This week in young women's I had the young women bring a story of one of their ancestors who was the first to join the church in their family and share it. I then asked each one what they learned from their stories and what effect it had on their lives. It was neat to hear their responses. The overall consensus was that of faith and courage. I then asked them why the church encourages us to learn about our ancestors as well as do their temple work. I had a lot of blank stares, but then one young woman commented that by learning about them we will recognize them on the other side of the veil and know more about them. I liked this answer, but what I was looking for is that it helps us establish who we are. By knowing where we come from we gain a sense of our own identity. We are also able to draw strength from the examples in our ancestor's lives. But, the most important lesson I wanted the young women to learn from this evening was the effect of our choices. Each one of their ancestors had a choice to make whether to join the church or not. The consequences of their ancestor's choices are still being felt today. One of the leaders shared that she had recently attended a family reunion where there were over one thousand people in attendance. These were all descendants of two people who had joined the church right after they were married and that was just a few generations ago. Where would each one of those people be had they chosen a different route? I told the young women to not think for a second that the choices they are making right now will only affect them. Surely their choices will affect generations to come. This is a sobering thought but oh so very true. My great, great, great grandmother had the choice to leave the church and her aunt and uncle behind to be adopted by the governor of Missouri. He and his wife adored her and offered to give her the finest education and everything that money could buy. She chose to stay with the saints and honored her testimony. Where would I be today had she chosen otherwise. Church historians have traced the lives of Governor Boggs' posterity and the result has not been pleasant. If you remember, Governor Boggs is the one who issued the Extermination Order for the state of Missouri. It was legal to kill a Mormon on sight.
Anyhow, I then encouraged the young women to keep a journal of their lives. Record their testimonies and share the experiences of their lives. Their posterity will rejoice in their valiant examples as well as get a kick out of the stories from their day to day lives. This is one reason I am doing this blog for Dallin. I want his posterity to know the kind of missionary he was and hopefully have their testimonies strengthened as well. I want them to know what a great person Dallin was and how much his family loved and missed him. So without further adieu here are this week's letters:
2 Nephi 1:13,23
13. O that ye would awake: awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, and they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.
23. Awake my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which you are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.
Disobedience to the Lord's commandments allows Satan to deceive us, and we forget the light and truth we have previously learned. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency described this dangerous condition: "One of the effects of disobeying God seems to be the creation of just enough spiritual anesthetic to block any sensation as the ties to God are being cut. Not only does the testimony of the truth slowly erode, but even the memories of what it was like to be in the light begin to seem like a delusion."
This describes to us the seriousness of committing sin and the risks that are involved. Once we sin, we put ourselves at risk of being cut off from God and not even really realizing it, and then eventually embracing the idea that He really doesn't even exist. This is so scary to me. I know we all sin and fall short, but if we don't correct our sins and mistakes through the Atonement we will eventually become spiritually numb and will not even realize or care that our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the one being who loves us more than anyone else, has been severed.
I share this with you because I came across it and will most likely use it in the book. I thought you might enjoy this and perhaps share it with those you interact with.
Dear Aldste Milne,
How is my favorite missionary doing this week? I love you and miss you. I pray that you are well, and that you are happy! I have great news: my ultrasound came back normal so there is no cancer of the thyroid! Yay! Also, now that we are getting things figured out with my health my strength seems to be increasing each day. I am so happy about this. Thank you for your love, prayers, and concern.
How is Karlskrona this week? How are all your friends doing? How are the ward members treating you? I'm certain they are awesome! When are transfers? I can't wait to hear how everything is going.
