Monday, March 28, 2011

The Plan of Salvation

The past couple of weeks on our drive down to the branch and back, we have been listening to a book on cds, The Plan of Salvation, Understanding Our Divine Origin and Destiny by Matthew B. Brown.  We have felt the spirit greatly while pondering these truths and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

Heavenly Father loves us so much.  He wants us to have everything He has, and wants us to become like Him.  He created this earth so we could be tested and make ourselves ready for life with Him.  He knew it wouldn't be easy.  He knew we would make mistakes and need to be corrected.  Because of this, He gives us prophets through out the ages to teach us.  Most significant of all, He gave his Son so that we could be cleansed and sanctified and return to him.

These concepts are known by all of us.  We have been taught from our earliest years in primary and at home the plan of salvation.  The question is "Is it real to us?".  Do we really understand what it means?  We sing "I am a Child of God".  Do we really know that is literally true?  If we really believed it, would we not be doing all we can to return back to him? 

There is so much in our lives that are distractions from what is important.  The veil of forgetfullness makes it hard for us to remember.  The whisperings of Satan draw us to the things of this earth that at best distract us, and at worst lead us away from the things of God.  The whisperings of Satan are loud and persistant.  In contrast the whisperings of the Holy Spirit are quiet, and require us to listen carefully and heed or they do not persist. 

Challenge to all our married children:  Make a point of going to the temple this month and doing sealings.  Listen to the covenants and promises.  Both the sealings of spouses and the sealing of children to parents.  Think about what Heavenly Father really wants to give us.  Think about the blessings you and your children have been given, by either having been born in the covenant or being sealed to your parents.  What blessings have you been promised by being sealed to your spouse?  Share with your children, the blessings that have been promised to them.  Because they have been born in the covenant, they are entitled to all the blessings pronounced in the sealing of children to parents.  Teach them about that.

We have had occasion this past month to think about Scott and Marty and how they are in the Spirit World ahead of us.  We rejoice in the work they are doing, and are grateful we can do our part on this side of the veil.  We are awed by the love of Heavenly Father that we feel when we participate in these ordinances in the temple.  We love Him and Jesus Christ, His Son.  We love you and are so grateful to see you walking in His ways and teaching your children to love Him too. Keep It Up.  No Empty Chairs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Spirit Is There to Help

This was our 2nd week in the Fredonia Branch.  We spent the two days looking for people that have not been coming out to church. 

While seeking for one we couldn't find last week, we had a strong feeling that the map we were given and the GPS were wrong.  They were taking us to a Main street in the village of Casadaga.  But the address was supposedly in Stockton which was an intersection of two highways about 5 miles away.  We decided to go up and down Stockton looking at addresses.  We were confused.  Some homes had address like 8465, while the house next door would be 47.  We were looking for 21 but couldn't find it. 

We finally decided to ask someone.  We went to two homes finding no one home.  We noticed a man outside the next house and told him our problem.  He asked us who we were looking for.  It was him.  This little two street town used to have a numbering system based on its Main street.  The numbers were small.  Years ago they changed to numbers on the state highway going through.  They were large.  The computer maps and gps were all confused and so were we.  He was going to work, couldn't talk to us, but gave us his phone number and asked us to call back.

We are sure the Lord wanted him found, because of the "coincdences" that brought us to him.  Others in the branch had given up.  And we had also given up last week.  But were unsettled about it when we got here yesterday.

Many times in life we find that "quietly"we are guided.  "Quietly" because it is a still small voice or feeling and we need to learn to listen and act.  As we act, we become better at listening and hearing and we are helped more often.  We pray for all of us to heed the promptings we receive and then reap the blessings that come from acting on the prompting.  As we do so we can become more confident in those promptings and will experience the spirit more often in our lives.  We will also become more useful in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

We know this work we are doing is Heavenly Father's work.We know He loves his children and desires us all to come home to Him.  We pray daily for each of you in your individual and famly trials.  We know the Lord is blessing us greatly because we see Him blessing you.  Have a good week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Altar Cloth is Finished/We have been Transferred

After 6 months, the alter cloth is now ready to be given to the temple.

