Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Road To Take

I have learned so much in the last week or so in Santa Rosa. Elder Lenon and I are loving it here. This past week has not been the easiest; I was sick and it seemed like that the people were not being very open or receptive. I know that the Lord was stretching and testing us.  

"In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God, and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision which road you take." - Elder Busche

I have seen in my mission how challenges have helped mold and refine me. We talk to a lot of people every day and it seems like almost everyone is dealing with some sort of challenge in their lives. There is a difference though; the people who choose to see their challenges as burdens seem to get down on themselves. They begin to blame God for the things they are going through. Others see challenges as blessings, and they take the road that leads to receiving strength and to change within themselves. I know this past week was hard for me, and there was a time that I was thinking, "Why isn't this happening?" or "Why is this happening to us?". I realized that the Lord was testing me and that it was my decision as to how I was going to react to the trials He put in my path. As the week went on I felt much better. I began to pray for more faith and more strength so that I could see every day and moment as a blessing from my Heavenly Father. My week did change and now that I look back on it, it was a blessing because I learned a valuable lesson. The lesson I learned is that I must always be humble and follow the will of the Lord. I must align myself with Him so I can follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Life is not easy, nor is it suppose to be. We all will come across things in this life and wonder if we will be able to cope with or overcome them. But I know that if we pray and ask God to turn our challenges and trials into blessings, everything will change.

Last week Elder Lenon and I had a really long day. It was a very hot day here in northern California and I also was feeling under the weather with a cold. We didn't have too much success in finding new people or teaching some of the people that we are currently visiting. The day was coming to a close, and as we were driving out of an apartment complex, we saw one of our investigators named Jesus. It was such a blessing to be able to talk to him. I know the Lord grants unto us tender mercies. Jesus was put in our path that day for a reason. It was such a joy to talk to him and to see how he was doing. He is doing so well and the light of Christ beams from within him. It was amazing that just a little thing like that changed our day. I know that God lives and that he does grant unto us those little tender mercies.

On my mission I have recognized how much I have been blessed throughout my life. I know that the things that may seem hard at the time will become easier and lighter with the help of our Heavenly Father. Again, we must be humble and go to him in prayer on a regular basis so that we can align our will with His.

"A bend in the road is not the end unless you fail to make the turn."

As missionaries we meet with many members that are not active in the church. Many have gone through divorces, job loss, deaths in their family, and many other challenges that have a heavy impact on them. In all these cases, it was not the challenges themselves, but their attitudes toward these challenges and their lack of faith, that led them to leave the church for a time. I have found that all of them have one thing in common. Their faith has slowly faded. I believe they all deep down in their hearts still have a testimony that they know this gospel and church are true, but their faith has been lost. Faith is an action. Faith is not just a belief, it is what drives us to act. The way we acquire more faith is through praying for more of it, acting by keeping the commandments of God, living the gospel of Jesus Christ, reading the scriptures, going to church, and turning our hearts over to the Lord. It is through these small yet powerful ways that we increase our FAITH in God, our Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ.

I LOVE this quote below.

"The faith that can't be shaken is the faith that has been shaken." -Randy Alcorn

Throughout my life my faith has been shaken. I know that because my faith has been tested that it is now stronger than ever before. This life is a test. We can come closer to our Heavenly Father through these challenges, thanking Him for the hard things so that we can see them as blessings. I know that through that our faith will grow and we will reap the blessings of heaven and see the change within ourselves. Let us humble ourselves, repent of our sins daily, and follow the example that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has set for us. I love my mission and I look forward to the many challenges ahead of me in this life, for I know that those are the times in my life that the Lord is preparing me to return to His presence once again. The road to take is the one that leads us to thank God for our trials and tribulations so that we may be strengthened and prepared to be led home to Him and His Son in their celestial glory.

Los Amo,

Elder Vance

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