May 23, 2004

Well, today's lesson went well. We discussed Alma and his mission today; which was different from Abinadai's. Abinadai's mission was to warn, while Alma's was to teach. He taught in private while Abinadai didn't. Alma converted many souls, despite the imminent dangers of Noah's priests who were out looking for him.

I'm so glad that people are enjoying my teaching. I'm glad that I feel the spirit when I teach, and that I find myself enthusiastic about the topics. The main theme of today's lesson was that God keeps His promises. And that He does; I have faith and a testimony of this. Just as God promised that Noah would suffer death by fire; that the Nephites would be put into bondage by the Lamanaites, and that He would deliver them once they repented and turned to Him; well, God did these very things. He is "the same yesterday, today and forever". Enos tells us that "God cannot lie". The scriptures are full of testimony to the fact that God does not lie. it maye seem impossible, through the reasoning of men (just as the promise made to Abraham and Sarah seemed impossible) we must remember that nothing is impossible with the LORD! Oh how He loves us!

We also discussed our baptismal covenants. Part of our covenant that we made was that we would "stand with those who stand in need of comfort, mourn with those who mourn, and that we would stand as a witness of God in ALL times, and in ALL things, and in ALL places...". I love Mosiah 18:9. It is such a beautiful scripture.

Yes, we made covenants to help our fellow brothers and sisters out when they are in need of it; despite the sacrifice it may mean that we must make. We pledged to the Lord that we would do this thing! We also promised to stand as witnesses of God at all times, not just when it is convenient for us. We have to fight our fears...we have to fight indifference. Because we made these covenants, we are prohibited from being indifferent. Matthew 25 makes our duties crystal clear. Brother Ted Gibbons said it well, "In practice, our indifference is a denial of our faith." We CANNOT be indifferent about the suffering of others! We cannot be indifferent about the gospel! We need to accept is as the people of Alma, who "clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: this is the desire of our hearts." (Mosiah 18:11). We must accept every opportunity there is to serve and to preach the gospel. Fear isn't an excuse. "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it hsall be given you in the very hour, yeah in the very moment, what ye shall say." (D&C 100:5-6). I know that this is true. I know that when the fear in my heart threatened to overcome me, at fragile moments in my life when I was given the opportunity to share the gospel, the Lord put into my mouth the things I needed to say. Just as he does every week when I teach this class. I am still a little nervous every week, but it is lessening. My friend Tara even commented today that I was a lot more comfortable and less nervous this week than I was last week. Perhaps this was because of what I read and taught today concerning this very thing? Most likely. Heavenly Father has always been there to prompt me. When I get up to bear my testmony and have no idea what to say, once I reach that pulpit, it just comes pouring out those things I need to say. I know that through the testimony of others, and the lessons of others, I have learned profound things; their testimonies have touched my heart, and the truthfulness of their words rang clear in mine. I know that I, too, must have a similar impact on a few people; people who needed to hear a certain message, or know they weren't alone in their is just a marvelous thing that Heavenly Father has done. He has commanded us to share with each other, and bear each other's burdens, and testify to each other; and this is His way of helping us! He sends friends, family, companions, husbands, and wives to teach us, to help mold us, to offer companionship and love, to gently guide us in the direction we are supposed to be heading. Yeah, we all screw up sometimes, but I do know the love I have for the people in my life, and how much true joy I feel when I see them heading in the right direction! When I see their happiness from keeping the commandments, and listening to the Spirit. It must be true that others feel that way when they see me doing the same things.

I do have a testimony that God keeps his promises. I have a testimony of my baptismal covenants. I promised the Lord that I would serve, that I would "mourn with those who mourn", and that I would take every opportunity given to me to preach His word. I may never be able to do that on a full-time mission, but this does not mean that I won't be called to do so. So many people overlook the importance of member missionary work, yet our Prophet has said that the retention of members that came in through member contacts is extremely significant as compared to the retention of others who came in through different means. We are human beings; we are social by nature (yes, even I am :) We need that contact, that togetherness, that companionship...those people and families that are converted because of the love and example of a friend or family member have that instant compansionship as they begin their journey in the living and better understanding of the gospel. I know that when I get married, I want my husband and I to constantly be member missionaries; to seek out friends and family and share the gospel with them. I also want to live the kind of life with him that is an example to our loved ones. I know that by doing so, we truly can be instruments in the Lord's hands.

Well, I have to go now, my friend just called me and informed me that there is a tornado warning and several tornadoes and/or funnel clouds are being spotted. It's very eerie, since when I look outside I see everything is still, the sun is shining, and there are large patches of blue sky. I'll write more later.

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