Sunday, January 20, 2013

Passports, Plantains, and a Parable

Life since coming home has been pretty uneventful. I have spent a lot of time studying Preach My Gospel. Basically I go through each chapter with a pen, underline what jumps out at me and take notes of things that strike me as I read. I also do the scripture studies. I am trying to knock out a chapter a week though some chapters take me longer than others. I am saving Chapter 3 (which has all the lessons in it) as the last chapter I study so that its fresh in my mind when I enter the MTC and start learning everything in Spanish. In regards to my mission that is definitely what I am most apprehensive about is teaching everything in Spanish. I have been doing some studying and I try to think of how I would say things in Spanish. I already know how to say “somos misioneras de la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias”* which will be handy in giving out pass along cards and what not.

Now to make sense of my rather interesting. All the of the afore mentioned items are things that I have been thinking about lately. I got my passport last week and the government spelled my name wrong. According to my passport my name is “Huley” which kind of baffles me. I sent in a photo copy of my license, a birth certificate and tons of paperwork all with my name spelled correctly. Obviously someone was ready to go home for Christmas because I just can’t see how that could have happened. Anyway, I got it sent back and hopefully it will come in the next few weeks. I’m waiting for my FBI Clearance and after that comes I have to send it back to the government to get an aposille. When it comes back to me from there I have send every thing into Church Headquarters and this all has to happen before March 7th or I might not going ot Guatemala on April 3rd. Cross your fingers and pray for me!

Now on to plantains. I’ve been trying to talk to a lot of people that served in Panama. They have all told me that with every meal you eat fried plantains. So much for wanting to eat healthier in a place that is abundant with every fruit you could possible think of. I skyped with one of the girls that will be serving about the same time as me and we both agreed we would just eat slow so that we wouldn’t feel obligated to eat tons. Its going to be incredibly hot year around and super humid for about half the year so I personally think we won’t have huge issues with gaining weight because we’ll just sweat it off but we’ll see. I am super excited for the new food I am going to try and cannot wait for all the experiences I will have. It makes me think of a great quote I heard in church today from an RM who just got back from serving his mission in Brazil a week ago. He said:

“When you decide to serve a mission you do not give two years the Lord. The Lord gives those two years to you. He gives you the opportunity to represent His Son and the chance to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.”

I am so excited to go. I know it will change me for the better and help me heal after the hard year I had. I’m looking forward to feeling closer to my Savior than I have ever felt and helping others to come and feel that peace and joy.

Finally the parable. I heard this in church too and though it was fantastic. The High Councilman pulled a cucumber out of his jacket and talked to us about the parable of the cucumber. It was given by David A. Bednar in an April 2007 sessions of General Conference.  

“A pickle is a cucumber that has been transformed according to a specific recipe and series of steps. The first steps in the process of changing a cucumber into a pickle are preparing and cleaning. I remember many hours spent on the back porch of my home removing stems from and scrubbing dirt off of the cucumbers we had picked. My mom was very particular about the preparing and cleaning of the cucumbers. She had high standards of cleanliness and always inspected my work to make sure this important task was properly completed.

The next steps in this process of change are immersing and saturating the cucumbers in salt brine for an extended period of time. To prepare the brine, my mom always used a recipe she learned from her mother—a recipe with special ingredients and precise procedures. Cucumbers can only become pickles if they are totally and completely immersed in the brine for the prescribed time period. The curing process gradually alters the composition of the cucumber and produces the transparent appearance and distinctive taste of a pickle. An occasional sprinkle of or dip in the brine cannot produce the necessary transformation. Rather, steady, sustained, and complete immersion is required for the desired change to occur.

The final step in the process requires the sealing of the cured pickles in jars that have been sterilized and purified. The pickles are packed in canning jars, covered with boiling hot brine, and processed in a boiling-water-bath canner. All impurities must be removed from both the pickles and the bottles so the finished product can be protected and preserved. As this procedure is properly followed, the pickles can be stored and enjoyed for a long period of time…

Just as a cucumber must be prepared and cleaned before it can be changed into a pickle, so you and I can be prepared with “the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6) and initially cleansed through the ordinances and covenants administered by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood…

And the Lord has established a high standard of cleanliness.

“Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57).

Proper preparing and cleaning are the first basic steps in the process of being born again…

Just as a cucumber is transformed into a pickle as it is immersed in and saturated with salt brine, so you and I are born again as we are absorbed by and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we honor and “observe the covenants” (D&C 42:13) into which we have entered, as we “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3), as we “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” (Moroni 7:48), and as we “serve [God] with all [of our] heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2), then:

“Because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters” (Mosiah 5:7).

The spiritual rebirth described in this verse typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process—not a single event. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience.

A cucumber only becomes a pickle through steady, sustained, and complete immersion in salt brine. Significantly, salt is the key ingredient in the recipe. Salt frequently is used in the scriptures as a symbol both of a covenant and of a covenant people. And just as salt is essential in transforming a cucumber into a pickle, so covenants are central to our spiritual rebirth.

We begin the process of being born again through exercising faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, and being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins by one having priesthood authority.

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

And after we come out of the waters of baptism, our souls need to be continuously immersed in and saturated with the truth and the light of the Savior’s gospel. Sporadic and shallow dipping in the doctrine of Christ and partial participation in His restored Church cannot produce the spiritual transformation that enables us to walk in a newness of life. Rather, fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity.

“I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (Omni 1:26).

Total immersion in and saturation with the Savior’s gospel are essential steps in the process of being born again...

Cured cucumbers are packed into sterilized jars and heat processed in order to remove impurities and to seal the containers from external contaminants. The boiling-water-bath procedure enables the pickles to be both protected and preserved over a long period of time. In a similar way, we progressively become purified and sanctified as you and I are washed in the blood of the Lamb, are born again, and receive the ordinances and honor the covenants that are administered by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood..

Through faith in Christ, we can be spiritually prepared and cleansed from sin, immersed in and saturated with His gospel, and purified and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.”

I love this Gospel so much. I love all the new things it teaches me every day. I am grateful for my relationship with my Savior and all that He does for me every day of my life. I cannot wait to dedicate 24 hours of my life, 7 days a week, in laboring to bring others unto Him. I pray that He who loves us all with an infinite blesses you and watches over you my dear reader, until you read again.

If you would like to read Elder Bednar's full talk click here
*We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
** Also, I can finally roll my R's after a month of trying every day! God is blessing me already!


  1. Haley! I am so blessed to have sort of met you and other girls from the facebook page. It is so nice to know that we have not only family, friends, and ward members behind us, but also 3,588 other girls (just on facebook) who will feel our pains, joys, and all other emotions while we are serving. You'll do great things in Panama. Proud of you!

    Love from Salt Lake/and Logan, Utah.

  2. Anonymous Hermana,
    Thank you so much :) your comment means a lot. I too feel like it is such a blessing that I have "met" all of you and talked with many of you. It is so great to be apart of the army of sisters that is hitting the mission field in the coming months. God bless you as you serve our Lord and Savior.
    Hermana Wilson