Wow. What a great weekend of General Conference. That spiritual boost and motivation is just the best. I’m so grateful we have a living prophet and apostles, as well as the Seventy and other church leaders who love and care about us.
(Disclaimer: I thought this would be a short email but quickly got carried away with the epicness of General Conference. But just trust me here…)
Let me throw this in here for a second- Jesus Christ organized a church while on the earth. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). AND “the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place” (Luke 10:1). AND He called “elders in every church” (Acts 14:23) AND “bishops and deacons” (Philippians 1:1).
So why did He call these men and organized His church this way? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
OK so if Jesus Christ established a church here on the earth, and if that church still exists on the earth today, shouldn’t that church have apostles, prophets, evangelists (aka patriarchs), pastors (aka bishops), teachers, seventies, elders, and deacons?
Well guess what?! There is a prophet. There are apostles. There are evangelists, pastors, teachers, seventies, elders, bishops, and deacons, and they are all found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And we got to hear from them this weekend! How blessed we are. “[We] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
You know because I’m already so far into this tangent of what was supposed to be a quick side note, I’m going to add one more thing. These are the words of President Gates, a stake president in Henderson, Nevada.
“I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for myself. If Heavenly Father was off sleeping somewhere, and not speaking to us today, I would wonder why. If there were not 12 apostles on the earth today, teaching and speaking and encouraging and preaching, I would wonder why they got them in the old days, but not today. If the early disciples of Christ got additional scripture from the Old Testament prophets, I would be pretty puzzled about why they got God’s word on an ongoing basis and we only got the same thing that they got for their day and not new stuff for ours. The prophets of the Old Testament gave revelation to their people and it got written down. Early Christians got new revelation and they got it after the Jews, because the Jews believed the old scriptures but not the new. Some believe that Heavenly Father has said all He has to say.
“I personally don’t believe that. And the Bible doesn’t teach that that’s all there is. I go to General Conference because I believe in modern revelation and our need for it today. Today’s news, today! I believe that we need current, relevant, and up to the minute guidance from a loving Heavenly Father who I don’t believe is asleep at the wheel, letting us have a go of it on our own.
“In fact, a General Conference such as we’ve just experienced, and will experience again in six months and again six months after that, may just be the most tangible, and palpable evidence that you’re likely to see, with your own eyes, that God lives, loves His children and is proactively guiding us in the same way He as always done. Through prophets. Real life prophets, not like the silly ones you see on the sidewalk with signs that say, ‘the end is near.’ Real prophets like the ones that so many Christians believe in. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Malachi. Ones who spoke the word of God, while most of the world ignored them.
“So it is today. I’m thrilled and impressed with my Heavenly Father’s consistency. He’s doing it like He’s always done it. And boy, do I need it. And boy, do we all need it.”
Pretty cool, hey? If I haven’t convinced you yet, you should really just check out General Conference and listen to their words. I promise you there is something that will speak to you and something you need to hear that will truly help you. For real, do it! It’s all there on lds.org 🙂
Well tangent over! It’s Tuesday and so if you’ve figured out by now, I’m emailing on Tuesday because it was transfers week. And I get to stay another transfer in the Whitechapel Ward! It’ll be just for 5 weeks, and then I’ll probably be kicked out of the Visitors’ Centre & London to experience full time proselyting in the countryside. Super pumped though to be with Sister Teng again in Whitechapel!
It was a lovely week here. Feeling blessed everyday. One night as we were in the fancy mews (homes) behind Buckingham Palace, I just took a minute to marvel and look up. I reflected on this world we live in because seriously, this place is so cool. I know there is a divine creator and God is looking over us. Reflecting on what Elder Yoon Hawn Choi said at General Conference, “Look up! Look up to Jesus Christ. Look up when you face challenges. Look up to heaven. Look up to Christ for strength, balance, and healing. It is never too late to look up. His arms are always open to you.”
Jason is doing great and is beyond excited for his baptism coming up on Saturday! He attended all of General Conference with us. Michael (aka Newbury Michael who got baptized in September) was also there and it was special when he realized he was one of the 204,131 converts baptized into the church during 2016. It’s all about the one! God knows us individually and knows us as one. Not another statistic, but a one. And I’m proud to say I am one of those 70,946 full-time missionaries currently serving the Lord.
Among all the spiritually uplifting moments of this weekend through General Conference, I had a specific scripture stuck on my mind. 2 Nephi 10:20 reads, “And now, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.”
Now this scripture may have stood out to me for a few reasons.
- I have been led from the land of my inheritance (aka the land of milk and cheese, good ole Wisconsin)
- The Atlantic sea was my path
- And I’ve been led for the time being to a better land known as England
This is not to say that Wisconsin is not the best land, because it very well may be. But for this time in my life I have been led to a better land- the lovely land of England. God has given me the knowledge of the gospel, and I try my best to remember Him, lay aside my sins, and not hang down my head.
After reading that scripture, my all time favorite song came into my head. I guarantee you that when my dad read the heading of this email, the song popped into his head as well. I am a missionary who is only supposed to listen to MoTab and so I feel slightly guilty for having a full out ska song stuck in my head all week. Regardless, it is titled “A Better Place, A Better Time” and the chorus goes like this:
I really believe that wherever we are directed in life, it is for a greater reason and it leads to a better place. God is so merciful unto us and so we should hold our heads high because we are not cast off from Him, no matter how alone or difficult our path of the sea we travel may seem. I love what Elder Carlos A. Godoy once said: “The best paths in life are rarely the easiest. Often, it is exactly the opposite. Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?”
I believe we can as we follow Jacob’s counsel that follows in 2 Nephi 10:23-24. “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves … Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God.”
We have the choice to reconcile ourselves to the will of God. Reconciling ourselves to God’s will includes keeping His commandments. And “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:20).
That better place & that better land, one that is choice above all other lands, is awaiting us, or we may already be there but not realize it. There may be seas to cross and we may feel like a lonesome small isle on the sea. But He guides us. Remember the Lord’s comforting words, “The isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust” (Isaiah 51:5).
There’s a better place and a better time. Don’t quit! Keep your head up. Trust that whatever direction you’re being lead is for your good. Remember how merciful the Lord has been unto you, and even if you cannot remember that, just hope for the land to come among what may sometimes seem like a never ending sea. I promise you He is directing your path. So choose to follow Him. Follow His will & His commandments and soon you’ll notice that exactly where you are is that better place 🙂
PS- now y’all gotta look up the song “A Better Place, A Better Time” by Streetlight Manifesto. Sorry guys, gave you lots to do this week 😉 But seriously, check out General Conference first!! Kk love y’all byeeeee!