Hello hello from Ellsworth!
Time is flying by! It’s crazy – this week is week four of six in the transfer. Halfway through my second transfer in Ellsworth? WHAT?! Yeah. I’m a missionary. Time just goes way too fast.
Anyway, first off: We have a progressing potential investigator. So, that means that we have someone who is progressing towards baptism, but they’re not even someone we’re teaching, just someone we’ve been wanting to teach for weeks! His name is Chris and every time we set up a time, something comes up: Weather, sickness, schedule issues, etc. So he calls us on Saturday and says “Hey, what time is church tomorrow?” “9.30” “Okay, cool. I’ll see you there! Look for the big guy with dreads.” I hung up the phone, and was like “WHAT?!?!?! We don’t even have investigators come, let alone someone we’re not even teaching yet!!!” Minor freakout moment. Another minor freakout moment came during church the next day. Actually, about three of them. First: He’s read the Book of Mormon. All of it. He’s also read quite a bit of the Doctrine and Covenants AND the Pearl of Great Price. Second: He answered almost all of the questions in Gospel Principles class. Correctly. And has a pretty good, solid understanding of it. Third: He said he really enjoyed it and he’ll be back next week. So we had four freakout moments this weekend, all because of one WICKED awesome guy! Aw yeah! One reason I love missionary work! 😀
On Saturday, we visited Kaila and cleaned her house again. I did the dishes for two hours and my fingers are STILL pruny. But the smile and the light coming from her after we finished was completely worth pruny fingers, a tired body and mind and a bit of a sore back. I love that woman and it makes me happy to see her so happy. 🙂
Also, last week, we had zone interviews. We had zone meeting, talking about pride using the “Beware of Pride” talk by President Benson. Then we had a great lunch where we played a game with the scriptures we’re supposed to be memorizing. It was hard, but I’m a little more confident in myself with the scriptures, so that’s good! Then, Sister Bickel and I performed “I Heard Him Come”. The spirit was there and it was really awesome. I love that song, and I love music and the Spirit. It’s a pretty great combination. 🙂 In the afternoon, we met with Sister Stoker (the mission president’s wife) and then with President Stoker… Man, I love both of them. They are so kind, considerate, loving, and extremely willing to serve and do all they can for every missionary in the mission. There are about 200 of us in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission, and I can tell that they both love each of us individually. They remember issues we’ve had, things we’ve discussed and our families. They remember our worries and our desires. It’s truly amazing to have a mission president and his wife who really care and radiate the love of God. 🙂
This week, I thought I’d talk about the Plan of Salvation. And next week. And the next. Because there are basically three parts to it and all of them deserve their own week.
The Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness, is God’s plan for us in returning to be with Him again. It answers the questions “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?” It shares with us the answers of how we can come closer to our Father in Heaven, how we can make it through life and how we can be together with our families forever. It’s not a free ride and it’s not easy. But it is simple.
Where did we come from?
Well, we came from our Heavenly Family, in what we call the Pre-Mortal Life, or the Pre-existence. We lived in heaven as spirits with all of our brothers and sisters and our Heavenly Parents. We knew each other and Heavenly Father knew us each, individually. He knew than, as He knows now, what we are capable of and what we can accomplish in our life on earth. Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Here the Lord is talking to Jeremiah, the prophet. He’s speaking of the Pre-mortal life. Psalm 82:6 says “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Short and to the point.
While in the Pre-existence, we learned all that we would do and what we needed to do on earth in order to return to God’s presence and become like Him – with a perfected body, an exalted Being. Alma 13:3 says “And this is the manner after which they were ordained – being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.” Before coming to this earth, each of us was called and prepared for the life we would live. We had agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves, just as we have now. We were able to choose whether or not to come to earth and follow Heavenly Father’s plan – choose good or evil. In order to choose to come here, we had to exercise great faith. We knew it would be hard, that it was a learning experience and that we would make many mistakes. But we also knew that our Father in Heaven had a way for us so we’d be able to fix those mistakes and get back on the right path to Him. In Doctrine and Covenants 138:56, we learn “Even before they [the prophets and apostles] were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.” This scripture testifies of the Pre-Existence, and tells us that we did in fact learn before we came to earth and we were prepared to come here and live our lives according to God’s plan.
Now, I realize that this may be a lot to take in, especially if you’ve never heard of it, or even never considered it before. But I have studied the word of God in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. I have studied it and prayed about it and discussed it with others. Through those thorough studies and prayers, I have come to know, without a doubt, that we have a loving Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth with an idea, at least, of what we would encounter while here. He sent us to earth with a way Home to Him. He sent us here with the helping hands of the Savior, our family, friends and leaders. We’re not alone. We never have been. We lived with our Heavenly Parents before, and we can do so again. I encourage each of you, whether you’ve done so before or not, whether you know this like the back of your hand or you’ve never heard it before, to pray. Study the scriptures. Look for God’s love. Look for His hand in your life. Search your soul. Does it even sound, or FEEL vaguely familiar, even if you know you’ve never heard it before? What do you feel is right? Study and pray with an open heart AND an open mind. Be willing to change where you stand now so you can accept the truth, and THEN choose to accept or reject this as truth. I know you’ll be blessed as you do so, individually, with your family and with every aspect of your lives. You will be happier. Your joy will be full. Your relationship with Heavenly Father will be strengthened so much more than it already is. As you come to know the truth or more of it, you will come to know and be more familiar with what it is you need to do and how you can live with our Heavenly Family again.
I know it. I love it. I do my best to live it. 🙂