Sunday, August 28, 2011

Staying Within The Lines

Remember when you were a little kid and were learning how to color, everyone told you to stay within the lines.  It made a good picture instead of a messy one.  14 years later you learned about how a car needs to stay within the lines.  It makes for good driving instead of going off the cliff on the right side or a head on collision on the left side. 

Today in our Sunday School lesson we talked about this.  The Lord also wants us to stay within the lines that he has set.  He has set these lines to bless our lives.  He wants to help us avoid disastrous consequences in our lives.  They help us to be successful in this great plan of happiness he has given us.

In the ancient church we read about the apostles and prophets and 70's guiding the church.  Paul especially sent letters to the churches telling them of the lines they were crossing, and what the results would be.  He warned them of immorality, of being unified within the church, and of following the counsel from the prophets.  They were not only ignored but were killed.  Within 100 years there were no more apostles and prophets.  The church and world fell into a long period of darkness called the dark ages.

Our testimony to you is that the Lord is again speaking through apostles and prophets because he has restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.  It will not be lost again.  There are now 15 apostles and prophets, hundreds of 70's, thousands of stake presidents, ten's of thousands of bishops.  They will not be all killed off.  Within our lifetime there will be thousands of 70's, ten's of thousands of stake presidents, hundred's of thousands of bishops.  They will not be lost because the world is ready to listen to them.  The question is "Are We".

These great prophets to us in this day are warning us about lines that we must not cross over.  They are some of the same warnings given by the prophets of old but are specifically directed at the problems we face.  Immorality, seeking for the things of the world, debt, selfishness. 

There are plenty of people out there who are messing up their lives and experiencing misery because they cross the lines.  We do not need to be a part of them.  We will have enough of our own problems because we are a part of this mortal earth.  We don't need to add to our struggles because we cross the lines.  Crossing the lines never brings freedom, as some people seem to think.  Staying within the lines gives us the freedom to enjoy all of the blessings Heavenly Father has for us.  So be happy.  Be free and seek for the joys of eternity.  Stay well within the lines.

Love to you all.  Have a good week. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words

Our weekend in the branch started Saturday morning in the temple baptistry.  Our stake had a temple day and we signed up to help in the baptistry.  When we got there there were lots of people who wanted to help but few who wanted to be baptized.  They had brought a lot of family file to do but had no youth.  We decided to be "guests" or patrons and to be baptized and confirmed.  Our Branch President did almost all the baptisms.  His wife was also a "guest".  When it was finally our turn at the end, He baptized Paul and then Paul baptized him and Susan.  It was special to be able to be guests in the baptistry.  Susan hadn't been in a font in years.

We taught our young girl who has autism later in the afternoon.  On Sunday we taught our youth Sunday School class.  It was nice to be able to bear our testimonies.  We just hope that we are making a difference in their lives.

As we have been visiting with the less active members in the branch, we are beginning to notice a trend or a theme.  Many of them have quit coming over the years because they have been criticized about their dress or appearance.  Why is it that we feel a need to correct people when we see they are not applying a principle that we live in our lives? 

This is something that we have been talking about in our temple preparation meetings for our whole mission.  The presidency is trying to teach us as workers to not correct each other or the guests who come.  It is almost always a sign of pride.  We think we understand and live a principle so we want to correct those who don't.  The minute we "correct" the spirit leaves and hard feelings result.  It is so much better when we teach correct principles and let each person learn and correct themselves.  We need to just love people and set a good example.   

This is so true in all our relationships, especially at home.  We pray that we might all have patience and love with each other.  Let us care about each other, encourage each other, teach good principles, praise the good things that are being learned, and avoid pointing out the things that have not yet been applied.

We love you all and proud of how well you are doing in your families.  We have loved looking at the pictures from the reunion and feeling the spirit that we have heard.  Thank you Sandy and Kurt for organizing it.  It couldn't have been better.  (except if we could have been there).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Branch Service Project

What a good weekend we had in Fredonia.  We met a lady and her daughter that we can help.  Her daughter is a 19 year old with cerebral palsy.  She is taken by bus each day to a school where she can learn and work.  They are not going to be able to continue to bus her if they do not get a ramp for the wheelchair at their home.  She has become too tall and gangly for the assistants to carry down the front porch steps.  We have worked with the Branch council and are going to be able to build this ramp for her.  We also met a man who grew up in the church but has not been active for years.  He is experienced in construction and wants to help us.  He is in the middle of doing a complete remodel of his own home, but is excited to be able to help someone else.  There is a 3rd brother in the branch who is going to help us also.  He is an experienced handyman and has a pickup and tools including a gas powered posthole digger which we need for the ramp.  He just moved in to the Branch 2 months ago.  He bought an old vacant house that he is trying to make livable.  Paul spent all day today designing the ramp and now we need to get the permit and start building it in a week or two.  It was amazing that our visits this week built on each other.  In the first one we recognized the need and in the 2nd one we found a brother to help us meet the need.  The next day we met with the branch counsel and got the 3rd brother from that meeting.   We feel that working together with these two men will open the door for us to be able to help them with their homes, lives and testimonies.  The Lord has orchestrated this one beautifully.  We are excited.

We were pretty discouraged last week end.  Out of 10 families that we tried to find and visit, we only were able to get in and visit with 1.  This week end we were determined to try them again and had five good visits out of five.  When you keep trying even when you are discouraged, the Lord really blesses your efforts.  We love it here!

We hear that the family reunion was a great success and everyone had a good time.  Although we hated to miss it and missed being with all of our kids and grandkids terribly, it was a very sweet and satisfying feeling to know that great things happened without us. That prayers and devotionals were planned and attended to without our being there to prompt or remind.  We weren't needed at all!  The baton has been successfully passed and the next lap is being run strongly and winningly well. Well done!  We are so proud of you all!
Don gave us a copy of all of the testimonies that went into Mike's scriptures.  What a treasure!  Thank you all!  We love you all so very much and we are so pleased with how much love you show each other.

Have a great week!