I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!

I originally created this blog when I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and my purpose was to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my friends and acquaintances online.  I am no longer a full-time missionary, but let it be known!  I (proudly) belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

I know God lives and loves his children, all of them.  I know Jesus Christ came to reconcile us with the Father, to allow us to have a personal relationship with Him.  Without his supreme example and ultimate sacrifice, we as a society would be lost.  I, as an individual, would have not a clue how I could enter into the presence of the Father.  Christ continues to be the guiding influence in my life.

I love the Book of Mormon!  It’s a book of scripture, created to build my relationship with God.  I’ve always felt that you can get to know someone well by watching what they do, especially in their relationships.  The Book of Mormon is God’s relationships and interactions with His people in America; By reading those relationships and interactions, I understand God more fully.  I understand how I can have a better relationship with Him.

Joseph Smith was a man inspired by God.  He was a man.  I read of his mistakes and weaknesses hand in hand with his yearnings and revelations.  He is an example of how I, as an imperfect man, can approach the Father and receive the desires of my heart.  He is an example of how I, as a weak human being, might have my sins forgiven.

 

This faith, this church, and this people have been the chief factors in my development into the person that I am.

 

 

One of my favorite church songs.  Enjoy!

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Conference Follow-up!

Last weekend many of us had the opportunity to hear from prophets and apostles.  What a great privilege!

For those who may not know much about general conference or why we as members of the church spend 8-10 hours over a weekend every six months watching them, here is an article touching a bit on why we hold general conference and its history.  The reason that I love to attend general conference is because it’s a rare unique opportunity to see a large group of people agreeing on and striving for something;  That is, becoming better disciples of Christ.

Seriously, how often do you see this many people agree on something?

sustaining-church-leaders-sat-pm-april-2014

It’s truly an honour being a part of that every 6 months.

 

About two weeks ago, I extended a challenge on Facebook.  I’ll quote it here, for convenience sake:

“I think we as humans rarely have a stage in life in which we do not hold important questions in our mind. Over time they may change, but at that very moment they are important to us. At this very moment, I imagine that you have a question or three that is burning in your mind, searching for an answer. I have a challenge for you.

On April 5th and 6th, the LDS General Conference is happening in Salt Lake City. You can attend at a local meeting house or watch online. I invite you to watch at least one full session (two hours) with three specific questions in mind. I promise that if you do so, and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, each of your questions will be answered. I know, because I have done this very thing. It is literally miraculous! I know that these men are prophets of God.”

I took this challenge myself, so I want to report on what I found.  I had a few questions in mind.  The first was ‘What is the significance of faith, hope, and charity in our salvation/righteousness?’  Or, something to that effect.  I’ve been wanting to understand faith, hope, and charity for quite some time now.  I have read Moroni chapter 7Ether chapter 12, and 1 Corinthians chapter 13  a few times,  each referring to faith, hope, and charity.  From these scriptures, it’s apparent that they’re important – but I want to know why, and what results from them.

I received a partial answer from Elder Michael Jon U. Teh’s talk ‘Where Your Treasure Is’.  It’s funny how answers come in general conference, because I remember just thinking “If you just obey the simple principles, you’ll be told what to do”, and Ether 12:28 came to mind: ‘faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me – the fountain of all righteousness’.  I’ll have to keep studying to complete what I’m looking for, but that was definitely an answer to prayer!

My next question had to do with receiving some direction for my own life.  I end my mission in July and return home.  I wanted to receive some guidance on where I should take my life when I return home.  I received a lot of  revelation regarding this topic, most of which I won’t share here.  But I remember one quote really hit me hard when I heard it.  Elder Richard G Scott  in his talk said “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”  I remember thinking “when I go home, that will probably be the single most important principle to follow.”  All in all, I received a lot from General Conference.

I want to invite each of you to report on the challenge!  What kind of answers did you receive?  If you didn’t take the challenge, or didn’t watch general conference, I invite you to do so and reply here with your experiences from conference!

 

 

In closing, my favourite song from conference:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

I suppose there is no better way to share my purpose as a missionary than sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, I have decided to share a series of posts on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel.

