18 June 2015
Well, I am doing great. Spanish is coming. Weather is pretty perfect, I just wish it was more humid but up Norte it is humid so that’s cool. I really don’t have much to say about myself. I love the opportunity to be doing this. Halfway done with the CCM! Three more weeks and I will be in Barcelona! STOKED.
My district – my comp, Elder Merrill is on the end. With President and Sister Lovell
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and learning over this period of almost a month. One thing that really hit me was this:
“I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally … exerting all my powers to call upon God… I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other –‘This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
I don’t know about you but I cannot read that without getting emotional. That is the story of a boy. A boy who would go on to restore the Church of God to this earth.
A boy who would later go on to translate the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith. My words will not do him justice, but I will try to get something meaningful down. First off, let me tell you what I know. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God. I know that he was a simple farm boy with a true desire to know the truth. I know that because he had real intent, a sincere heart, and faith he received an answer. I know that we all can receive answers if we have those as well. I have received an answer for myself. We will not all receive huge answers or even big answers, most of us will receive an answer as simple as an overwhelming feeling of peace or tranquility. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith through the power and authority of God. I know that there is no way a teenage farm boy could make that book up, and if he did there is no way he could get so many people to follow him. Nor would he pay the ultimate price, even death, leaving behind his family, children, and wife to endure pain and affliction alone. The Book of Mormon and this gospel bring me the biggest amount of happiness out of anything else, because of it I get answers to questions, guidance, peace, and comfort through the hardest parts of my life. This gospel gives life meaning, and I promise you I would not give up two years of my life, two years away from my family and a normal life, if I didn’t believe with my whole heart that what I believe in wasn’t the truth. I know it is.
My first zone, 11 of these missionaries have left and we got 13 more missionaries into the CCM.
Joseph later wrote:
“It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.”
I don’t even know what to say. Nothing I say could ever hold as much power as that. But I will just leave that with my testimony that I love this gospel and I love all joy it brings to my life. I don’t expect you to take my word for it, you should ask God for yourself.
“Shout out to all my haters #buckets #nubsquad”
I am grateful for the Priesthood and its power. Stop and think how cool that is. To all the 12+ year old boys – you guys literally have the power of God. Those of you 16+ – you have the power to work miracles. God trusts you so much and loves you so much that he allows you to bless the sacrament. How sick is that?! Super sick. Make sure you always live your lives and sanctify yourselves so you may be able to utilize that power we have. A deacon, a priest, and elder, whatever you are we all act under the same power of the same being, God.
Keep it real everybody.
My two Portuguese speaking elders the night before they transferred. Elder Ferriera and Elder Erhardt. Love them. They are serving in the Portugal mission.
“You already know, Elder Simple.” With President and Sister Lovell
Talking to people in the park by the CCM