Friday, October 29, 2010

Thank You

Cooking is a real talent. It requires practice, patience, technique, and the intangible ingredient of love--qualities that I have not been able to channel to my kitchen experiences. I want to dedicate this post to the wonderful sisters of the Rohnert Park Fourth Spanish Branch because of their marvelous skills with knives, pans, beaters, whisks, and sour cream. It is easy to overlook the impact that a home-cooked meal has on a missionary's day. Eating at a member's home is a tender mercy of the Lord and a wonderful service. Instead of fluttering around with ninety-nine cent macaroni and cheese or microwaveable pizza, missionaries can enjoy a peaceful moment with the members they are called to serve.
Thank you so much Sister Paredes, Castillo, Sanchez, Guadamud, Lopez, Medina, and Escamilla for the wonderful meals that you have provided me and my companions during my time in the Petaluma-Rohnert park area. You sweet sisters not only provide food for our temporal needs but also nourish our spirits with the love and gratitude of your hearts.

A Book of Mormon king, King Benjamin, instructed his people that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." The King of Kings said: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  We missionaries appreciate all of you around the world who do engage in the terrific service of "feeding the missionaries." Our admiration goes to you for being so charitable and loving. I know that as we serve our fellow men, however great or small they are, we serve God--the greatest of all. May we carry that service forward to all men.

Why give service?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Perfect Brightness

The Good Samaritan
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men."

We had a lesson yesterday with a member who has been struggling to attend church and we read with him the verse partially-quoted above from 2 Nephi 31:20. We were in the midst of reading it when into my mind entered a sudden enlightenment and clarity.

Faith. Hope. Charity.

We must press forward with unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, with a perfect assurance and hope that following His example will lead us to eternal life, and with his "pure love" guiding our actions. It is a simple summary of what are lives should entail and, as Alma states, if we have faith, hope and charity "then ye will always abound in good works" (Alma 7:24). I know that by actively living the Gospel, we will continuously harvest these qualities within us.

What is the promise for a life saturated with these three Christ-like attributes?

"[Behold], thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Look at these pictures. What do you see? Do you see families? A churchy background? Does your focus rest on the expressions? Is there an unusual event about to take place? Or do you see, as I do, happiness and joy? Do you see, as I do, individuals upon which a great change has come to pass? Do you see, as I do, lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Violeta and Jorge are two of my favorite people in the entire world. They have been great examples of faith in their decisions to follow Jesus Christ and enter into the covenant, or promise, of baptism with Him. Consider this statement by the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi: "He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh." I testify that such a deep love exists and can be felt by trusting and confiding one hundred percent in our Savior. He is the rock upon which "ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12). Baptism brings forgiveness, offers an opportunity for change, is the way to enter if it is our desire to dwell with God eternally, and most important to our current mortal experience--joy!

Who is Jesus Christ? What is it about His Gospel that changes individuals and blesses their lives?
Click to learn more about Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Stroll Through Nature

It is overwhelmingly incredible how perfect the physical nature of this world is. The order in the structure of every creation, be it small like an atom or large like the planets that twirl around the sun, passes all our understanding. Today we went with a group of four other missionaries to play a round of golf in the beautifully vast hills of Petaluma and Cotati, California. It was a clear day--not cold, nor hot--and the green was as soft as a baby's bottom. The spirit of the game was enjoyed by all despite our mediocre golf skills and the fact that our overall scores were higher than our blood pressure readings. During this time our eyes, noses, and ears were immersed in a pool of beauty. I do not mean that we fell into one of the hole-side lakes (what blessing that would have been given the sunny conditions), but we were able to see the simple, yet extravagant creations of our Heavenly Father. "Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it" (1 Nephi 17:36). I bear testimony that God exists and that we, as His children, are heirs of His glory if it so be that we follow his commandments and develop in ourselves Christ-like attributes so that we may become as He is. How grateful I am for the works of His marvelous hands!

The Savior Lives!

By way of official commencement to my blog, I would like to share with you all that I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). All are free and abundantly invited to follow the King of Kings, be changed by his infinite atonement, obtain forgiveness for their sins, and find true peace in a world of disorder and chaos. I testify that it is only through His merits and our obedience to His laws and ordinances that we can experience this lasting joy and eventually recieve "eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7). I have not seen Him but I testify in his holy name that He lives and that He loves us.