Spiritual thoughts and feelings that I have as I serve my mission in Tennessee. I love being a missionary. I love making people happy by bringing them happiness and Joy into thier life!!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A miracle and Billy's Baptism
For about the last 5 months the missionaries in Jamestown had been working with a guy named Billy. He had talked with Sister missionaries in the past and had some exposure to to the church when his mom joined the church when he was a kid. Billy knew the LDS church was true but he could not give up the terrible habit of smoking. Billy was a chain smoker. Everyone in town knows who Billy is and they all know that he smokes like a freight train. About 2 months ago Elder Stout and I met with Billy again. We started to teach him the lessons. He loved everything we taught him and wanted to get baptized. He came to church every Sunday. We began working with him to help him quit smoking. At first we taught him the "stop smoking workshop" but that didn't seem to be helping with the cravings. The first time Billy tried to quit smoking he quit for 18 hours and couldn't stand it anymore and started smoking again. At that point Billy was for sure that he wasn't going to be able to quit smoking so he went and bought four or five cartons of cigarettes. Elder Stout and I were very supportive of Billy even though he was having a ruff time breaking the habit. We continued to teach him, gave him comfort, cheered him on, and didn't give up. The second time he tried to quit, he only quit for like one hour and this time he bought 6 cartons of cigarettes. Again we didn't get frustrated with him and we were very supportive. Billy told us that he would try quiting about the middle of September when he had the 6 cartons smoked. We continued teaching him and lifted his spirits up. We committed Billy to pray that evening about a day to quit smoking. The next time we went over we followed up on the commitment we left him. Billy told us that he would quit on September 3rd so he could get baptized on the 10th of September. We were excited about Billy's decision, we gave him a priesthood blessing and cheered him on. A recent convert in the ward told Billy that she quit smoking using life savors. Billy wanted to use the life savors to quit smoking. We went to Wal-mart and bought him a bag of life savors. We went the next day to see how Billy had been doing and he had gone almost 24 hours without smoking and he had one life savor left. We went back to Wal-mart and bought him a 2lb bag of life savors. With the help of God and his mercy, Billy was able to quit smoking and was baptized on the 10th of September. It has been a blessing to see the miracle that has taken place in Billy's life. There is no other way Billy could have done it if it wasn't for the gospel. Billy is so much happier now then he was when I first met him. The gospel is true. I know it can help anyone find joy and happiness in their lives. It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are able to be forgiven of sin, overcome terrible habits, and be able to returnto live with are Heavenly Father again.
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Lately I have been thinking a lot about honesty. I have wondered to myself, how honest am I to my fellow men? Do I tell the truth in all things? do I cheat a little while playing a game to make my chances of winning a little grater? The definition of honesty is to be sincere, truthful, and without deceit at all times. One of the lessons in church today was on honesty. I found it quite ironic because of the fact that I had been thinking a lot about this subject. Is God trying to tell me something? I sat there and thought, "oh man, God is telling me that I'm not very honest" The more I thought about it, the more I realized that even though I don't lie about everything I say. Or I don't always cheat while playing a game. That doesn't mean that I'm perfect because there is a lot that I have to improve on. The natural man wants us to cheat, lie, and not be honest in anything we do. When we lie about something, that causes us to need to come up with more lies to cover up the first lie. That is not what God wants us to do. God wants us to be honest in all things. It is more important then most of us think it is, something I'm beginning to realize. For example maybe the cashier at the grocery store gave you one dollar more then they should have when they gave you your change. Are you going to say "oh it's just a dollar, it's not a big deal" or are you going to take it back and say "I think you made a mistake when you gave me my change back, here is the extra dollar" The natural man would say "keep it, it's just a dollar". God would say "take it back". It is necessary that we are honest to receive exaltation in Gods kingdom. I could be more honest in my daily activities. Sometimes God reminds us of these things even though they may not seem to be a problem. These lessons help us continue to be better and improve our lives. The 13th article of faith states "we believe in being honest"
8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me. (D&C 97:8)
This video is absolutely amazing. The spirit was so strong while watching it. I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know that he suffered for our sins. It is because of the Atonement that keeps me going while i'm a missionary. I think about what he did for me and I couldn't even begin to compare what he went through and what I'm going through as a missionary. I do wish that everyone would come running to the font and want to be baptized, but it's not intended to be that way. The Atonement has blessed my life so much and i'm greatful for it. Without it I would be in a world of hurt right now. Watch this amazing video!
I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be one of the Lords servants here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. I enjoy and cherish each opportunity I have to teach someone the gospel. Recently I had the opportunity to witness the baptism of Jason Johnson. When I first met Jason Johnson, when I was transferred to Clarksville, he had been taking the missionary discussions but wasn't really interested in baptism at that point. As we continued teaching him he slowly became more interested in baptism, as we taught him and he learned more about it. We invited Jason to have a kneeling prayer after one of our lessons and we invited him to say the prayer. We had him ask Heavenly Father right then if baptism is what he was supose to do and if the church was true. Even though Jason said an amazing prayer and the spirit was so strong during the prayer Jason still said no to baptism. That's not really what a missionary likes to hear. We decided to give him somemore time to think about it. About a week after we had the kneeling prayer with Jason he sent us a text message saying that he was ready to set up his baptism. We were grateful for this text message. We went to his house the next day to set up his baptism and everything. He told us what helped him make his decision. He was visiting his girlfriends family in Chattanooga one day and he was visiting with his girlfriends uncle. He was talking to Jason about baptism and he told Jason that he had a great spirit about him and that he just needed to get baptized. Jason thought about that really hard and he sat there and wondered "what am I waiting for?" that's when he sent us the text saying that he was ready to get baptized. God works in mysterious ways and Jason was baptized on the 25 June 2011.
Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? I have. We wonder, were we came from? why we are here? were we are going? I am blessed with the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation which is Heavenly Fathers plan for each of his children here on earth. I cherish this knowledge so much that it is something that I wish to share with the world. Continue reading this post to learn more about the Plan of Salvation and how it can greatly bless your life and everyone around you.
Before each of us came to this earth we were spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We were in the presence of God. We knew God and we talked to him. When we were all in the spirit world we were told that there were certain things that we were to do while we were living on earth with physical bodies. Some of those things we may have accomplished and some things we may not have accomplished yet. Because of a veil that was placed in between us, when we were born we are unable to remember the pre-mortal life and what happened there. Heavenly Father presented to us his plan. In the scriptures this plan is known as the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness, the plan of redemption, and the plan of mercy. because we chose to follow his plan we were able to come to earth, gain physical bodies, learn and progress, and continue on the path of righteousness to return back to our Heavenly Father. Satan was opposed to Heavenly Fathers plan. He created his own plan and persuaded some people to follow him instead of Heavenly Father. Those people were not given physical bodies and were unable to come to earth. They will not be given a place in any of the kingdoms of glory.
Before I formedthee in the belly I knewthee; and beforethou camest forth out of the womb I sanctifiedthee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Because we chose to follow Heavenly Fathers plan we were able to come to Earth and gain a physical body. Like Nephi we were all born of goodly parents who love us dearly, who raised us, and dealt with us all. When we were born into this life it was the beginning of our journey back to our Heavenly Father. When we chose to follow his plan we promised that we would live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and certain principles of the gospel. Those principles are,
Being cleansed from sin- receiving forgiveness from our Heavenly Father
Having faith in our Savior Jesus Christ- Knowing that he is there and that he loves and cares about each of his children.
Repenting of sins- Continually repenting of things we have done that aren't pleasing to God.
Being baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God- Following the example of Jesus Christ by entering into the Covenant of Baptism.
Receiving the gift of the holy ghost by the laying on of hands by someone holding the priesthood authority of God- Receiving a gift that is promised to everyone as they follow the example of Jesus Christ and are baptized.
Enduring to the End- Continually feasting upon the words of Christ, reading the scriptures, attending church each Sunday, prayer.
Along with faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. We have many other commandments that we are asked to follow. we also believe in following the original 10 commandments which are,
Thou shalt have no other Gods before me
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy
Honour thy father and thy mother
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
Thou shalt not covet
Spirit World once we die are bodies are separated from our spirits. Our bodies go 6 feet under, pushing up daisies. Our spirits go to what is called the spirit world."Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are takenhome to that God who gave them life." (Alma 40:11)There are two parts to the spirit world the first part is called spirit paradise, this is were those people who excepted the gospel while on earth will go."And thenshall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state ofhappiness, which is calledparadise, a state of rest, a state ofpeace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." (Alma 40:12)as this scripture says we will rest from all our troubles and from all care, and sorrow. The second part to the spirit world is called spirit prison, a temporary location for those who died without a knowledge of the truth or who lived disobedient lives while on earth. Those who go to the spirit prison will be given a second chance to hear and learn about the gospel and they will be given the chance to accept it to be able to live with Heavenly Father again. God loves his children so much that he will give all his children a second chance to hear his gospel because he wants everyone to live with him again.
Everyone whether they did good or evil while living on earth will be resurrected. Resurrection means that our bodies will gain reunite with our spirits and our bodies will be perfected. We will no longer have sickness, broken bones, missing body parts."The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and eperfect frame." (Alma 40:23)
Everyone will be judged according to their works and desires while living on earth. We will all have a perfect remembrance of everything we did. God will judge us and will determine which kingdom we will go to. We will be placed in one of these three kingdoms. Celestial kingdom, Terrestial kingdom, Telestial kingdom. Everyone will be placed in a kingdom. Those who followed Satan will not be allowed in any of these kingdoms.
Celestial Kingdom-This is the kingdom in which Heavenly Father will be in. It should be every ones goal to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. It is the highest of the three kingdoms and is compared to the brightness of the sun. Those who excepted the gospel, were baptized, were sealed in the temple, repented of sins. and just lived good righteous lives will be given a spot in the Celestial Kingdom.
Terrestial Kingdom-This is the middle kingdom of the three kingdoms of glory. It is compared to the brightness of the moon. Those who go here will be in the presence of Jesus Christ the Son of God. They will not be in the presence of Heavenly Father. Those people who were members of the church but chose not to live good lives and didn't follow the commandments of God the way they should have will go to this kingdom. Also those people who didn't except the gospel while on the earth but excepted it while in the spirit world will be given a place in the Terrestial Kingdom.
Telestial Kingdom-This is were those who didn't accept the gospel of Jesus Christ will go. Those who were redeemed out of spirit prison will be given a spot in the Telestial Kingdom.
I testify that the Plan of Salvation is real. I know that it is Heavenly Fathers plan for each of his children here on this earth. It is a great comfort to me to know that I can be with my family forever because we have been sealed together in the Temple. Anyone can know what their purpose is here on earth as they gain an understanding of the Plan of Salvation and what it can mean for them. It has greatly blessed my life. And I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to share the knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation with other people.
"We are not left alone to wander through mortality without knowing of the master plan which the Lord has designed for His children." (L. Tom Perry)