Susan aka "The Mad Tatter" finishing the border

Here is the finished altar cloth.
We didn't know that senior missionaries are subjct to transfer but this past week it happened.  We have been asked to now serve in the Fredonia Branch, Jamestown Stake, Pensylvania Pittsburg Mission.  It is on the opposite end of the Temple District.  South of Buffalo, north of Erie Pennsylvania.  Right on Lake Erie.  So goodbye Ogdensburg/North Country, hello Fredonia/Lower Tier. 

Saturday we went to Fredonia, about a 2 1/2 hour drive, and met with the Branch President.  He and his good wife are allowing us to stay in their home when we come on weekends.  The Branch Pesident filled us in on the goals of the Branch and how they were looking to use us in reaching their goals.  We will be working with the Ward Mission leader. 

The branch is going through a big effort to find all the people that are not active.  We spent the rest of Saturday looking for 3 of them.  Sunday we went to church and met most of the active members.  They have somewhat over 50 attending regularly.  It is more than twice the size of Ogdensburg and has a good cross section of people.  Mostly young families, good size primary, young men and young women.  We look forward in getting to know them and helping them find their lost sheep.  Sister Sherwood is going to speak this coming Sunday on Family Home Evening.  If you have any inspiration, drop her a line.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Great Missionary Story

Last Sunday evening we were invited to dinner at the home of one of our friends in Fairport.  Their daughter, Sabre Ann, who is living at home while she is working on her Masters degree was there.  She said she wanted to share an experience with us that she had on her mission.  Sabre Ann is two years older than our youngest son, Scott, but still did a lot of things with the church kids even after she graduated from high school and was attending the local college and was good friends with Scott.

She recieved her mission call a few months before Scott was called to Argentina.  She was a "greenie" out in California on her mission when her parents wrote her about Scott's death.  The news came at a low point in her mission when their investigators had fizzled out and they didn't have anyone in their teaching pool.  They were spending most of their time tracting and weren't finding much success.  The news of Scott was a very heavy blow when she was already down.  She said that she locked herself in the bathroom and cried for over an hour That night she started having nightmares and they continued for the next three nights.

After four nights straight of having nightmares, she pleaded with Heavenly father to please make the nightmares stop and to please help them find someone to teach.  That night she dreamed that she was sitting in her apartment when the doorbell rang.  When she answered the door, Scott was standing there grinning at her.  She exclaimed, "Scott!  What are you doing here?!"  He answered that he just wanted to know how she was doing and they sat on the couch and talked for a while.  Then he asked her how the missionary work was coming.  She answered that it wasn't going very well.  He asked to see their white board where they kept tract of their investigators.  On it were the names of four families that had lines drawn through them.  They weren't making progress or had asked the missionaries not to come anymore.  Scott pointed to one of them and said "Tell me about this family".  She told him they had been teaching them until a few weeks prior.  They had been very interested and she and her companion had grown to love them.  They had then stopped making progreass and could not get an appointment with them.  Scott then told her she needed to go see that family again.  She explained that there was no point in doing that.  They were not making progress and they needed to spend time on finding others.  He continued to insist that she needed to go see them.  Then her alarm clock rang and she woke up.

That day as she was planning with her companion she noticed that they were going to be tracting where this family lived.  She mentioned to her companion that she felt they should go back to that family.  The companion rehearshed again, why they had dropped the family but Sabre Ann asked if they could just go see how they were doing.  The companion said "OK" but we won't go inside, just say hello at the door. 

After they finished tracting, they went to the famly's home and knoced on the door.  They were greeted by the wife and was very happy to see them.  She told them that she and her husband were talking the night before and decided they needed to go to church with them.  They began teaching again.  Two weeks later Sabre Ann was transferred but she heard later that they had been baptized.

The Lord had answered her prayers, she had no more nightmares and they had found someone to teach.  She felt that it was a very "tender mercy" from Heavenly Father that he would send Scott to answer the prayer.  She felt that it gave her the closure she needed with him gone, and he helped her with the work in the area.
Scott and Sabre Ann (in white)

We are so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who not only blessed Sabre Ann but prompted her to share that with us.  It was almost like "getting a letter" from our missionary.  We miss that with the mission he is on.  But we do know where he is and what he is doing.  We also know that God lives and loves us all.  His hand is in the work of the kingdom and it is exciting that Scott is a part of it.

God Bless You All.