Thursday, August 18, 2011

Their Legacy. My Heritage.

A couple months ago, us missionaries here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission had the opportunity to hear The Nashville Tribute Band perform a concert for the members and nonmembers in the area. During this concert, they played a song called American Dreams, about how a young man comes to America to find his place in God's kingdom.

Now, although this song isn't about the pioneers that crossed the plains, it reminded me of an experience that I'll never forget.

I was just about to turn the big 16. The age that every teenager looks forward to because it means one thing, driving. BUT, unlike other newly 16 year olds, I wasn't getting ready to take a driving test, or stand in long lines at the DMV to get a new, shiny license. I was out on the plains of Wyoming, walking in the footsteps of the pioneers at Martin's Cove, about 50 miles from Casper. We spent 3 days pulling wooden handcarts through the hills and rivers around the area, getting just a taste of what the pioneers went through. Although we were doing it in 95 degree weather, not driving blizzards and sub-freezing temperatures, it was still very difficult. We had our own unique challenges, and many people "died" (got to ride in the Gator to camp).

Now, this experience was very personal. Not just because I was spending my sweet 16 in the middle of nowhere with a giant group of friends, but because my ancestors were some of the members of the Willie handcart company. They found refuge in the coves and hills around Martin's Cove, taking shelter from the snow and wind under handcarts and trees, waiting and hoping for help. Because of the faith of Lars Mortensen, and the Spirit filled promise that if he went to America, to the Great Salt Lake Valley, that he would make it in good health and that every member of his family would soon join him, I'm here. Sharing that same Gospel message that brought many to the untamed frontier of the US to the people of Tennessee and Kentucky.

I learned many things in those 3 days. All of them have helped my faith grow and my testimony that God and Jesus Christ live and love us.

So, Thanks Jason, for bringing back all those awesome memories, and thanks for all you do for us missionaries!

If you want to learn more about the Martin and Willie handcart companies, visit the Mormon Historical Site Foundation's website or the Wyoming pioneer trail website.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Will Go!

Alright. So it's been a while since I've posted something, So I figured I'd get started again with a song.

Ok, ok, it's not really about the type of missionary work that I'm doing now, but it's an awesome song that puts into words how many of us felt when we chose to go on a mission. Hopefully it inspires you to make a change, to help someone in need, or share the Gospel with your friends!

Just like it says, "I am clay in your hands", I know our Heavenly Father is shaping us into the people He knows we can be. Sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's super hard, and sometimes we may wonder why, but I know He will never let us suffer alone.

When Joseph Smith and his brother were incarcerated in the Liberty Jail, they endured many things that seem almost impossible while their families and the other Saints were driven out of their homes in the middle of winter. Just as they were about to lose all hope, Joseph uttered this prayer: "O God, awhere art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy bhiding place?"

And this is how the Lord responded: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." (D&C 121: 1, 7-8)

God knows all, and He will help us, if we just learn to listen and rely on Him.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brother, I'll follow you...

I want you all to take a few minutes and listen to this song. As you do, I know our Father in Heaven "will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost" that Joseph truly was a prophet of God, and we also will have a desire to say:
Brother, I'll follow you.

Quiero que ustedes tomen algunos momentos y escuchen a esta cancion. Mientras lo hacen, sé que nuestro Padre Celestial "hablaré a tu mente y a tu corazón por medio del Espíritu Santo" que José Smith verdaderamente fue un profeta de Dios, y tambien tendremos un deseo a decir:

Hermano, te siguiré.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rain, Rain...

Oh, man! It's raining!

If any of you have ever played football at any level, you know what that little phrase means. Sloppy field. Missed tackles. Lousy grip. Slipping and sliding everywhere. Pretty much a coach's worst nightmare. But to me as a player, some of the best memories of my playing days came from exactly those kind of conditions.
Yeah, there were some bad games with very little scoring, but such is the game.

One of my favorite memories came when we were playing at one of our biggest rivals. It was pouring rain, and the field was a nasty mess. It was 3rd and 2, and we were backed up against our own end zone. It just so happened that right behind their huddle was a giant mud hole. I thought to myself, ' If they run this way, I'm going plant that guy right there." Sure enough, they came straight up the middle, and the lines parted like the Red Sea. I ran at that running back and with all I had, drove him straight into the middle of the puddle.

Now, was it luck that they ran straight up the gut? Probably. Was it luck that we totally destroyed the other team in this game? No. Our coaches took the time throughout the week to prepare us for the conditions. We practiced in the rain, we ran in the rain, and most of all, we all had FUN in the rain. Now, for the other team, I can't say that they had fun,  but we did because we were prepared. Obviously we still had some mistakes and bad plays. But, we always had the faith of the coaches because they knew we were prepared.

Such it is with life also. Sometimes the field, or the world we live in, is a big sloppy mess. Sometimes things happen, like natural disasters, personal problems, even death. It may seem that it is constantly raining. BUT, there is always hope. Just like with our coaches, we have people that are preparing us for the hard times.

Living prophets help us to be able to overcome many of life's challenges. They give council and advice, and they help us understand what to do when all seems lost, and we're at our most desperate times. They help us become prepared, so that when those times of hardship and despair come, we can take them in stride, and have fun in the rain.

I know that God loves each and every one of us. He wants us to be able to have joy in this life. But, we have to do our part and take the time to prepare ourselves for the life to come. As we are obedient to His council and follow His plan, we will be able to enjoy the muddy field we call life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother Dearest, You're the Best!

So, tomorrow's Mother's Day. And as many of you know, I have the best mom in the world. She's been there through thick and thin, hard times and bad days. She's always been there for me, and without her, I wouldn't be out here in Tennessee sharing the Gospel. She's always been the rock of our family, and I owe her everything.

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the aliberty of their bfathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their cmothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their amothers, saying: We bdo not doubt our mothers knew it.

I do not doubt because my mother knows it. I'm so grateful to be her son. She has given me all that I could ask for, and so much more. I may not say it enough, but know this:

 I love you, Mom. You're the best!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The View From the Top

...The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the bearth, and call things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its dmotion, yea, and also all the eplanets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. - Alma 30:44

I grew up in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, states that are known for their majestic mountain ranges. One of my favorite places to be is in these mountains. Everything up there seems so calm and peaceful. I love to sit there and look around and marvel at the beauty that surrounds us. We can look up into the heavens and see all the distant stars and planets. From the mountain top we can see everything for miles and miles on a clear day. We have that ability to see all that God's created for us. All we have to do is look.

I've spent my fair share of time in these mountains and it never ceases to amaze me at what our Heavenly Father created for us. I've had some of my most spiritual experiences while basking in the quiet reverence of the wilds of our country. From the powerful force of constant falling water, to the beauty of a sunset, to the complexcity of a blooming flower, everything in nature tells me that God exists, and that He loves us so much that he created the earth for us to enjoy.

Elder Adams at Lost Creek Cave

Sunset in McMinnville, TN

I know that God lives, and that He loves each and everyone of us. All we have to do is take the time to look around, and we can know for ourselves.

Elder Holder enjoying a day in the UT high country

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Silver Dollars

Sometimes the simplest act has the most profound impact. We may have no idea what someone is going through, but a simple act of kindness can change someone's life for the better.

6 Now ye may suppose that this is afoolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by ameans to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very bsmall means the Lord doth cconfound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
Alma 37: 6-7

Elder M. Russell Ballard shared this story to illustrate the Savior's point that by small things great things come to pass.

Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”
The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”
Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”
The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

I know that as we do small acts of loving service, we will become more like our Savior. We will gain a greater understanding of his love and a greater desire to share His message with others.