The word ‘gospel’ is derived from the Old English word ‘godspel’; ‘god’ meaning good, ‘spel’ meaning story, or message.  The Gospel literally means the good message of Jesus Christ’s birth, ministry, atonement, death, and resurrection.  The good message extends to our lives.  The Gospel means our own death (that of the natural man, Mosiah 3:19), re-birth (Spiritual birth in Christ, John 3:5-7), physical death, and eventual resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:39-42).  The Atonement (or payment) of Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel.

Each of us go through two types of death: Spiritual, and physical.  Physical death is easy to identify, as it marks the end of our time on this Earth.  The Spirit is separated from the body for a time.  The former is more subtle and perhaps not so absolute.  Spiritual death is separation of the spirit from Deity. The primary wedge that creates this gap is sin.  As  normal human beings, we sin often, even daily.  It is a part of the ordinary, worldly life.  But with every sin, that wedge grows bigger and the gap between us and God expands.  Because of our own mistakes, we are made unclean and unworthy to stand in the presence of a perfect and just God.  My God, however, is also a loving and merciful God.  He has extended his hand of mercy through His son, Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good story of how Christ gave himself to pay that great eternal debt.  His loving sacrifice allows us to be clean of sin, removing the wedge and allowing us to stand in the presence of God without guilt or regret.

His loving sacrifice allows us to be clean of sin, removing the wedge and allowing us to stand in the presence of God without guilt or regret.

As the hymn goes, ‘God will force no man to heaven.’  In order for our sins to be forgiven, and to be able to come into complete unity with God, we must accept the Atonement.  The process by which we accept this gift is the process which we, as Latter-Day Saints, often also call the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These steps are: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.

Christ commanded His servants to ‘go… into all the world‘ to share this message of the Gospel.  He himself taught it to those who would listen.  I know that, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from sin.  I invite you to learn more about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His Gospel.  Here is a link to a simple website where you can learn more, or you can ask me questions you have through comments on my blog, or on my Facebook page here.

Life in Winnipeg

I began my mission twenty months ago in the east side of Winnipeg – an area called London Ward.  I spent six months serving there before I was transferred to Saskatchewan, where I spent the next twelve months.  I worked, walked, wept, and finally won a few victories in those twelve months.  They were good times.  Two months ago I was transferred back to Winnipeg with a unique assignment – That as an assistant to the mission president.

This new assignment has been a challenge to me in ways that I’ve never been challenged before as a missionary.  I have had the privilege of travelling with President and Sister Thomas throughout the mission to provide training for the entire mission.  I have spoken in front of more people and driven more kilometres (or miles, for those south of the border…) in the past two months than I have my entire mission.  Maybe not quite, but it certainly feels like it.  There have been a lot of benefits from being able to serve in this capacity – Spending time with President and his wife, being able to see the mission, spending time with the senior missionaries who work in the office, working with all of the missionaries in the mission, etc.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, there has been a cost associated with the calling.

I’ll try to sum it up for you non-missionaries briefly:  When you are on the road three out of six weeks, and dealing with transfer and travel planning for the fourth and six, you don’t have much time to spend in your area.  My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, and that is done primarily by teaching others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Over the six weeks that we spent training, that calling was perhaps neglected too much. I can’t explain the joy that comes when you teach somebody the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has perhaps never heard it before, when it just ‘clicks’ with them, or when they decide to be baptised and accept Christ as their Saviour and Redeemer.  On the flip side, you can tell a difference in your life when you’re not involved in that process any more.

Last night we were at a members home with the YSA sisters, who shared a great spiritual thought on reading the scriptures.  I took the opportunity to share a simple testimony of the power of the scriptures, and how the Spirit will guide your life when you read the scriptures.  Just those few minutes of being able to testify reminded me of the joy that comes when you testify of a truth, and play a role in someone’s conversion to Christ.  Fortunately, President Thomas has worked things out so that we will have time to work and fulfil our purpose as missionaries over this next six weeks, for which I am extremely grateful.  As it says in Doctrine and Covenants 50:16-17, you teach by the Spirit.  When you teach, you definitely feel the Spirit, and that Spirit brings great joy.  I invite you to take an opportunity to testify of a simple truth to a friend today, so that you can feel of that simple and peaceful Spirit as you do so.