorum of the 12 apostles. He spoke for a long time so I will try and give you the jest of it.  The first thing was he says he can’t stand when missionaries fall away after their mission.  He says he wants to jump off a cliff into a river when he hears about things like that.  He said if the shepherds (us) are supposed to look after the sheep then for Pete’s sake who is supposed to look after the shepherds. He said looking back his mission was still the most important thing ever in his life. It helped him make all the decisions that would decide his destiny. He said that this is the most important thing we could be doing.

Next he said that this is the fullness of times - the last and the great dispensation.  He referenced 3rd Nephi chapter 21 - which was weird because that was what I was reading that very morning in my studies.
1 And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;
 2 And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;
 3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;
 4 For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;
 5 Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
 6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel
 7 And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
 8 And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
 9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

The things which they are talking about is the Book of Mormon - which is the sign of the fullness of times.  And that this dispensation would never fail.  Never before have we had such a powerful tool as the book of Mormon - it truly does answer all the questions of the soul.  He then proceed to have us read bits and pieces from the first 20 chapters of the 1st book of Nephi.  Basically all of them point to that God reveals himself, his gospel, his truths, his books, to his prophets.

He then walked up to ME and put his arm around my shoulder which (he did to no other missionaries) pronounced my name wrong and corrected himself without me saying anything - which I thought was amazing -and began to ask me what I thought about this.  I was dumbfounded and sat there in my imagination for a long quite moment with his arm still around me - and finally I said that God reveals everything to his chosen prophets.  He asked me some more questions and I was surprised that I answered all of them right.  At last he said, “What does this show us about the Book of Mormon?”   I said that it has to be true and that Joseph was a prophet.  He said, “Exactly!  The Book of Mormon is the sign of the restoration - of which the prophets of old spoke of.”

Amos chapter 8: 11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.

But they also prophesied of a restoration Isaiah said in chapter 29 
 8 It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.
 9 ¶Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
 10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
 13 ¶Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

How can this not be about our day? And how can we not see the importance of the Book of Mormon?  He said that the Book of Mormon is the most important evidence that we have that all these things are true.  The Book of Mormon is a book of revelation - about revelation - and is so important.   He told us that we wouldn't have Preach My Gospel if it wasn't for a missionary in Europe testifying of the Book of Mormon.

D&C 84 says: 
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
 57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.

He bore a powerful testimony about the Lord’s work and how it goes forth - and about the divinity of the Book of Mormon. And that God gives us scripture so we can come closer to him.