So I’ve been in Salem for 2 weeks now and it’s just adorable here. I feel like I’m in Halloweentown because we have this adorable town square around the courthouse and there are pumpkins everywhere and it’s just so cute. The work here is shifting dramatically and I am so excited. We have a new branch mission leader and he wants us to emphasize us strengthening the members we have because hardly anyone comes to church so it’s our job to go out and find them and get to know what they could use. I am just crazy excited. So we have 3 people right now who are moving toward baptism. Cameron, Dominick, and Derek will all be baptized in October and they are all just so excited! Sister Gates and I are just getting along great and are becoming more unified in our teaching. Just loving it! We went to a mission fireside last night and got to see President and Sister Brough and feel of their love for us. Missionary work is hard and tiring, but so worth it! Called to serve!
Hey everyone I’m doing great! My first area is teeny tiny Salem, Indiana. Everyone just loves talking about Christ so finding people is so fun! Being here has really given me a greater appreciation for the blessing of the Gospel in my life. These plain and precious truths are exactly that, soooo incredibly precious. I love it when we find people who are so prepared for our message. (Also, there is a Mennonite community here, so fun!) One man even told us that he feels like the past few months of his life have led up to us meeting him, that he has had so many questions and we can answer them. The work is hard but rewarding. My companion is Sister Gates from Bountiful and she is so great! She’s been very patient with me and gives me so much positive feedback. After everything i say she says, I love it! Haha, she’s sweet. She came out a little over year ago so she goes home in March and says it’s just flown by. All is well, the members feed us, the Gospel is true, Joshua 1:9.
August 31, 2014 – The Prophet Joseph Smith
Missionary work-especially full time missionaries- hold a special place in my heart. I was nine years old when three missionaries knocked on our door. They brought with them the answers, truth, and the Spirit. Purpose and joy were added to the lives of my family and I as we were taught and accepted the gospel. I remember feeling so much gratitude to those young men who had brought us this marvelous gift that brought so much change to our lives. I knew, even then, that I wanted to one day serve in that same capacity, sharing this message of God’s love with others. And now a decade later, that goal is about to be fulfilled as I enter full time missionary service later in the week. I am so excited- and incredibly nervous- to share this restored gospel.
Alma chapter 32 verse 28 reads,
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
The root, or seed, of my testimony of this gospel began with learning of the restoration of the church and of the prophet Joseph Smith. And that’s exactly what I’d like to speak on today.
“One important way that God shows His love for us is by calling prophets, who are given the priesthood…Biblical history has recorded many instances of God speaking to prophets, and it also tells of many instances of apostasy. To end each period of general apostasy, God has shown His love for His children by calling another prophet and giving him priesthood authority to restore and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ anew. Through prophets in every age, including our own, God has revealed His plan of happiness…After the death of Jesus Christ…[and His]Apostles, priesthood keys and the presiding priesthood authority were taken from the earth[resulting in the Great Apostasy]. When the circumstances were right, Heavenly Father once again reached out to His children in love. He called a young man named Joseph Smith as a prophet. Through him the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.” (Preach My Gospel, chapter 3)
By revelation and through Heavenly messengers, gospel truths were once again restored in fullness to the earth. Some of the blessings of this restoration are Christ’s church, priesthood power and ordinances, knowledge of the plan of salvation, the temple, and the bringing forth of The Book of Mormon, to name a few. These blessings touch our lives every day and bring hope for this life and the next.
Joseph Smith was prophesied of by the Old Testament prophet, Joseph. In 2nd Nephi chapter 3 it says:
11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
Revelation was also given of him in Doctrine and Covenants chapter 35, saying:
13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;
17 And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him;
18 And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead.
Joseph was weak, but was made strong. I’d like to suggest 3 sets of attributes that strengthen him.
First: Courage and Faith
Joseph Smith is a perfect example of courage. He faced persecutions, imprisonment, unjust treatment of himself and the early saints, and even martyrdom. But he kept the faith. He knew he had been called of God to do a work and he was going to finish it. He refused to sink or brush away the reality that he had seen a vision. In this past general conference, President Thomas S. Monson said:
We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently. As we move forward, striving to live as we should, we will surely receive help from the Lord and can find comfort in His words. I love His promise recorded in the book of Joshua:
“I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee… Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
A Second set of attributes are: Prayer and Seeking Revelation
At a young age Joseph desired “to know which of all the sects was right”. Amidst confusion he turned to the bible which guided him to pray in order to seek knowledge. The result of this endeavor was the first vision. He repeated this pattern as he had questions regarding points of doctrine. He received many revelations in his lifetime that re-built this gospel line upon line and precept upon precept. We can follow this example as well by seeking answers in the Holy scriptures and then praying to our Father in Heaven. “For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”
The Third attributes are: Obedience and Patience.
These are the ingredients to “enduring to the end”. We must be obedient to the knowledge we have received to have the strength necessary to endure. Patience in affliction is vital to our growth. Joseph, as well as Jesus Christ, was patient in all that they endured. Patience is more than bearing a burden, but it is continuing to act in faith during tribulation.
Through application of these attributes, the prophet Joseph was made strong and so can we. I testify that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of the living God and that he restored ancient truths that are blessing the world. I know this and love him for his endurance in the work that was given him. I know that this church is the restored church of the Lamb of God and that His priesthood power is found herein. I know that my savior loves us each, enough to pardon us of our faults and weaknesses. I know that our weaknesses can become strengths. I find hope in Doctrine and Covenants section 103 verse 36:
36 All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.
I love this gospel and know that as we continue in faith, we will be victorious. I’d like to end with Doctrine and Covenants section 135 verse 3:
3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood…
I love this Gospel and am excited to serve the people of Kentucky and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
So I get ordained a missionary tonight. How surreal is that? I become a missionary! I get a tag tomorrow! I’ve got to look ahead, not behind. Remember what I’ll be gaining because I’m sacrificing. This is going to be the greatest thing and I am so excited! Don’t miss me too much 🙂
P.S. Here’s a sandwich I made into Kentucky.