A little Faith discourse...

As you may or may not know by now I am preparing to serve a mission for the LDS church in approximately, no literally, 94 days in Washington DC. Yes folks, clear across America. I was born, raised, and reside in small town Utah so the big Capital of America is going to be a tremendous wake up call to real life on the East coast. Especially when I walk outside and witness the lush greenery and 614,000 plus people in one city. But then again.... the East coast is where I've always dreamed of living so I'm sure it'll scream my name when I step out of the plane. Right? You best, believe it.

I've grown up in the church and always lived church standards for as long as I can remember. You'd think after nearly nineteen years of attending meetings and activities I would be the most profound Mormon Missionary Drone, with answers to any question you could throw at me and an unmistakable, BOOMING knowledge of the gospel. This, is only partially true. I do want to say however, before I delve into my shpill on my faith, that since having been called to serve, my testimony and experiences concerning my gospel beliefs has grown and multiplied and humbled me tremendously. I am ever so grateful for my opportunity to serve and can't wait to find out what else the lord has in store for me. (I'm laughing because I never pictured these words coming out of my mouth, I sound like my dad. yes. hi dad. i know you're reading this. congratulations, you win.;) Now with that being said, I like facts. And I question everything. So this experience has already been a blast for me as I have learned that the Gospel teachings are CENTERED around faith. You can have every fact given to you on a golden plate, but I promise you, the gospel will not touch your life until you have felt the spirit of the Lord in your presence. And that is how missionary work unfolds. That is how the gospel unfolds. I'm getting nifty with the italicize and bolding can you tell? you're welcome.

There is this incredibly troublesome point after receiving your mission call, I doubt every missionary has felt it, but I'm positive I am not the only one. You get stressed, the whole "what am I getting myself into" feeling occurs. I've had feelings of doubt, but I always come back to the basis of why I put my mission papers in in the first place. I know the Lord wants me to, I know there is a work to be done and I know the Lord will provide a way. And I've come to terms with the fact that it is going to be hard. But I've also come to terms with the fact that in the end it will be sooooooooooo worth it. And not only because leaders, teachers and prophets have literally PROMISED that, but because I've already felt 180 changes in my life personally, and I haven't even left yet.

Currently, I am reading the Book of Mormon and I am in the book of Alma. And fascinatingly enough, every time I sit down and search through a couple chapters of the BOM, it seems this guy always has something to say concerning missionary work. Or some sort of message for me to contemplate, which brought up this topic of faith. I'm sure you've read the 32nd chapter of Alma. There is even a seminary scripture mastery in there. (BTW if you haven't read this chapter(s) go do so now thnx.) Very popular scripture. It is amazing. And it hit me like a ton of bricks, as well as the next forty-sixty verses in the book. In the 32 chapter, Alma is teaching a group of people, specifically the poor who have been thrown out of the synagogues of worship because they are not considered 'worthy' as compared to the things of the world, because they are poor. Alma sees this as a perfect mission opportunity (which is what sparked my interest, anything that has anything to do with missionary catches my attention almost instantly) ....as they explain to him, that they cannot worship because they are not allowed into these buildings established by the rich. He is overwhelmed with joy as he teaches them, and focuses on their faith. He explains to them, that they can worship anywhere, anytime and God will hear their prayers. WHICH IS SO COMFORTING. Then he continues to teach about faith. The ever so famous scripture mastery states:

"And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true."

And there you have it folks.

Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things.
Faith is to believe
Faith is to endure.
Faith is to have hope.
Thank you, my heavens, you couldn't have said it any better, when I read that I was like
Cause seriously, that is one of my biggest worries/uncertainties/perplexities/concerns. I do not have all the answers by any means, and Alma, man, he just said the words i needed to hear. beautifully.

And i thought about that, a lot! Alma was a great prophet called of GOD, and here he is teaching the people, to have that simple faith. Not a perfect knowledge of the gospel, just a simple desire to believe. And that is ever so easy to accomplish! We don't need to have all the answers! we are only human, if we sit around waiting to be perfect to take action, we will be waiting our whole lives! This goes for lots of things. In my case.. my mission. I could wait around saying i'm not ready, i don't know enough, i'm not perfect. Funny thing is, I'LL NEVER BE PERFECT. I'm constantly learning and growing and becoming a better person. I'm always going to have new goals needing to be reached. But I can't put a mission on hold for that. Or it will never be accomplished!
For some people it may be baptism. Like in this case with Alma, he is asking them to come unto the Lord, and enter into his church. All you need is a leap of faith. If you wait around for all the answers, like i said before, you'll be waiting forever. There is always so much to learn, the education and progress in the gospel never stops. He continues again...

"Now, as i said concerning faith - that it was not a perfect knowledge - even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words."

beautiful. and it continues.

"Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. now if ye give place that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief that ye will resist the spirit of the lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts and when you feel the swelling motions ye will begin to say within yourselves, it must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good. for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."

As you nourish this seed, your knowledge will become perfect. And as he states at the end of the chapter

"Ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then my bretheren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith and your dillegence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."

I am so excited to get out their and serve as a full time missionary. I know I am not perfect. And heck, i'll be honest, I still feel so inadequate and unprepared. But I know that with the help of amazing leaders, mission presidents, friends, family and my soon to be companions, that I can help make a difference and share the gospel with the people in DC and Virginia. I hope and pray that I can reach the goals I am setting and become a better person, by drawing closer to my savior Jesus Christ. I hope I can make the difference the life of at least one person, by showing them a way to happiness and filling that gap that they are know they are missing by sharing the fullness of the gospel with them. I hope that there are people ready to hear my message, and that I will become prepared to share my testimony of the gospel with them at the right time and place and that the spirit of the lord will be present and will touch their lives.

I honestly am beginning to believe these ninety four days leading up to my mission are going to be more difficult then the mission itself, because I am so anxious to serve! It's crazy how much a person can change. I hope to see many miracles and changes as I am out in the field. As well as hearing from my lovely Elder, and watching his growth and hearing his experiences. I am so incredibly blessed. And I am so grateful for the opportunity and support given to me. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Thanks for reading.

Now go read Alma 32!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (: Have a fantastic last hour of your Sunday readers. Love you all.

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