"This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him..." There was a pause as the words of Joseph Smith's First Vision were uttered. The room grew quiet, and a peace entered from the Comforter. Elder Stock - and the member he was on splits with - looked at her, their investigator, as she reflected on what she was feeling and what she had heard.
"What were some thoughts and feelings that you felt as you heard about Joseph's experience?" Elder Stock asked, knowing that the Spirit was definitely here.
"That it's true. I felt a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. I know it's true," she said, filled with joy from the message of the Restoration.
Well, the Holy Ghost is real. And he testifies of truth. He did that day and he does today, and he will continue to do that forever. And that's how we missionaries find success. We let the Holy Ghost come in and do the real work.
Being a missionary never ceases to thrill me. This week, I had the opportunity to teach a lot about the Restoration, and I can testify to you that each time I was able to do so, the Spirit bore witness that what I was teaching and what I knew to be true was indeed the truth. And I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven that's willing to keep us on the right path and not abandon us. I know He lives and loves us more personally and magnificently than we can comprehend. And more than that, He sees our potential and actively helps us get there.
Serving here in Vernon is a privilege. The area is so beautiful and the work is moving along quite nicely. God is in the details! We have a great, supportive ward, and incredible investigators. And the Spirit is so strong here, it's amazing! I love my companionship. Elder Jenkins and Elder Scully keep me grounded and help me to keep working harder than I think I can. So, that's nice.
Seriously, though, the Okanagan Valley is getting BALMY! I feel like I'm tracting in Arizona or something... So, that's always fun... Heck, maybe I'll have a tan coming home. You hear that, people? This man got a tan while he was in Canada! I could be a success story for some skin treatment firm or something...
Anyways, the work is going well here in Vernon. I also got to go out to Merritt, a little town in the middle of BC, and work with the elders there. And against all odds in that little town of 7,000, we found some incredibly solid investigators to teach in just one day. Heavenly Father sure is mindful of all of His children. I am grateful to be serving here. And I know that I come closer to our Savior as I do, "for how knoweth a man the Master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" (Mosiah 5:13). As we serve Him, we know Him. We are drawn closer to Him and to His intents, to His heart. And as we do, that is when the miracle of conversion occurs and we become instruments in His hand that can bring others to Him.
I've learned a lot about giving your heart in this Work, and what that really, truly means. I know that as we give of ourselves a little more each day, that He will lift us and aid us in our giving of the only gift we can truly give to our Savior: our heart--our willingness, our thoughts, our desires, our inner possessions. We can give them to Him, and He will bless us for it. With added faith, increased wisdom, confidence, boldness, a greater desire to obey, and firmer humility and reliance on Him.
I know that His Atonement is real and will redeem us as we turn to Him. But we cannot veer from His path. We cannot relax in this. Coming unto Christ takes effort and is not easy. But it is the most rewarding path we will ever walk. No matter what you've done, who you've hurt, where you've fallen, He is there to pick you up. You just have to reach out and He will lift you. I know that His gospel has been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith and that the Book of Mormon is evidence of this and instruction on how to live it. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ really does bless families, no matter where they're at. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Shout out to Bahama Bucks! Thanks for the package. I'll pay you back with some almost Church-official product placement...
Get your Vern' On!
We got a flat tire...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!!!!!!!!
(when I first saw this today, I thought they wrote "congrats on turning 50!" I was NOT happy. Thankfully, the next picture showed up much clearer.)
"congrats on turning 30!"
Much better, boys, much better.