Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Sound DOES a Giraffe Make?

I've been an aunt since I was 8-years-old so I have been around kids in an "adult" capacity for a long time. One of the things I like to do with kids is play the 'animal noises' game. You know the one I am talking about; it is when you pick up a stuffed animal and ask the child what noise it makes. Sometimes an animal will trip me up. One that I always have a problem with is the giraffe. What noise does a giraffe make? I have no idea. I pick up the dog- "bark", I pick up the cat- "meow", pig- "snort", even a bunny is ok, you just wiggle your nose. But the giraffe!? I just sit with the stuffed, orange, long-necked, mammal in my hands; staring, and wondering: "What noise does it make?". I have faced this dilemma for so many years and one day I realized, I have somewhere to turn. There is an amazing resource at my disposal that can help me to find the answer. Yes, I'm talking about google. When I turned to this ultimate source of knowledge so many things appeared before me; youtube videos, Yahoo!Answers, wikipedia. They all were happy to provide me with answers. It was amazing. I had spent literally years contemplating this question and suddenly I had answers. I actually felt a little silly not thinking of it earlier. Of course, you have a question, you turn to google.

Google can be a great source for those kind of questions. The amazing thing is that we can receive answers to life's questions from the true ultimate source. If we have questions, or need direction, we can ask God our Heavenly Father, and He, unlike google, will always have the answer and it will always be true. We are promised in James 1:5 that "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."1 That means that if you have a question, you can ask God and He is not going to say "That is a stupid question" or "You are not supposed to ask me questions", He's going to answer you! 

In 1820 a young boy named Joseph Smith had a question, he wanted to know which church to join. He searched for an answer for a long time and one day he read that verse from James 1:5. After he read it he said that "at length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is ask of God."2 Joseph did ask, and, as the scriptures said he would, he received an answer. As he was praying for direction, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and they told him that he must not join any of the churches because Christ's Gospel had been lost from the earth. Over time, through revelation from God, Joseph Smith was able to restore the Gospel as it had been taught by Jesus Christ and all the prophets.

I know this is true I know because I have prayed about it and received and answer. I know that anyone who "ask[s] with a sincere heart, with real intent"3 can also know these things are true. God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us and is trying to help us live happy lives. Because He loves us He is going to answer us when we turn to Him in prayer. Please, if you haven't, or even if you have, tonight when you are saying your prayers, ask. Ask God if these things are true. Have faith that He will answer, pay attention to how you feel, and if you don't receive an answer right away, keep trying. God will answer you in a way that you can recognize. I know these things are true, and I invite you to know as well.

2. Joseph Smith History 1:13
3. Moroni 10: 3-5

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cobbler Chaos

Today, my companion Sister Nestman and I visited a lovely Sister in our ward and helped her pick berries from her backyard. Two hours after we left she called to tell us she had a cobbler for us to take home. We went to pick it up and she handed us a cobbler, fresh from the oven.
We soon realized that getting it safely home might not be an easy process. The sister lives in the furthest reaches of our area down some very windy and bumpy roads. The cobbler was still very hot and had yet to settle, so each movement of the car created dangerous possibilities for spilling. As the designated co-pilot, it was my responsibility to keep the berries in place. In other words, not all over me or the car. I intently watched the dish, and everything in it, tilting it up, down, and side to side to compensate for the movement of the car. Sister Nestman, who had a view of the road and the approaching conditions, would warn me, "now we are going to make a slight turn to the right," "next we will be slowing down for a stop sign," "this next area is very bumpy." Sister Nestman's instructions prepared me for the actions I had to take to keep everything under control.

As I sat in the car staring intently at the beautiful, but precarious, cobbler, and listening to the careful instructions of a diligent companion, I thought how this situation can be just like life. We live our lives trying to keep everything in order and going well.  During our time on earth we can only see the here and now. But we don't have to just rely on our limited view, we have someone who can look out the front windshield and warn us of upcoming dangers. That person is Thomas S. Monson. He is the Prophet of God on the earth today. He, like my wonderful companion, can warn us of dangers in our lives that we cannot see. I am so grateful for a modern-day prophet and the knowledge and guidance that we can receive for our lives and the time we live in now. I know that God loves all of His children, no matter what day and age that they live in. Just like He sent a prophet in Noah's day to warn of the flood, or Moses' to lead the people out of bondage, Heavenly Father has given us a prophet for the needs of our day.
And just like at the end of our drive, Sister Nestman and I had a delicious treat. If we can navigate successfully through life,we will receive a wonderful reward in the life to come.

Here is an amazing video of President Monson testifying of Christ, as every prophets of God has.1

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Will Go and Do

Today I feel akin to some of the Book of Mormon Prophets. At the end of his writings Nephi says that he could not write all of the things that were taught among his people and states "Neither am I mighty in writing" 1. Moroni, as he is compiling the plates together, worries that people will mock the words of the book because God "has not made us mighty in writing" 2. Since the beginning of the month my responsibilities as a missionary have included online work. This means that I maintain a blog and a facebook page. I am not a writer, and I, like Nephi, worry that I wont be able to express all the things I want to in written word; and, like Moroni, "when [I] write [I] behold [my] weakness, and stumble because of the placing of [my] words."

I had been aware that some missionaries were doing online work even before leaving on my mission and I told my family "I hope I'm not an online missionary." And now I am. Even though this is not something I would ever have chosen on my own, I have faith that as I go forward and am obedient that I will be blessed and the Lord will help me to fulfill my responsibilities. I know that our Heavenly Father has the eternal view of all things and that He loves us and wants good things for us. I know it is true that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" 3

How has Heavenly Father helped you do something that you didn't think you could do on your own?

3 1 Nephi 3:7

Sunday, August 7, 2011

No Good, Rotten, Bad Day

Some days are just crummy aren't they? I had one of those days on Friday; everything that could go wrong did. Appointments were cancelled, people we went to visit were not home, the lunch we were served was food I hate, shoes that are supposed to last a year and a half broke after a month and a half, everything reminded me of people and things I miss, and no mail. It just put me in a down mood. I wonder why we have to have days like that? Sometimes I just wish that everyday was one full of sunshine, homemade cookies, and unicorns. But not everyday is. I guess that if there was always perfection and no bad days to compare it with then I wouldn't appreciate the good when I had it. I think that is why I chose "That They Might Have Joy" as the title of my blog. Life can be hard and things can be sad or difficult and sometimes I get caught up in that. I want to always remember that God didn't put us, His children, here on earth to be unhappy. He wants the best things for us and promises that as we follow Him we can find joy on earth within our crazy/awful/boring/stressful/wonderful/etc days, and ultimate happiness in the life to come.

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.- 2 Nephi 2:25

Sometimes there has to be darkness to better appreciate the light.