I have been recently called to teach the 4th Sunday, “Teaching for our Times”, lesson in Elders Quorum. Since I know that many of you have other callings and don’t get to attend Priesthood and Relief Society 3rd hour I will post my lessons so you can review them if you want. Normally I will have it posted before I give my lesson, but I am running a bit behind this month 😦
The theme for the month of February is the miracle of forgiveness. My favorite aspect of the gospel is the idea of forgiveness. What a great concept. The belief that no matter what we do or how bad we mess up, we can overcome. I know that forgiveness is real, I have felt it in my life. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome all things. As we overcome small things and big things we become a little better, a little more like our Savior. This idea, the idea of eternal progression, is so important. I love the eternal nature of the atonement, the only limiting factor is us. The only thing that can keep us from reaching our potential is if we choose not to implement the atonement in either seeking forgiveness or forgiving someone else. I’m grateful for this gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the hope that it brings into the lives of me, my family, and everyone in the Mount Pleasant 4th Ward. I know that all of us can enjoy the blessings that come from the miracle of forgiveness. The blessings that bring us hope and happiness.
My experience of learning about forgiveness came with my father’s untimely death. My father and I had a 13-year silence. I would call him on his birthday and holidays, but not really in between. He came to town every few years, and he would come to say hi to his grandchildren. However, he never was interested in my life or my children. He caused me so much pain in my youth that I thought I could never really truly love him.
When I found out that my dad was dead, I had so many emotions take over me. There was never any closure. I never got the apologies I deserved! I never got to apologize for what I had done. Well, God took that experience and made it beautiful. I was able to find love and forgiveness for my father. I was even able to talk to my stepmom after his death and honestly held no malice for him or her for the hell I went through as a child with them.
I have learned how freeing it is to choose love over hate. How freeing it would have been for my dad had I ever been able to express that to him. How different things would have been. But it was the way God wanted it. I learned a beautiful lesson out of something so horrible. I never leave any fight without apologizing. I never let someone who has hurt me or someone I have hurt go away without some closure. It is so important to forgive and move on. It is God’s job to judge. It is our job to love.
Mission Office Address PO Box 263 Sierra Leone Freetown
This month has been a productive month for Elder Applegarth. He has experienced some baptisms, and has enjoyed working with his trainer, Elder Rowley in the Lumley Ward in Freetown. Last week Spencer was transferred to the Callaba Branch in Kissy. He was nervous to go to a new area, but so far he seems to enjoy the new challenge. His new companion Elder Sigonyela has been out about a month longer then Spencer, he is from South Africa. Spencer reports that the living conditions in Kissy are little more primitive then Lumley. His shower still consists of using a five gallon bucket, but now he needs to catch the water from his shower to use for flushing the toilet. Spencer has always loved a good camping trip and seems to be enjoying the two year camping trip he is on now. It is really fun to read Spencer’s e-mail, the growth in all aspects of his life are obvious. We especially love the part where he keeps telling us what good parents we are. This is a new idea to him and we’re loving it.
South Korea Mission Office 29 Wiryeseong-daero 22-gil (Ogeum-dong) Songpa-gu Seoul-teukbyeolsi 05655 South Korea
The first half of the week was great. We met with our investigator Lee Song Bae and he accepted every commandment we taught him. He drank green tea but once we told him it was a commandment from God not to drink it, he gave it up. What faith! I am just blown away each time we talk with him. Our district leader, Elder Santana, interviewed him to see if he was ready for Baptism and he passed with flying colors. We scheduled Jan 29th but he instead is being baptized on Feb 1st because the 29th is a holiday here in Korea called Solnar. It’s like Chinese New Year’s in Korea. He is very excited. We stressed to him the importance of enduring to the end and he has no issue with it. I think he is the real deal.
