Friday, June 6, 2014

"God is mindful of every people" (Alma 26:37)

     "Now, my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth" (Alma 26:37).
     On June 22, 2012 I knew that God was, and is, mindful of my family and I. It was the perfect summer night. We had all gone to bed and were sound asleep in our rooms after a long day. I slept in the basement and the rest of my family slept upstairs. In the middle of the night my mom woke up to strange sounds. She later described it as popcorn popping. Wondering why the kids were popping popcorn in the middle of the night she walked downstairs. Turning the corner she saw flames. The kitchen window was buckling from the heat, making the popping noise. She screamed "fire!" and instantly everyone was up. I came running up the stairs and came face to face with the buckling window. The whole family ran outside and huddled at the other side of the street. After all the action I later stood next to my family, shivering from the shock. The firefighters had soaked the house completely because the flames had reached all the way to the attic. I slept the night at the neighbor's basement. The next morning we walked through. It was a transformation.
     Water was still dripping from the attic and the side of the house was destroyed. Where the kitchen window had been was open space. From the outside we saw the fire had reached my brother, Mark's, room. Mark doesn't wake up quickly and didn't wake up even when the flames reached his room. We realized the smoke alarms had never gone off. If my mother hadn't have woken up when she did he could have been seriously hurt as well as the rest of the family.
     I know that God watched over us that night. He knew the fire would start and he knew how to best help us. I don't blame God for the fire, I thank him for saving our lives. I know God lives and watches over all of us. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the blessings in our lives, but he will always be there.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
 (3 Nephi 13:30-33)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"I am he that comforteth you," (2 Nephi 8:12)

"His answers aren't always immediate and clear, but His awareness of me is just as evident today as it was that lonely night.  Whenever the dark shadows of life blanket my world, I know He always has a plan to see me safely home again," (Far Not; I Am With Thee, Jean A. Stevens)

God has answered my prayed immediately and sometimes less so, but he has always answered them.  When I was about thirteen there was a week when I had babysat quite a bit and saved up my money.  I was excited to have money to spend with friends and reluctantly set aside my five dollars of tithing for Sunday.  Sunday came and when I went to pay my tithing I couldn't find it anywhere.  I searched the car and my purse, but it was nowhere to be found.  I couldn't bear paying another five dollars of my limited money.  I decided to pray.  After saying 'amen' I felt that I should read my scriptures.  I doubted and thought I should go somewhere else to look for them.  Instead, I followed the prompting and opened my scriptures to read.  Tucked neatly inside was the five dollars.

My prayer was answered almost immediately after a short time of searching, but God does not always answer right away.  Sometimes he gives us time to learn patience.

The middle of my senior year my family moved from the town I had spent most of my schooling in to the unfamiliar Chicago.  While at first I was excited for the change my feelings quickly turned to frustration as I had difficulty feeling accepted.  I was taking an online class to finish high school and be able to graduate back at my old school, and because of that I didn't have the chance to go to another high school and meet new people or make friends.  I felt isolated.  While I grew closer to my family I felt a void from leaving my friends.  I prayed everyday for feelings of peace and comfort.  I prayed for friends to appear so I wouldn't feel so lonely.  A few months passed and I felt forgotten by God.  At the end of the summer was a camp for youth in our church, called EFY.  I decided to attend and prayed again that I would feel his love.  That experience was the pivotal point of my relationship with God that year.  I felt God's love for me that filled the void I had created from my own self-pity.  I gained friends, but more importantly, I learned that God never forgets his children.  I testify that God is aware of all of us.  When "the dark shadows of life blanket [our] world" let us not forget He loves us.

"Now, my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth," (Alma 26:37).

I testify that God hears and answers our prayers.  We sometimes must be patient, but He WILL answer.  Turn to God.  He is the light and will lead us through the dark shadows of life if we let him.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease" (Mosiah 24:15)

Here in West Valley there is a mammoth of a climb we have to ride over everyday.  We call it: Bangerter Bridge.  Because our two wards are split across a highway we have to cross the bridge everyday. The Bangerter highway was put in a few years ago, and, to help with safety, the city erected a large pedestrian overpass to prevent auto pedestrian accidents.  It takes ten minutes to walk and ends up being about a fourth of a mile with the switchbacks.  Sister Denton, my companion, decided to use it as an expletive one day, yelling, "Bangerter!"

My first time over the bridge I was exhausted, but I made it to the top.  The first time biking thou I didn't quite make it up. By the time I was halfway it felt like I had no energy left in me, and I was climbing so slowly I might has well have been walking.  At the hairpin I got off my bike and walked.  Each day I got off at the turn and walked the rest of the way.,  Eventually, I was able to continue on after the turn and make it up a little further.  One day, I waited for the walk signal to turn and then raced across the intersection.  I made it to hairpin and zoomed around it, trying to keep the momentum going. I rode closer and closer until I hit the top.  I had made it.  I hope drivers underneath weren't startled because as soon as I made it I let out a whoop of success.

