Monthly Archives: January 2014

Simple Miracles…

Since I post spiritual experiences of other missionaries, I felt I should post this one from our granddaughter Sister Pier who is serving in the Washington, Federal Way mission. I love it because it is so simple and yet so spiritual…

“I lied, one last thing that was an awesome miracle. We were getting out of our car at an investigators house an I forgot the phone was on my lap. And it went flying when I stood up and the battery, phone, and back all separated. Whoops. I pick up the back and the phone and the battery is NO WHERE to be found. So, we get down on our hands and knees (IN SKIRTS) and have out a flashlight and are searching everywhere. It wasn’t there. I then sat on the curb and said to Hermana Phillips, “This is a wasted of time! This can’t be part of God’s plan we need to be working.” You know I was playing the part of Laman and Lamuel and Hermana Phillips said, “Let’s say a prayer.” <—- She’s the Nephi in the companionship I guess. I said a short prayer asking for help and lo and behold… we opened our eyes and it was right there under a leaf. Say what?! It was not there before. I swear. Everyone always tells these kinds of stories and I always have been a doubter but I swear it wasn’t there before. The craziest part is that right then the investigator pulled into their driveway and had that not happened  we would have just knocked their door and left when they weren’t have. Heavenly Father is so so great.”

Anyways, I love you all! Have a great week!

Con Amor,  Hermana Pier

President Anderson’s Letter – 26 January 2014

This is the first time I have kept this blog going between missions but I feel that it is important to at least post President’s very spiritual letters each week. While the most important part for me is the missionary experiences he shares, they also contain a teaching section to help the missionaries become more committed and effective. I found this week’s message something that all members  can learn from.

Dear Missionaries,

I hope everyone enjoyed Stake Conference as much as I did. I thing Elder Gay, Sister McConkie, Elder Kopischke, and of course Elder Nelson were talking to our Mission. I loved Elder Nelson’s discourse on doctrine. His description of the Gospel being like a beautiful diamond with 9 facets of doctrine was masterful. These facets of doctrine are what we regularly teach as Representatives of Christ:

Facet # 1- The Godhead

Facet # 2- The Plan of Salvation

Facet # 3- The Atonement

Facet # 4- Dispensation, Apostasy, Restoration

Facet # 5- Prophets and Revelation

Facet # 6- Priesthood and Priesthood Keys

Facet # 7- Ordinances and Covenants

Facet # 8- Marriage and Famil

Facet #- 9 Commandments

We bring people to the knowledge of these Doctrines every day, in fact they all relate to the Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 32, 3 Nephi 11). As we better understand these Doctrines and teach them by the power of the Spirit, the Church will be enhanced, the people will be motivated and inspired to come to Christ and desire to accomplish “good works”. Elder Ballad explains:

“It seems clear to me, as this great work continues to roll forth, that the leaders of the Church at every level…  need to understand God’s plan for his children and then teach these principles to their people…The building up of the Church will surely be enhanced if all …  will teach the pure, simple, doctrinal truths that bring the children of God to a spiritual understanding. The Lord said: ‘And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom: Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you.’ (D&C 88:77-78)…In my judgment, the greatest motivator that we have in the Church is to have Church members understand the plan of salvation… Every leader should strive to motivate the people to good works by teaching the doctrines of the kingdom. The scriptures are our text, for “in them ye think ye have eternal life.” ( John 5:39)…  From them we glean the truths that will open to us a clear understanding of man’s eternal possibilities.” (M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 1986)

President Uchtdorf teaches us clearly of the “why, what, how” of missionary work. Since missionary work is a function of and directed by Priesthood keys, I inserted “missionary” with “Priesthood”:

“The what is important in our work, and we need to attend to it. But it is in the why of priesthood [missionary] service that we discover the fire, passion, and power of the priesthood [missionary work]…The what of priesthood [missionary] service teaches us what to do. The why inspires our souls…The what informs, but the why transforms…My dear brethren, divine blessings for priesthood [missionary] service are activated by our diligent efforts, our willingness to sacrifice, and our desire to do what is right. Let us be the ones to act and not be acted upon. Preaching is fine, but sermons that do not lead to action are like fires without heat or water that cannot quench thirst… It is in the application of doctrine that the purifying flame of the gospel grows and the power of the priesthood ignites our souls…Thomas Edison, the man who bathed the world in glowing electric light, said that “the value of an idea lies in the using of it.” In a similar way, gospel doctrine becomes more precious when it is put to use.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference April 2012)

