"The God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures asks not just for commitment, but for our very lives. (God) traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism...All of us can meet God's high expectations, however great or small our capacity and talent may be" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten").
Our Heavenly Father loves us so much. But something that we need to realize is that He isn't a butler. It's His will that we must align with. Not the other way around. Something that I have learned recently is really just how powerful and intimate our Father in Heaven really is. He is real, and He loves each one of His children - us- so very much. His love is manifest in everything. The very ways that the trees grow and the wind blows, "yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it...do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44). It's amazing to me. He has provided us with His plan for our happiness - the gospel of Jesus Christ and He has restored it once again to the earth in these latter days through a modern-day prophet. He has restored His priesthood authority, which enabled His servants to bless the lives of His children, which enables His children - our brothers and sisters - to partake of the ordinances of salvation. He loves us, and He knows exactly what He wants us to be...what we can become. And if we ask Him, and follow His counsel, we can receive all of the blessings He has in store for us.
Those are some key words: Follow HIS counsel. This week, we really sought the Lord's help in our area. We asked Him in fervent prayer what we needed to do, where we needed to go, what we needed to teach, if the plans that we had made for that next day were good (or if we needed to revise them), and really just tried our hardest to turn our will - our lives- over to Him.
And he led us to those who were prepared.
It was a week of miracles! A huge windstorm descended upon the lower mainland this week, which was super intense. Trees were uprooted, houses were smashed, roads were blockaded, traffic was post-apocalyptic in flavor, and the power went out for a half a million people across the entire lower mainland...ourselves included....Those whom we had planned to meet with and teach in the central hub of Surrey could no longer come and learn about the gospel due to emergencies with the storm. And all the while, I remembered everything that I had recently thought about wind, and about how our job is to stand the wind. And so we did just that. Instead of being angry that our appointments were done for, and that we no longer had an operating fridge, and that we had to wander through our basement suite by headlamp light, we decided to realize the truth of the situation: that God had a plan for us, and that He was not going to let us suffer. But it would take us turning our will over to Him, so that He could lead us and guide us to what we were searching for.
And He did.
On Sunday, we taught so many new people, and really were just effective instruments in the Lord's hand. And it was awesome! And it was so cool to see God's hand in our lives even more.
This weekend, one of my old investigators back in Burnaby was baptized. He requested that I come and baptize him, and so I happily raced up to Burnaby on Saturday night to do that. This guy, Norman, is so funny and is always just so happy. When we got to the church in the aftermath of this storm, we realized that the power was out in the building, and that not only were the lights dysfunctional, but the faucet to fill the font was, as well. (Que dramatic Mormon message music).
So, with little time to go, we raced to the kitchen. Luckily, the sinks were operating in there, and so we started filling large pots of water and dumping them into the font in a mad dash to fill it with sufficient water to baptize. Norman got to fill his own font! We took about 40 minutes tossing in pots of water to this font, and just laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. A meager group of Burnaby ward members showed up for the baptism, in the darkness of the primary room, lit by the screens of iPhones and other contemporary flashlights.
The baptismal service got started, and the water looked about right. Just enough to baptize Norman in....who was a very tall guy, by the way...
We had some amazing talks, and then Norman and I stepped into the font. To my surprise...the ice-cold, unheated Canadian water reached about mid-calf on me. It was about to go down.
I spoke the words of the baptismal prayer, and then slowly dropped Norman on his back into the water. He literally was lying down in this font, and I had to pretty much push him down to the bottom to completely immerse him all the way under the water. It was epic.
Norman thought it was awesome, and we both agreed that we would never forget this day. He felt the remission of his sins, and was speechless after the ordinance was over.
That's why we're here...to help out brothers and sisters feel the joy of redemption by receiving a remission of their sins and enjoying the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Even if it seems crazy, and even if you might not be comfortable with what's happening around you, just know that God has a plan for you. His will surpasses yours, because He will make you into something great. Because He loves us, and He wants us to feel joy.
I hope that you all have a great week, and keep on serving the Lord in whatever capacity that may be!
This is not a celestial room...I promise!
It's a room in our branch president's house here in Langley YSA. President Terry is a boss!
The White Rock lesson teaching crew.Elder Stock, Elder Miller and Josh Layton....he's leaving on his mission to Colorado this week! :D
My new homemade scripture box for my miniature standard works (dubbed now as the Confounder)...perfect for taking on the go and confounding false doctrine ;)
The Vancouver British Columbia Temple at night. Chills!
Elder Miller and I
Planning by candlelight. Aw yeah! Best date I've been on for a year ;)