There are many mountains to climb throughout our life, and sometimes it feels impossible to pedal. Luckily, we can get off and walk.  It doesn't matter how slowly we go as long as we make it.  Each trial can be taken one step at a time.  When we finally arrive at the top we'll want to cheer.

When we use Christ's atonement in our lives we will "remember [our pains no more" and the joy from the success will be more than the pain from the climb.  If we keep the faith, press on, and always have our eyes fixed on Christ we will make it to the top.

Use the atonement in your life.  Let Christ carry you when you can't walk another step.  I testify that He loves you.  He is waiting for you to open the door and let Him in.  I know He lives.  I know that we can turn to Him in every challenge and he will strengthen us.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Because of Him

16 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 "But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 " Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bled at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit - and would that i might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink -
19 "Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." 
D&C 19:16-19

The suffering that Jesus Christ went through is impossible to fully comprehend, but this much I do know: if, of all the people ever to live on the earth, you were the only one to accept the atonement, Christ would still suffer for everyone just for you.  He suffered for all of our pains, heartache, infirmities, and sorrow.  He felt it all.  Because He loves you he made that infinite sacrifice.  Because of Him I can be forgiven.  Because of Him I get second chances.  And because of Him I can live again.

Because of Him video (100% worth watching):

What is possible for you because of Him?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Consecrated Missionary

One of the articles we are encouraged to read every transfer is titled 'Becoming a Consecrated Missionary' by Tad R. Callister.  I would recommend to everyone to read this paper and consider how they can endure as missionaries as well.

Callister says a consecrated missionary is willing to "give every ounce of energy, every conscious thought, and every drop of passion to this work."  Parley P. Pratt had served as a missionary for over 25 years and had just returned home when President Brigham Young called him to another mission.  Instead of complaining or thinking, 'haven't I done enough?' he accepted.  He said "when the spirit of God is upon me, I think it matters but very little what I suffer, what I sacrificed - whether I secure the honor or dishonor of men, or where I die, if it so be that I can keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish my course with joy.  I have all eternity before me, in which to enjoy myself."

I want to be like Parley P. Pratt.  I want to have that much desire and give the Lord every drop of passion to serving him.  The scripture that drove me into the mission field is about that desire.  Alma and the sons of Mosiah were possibly the best missionaries in the Book of Mormon.  They endured being stoned, thrown into prison, tied up, and beat, yet they continued on and changed thousands of hearts.  In Mosiah 28 they gave the reason for their endurance.  "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble."  When I read that verse I felt it.  I thought about the people in the world who don't have this happiness only because they don't know where to look.  This scripture propelled me forward.  I knew I had to try, even if I didn't baptize anyone.  I knew that my small sacrifice would help at least one person.

I know you all know someone who isn't experiencing the gospel right now.  Let the missionaries know.  They can help!  Introduce them to the missionaries.  Have them over for a Family Home Evening.  Give them a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Try to imagine this person in white.  When you do that desire will spark.  I can promise you that.  I promise the Lord will strengthen you as you invite others to come unto Christ.  He has done it for me, and I know he can do it for you.  Who do you know that needs the gospel?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"For God so loved the world..." (John 3:16)

     President Thomas S. Monson said on God's love for us, "That love never changes...It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful.  God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it].  It is simple always there."  I know this is true.  Sometimes he is disappointed in our choices, but he never stops loving us.  He never gives up on us even when we give up on ourselves.  
     I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I have felt his love and recognize tender mercies everyday.  When have you felt his love?

Sister Despain

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind" (Alma 36:27)

I'm so grateful for this gospel.  I know that even if I don't affect anyone here I am truly converted.  I love Alma 36:27.  "And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me."  Alma had such a strong belief in God.  When he and the sons of Mosiah had been teaching the Lamanites they were spit on, cast our, mocked, stoned, and bound with strong cords (Alma 26:29).  He didn't blame God for the bad; he thanked God for the good.  He said "we see that God is mindful of every people...and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth...yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever."  

When Joseph was in Liberty jail for months with little hope even he felt forsaken.  God answered his prayers by saying, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment...Thou art not yet as Job," (D&C 121) and in D&C 122 he says "the Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?"  That is a question we all need to answer when we are going through hardship.  Christ suffered all of this even though he had no sin.  Are we better than him?  We shouldn't feel entitled.

I'm grateful that I get to study the scriptures so much and teach others how to achieve the happiness I have.  I know that this church is the true church of God on the earth.  Joseph Smith saw God and translated The Book of Mormon.  President Monson leads the church today through that same authority.