Teaching doctrine amplifies the Spirit:

“… we decided that we needed this time tomorrow filled so we needed to Harvest now. We decided that we would be looking for a young family that was really looking to come to Church and turn their lives around, and at first we weren’t having any luck. Then we saw a man on his porch and we offered the blessing. As soon as we said, ‘we are representatives of Jesus Christ’ he started to back off and tried to tell us that he didn’t like Churches. We asked if we could leave a prayer before we leave, He said why not. We left the blessing and the spirit was so strong, you could eat it with a spoon. When we invited him to be baptized he said he had never done that before and thought it was something he wanted. We invited him to church he said he would need a ride and we told him no worries, and when we said that we would be by tomorrow to pick him up he said that he couldn’t make it tomorrow but he was definitely coming. We still felt good on our way back to the car and we took a minute at the car to get a drink of water (because we don’t drink water in the car) and all of the sudden we turn around and there he is. He says ‘after you left I felt like I should have said yes, I haven’t been to church in 10 years, I hated it, but I think it’s something that my family needs. He went to Church and later when we followed up on Monday, he said that that was the First time he remembers really feeling the spirit.”

Teaching Doctrine will help them to keep the commandments:

“His son was baptized in the YSA branch two weeks ago, and when he saw the baptism he told the elders that he wanted to be baptized as well. They passed him to us and we went to visit him. He committed to living the Word of Wisdom at the first visit as he had problems with drinking and smoking. But he was having a hard time keeping his commitment until we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ focusing on the doctrine of being clean before God (3 Nephi 27:19-20)… we were able to connect the dots using doctrine (no unclean thing can dwell with God), principle (be clean by keeping the commandments and being free from addictive substances), and application (live the word of wisdom). He recommitted to keeping the Word of Wisdom and told us a few days later that he had lost all desire to smoke or drink.”

Teaching doctrine will help increase their faith and desire to come to Church:

“Our investigator was SET on getting baptized on the 26th since we harvested him. He accepted everything we taught him and fed us multiple times after lessons. We went to teach him on Saturday and the first thing he told us was that he wouldn’t be able to come to church the next day because his boss told him he had to come into work early. We began to teach simple doctrine that God wanted him at church and that because God is omnipotent, He could make it happen if we prayed and if he acted. We then kneeled and our investigator offered one of the most faith-filled prayers I have ever heard. All four of us had faith that he would make it. However, he didn’t call us or answer our calls; he didn’t answer the door on Sunday morning when we went to round him up. We waited and waited for him at church and just before we gave up on him coming, he rides into the parking lot on his bike! He asked his boss to get the time off and his prayer was answered, he got to attend sacrament and he is so excited to be baptized on the 26th!”

Following the doctrine of faith and the Spirit will lead us to those that need rescue:

“We had set aside an hour and a half on Sunday night to harvest, and we had prayed and felt inspired to go to this complex… As we knock, we look for opportunities to oym, and have a few. Then we knock on a door, and a man opens it and says ‘did my mom send you guys here?’ We respond that she didn’t but that we were here as Representatives of Christ to bless his home. He quickly explains that he is a member and his mom has been trying to get him to go back to church! We go inside and all he asks for in the prayer is to help him get back to church! We had a powerful blessing and he is excited to come to FHE the next day and to church. We said a gratitude prayer and kept going. After 15 or so minutes, we get a call from him. He told us his mom had told him to tell us that she was on her knees at 5:30 pleading that her son would come back in contact with the Church. We knocked his door at 5:45. It was such a powerful experience. He came to [Church] last night and was enveloped by the branch. “

President Uchtdorf teaches us that doctrine, principle, and application (why,what,how) relates to obedience. Elder Nelson taught this as “Facet # 9” with obedience in keeping the commandments:

“While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet…Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us… The “what” and “how” of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference October 2011)

We will get closer to God as we teach doctrine and follow the doctrine of obedience:

Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;” (D&C 93:1)

Looking at Africa and No Lay Over in London!