This week was interesting. Dad hurt his back throwing baseballs during practice one night so he didn't work on Tuesday or Wednesday. Carter's Legion team played Monday night against a Las Vegas team. They lost both games but shouldn't have. Ty or Carter's teams did not play the rest of the week. Dad and I flew to Denver out of Las Vegas on Wednesday night. We had an awesome time! It was such a great get away! Dad called it a "wife-cation". He had a good visit with the owners of Comfort Dental. They have several opportunities available for dad, so it will be up to him to decide what he wants to do. We drove up to Boulder and looked around because that is where one of the opportunities is. It is beautiful up there right next to the mountains, and the air was so cool. It actually rained while we were there and it was awesome. We haven't seen rain in St George for months. It was so refreshing. I mostly rested while we were there and did some book work. But I had a great time. It was fun to spend some time with dad without all the distractions of our life. Carter and Ty stayed home and had friends over each night. They survived. Ty said he fixed himself dinner three nights in a row, and Carter had the bathrooms sparkling. It is good to see them take on more responsibility.
I was able to make it through all of church today. Yahoo! I heard all about young women's camp. They had an incredible time. I was sad that I couldn't go, but I did get to send them off on Wednesday morning with a devotional and gift bag. It worked out really well. I sat in on dad's Sunday School lesson. He always does such a great job and he really has the respect of his class. They are a bunch of 15 and 16 year old kids. He talked about covenants, namely: The Abrahamic covenant, baptismal covenants, the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, and the New and Everlasting covenant of marriage. In young women's we talked about ordinances both saving ordinances and other ordinances. Good day at church!
I hope you are having a good day. Keep the faith and keep up the great work. Remember to stay away from the three D's of the Devil: Depression, Discouragement, and Despondency as well as the three P's: Pride, Passion, and Power. Remember that obedience equals safety and happiness!
Love you to the moon and back!
Here is Aldste Milne's Letter:
What's up everybody? Thanks for the scare tactics with the spiritual thought mom haha definitely something worth keeping in mind though! We have commandments for a reason, spiritual safety. I've also come to learn that there is nothing better then a clear conscience knowing that you are doing the best that you can no matter what the circumstances. Those three D's of the devil are a constant battle sometimes but we are doing the best that we can and there is a lot of peace in being able to say that.
Anyways I had a pretty average week. Talked to people, taught people, and made spaghetti just about every day. It was super hot this week as well, around 80 every day during the week and the humidity made it seem a lot higher. Reminded me a lot of our Minnesota days. I was sweating to death going around in the white shirt and pants. And then it turned around and rained pretty hard all weekend. So I was either drenched in my own sweat or water every day this week going around town. We have been working with this older Swedish woman for quite some time now and she is so ready for baptism. We have had some of the most spiritual lessons that I have ever been apart of with her and she is reading everyday and loves the lds.org website. What is holding her back is her family. They have all been strong in the Swedish church since the beginning of time basically and she feels like she would be abandoning her family by joining our church. So we are trying to help her with that by talking a lot about faith and trust in the Lord that He would bless her for doing what she knows is right. I've been praying like crazy that we would be able to baptize her before I transfer which could very well be the 24th of July. We have heard some rumors and I have been here quite awhile, but it is what it is as I like to say, if she is baptized next week or next year or whenever, its up to the Lord I guess. We have quite a few investigators out of town for vacation right now as well so it was a little slower this last week.
And it is so good to hear that the ultrasound results were favorable, that is such a relief! I hope you continue to recover well. Sounds like you guys had a good time in Colorado, that must have been nice to get away for a little bit and relax and that's cool to hear that the boys were able to take care of themselves. Ty making himself dinner? Dang sounds like the kid is growing up. Its going to be crazy to come back and see how tall they both have gotten. keep me updated on Carter's growth especially, I can't have him getting taller than me haha.
Anyways I finished reading the BoM in Swedish this week and was just reminded about how much I love Moroni 7 especially these last verses...
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
Having all this time on the mission to just focus on serving and inviting others to come unto Christ has been such a blessing for me by helping me develop Christlike attributes. Developing Christlike attributes is one of the most important things that I think a missionary can do with his or her time, and it sure does sound like charity would be one that I wouldn't want to be lacking when that last day comes around haha. Now of course I am no where near perfect and there is always things to improve on but I really am grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here to help others as well as myself.
I love you all and hope you guys have a wonderful week in that St. George heat.
This week's pictures:
The carnival came to town, this was the ride that I went on.
The church building here in Karlskrona
Some type of watch tower I guess