Today being Sunday, we did our standard driving tour to the smallest doctor's office ever, Nottoway Plantation, the smallest church in the world, Mike the tiger and the capitol. But the best part of the day was at church where our 4 Plaquemine missionaries spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I tried my best to take notes but didn't get down as much as I would've liked.
Brother Stabler had asked each of them to talk about how their missions had changed them. Since each has a variety of service times it was a good variety of challenges overcome or to be overcome and experiences.
Sister Morris, the newest of the 4--having served for almost 5 months, started with some of the words to "You Raise Me Up," and "Footprints." She said that she doesn't recognize any changes yet because it's still early in her mission. It made me so happy to hear her resolve to depend on the Savior to lift he and strengthen her, because I know she's struggled with missing her family. But it sounds like she's on her way to becoming a great missionary. Sister M used scriptures from the Doctrine & Covenants and applied them to her circumstances.
D&C 6:8 "...even as you desire of me so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation." She knows she has the means of "doing much good in this generation," and is here in Louisiana for a reason.
D& 6:14 "...blessed art thou for what thou has done' for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou has inquired thou has received instruction of my Spirit. If is had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time." The Lord has a plan for each of us, and if we will inquire of Him, we will be taught and we will be given direction.
When I am down and oh, my soul so weary. When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence until You come and sit awhile with me.
Your raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on Your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.
Elder Baker shared how he decided to com on a mission. After he was baptized in 2012 he had no intentions of serving a mission even though he was encouraged by his mom, Bishop and friends.While some of his friends were preparing for their mission there was a day when he was alone at home and decided to pray. Then he started reading Alma 37 and began to feel a joy so strong that after reading verse 33 it hit him so hard that he couldn't even finish the chapter. Alma 37:33 begins: "Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ..." He was filled with love and happiness and received a strong feeling from the Spirit. It was then that he vocally said to the Lord, "I will serve a mission."
Something Elder Baker said he'd learned is to say "I love you" to people. He was never able to do that--even to his mom. It took a lot of work and prayer to love everyone but as missionaries "we need to love all who we serve and teach as especially our Savior and Heavenly Father. My love has grown for them immensely. I have prayed to love as they love and see people as they see people." Elder B now has a strong testimony of that. Missionary work is so important to him now. If we love the Savior and Heavenly Father we'll love doing their work and will help bring His children back to Him.
Sister Lindstrom, who'll be going home on February 5, gave a powerful talk on learning how to submit to the Lord's will. She talked about Amulek, in the book of Alma, who said, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." Submission to God's will is more than accepting our circumstances, but it's doing and being our best and enduring the hardest, as well as, the easiest times. She quoted the Apostle Paul. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The Lord provides strength for us through the Atonement. These are 5 ways Sister L has been given His enabling power.
1 - The power of the Holy Ghost. As baptized members we have been given this gift. Do everything you can to live worthy of his constant companionship.
2 - The Book of Mormon. The whole purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help us get closer to the Savior.
3 - Prayer--communication with God throughout the entire day, not just morning and evening prayers.
4 - Serving others. During difficult times, when I've chosen to focus on helping others, Heavenly Father has ALWAYS met my needs.
5 - Temple attendance. The temple is powerful. Attending regularly before my mission helped prepare me to receive revelation at other times.
The principle of submission is illustrated in the scriptures. One example is Alma and his people who were in bondage to Amulon and the Lamanites. The Lord answered their silent prayers by "easing the burdens put upon their shoulders" and they were able to "bear them with ease."
The second example was that of the Savior in Gethsemane. "If thou be willing, remove this cup...nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." An angel then appeared and strengthened Him.
The pattern: 1) The burdens were heavy. 2) They struggled. 3) They turned to God. 4) He strengthened them.
Sister L then shared 2 examples from her life that followed the same pattern but taught her to trust in the Lord. One was the delay in entering the mission field after receiving her call. The timing had been perfect for the holidays and schooling, but knee surgery caused a postponement, and she was devastated. Enduring and submitting to the Lord's will helped her through the challenges, and even just "surviving" her mission. She goes home having learned that the Lord has orchestrated her experiences, has been with her, strengthened her and enabled he to continue because she understands and has learned to benefit from the power of the Atonement.
Elder Brimhall didn't end up with much time but managed to share a great message. He cited D&C 4:6 "Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence." He said he thought he had these attributes before his mission but has developed so much more and learned what it really means to love your fellow men. He has learned to be humble and submissive. "My mission has changed me forever. I will continue to do what I'm doing--without a name tag." He shared a quote from Pres. Monson, who said, "Whoever will share his testimony will strengthen it. Whoever selfishly keeps it will lose it." Also, I Corinthians 9:16 "...woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel." It's our duty to preach the gospel!