As the day that we are to leave gets closer I find myself looking more and more at the Tembe Elephant Park webcam to get to know the different animals again…it is easy to tell a Elephant from at warthog…actually to tell either from anything else…but there are a lot of different antelopes in Africa and they are what we will see the most of. The picture below is one of a mixed herd of Nyala and Kudus. The Kudu’s have the twisted horn while the nyala has a curved horn.

Nyalas - Kudus large herd

 

We got two good pieces of information today. First everything is in to get our visas…should be available the week of the 10th…and we do not have to go through London with a 10 hour delay but are going through Atlanta for a direct flight to Johannesburg! Even if we end up with smaller seats it will be worth it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.21.00 PM

In case you do not know what an elephant looks like he is a fairly young one.

President Anderson’s Letter – 20 January 2014

Being obedient in contacting everyone brings power to “Doctrine, Principle, and Application”:

“We met this awesome guy this week. While we were harvesting we saw him sitting outside his home. He had his head down, and his hands on his face. He looked really sad. We felt like we needed to talk to him. We told him who we were, and why we were there. He accepted the prayer, and after the prayer he felt the spirit so strong. You could see it in his eyes. He said he felt relieved and when we invited him to be baptized he said, ‘yes, why not!’  We have been teaching him and he is very receptive to the spirit. Last night as we taught him using ‘Doctrine, Principle, Application” we taught him through Christ he can be cleansed from sin he said, ‘wow that’s powerful!’ He is awesome and he is excited for his baptism!”

Being obedient to teach to the investigator’s needs and not with a recurring, cookie cutter, or memorized lesson:

“I was pumped to apply Doctrine-Principle-Application to our investigators. As soon as we got back we went to go teach one of them. She has been unsure and nervous about baptism for the last week because she’s been baptized in other churches before and she didn’t have a good experience. She told herself ‘I’m never going to get baptized in another church ever again.’ So we decided to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. We taught her about how God’s work and his glory is our eternal life and immortality; then we talked about how our work is to keep his commandments. We shared a scripture about baptism and asked her what she needed to do. She answered ‘I need to repent and get baptized!’ We said, ‘Exactly!  Will you repent and be baptized this Sunday?’ Without hesitation she said yes! It was so amazing to see how she was able to overcome all doubts as we put our trust in God’s perfect Doctrines!”

We can even teach our members to commit using “Doctrine, Principle, and Application”:

“We once again discovered the strength of bringing members with us. How incredible! A recent convert that just received her endowments on Saturday came out last night, and while we were focusing our invitation to continue preparing for baptism to our investigator, the member interrupted and said, ‘the spirit has changed here, with just 2 of you baptized. Imagine how powerful it would be if all 5 of you were. Baptism is the only door we can enter, there is no other way. Will you be baptized too? (focusing on the others).’ One looked at her in shock (we had invited him multiple other times) and said, ‘yeah, I’m going to be baptized this Sunday.’ It was incredible. Another then looked at us and said, ‘do I have to change what I wear?’ We responded, ‘You will have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and God will let you know what you should do.’ She looked at us for a minute, ‘You know, I was telling my mom after church today about long skirts, I used to make fun of them but now they look so elegant to me.’

Elder Maxwell teaches us concerning obedience and murmuring:

“Perhaps when we murmur we are unconsciously complaining over not being able to cut a special deal with the Lord. We want full blessings but without full obedience to the laws upon which those blessings are predicated. For instance, some murmurers seem to hope to reshape the Church to their liking by virtue of their murmuring. But why would one want to belong to a church that he could remake in his own image, when it is the Lord’s image that we should come to have in our countenances?… The doctrines are His, brothers and sisters, not ours. The power is His to delegate, not ours to manipulate!… nonmurmurers are permitted to see so much more… Elisha’s counsel, (2 Kgs. 6:14–17.) can help Church members today to silence our murmuring. Regardless of how things seem, or come to seem, in troubled times, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” My brothers and sisters, if our lips are closed to murmuring, then our eyes can be opened.” (Elder Neil A. Maxwell, General Conference, October 1989)

We Can Go to South Africa…

YEAH !!!!  Saturday’s mail brought Mary’s FBI clearance – she had been turned down the first time because her finger prints could not be read – so we were able to send in our visa application. This means that we should be able to fly out as scheduled to Johannesburg – for a while we thought we might have to be reassigned to the US or Canada – and once again enjoy the beautiful land and people of South Africa.