One thing that I want you to think about….. We all have testimonies, correct? Hold on to your testimonies, never lose them because they are precious. How do we never lose them? Or how do we even help them to grow? We share them. It is vital that we share what we believe, not only does it help enlighten others but you too are enlightened. Love you all so much. Work on your testimonies, strengthen them by sharing them and also studying the word of God and keeping His commandments. I love each of you so much. Our family is beyond blessed and I am grateful for each one of you.
Elder Jorgensen North Carolina Raleigh Mission Office Address 5060 Six Forks Rd Raleigh NC 27609-4428
Elder Wheeler Australia Perth Mission Office Address PO Box 185 Tuart Hill WA 6939 Australia
Elder Talbot Washington Vancouver Mission Office Address 2223 NW 99th St Vancouver WA 98665
Elder Seely California Redlands Mission Office Address 7000 Central Ave Highland CA 92346
Montana Billings Mission Office Address 1848 Rimrock Rd Billings MT 59102
Elder Ison is doing great! He is still in Missoula and absolutely loves it there. He said it’s one of the most beautiful places he’s ever been and he’s hoping to get to stay there for a little while so that he can see it without all the snow cover. He is loving being a Zone leader and for the opportunities that it gives him to serve and get to know a lot of the other missionaries there. Right now they have been working with a lot of less active members in their ward and he’s excited to see them all progressing and coming back. He sent this quote from a talk by Elder Holland that he had read and then added his own testimony to it
“Keep your chin up, trust in God, and Believe in Good things to come” This quote has helped me, because life sometimes can be super hard and you feel like the trials will never end, but with the Gospel and with our Heavenly Father and Savior’s help we can do all things. And in the Lords timing there will be “Good things to come”. I promise whatever trials may be going on in our lives that if we hold true to the Gospel and press forward with faith in Christ we will make it through, and will find peace, joy and happiness. I have experienced it personally and have seen it happen in many others lives.
Have you deviated from the standards that you know will bring happiness? Is there a dark corner that needs to be cleaned out? Are you now doing things that you know are wrong? Do you fill your mind with unclean thoughts? When it is quiet and you can think clearly, does your conscience tell you to repent?
For your peace now and for everlasting happiness, please repent. Open your heart to the Lord and ask Him to help you. You will earn the blessing of forgiveness, peace, and the knowledge you have been purified and made whole. Find the courage to ask the Lord for strength to repent, now. I solemnly witness that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. I know that He lives. I testify that He loves you personally and will help you.
It is not easy to be at peace in today’s troubled world. Necessarily peace is a personal acquisition. … It can be attained only through maintaining constantly a repentant attitude, seeking forgiveness of sins both large and small, and thus coming ever closer to God. For Church members this is the essence of their preparation, their readiness to meet the Savior when he comes.
The Primary theme for the month is “When we choose the right, we will be blessed”
I will be adding a new section, starting this month, informing you about good clean books. This month’s selection is Upon Destiny’s Song by Mike Ericksen. It is available from the material center at the church and can be checked out for one week and may be renewed, if there is no waiting list. It has a companion disk with pictures and music that accompany the story that is available at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library.
Synopsis – In 1856 the Ole Madsen Family set sail from their native Denmark seeking an American Zion, answering the call of early leaders of their newfound religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once docked in New York City, they still stood two thirds of a continent from their dreams. They traversed 1,300 miles of that land pulling a handcart packed with their meager belongings. They were assigned to the Willie Company, one of 10 such pioneer companies that made the trek from the Midwest to Utah Territory on foot. An already difficult task took a harrowing turn for the worse when food rations ran out and harsh winter storms descended while they were still hundreds of miles from their objective. As the family lay huddled together on the crest of Wyoming’s Rocky Ridge, freezing to death, they learned the true meaning of faith.
Their story echoes across the expanse of time as descendent Mike Ericksen & his family search for these ancestors. As Ericksen flips through pages of aged documents & pores over family trees online, he discovers truths that leave him in awe. He learns of his great-grandmother Marie’s struggles & finds a consoling connection to her by telling her powerful story through music. Through it all he comes to understand the powerful ripple effect of everyday decisions & the significance of being true heroes.