Saturday, April 21, 2018

Reverence the Name tag!

To round out March Elder and Sister Schmutz came and spoke to us. This was a member of the 70 that I did not know that well so I was really interested in hearing him speak. Sister Schmutz went first and the thing she mentioned was that we need to take every opportunity to testify of Christ. Now I know this was directed at the missionaries, but I think it's something I need to work on as well. I need to recognize those opportunities and not be afraid to open my mouth and share my personal testimony of our Savior.

Elder Schmutz talked about what can be gained from the missionary experiences the elders and sisters would have. He mentioned that the depth and quality of your missionary experiences will largely rely on the depth and quality of your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Again it is something I need to take to heart, strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father. 

Elder Schmultz also mentioned the name tag that all missionaries have the privilege of wearing. It has two names on it. Jesus Christ, and their personal name. There isn't much else on the badge so as you look at it and wear it, it should be something that is sacred to you.

Missionaries are working in tandem with the Savior in order to bring the truth to all the world. That, I believe, is one of the most important things to remember as a missionary. I also think it's important we, personally, remember that as well. Even though we don't have a physical reminder on our shirts everyday, (a name tag) we still need to remember we are working with our Savior to improve, to help others improve, and to be an instrument for the Lord to use.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Jellybeans take work!

The Renlunds came and spoke to us in March as well. I love them. When Elder Renlund was first called to the 12 his testimony was the one I remember from General Conference. It just really struck a chord with me, and since then he has been one of the apostles I always look forward to hearing from. His wife is just as amazing, and it was a treat to have them speak.

Sister Renlund talked about two principles needed to be an exceptional missionary. Work and Faith. She likened those two principles to a pair of chopsticks. When you only have one of the chopsticks it is quite difficult to pick up jelly beans from a plate and eat them. But when you use both chopsticks, even if it's still a little difficult, it's possible. I loved this analogy, and I like jelly beans.

Elder Renlund discussed Satan's plan. He talked about Satan's way to advertise this plan that we know doesn't work, in the end won't bring us happiness, and is detrimental to both our spiritual and physical growth. How do you sell a plan like that? Well you make it look appealing. Satan has turned his plan into one where people believe exactly the opposite of what it does. So what do we do to combat that? Well the missionaries are sent out to advertise and proclaim the truth. They are teaching what the true plan of happiness and joy looks like and it is through them that Satan's plan is losing it's grip.

I love these thoughts about the two plans. I hope, as I continue to live the Lord's plan, that I won't be afraid of pointing out what the reality is and what Satan is trying to present as truth. I know it's true, and I want everyone else to have the opportunity to know it too.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Don't Count the Days, but Make Each Day Count

In March Elder and Sister Waddell came to speak with us at the MTC. This is what Sister Waddell's thought was. We need to make each day count, especially when we are asked to do hard things like go on a mission. I am reminded often that as a mother my days with my children living constantly in my home are slowly slipping away. Am I making each day with them count?

Elder Waddell talked about missions and how they are unique to each individual. Missions are about learning to open your mouth and share a message that you believe. I pondered what experiences I have been given in my mission (or life) that are molding me for future endeavors. Similarly missionaries are being given experiences so that when they return from their missions they can use the talents and blessings they have received in their future lives. This is why many people say that those two years are some of the best. Not because those years were empty of hard times, feelings of loneliness, or frustration, but because what they gained will carry with them for the rest of their lives. This is why Elder Waddell said, "Don't just go on a mission. Internalize it."

One last thing Elder Waddell discussed, that seems to be a running theme at the MTC is that the Book of Mormon is one of the greatest conversion tools missionaries have in their arsenal. Reading it, understanding it, and gaining their own testimony of it should be a priority so they have it with them to use continually.

I loved Elder Waddell's message and what he shared with the missionaries. I'm grateful I have to opportunity to listen to these amazing leaders every week.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

You forgot what????

My notes, I totally forgot my notes on Sunday when I was suppose to be teaching the Relief Society lesson. Instead of coming completely prepared to give my lesson I had worked so hard to prepare, I left all my notes at home. Not only that, I forgot to print them up in the first place. So it wasn't something I could just run home and grab. Although I did think about just running home--forever.

My lesson was on Apart, but Still One by Elder Koch. This is absolutely one of my favorite talks from this past General Conference. I loved it so much I even gave a talk on it back in November. Here is how my outline was suppose to go, but as per my usual, nothing ever goes as planned.

Elder Koch started off by talking about a commonality he had with a young man as he was heading home from work one night. They were both wearing the same team colors for a soccer team that was playing that not. Elder Koch talked about how their eyes met and they had an instant connection since they were both rooting for the same team. Likewise we have a similar connection as sisters in relief Society or even as ward members. We all want to reach exaltation and be with our families forever. Several scriptures that discus unity and what we can learn from unity are as follows:

D&C 38;27, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Nephi 22:25, Abraham 2:10, 4 Nephi 1:17.  What we learn from these can help us in our daily lives as we interact with one another.

A couple of points I wanted to get across are that Elder Koch expressed are:

1. As we enter church we do leave behind our differences. We are all there to sing the same songs, partake of the sacrament, hear the same prayers and talks, and "concentrate on our common spiritual objectives." We discussed how similar we are and how we can focus on that when we are having a hard time getting along or have a differenced of opinion.

2. Talking about each other in a negative way when we are apart. Elder Koch said, "We have no right to portray anybody including from our Church circle as a badly finished product!" Oh how I love this quote. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. We get enough criticism from the world around us. Wouldn't it be wonderful to come to church and leave with your oil lamp a little bit fuller.