 

President Anderson’s Letter 12 January 2014

35 Baptisms| Wow – what a great week for the FFLM with 35 sons and daughters of God putting their feet on the straight and narrow way!

President Anderson shared these missionary experiences…

Elder Oaks taught also the importance of teaching doctrine and principles:

“Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence on behavior than rules. When we teach gospel doctrine and principles, we can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 1999)

When we teach pure Doctrine and understood principles, they will recognize and overcome their obstacles and commit to follow Christ:

“The only thing that was holding her back was smoking. She knew she needed to quit and wanted to quit, but was having a hard time doing it. She committed to be done on New Years and was doing really good, just still questioning if she could really do it, or if she was prepared to now make the covenant with God. We invited her to the church on Saturday to see a baptism, but she couldn’t make it until it was over. We figured it would still be a chance for a really spiritual lesson. It was amazing as we sat down, prayed, and then just talked openly with her, how strong the spirit was. Afterwards a member bore testimony and then we basically just sat back and let her figure things out. It was like she was having a lesson with the spirit. She came to a point where after a long pause she said ‘it’s the building, that’s what’s stopping me from being baptized.’ She had been reading about the ‘Tree of Life’ and how the building was the pride of the world. She was able to recognize that it was her pride that was the only thing stopping her from being baptized. She then committed to be baptized on Sunday and was. It was such a cool experience. All we did was set things up for the spirit to work and a miracle happened.”

They will recognize the Doctrine is from God, we only need to be the instruments to teach it:

“…we went back Tuesday to the Pastor lady … with a printed out Joseph Smith history as requested, and we met with her and the two other Pastors she was staying with. She was nice and sort of open .. then taught a lesson. We then didn’t talk with her until Saturday when we felt prompted to invite her to Church. It was fast and testimony meeting and during a silence she decided to get up and bare her testimony that last Sunday she had been praying about what the Lord wanted her to do next and before she finished the prayer her son walked in and told her two young men in ties were standing at the door. She then identified us in the congregation and said, ‘these two young boys gave me a copy of Joseph Smith’s First Vision and I believe they were the answer to my prayer. I have read it, and I too testify with the rest of you that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God.’ it was astounding.”

Teaching Doctrine and Principles, surrounded by the Spirit will pull them to want to act:

“So my companion and I were biking to the church on Wednesday night…. And as we were almost there, a guy whistled for us from across the street… and ran across the road to us. We talked to him and he said he wanted a card or something from us… and I asked him if we wanted to come to church on Sunday. He said, ‘I want to go now!!’ Alright!! Awesome! So we walked with him a few blocks to the church and we gave him a chapel tour… He said his first boss in Cuba was a Mormon, and he knows about the church. He said he doesn’t have a religion right now, but he really wants to come to church. After showing him the chapel, and explaining the sacrament, and after showing him the baptismal font, we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! He said, ‘Are you guys going to baptize me?’ and’ When can I be baptized?’ So we told him he needed to come to church twice so he could be baptized, and he was SO excited!! We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he made us write our names in it, and we also gave him a Bible and some Pamphlets about the Word of Wisdom (he picked that one out) And we gave him a restoration pamphlet and a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet too. He just wanted everything from the Mormon Church! He was inhaling everything we were telling him. And he said a prayer for us in the chapel and in his prayer he said ‘Jesus Christ, I know you are a Mormon. So bless this church.’ It was awesome!!”

Elder Scott teaches us that God will help us as we teach with faith and His “Power and Authority” by infusing faith as we prepare to bring these souls to Christ:

“You can learn to use faith more effectively by applying this principle taught by Moroni: ‘Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.’ Thus, every time you try your faith, that is, act in worthiness on an impression, you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. Those feelings will fortify your faith. As you repeat that pattern, your faith will become stronger. The Lord knows your needs. When you ask with honesty and real intent, He will prompt you to do that which will increase your ability to act in faith. With consistent practice, faith will become a vibrant, powerful, uplifting, inspiring force in your life. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. I testify that I know that is true. (Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 2003)

President Anderson’s Letter – January 5, 2014

 

Hands_of_God_and_Adam-1

I have often thought about the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the scene where God is reaching out to touch Adam’s finger and give him life. When I see the scene I see the gap between the fingers and that Adam has reached as far as he can – he is giving it his all. Now that he has God will fill the gap. I know it is the same in the things I do – it I will give my all or as it says in D&C 4 – serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength – that God will fill the gap.

