Sunday, December 16, 2012

Panama Is Perfect

That's right my dear readers, I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been called to labor in the Panama, Panama City mission. I report to the Guatemala MTC on April 3, 2013. Amusingly, I was so emotional when I read it that when I finished reading I thought for a good five minutes I was serving Guatemala. My thoughts were so jumbled I couldn't say any thing except "thank you" as I traversed a receiving line of friends that wanted to hug and congratulate me. I feel so blessed for this opportunity to represent my Savior and bring others unto Him. I have wanted serve a mission for such a long time. Words cannot express my joy at finally having the chance to do so. The moment I read my call I knew God had been preparing me all my life to serve His children in Panama. The call itself was a wonderful tender mercy from The Lord, a great reminder that The Lord is very aware of us, our circumstances, and the deepest desires of our hearts. I will tell you why.

Before I went to school at BYU I had the privilege of going on a cruise with my family to the coast of Mexico. One of our destinations was the beautiful tropical island of Puerto Vallarta. The adults decided to take us through very impoverished areas of the island. We traveled through communities where the doorless, floorless house could hardly be called such. The people had very little, most of them didn't even have shoes to wear and ran around barefoot. As I watched women wash their laundry in the river and children with rags for clothing play in the gutters of the streets I felt some thing I cannot adequately described with words. I wanted to stay with these people and help them. I didn't just want to help them with the temporal things that they lacked. I wanted to bring these wandering lambs to the fold of the Shepard. I wanted to teach them the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I had forgotten about this desire as I prepared to receive my call. Whenever anyone asked me where I wanted to go I would respond with some thing like "Greece would be cool" or "I feel like I might go to France." Yet when I read the words in my call letter I knew The Lord had remembered that deep yearning I'd felt so long ago. Panama is. In many ways, identical to Puerto Vallarta except it is a lot bigger with 3 million people to meet and bring to Jesus. I love my Savior and this Church so much. I know there is nothing else I could do at this point in my life that would bring me closer and bring me more joy. I look forward to sharing these life changing experiences with you my dear readers through the letters that my family will post here for me. Until then, I look forward to how The Lord will help me grow in preparation for the service that, with His help and according to His will, I will bring to the Panamanian people. May God bless you my dear readers through the holiday season and until you read again.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ready and Willing

So I decided to create this blog which will document my full time missionary service from the beginning of the application process to my homecoming. once I am out on my mission a family member will post weekly emails but until then I have decided that it will be a place for my thoughts in regard to missionary service and the great privilege I have to bring the Gospel to the souls of men.

Today when I heard the announcement of General Conference I thought of some thing I have been pondering lately. Mainly "am I ready now to do the Lord's errand?" Here was the opportunity, right in front of me. The Savior was knocking and I need only to let Him in. I have intended on serving since last April and was preparing myself to have to wait, planning on classes for next semester and working on my relationship with my Savior and studying Preach My Gospel (the manual for missionaries when they serve). Yet suddenly I can go now. I fulfill the deepest desire of my heart to go out and bring souls unto Christ. to share the joy that the Gospel brings me with those that the Lord calls me to serve. It is quiet a burden but it is one that I am more than willing to bear. Though I don't feel fully capable and fully prepared the Lord qualifies those that He calls and that are willing to go to work.

I am so grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost, that I have been guided in my preparation. I feel like in many ways all that I have experienced in my life up to this point has been leading up to the 18 months I will spend as a full time missionary for Him. The thought of serving God 24/7 with no outside distractions brings me a great deal of joy and excitement. I can think of no better way to come to know my Savior than to labor in His vineyard and lead His sheep who are wandering to the living water that He can provide.

The scripture story that sticks out in my head at the moment is the story of Peter when he walks upon the water to Christ. I think everyone spends so much time pointing out that Peter got distracted by His fear and stumbled. Yet in the verse before all this occurs we read "he [Peter] walked on the water to go to Jesus" (Matt. 14:29). It was only when He took the eyes off of the Lord that he erred. I think this is one of the things that makes Peter, as a character of the New Testament so endearing. He has faults. He teaches us that even great leaders require a period of growth. No matter where we are in the kingdom of God we will have doubts, and because of this we need to always really on our Savior. That is my message to all of you tonight. Rely on Him. Remember that even when Peter stumbled and fear He was lost He cried out to the Lord and "immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught Him." (Matt 14:31)

I personally testify that Christ will never turn His back on us. He will never leave or forsake us. At times we may feel like we are drowning and cry out in the storms of our tribulation as Peter did "Lord save me" He will answer. Of this I know. I am grateful for this opportunity both to serve and to share my thoughts with all of you. Our Redeemer lives, hearken unto Him. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, read it. He is offering you the truth, ask for it. May God bless you my dear readers, until you read again.

"But whosoever shall drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life"
(John 4:14)