3. Finally learn to not get offended so easily. This particularly reminded me of how many times people say the strangest things and I have to remind myself that, even if it's a personal attack, it should in no way affect my testimony. Or whether or not I continue to go to church, or partake of the sacrament. I think this is one of the hardest things to overcome.

I know how inspired this talk was, and how we need to remember that we are ALL brothers and sisters and have so much in common. We need to treat each with love and respect, regardless of how they treat us. That is one of the hardest things to do, but I hope I am always known as a builder.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Q&A with President Ballard

We had President Ballard come and speak to us at the MTC last Tuesday. That was such a treat. He opened up the devotional to the missionaries and had them ask whatever questions they wanted. I'm always in awe of the missionaries and the kinds of things they are wondering or worried about. I don't recall being that knowledgable about the gospel when I was that age. I won't go into the questions, but I will tell you a few things that President Ballard said that stood out to me.

First he talked about when teaching discussions keep eye contact as much as you can with the investigator. Investigators want missionaries to be sincere and that is one way to tell that they are. President Ballard also talked about internalizing the gospel as you study it. When teaching lessons, if you don't know or believe what you are teaching, the investigators can tell.  You have to know it to teach it.

Don't be self-centered!! We live in a world of selfies, and we need to make sure we are focusing on the Savior when we serve our missions. We are not out in the mission field doing our work, we are out there doing the Lord's work. President Ballard discussed this along with overcoming pride while in the mission field. He said being self-centered is sometimes more prevalent than pride.

At the end President Ballard shared his testimony of the restored gospel. He also reminded the missionaries to not go down the doubt road, but to stay on the trust road. When we do that great things can happen.

Along with this amazing devotional I also had the chance to meet a sister from Burma. In Burma there is only a small branch, and she is a the only convert in her family that belongs to this branch. The rest of her family are staunch Muslim. I am not totally sure how she found the church as she is here learning English, so there was a little bit of a communication barrier, but she did say that her mom promised to go to the branch every Sunday while she was on her mission. She thought her mom was just kidding, but so far her mom has kept that promise. She is in the MTC for a few more weeks, and I'm excited to get another opportunity to talk to her. The best part is she will be serving her mission right here in Utah on Temple Square. What an amazing experience for this Young Woman. She just glowed as we were talking to her. I love meeting so many missionaries from all over the world!

Friday, March 02, 2018

Calling on the Callisters

Our MTC devotional was given by Elder and Sister Tad Callister. We are not suppose to have favorite speakers, but this was one of the highlights so far of being able to serve in the MTC.

Sister Callister shared some conversion stories that came about because of the Book of Mormon. This has been a main theme lately at the MTC and I hope the missionaries and those preparing for missions know how important it is to really study the Book of Mormon and know for themselves it is true. This will be a main missionary tool they use while serving their missions and they need to know it in order to use it.

Elder Callister should write another book. Seriously!! His topic was all about evidences of the Book of Mormon. I would love to write the whole talk down he gave, but it would take to long. For now I'll just sum a little of it up.

1. Archeology evidences. Students of archeology all over the world have debated several things they feel are discrepancies in the Book of Mormon. One of the main ones is the plates being written on metal. It wasn't until the last century or so that metal plates have been discovered. One that is close in description to the gold plates are the plates of King Darius I, which were also found in a stone box similar to the Golden Plates discovered by Joseph Smith. There are many more archeological evidences, but this was one of my favorites.

2. Evidences in the Bible about other records. There are two main scriptures that Elder Callister mentioned to corroborate this claim. One is found in Ezekial 37 which talks about the stick of Ephraim and of Judah becoming one. These are the writings of the Book of Mormon and the Bible coming together. Also in John 10:16 it discusses other sheep he has which are not of this fold.

Elder Callister also discussed how we should be searching for what the Book of Mormon is teaching us instead of trying to prove everything in it. I love the Book of Mormon and all it has taught me. I also love that I can read it over and over and still continue to learn from its pages. I KNOW it was written by God and his prophets, I can't imagine a book bringing forth so much insight and only being written by man. I am grateful to Joseph Smith for his continuing to endure to make this book come to fruition!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Just a little pulpit pounding

We had an amazing guest come and speak to us at the MTC on the 20th. The well known Elder Holland. I love his wonderful talks at conference and how they are always so loving, kind, and understanding. With that being said, he was very frank with the missionaries.

A few things that stood out, was still the love he portrayed to them, but he did make it clear that it hurts him to see these wonderful young men and women fall away when they return from their missions. He reminded them to continue to read the scriptures, pray, and work at keeping that testimony. They are one of their most important converts, if not the most important. He also  pointed out how they are one of the most prayed for groups in all the church. Finally he mentioned that they should never miss a chance to serve that mission because an opportunity like this will never come again. Yes they will probably serve more missions, but they may choose their companion, or things will be very different when they aren't out in the field as an 18-20ish year old.

As I looked around the room I noticed the tears being shed and the spirit that was touching these precious missionaries. I thought to myself I love that Elder Holland presents both love and concern as he is speaking to our 'Army of Helaman'. One of his last thoughts that I just totally love was about repentance. For some reason repentance has a bad connotation associated with it. But it really is an act of love from our Heavenly Father. Elder Holland likened it to the buzzer in your car when you get to close to the lines it lets you know so you can course correct. Repentance is much the same, it is just another tool (a huge tool) to keep you in the right lane. And how grateful I am for those tools!

I love Elder Holland and hope he realizes how much he is loved by so many members all over the world. He truly is an apostle of God and I got to listen to his words!!!