We have found that this is true with missionary work. When the missionaries are willing to give their all, be exactly obedient and have complete faith in Christ than they will see miracles as the stories from this week’s letter shows…Bill

President Anderson…

The Lord will bless us as we show forth “Power and Authority” and keep going even after the first miracle:

“A miracle we witnessed happened while harvesting last night. I kid you not President, We found 4 incredible families. Every single door we knocked, we ran into an incredible miracle. This first lady brought us in and told us she knew a member, we invited her to be baptized, and she accepted along with everything else. The next door we found a man who wasn’t too interested, we prayed and during the prayer a lady came out (but I didn’t stop saying the prayer) and she knelt down, and after the prayer was crying. It turns out that she had learned from the missionaries in Nicaragua. She believed José Smith to be a prophet and the Book of Mormon was true. We gave her another book, and the both of them accepted baptism. The next door we found a Latin party going on. We knocked (but were a little scared) but it turned out the spirit was right again. They accepted us, turned off everything, knelt down, and after the prayer the young mother had tears in her eyes. She and her grandparents all accepted baptism, and before we could invite them to do anything they wanted us to come back and to go to church next Sunday. After that we were walking and saw a man flying a remote control helicopter. We ran over and offered a blessing and he was super resistive. We started being more personable with him about his helicopter and soon he told us all about his family. His two daughters ran from the house and came and said the prayer with us. After they were all smiling and all accepted baptism after we shared the doctrine of eternal families.”

“Power and Authority” will reveal itself as we are obedient and faithful:

“One miracle we saw was while we were harvesting on Friday. We saw that our harvest numbers were lacking a little bit so we made some plans on how to improve that. One of those plans was to harvest for an hour a day no matter what!! Even if we had appointments, we knew that God would provide a way. Well as we were getting close to being done harvesting we had about 5 minutes left and knew we needed to finish strong. So we both picked a door that we really liked and decided to knock on it. Right away we knew it was going to be a miracle house.  A woman answered and she looked a little shocked. When she asked us what church we were from she was even more shocked when she found out we were Mormons. Turns out she is from Idaho, and that she was a Mormon herself. We must’ve had a shocked look on our faces as well because she started singing Book of Mormon Stories to us. She looked us in the eyes and said ‘you can’t fake that can you’, it made us all laugh. Then we were able to meet her 2 daughters who are not members!! Can we say MIRACLE!!”

We can inspire our members to exercise “Power and Authority” linked with our mantel as Representatives of Jesus Christ:

“We had an investigator who had been struggling with quitting smoking. We had prayed and fasted for her, but she didn’t believe she could do it until the end of this month. When we told her she could do it now, she became upset with us.  She had unexpectedly gone out of town the Sunday before Christmas and wasn’t expected to get back till after the New Year. We got a phone call from her on Christmas telling us she was on her way back. We met with her the next day and brought over a member who had also quit smoking. The spirit was so strong as the member told her ‘why wait? You can quit smoking now.’ Then she reached out her hand and asked for her lighter. Our investigator gave her the lighter and then said, ‘wait the Holy Spirit told me I need to do something.’  She reached in her purse and gave her the last cigarette, and she broke it in four!!! We were so proud of her. She told us. ‘It’s over, I know it is. Jesus took the cigarettes from me.’ As we left she threw her ash tray away. When her neighbors asked her for cigarettes she told them ‘I don’t have any, I quit smoking. I’m done. Jesus took it from me.’ This Sunday she was baptized and confirmed.  After she came up out of the water while she was still in the baptismal font she prayed and thanked our Heavenly Father. She has so much faith. She told us she had waited 34 years to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and now she had it.”

The Apostle Paul taught that “Power and Authority doesn’t only come in what we say or proclaim, but by the Spirit we invoke:

“For our gospel became not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

The Lord will continue to “honour” us with “Power and Authority” as we remain worthy to be entrusted with it:

“Eli the priest was relieved of his calling when he permitted wickedness in the house of the Lord. The Lord said, ‘For them that honour me I will honour.’ The great…  power and authority with which we have been entrusted must be exercised by those authorized to do so who have proven themselves worthy to do so. Only in this manner will our acts be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise and thus be honored by the Lord.” (President James E. Faust, General Conference, April 2001)