Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pringles and Cookies

One year when I attended EFY, an awesome object lesson was given to us.  It involved Pringles and Chips Ahoy cookies, which just so happen to be two of my favorite snacks.  He began by talking about people that influence our lives.  We came up with a list somewhat similar to this: family, friends, teachers, church leaders, etc.  During our teenage years, friends seem to have the biggest impact on us.  It seemed like we didn't want to hear what our parents would say, and we already knew what was being taught by teachers for both school and church.

Contrary to our belief at that age, the people that we wouldn't listen to were the ones that could build us up the most.  Although friends can be a great strength in our lives, they can also be a great weakness if we choose them unwisely.  Picture yourself as a Pringle.  If you surround yourself with other Pringles, you can build each other up.  Through that you can withstand temptations better.  Let's talk about what happens when a lonely Pringle tries to build up a Chips Ahoy.  The Pringle will be crushed under the weight of the Chips Ahoy cookie, and both will end up at rock bottom. 

Even if we have multiple Pringles underneath the Chips Ahoy, our progression will be halted.  We can't stack any more Pringles on top of the cookie.  The only way to continue to be built up is if we surround ourselves with Pringles in our lives.  It can be hard at times and we may even be ridiculed for it, but if we continue doing what we know is right, we'll be built up until we reach the heavens.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Crotchety Old Man

I recently had an eye opening experience that made my testimony grow.  It's a story that I have titled "The Crotchety Old Man."  Here it goes.

So my companion and I are about to visit someone in these apartments.  We just have about 20 minutes, so it's going to be a shorter visit than usual.  We pull into the parking lot for the apartments and start to walk up to her place.  We hear a voice from the distance that says, "You can't park there!  It's residence parking only.  Can't you read the sign?"  After looking around and seeing how empty the parking lot is, we respond with, "We'll just be in there for a couple of minutes."  He's not having it.  He says, "No, you have to go park in the street."  Not wanting to cause any trouble, we move our car to the street.

While we're moving the car, I keep thinking to myself, "That's one crotchety old man."  There's no other word to describe him except crotchety.  After we park the car on the street, we try again to go up to her apartment.  Right as we're walking up to her place, she's just getting back from the store.  She invites us in and we are able to have a good visit.

Later in the day, I realized that the crotchety old man was really a blessing in disguise.  If that crotchety old man wasn't there, we would've gone up to her apartment, knocked on her door, and left before she got back from the store.  But since he delayed us those couple of minutes, we showed up just in time.  Ever since that realization, I've been able to turn things that I thought were an inconvenience, into a blessing.  I am able to see the hand of the Lord in my life more and more. 

The Lord knows all things, though he does work in mysterious ways.  2 Nephi 2:24 states, "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."  There are "crotchety old men," so to speak, in our lives everyday and everywhere.  I challenge you all to look for the reason that crotchety old man is there, because there is always something to be learned from it. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011: Entrusted by Heaven

Our theme for the Billings, Montana mission is 2011: Entrusted by Heaven.  To me, trust has always been something I treasure.  People don't just automatically have my trust.  They have to prove to me that they deserve it.   Trust is never given, only earned.  But all the trust in the world can be shattered in seconds.  It just takes one act to lose someone’s trust.  Then it's harder and harder to earn it back. 

Now, let's get back to the theme.  As missionaries, we are entrusted by heaven.  We are sent to spread the gospel to as many people as we come in contact with.  In a sense, we're doing what the savior told his apostles to do at the end of the Book of Matthew.  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: an lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen."  (Matt. 28:19-20).  He says he will always be there with us, but we have to earn his trust first.

When I think of trust, I think of the Army of Helaman.  Those 2000 or so warriors were the epitome of trust.  Alma 53:20 reads, "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all - they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."  Think of how much good we can accomplish if Heaven trusts us.  If they know that we'll only use their power for good.  That'd be awesome.  If we live our lives in a way that proves we can be trust by heaven, there will be nothing that we can't accomplish.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You've Got a Friend in Me

I've always enjoyed Pixar movies.  Somehow they're all really really good.  Especially the Toy Story series.  Man, what a well made series.  The theme song, You've Got a Friend in Me, has been stuck in my head the past couple of days.  It's gotten me thinking about what a friend is.  I used to qualify a friend as someone I'd hang out with on a regular basis.  That's a friend right?  Eh...not quite.  As I thought more about it, I realized a friend is much more than that.  A friend is someone that you can trust, someone you can look up to, someone that sincerely cares about you. 

I was reading in John chapter 15 and Christ talks about us being his friends.  However, we're not automatically qualified to be his friend.  John 15: 14 reads, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."  I can't think of a better friend to have the Christ himself.  He will always be our friend, but we can be his if we do as he commands.  How cool is that! 

As the theme song of Toy Story goes:

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
Just remember what your old pal said
Yeah, you've got a friend in me

Christ is and will always be our best friend.  May we strive to be the friend that he would have us be.  As we continue to live his teachings and follow his example, we can be that friend.  And when the road looks rough ahead, we can turn to him.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sinks Canyon

If you've never been to Sinks Canyon, I highly recommend it.  It's such a cool sight to see.  Especially in the winter time because the water is frozen over.  We were able to walk across the frozen rapids and explore some of the caves around there.  We armed ourselves with flashlights so we would be able to see and hopefully get some pretty cool views.  There was one particular cave that we went into that was way sweet, but let me tell you this experience that I had there. 

There is absolutely no way we could travel in those caves safely without light.  Even sometimes with a flashlight, it can be tough to do.  Think of the cave as our journey through life.  Okay.  So we're all trying to make it through life.  If we have a light with us we can see fairly well as to where we're headed, but life can still be tough, even with light.  Sometimes we can misstep, but regardless, the light makes it easier for us to travel. 

While I was making my way to the exit of the cave, I bumped into a rock and my flashlight shut off.  This caused a short moment of panic and an impulse action.  I tried to move forward after the light had suddenly shut off, and I felt the consequences of that by slipping and scraping my hand.  Without light, we can still travel through the cave, but we have to try many different courses of action.  Most of the time, if we don't have the light to guide us, we choose the wrong one, or in this case, misstep.  Those are the times when we make choices that we wouldn't usually make; the times when we can't clearly see the right path. 

We have access to that light all of the time.  It's through Jesus Christ and his Atonement.  If we repent and allow him to heal our scrapes, then we can finish the journey through the cave of life.  There's no other way except through him.  "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  (John 8:12).  He can, and wants to light the way for us.  It's up to us to let him into our lives.  Then once we have received his light, we can "let [our] light so shine before men" (Matt. 5:16).  May we always strive to have his light with us at all times, in all things, and in all places.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Patience Iago

There's great wisdom in the statement Jafar makes to Iago many a times in the Disney movie Aladdin, "Patience Iago."  Patience is a tricky subject.  Patience is more than just waiting.  It's also about not getting frustrated or discouraged. 

Alma gives a great scripture about patience.  Alma 26:27 - "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."  What a dynamite scripture.  It shows how important patience is.  No matter how lousy our day is going, or how much we are discouraged.  Bear with patience thine afflictions and we will have success.  That is a promise.  And the Lord doesn't break promises, so if we do our part by having patience, we will be blessed with success in whatever aspect we need.

So when we're in those tough situation where our frustration might get the best of us, just think of the wise words that Jafar spoke, "Patience Iago."