Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stand Strong in Holy Places

"When I was in the ninth grade, I returned from my first out-of-town game with the varsity baseball team. My father discerned that on the long bus ride home I had witnessed language and behavior that was not in harmony with the standards of the gospel. Being a professional artist, he sat down and drew a picture of a knight—a warrior capable of defending castles and kingdoms.

As he drew and read from the scriptures, I learned how to be a faithful priesthood holder—to protect and defend the kingdom of God. The words of the Apostle Paul were my guide:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

"Staying on the gospel path of covenants, commandments, and ordinances protects us and prepares us to do God's work in this world."

Lesson from Elder Robert D. Hales' conference address, April 2013, Stand in Holy Places.  Lesson given by Suzanne Wright.

Washington Spokane Mission Dinner Policy

Missionaries are encouraged to visit members and may eat with members any day of the week as set forth in the dinner policy.  They are authorized to have meals with members ONLY under the following parameters:

  1. Circumstances are appropriate or both missionaries and members.  Missionary guidelines must be obeyed.
  2. Missionaries and members should use these visits to encourage and support each other in preparing and inviting others to be taught the gospel.  Missionaries should teach gospel messages, share experiences, and pray with the members to help them feel the spirit of missionary work and a greater enthusiasm for sharing the gospel.
  3. The ward mission leader coordinates the visits (meals)
    1. Each meal is scheduled with an objective consistent with the Missionary Purpose.
    2. The WML's priority is to help fill the week with excellent teaching opportunities consistent with the Ward Mission Plan.  It is not to provide a meal each day.
    3. Priority should be for investigators, less active members, part member families, recent converts (and prospective elders), and others who would be blessed most by the association with the missionaries.
    4. Do not use signup sheets or meals calendars
    5. Missionaries should not eat at the same home regularly
    6. The WML should advise each member of these parameters at the time the dinner appointment is made
  4. Visits do not last longer than 1 hour (this includes a 10-15 minute lesson by the missionaries)
    1. Missionaries ALWAYS ask for referrals
    2. Members should ALWAYS provide referrals for the missionaries
    3. If a lesson is being taught to an investigator, less active, recent convert, part member family, or prospective elder - the visits may last 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    4. Meal should last approximately 45 minutes and the lesson should last 30 minutes or less in many cases but not to exceed 45 minutes
  5. Missionaries should leave homes by 6pm (If teaching a missionary lesson to an investigator, less active, or recent convert, that time may be extended as set forth above).  When requested by the Stake President, this time may be adjusted based on local circumstances when approved by the Mission President.
  6. Meals with members or others are a privilege, not a right.  Missionaries should express appreciation, behave courteously, and observe etiquette and local customs.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

That We May Become One

Before the Saints were driven from Nauvoo, the leading Brethren of the Church met in the temple. They covenanted that they would “never cease [their] exertions, by all the means and influence within [their] reach, till all the Saints who were obliged to leave Nauvoo should be located at some gathering place of the Saints.”1 Determined to keep this covenant, President Brigham Young established the Perpetual Emigrating Fund in 1849. Under this program, the Church loaned money to emigrating Saints with the understanding that the people would repay their loans after they arrived in Utah and found employment.

President Young called Elder Lorenzo Snow and others to raise funds for this effort. It was difficult for Elder Snow to ask the Saints for donations—they were poor themselves, having been driven from place to place before settling in the Salt Lake Valley. He wrote in his journal: “In performing the mission of soliciting means from the Saints who, after having been robbed and plundered, had performed a journey of more than one thousand miles, and just located in an unwatered, desolate recess of the great ‘American Desert,’ I found myself inducted into an uphill business. With very few exceptions, the people had very little, or nothing they could possibly spare.” However, everywhere Elder Snow went, people gave all they could. He reported: “The efforts and willingness, everywhere manifested, to eke out a portion of the little—the feeling of liberality and greatness of soul, which everywhere I met in the midst of poverty, the warm-hearted greetings I received even where comparative indigence held court, filled my heart with exceeding great joy. One man insisted that I should take his only cow, saying that the Lord had delivered him, and blessed him in leaving the old country and coming to a land of peace; and in giving his only cow, he felt that he would only do what duty demanded, and what he would expect from others, were the situation reversed.”

After collecting donations in northern Utah, Elder Snow observed, “The hearts of the Saints were open, and, considering their circumstances, they donated liberally and amply, and I need not say cheerfully.”

Although the people had little to give individually, their unified efforts blessed many lives. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund expanded beyond its original purpose, helping more than just the members of the Church who had been in Nauvoo. It continued for 38 years, helping tens of thousands of converts from many lands gather with their fellow Saints. (From the Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pg.195)
Elder Marlin K. Jensen said, "The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism.’”  That thought ought to inspire and motivate all of us because I feel that friendship is a fundamental need of our world. I think in all of us there is a profound longing for friendship, a deep yearning for the satisfaction and security that close and lasting relationships can give. Perhaps one reason the scriptures make little specific mention of the principle of friendship is because it should be manifest quite naturally as we live the gospel. In fact, if the consummate Christian attribute of charity has a first cousin, it is friendship. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul slightly, friendship “suffereth long, and is kind; [friendship] envieth not; … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; … [friendship] never faileth.” (April 1999 General Conference)

We should be bound together and act like David and Jonathan as the heart of one [see 1 Samuel 18:1], and sooner let our arm be severed from our bodies than injure each other. What a mighty people we would be if we were in this condition, and we have got to go into it, however little feelings of friendship we may have in exercise at the present time. I can just tell you that the day will come when we must become united in this way if we ever see the presence of God. We shall have to learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We must go into this, however far we are from it at the present time, yet no matter, we must learn these principles and establish them in our bosoms. Now this I can see clearly, and that is the reason why I talk about these matters in the style in which I do, for I wish to plant them in the minds of the Saints, and to have these things among their every day feelings. (Lorenzo Snow)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Faithful, Energetic Service in the Kingdom of God

" I say, let men serve God faithfully and energetically, and be cheerful . . . there are times when persons are brought into conditions where it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to assume a cheerful aspect.  But such times are very few."

"Knowing our religion to be true we ought to be the most devoted people on the face of the earth to the cause we have embraced.  Knowing as we do, or should know, that the gospel we have received promises all our hearts can wish or desire, if we are faithful, we ought to be very faithful, devoted, energetic and ambitious in carrying out the designs and wishes of the Lord as He reveals them from time to time through His servants.  We ought not to be lukewarm or negligent in attending to our duties, but with all our might, strength and souls we should try to understand the spirit of our calling and the nature of the work in which we are engaged."

Lesson from Teachings of the Prophets:  Lorenzo Snow, chapter 15.  Lesson given by Sister Kristy Bateman.

As Sisters in Zion

We must cherish one another, 
watch over one another, 
comfort one another 
and gain instruction, 
that we may all sit down in heaven together.  
Lucy Mack Smith

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Be of Good Cheer

President Monson quotes a well-known author saying, “Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden
we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the beauty of nature, and personal pursuits (your interests or talents) that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

Much of our success in life depends on how we respond to our trials, which shows our true character. We will experience trials and people will disappoint you, BUT we can choose one of two basic responses to trials: the Lord’s way or Satan’s way. So with our agency we get to decide.

President Thomas S. Monson says,  “Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments,there will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”
“There will be times when it appears there is no light at the end of our tunnel or no dawn to a night of darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes.” our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is our Exemplar and our strength. He is the light that shineth in darkness. He embraces the opportunity to lift burdens, provide hope, mend bodies, and restore life.”
“It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Lesson given by Brandy Bergeson