Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Peace and Joy come through the gospel

Date:  March 20, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

The gospel really does help us to just feel at peace with everything we go through in this life. Life is not easy.  At times you feel the world falling down on you. A story that I share often with people here as to how I gained a testimony is this:

One day while I was 16 I was just sad, lonely and a bit depressed. I felt like everything was on top of me and the weight of it all was to much, I felt as if I was beginning to lose my breath as the world crushed down upon me. I remember clearly as I began to cry. I didn't want any of my siblings or my parents to see me cry so I went outside. I sat against the wall of my house and just bawled. I couldn't stop. Life was just too much.... I decided to call my best friend. I just needed someone to talk to. Someone to listen, someone to be there. As we began talking on the phone, my friend asked me a question. She said, when was the last time you read your scriptures. I replied that I did not even know the last time I had opened them. She calmly and sweetly told me to read them, then call her back afterwards. I was not happy with that answer, I wanted immediate comfort. I wanted everything to just go away. I didn't want to read a book! I did it anyways. I sat for a few more minutes to wipe the tears away, then I went to my room, grabbed my scriptures and went back outside to sit against the wall. I opened randomly and began to read. As I read, line after line, page after page. My tears vanished and I began to smile. I felt the pressing, weight that had been so forceful upon my shoulders, lift and vanish. I felt happy, I felt assurance. I felt peace. I now know that I felt the spirit. Somehow that ol'book did it, and it keeps doing it.  Not just for me but for all who sincerely seek council comfort and love from God.  (Note from mom, it is here I could insert a picture I snapped of him sleeping during family scripture study, but I won't because of love this story and I do believe we really listen when we are ready)

I was talking to Emilee Skolmoski, and shared this story with her and thought it would be nice to share with all of you :)

I gave a talk in church this week about sharing the gospel. For me there are many reason why I share the gospel. No not just because I am a missionary.  Seriously why did I give up the past 20 months of my life to share the teachings and love of Jesus. 

Well really it's simple. Love. That's it, that's all there is and all there ever was to it. We all need love, we all need validation. For me it comes from the gospel, the knowledge that I have self worth because of a divine birth right. I am a son of God. You are also a son or daughter of the most high God! He will validate you, He will love you. 

We turn every which way in this life looking for comfort and guidance. We search high and low, far and wide and seem to come up with all sorts of directions. They take us many diverse ways and sadly we never end up making it very far. Our directions always seem to end right when we meet another fork in the road of this path we call life. We have though, in our hands directions that will lead us safely to warmth, love, joy, and peace. Directions that will keep you on the path of comfort, and hope. It's called the scriptures, the love of God, or the gospel. 

I am a people person, I just like being around lots of people. I tend to try to make them smile and laugh, at times to my own embarrassment and humiliation. I have been known at times as the stupid, crazy and silly one. I do this on purpose though. I want to see people laugh and smile. Sometime the only way I know how to do that is by making a fool out of myself. At the end of the day it is still worth it for me because someone smiled. It is for this same reason that I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is what makes me smile, it is what makes me happy and it is my only source of hope in this ever darkening world. I love the people around me I am compelled to share this with them. 

I have the antidote to cure hatred, sadness, racism, envy, anger, and guilt! its Jesus! So simple, it's beautiful! What kind of person would I be to just keep that to myself! Anyways I feel like I am beginning to ramble so I'll just stop with this, I know that God love you. At the end of the day, with all the people I come in contact with I just hope that they can feel that I love them. That I genuinely care about their feelings and hopes. I think I care because I know we are all Gods children, brothers and sisters, all of us! I want my big heavenly family to reunite on the other side I hope that people can catch a glimpse of Gods love and light through me. I pray to the kind of person capable of such.

I am so thankful for the examples in my life of pure love and Christ-like desire such as my mom who would be there for me at the end of a long day of school with a smoothie in hand, just wanting to hear how my day was. Or Hailey with her never ending patience and encouragement, her incredible example of faith, dedication, devotion and love. Tina Skolmoski for her time in the living room, talking for at times hours, about the extraordinary events to the mundane. My Father with his work ethic and wisdom of seemingly everything. My big sis Amber with her constant invitation to be better and love the life we have, and so many more wonderful people that God has place in my life.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!

Here is a poem that I heard a long time ago and was shared with me recently


I had been in that hole for a very long time
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear
But there's no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there
So I lost all my hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the walls
Then off in the distance I heard someone call:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

This had never occurred to me-- had not crossed my mind.
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For one way or another I'd get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was sturdy and tall
And I thought, "I'll soon leave this place once and for all."
I climbed up my ladder. It was no easy chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed on up the ladder, but soon had to stop
For my ladder stopped short-- some ten feet from the top.

I climbed back down my ladder and started to cry
I'd done all I could do. I gave my best try.
And in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, "Why?"
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep
Then from way upon high came a voice, "Do not weep."
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice said to me that I'd done my best.

He said, "You've worked very hard, and your labor's been rough,
But the ladder you've built is at last tall enough.
Do not despair. You have reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I'll throw down my rope."
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top, there stood the Lord.
I couldn't be happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.

I fell to the ground, His feet did I kiss
I cried, "What can I do to repay thee for this?"
Then He looked all about Him. There were holes in the ground
They had people inside, and were seen all around
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep
The the Lord turned to me and He said, "Feed my sheep."

Then He went on His way to help other lost souls,
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there's one who is willing to save one and all
And we've got to be ready when He gives the call.
He'll pull us all out of the hole that we're in
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope
Just build up your ladder; He'll throw down His rope.

Love Elder North
(He said sorry no pictures this week because the internet is really slow)

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