Sunday, January 24, 2010

News from Don

We got a surprise call from Don last night at midnight and he sounded great. He is working hard in the Helmand province Afghanistan. His company has been involved in a big operation in Now Zad called Operation Cobra’s Anger. It got a bit of news coverage and if you look at the attached video clips you may be able to see Don.

He said he has been feeling the spirit and has made the decision to make the Marines his career. He also said that he has been doing daily scripture study and daily personal prayers. He told me what turned things around for him and it is a good lesson for all of us.

While in Iraq or on base back in the States he had other members around him a lot. His captain was LDS and he had a number of friends who were members of the church. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he liked that association with the spirit and with members. They were all at different starting places but they all were trying to improve their lives to return to Heavenly Father. It is so good to know that the Savior takes us from where we are and can make up the gap rather than demanding we reach an acceptable level of righteousness to qualify for the blessing of his atonement.

In a true case of “you don’t really know what you’ve got, til it’s gone.” Don was transferred to Afghanistan and has no one around him remotely associated with the church. He said he felt the missing spirit and the absence of the comfort of other members. It really bothered him to not be able to feed his spirit, so he prayed and got a spiritual confirmation to read his scriptures, say his prayers and repent. He expressed his joy over the comfort those sweet and simple things have brought into his life. He admitted that he isn’t perfect yet but he is in a good place. He created a hunger for the spirit over the difficulty of his situation. The lesson I take from his experience is that the reward comes when we dig deep into our own soul and figure out for ourselves what Heavenly Father would have us do and then do.

If you haven’t written him please do so and if you have written him…..write again, he loves feeling connected to the family.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Busy Week

Last Saturday afternoon mom and I went to the temple with another couple in the ward to do some sealings for their family names. You may remember when we had you sealed to us in the temple. There were two other couples there we knew from when we were in the Lone Tree ward and it was like how I picture the Celestial Kingdom; families will meet up with old friends and celebrate a lifetime of struggle but ultimate success in the important things. I got to knee across the alter with mom and hold hands look into the “eternity” mirrors and hear the divine words that pronounce us man and wife for time and all eternity. Mom looked so beautiful with her green eyes and large smile. It made for a very special afternoon with her in the temple in that scared sealing room.

On Tues night I was scheduled to go with the missionaries to visit an investigator lady, but she cancelled because of a family emergency. She was in the hospital with her 15 year old daughter who had tried to commit suicide that afternoon by slitting her wrists. We offered to visit them in the hospital and the mom agreed. It was quite a scene at the emergency room. The daughter was a beautiful girl with these large bandages across her wrists and a crushingly sad look in her eyes. She pronounced that there was no God but she and her friends knew there was a Satan because her friend worshiped the devil. I was stunned and my mind went blank and I couldn’t think of anything to say (that doesn’t happen very often). What to say to this young daughter of God who earlier that day had wanted to take her own life and leave this world. The weight of confusion and probably guilt and a dulled conscious had brought her to the edge of a horrible horrible tragedy. She had been flirting with the most serious of sin – the taking of a life but as I watched her face I saw something remarkable.

The young Elder Naylor squatted down at the foot of that girl’s hospital bed and began to teach the gospel of love and repentance and hope and the atonement. His thoughtful act of getting eye level with this girl was so powerful. It directed all her attention to what he was saying and the policeman in the corner and the nurses coming in and out of the room weren’t distractions. Even when the mom interrupted the elder, the daughter said, “Quiet mom, I want to hear what the missionary is saying!” Only hours before she was willing to lose her place on this earth. Now at that moment her shrinking and starving spirit was trying to drink in hope of a loving Heavenly Father and the presence of good in this world. It was a remarkable thing to witness. Then his companion Elder Boyer read a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon that expressed hope and joy and you could see the profound and positive effect of this spiritual food on a famished soul. I talked a little of the power of the Atonement and it’s promise, that He has paid for our sins and that He will never leave us alone. No matter how stained or troubled our lives have become. The Elders gave her a blessing, and we headed out.

It was so funny, I entered and left that hospital with two young 20 year old goofballs, but while we were in that hospital room, when the Savior needed to be there to buoy up a lost soul, they became valiant representatives of Jesus Christ and spoke with the voices of angels. It was an honor to be there with them.

On Wed night it was crazy at the temple. I knew it was going to be something special when I couldn’t find a parking space which is usually so easy to find. The patrons just kept coming and we ended up setting a new record for the number of endowment done, over 240. We had to add on not one but two sessions to accommodate everyone. The sealing rooms were all filled, initiatory was overflowing and there were folding chairs up and down the hallways for people to sit waiting to start a session. We had to press any warm body we could find into service to get the veils done. I kept wondering if this group knew something about the second coming that we all should have known. I finally left the temple an hour later than usual with very sore feet but a great big smile.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Interesting Missionary Experience

I have a funny missionary story to tell you. I was visiting with a new client in Broomfield and they are Jehovah Witness’s. The wife asked me what church I went to and I told them the LDS or Mormon Church. She said she loved the Mormons and their solid family beliefs. In fact she had recently visited with the missionaries at the door and had accepted a Book of Mormon from them. She said she like to understand other beliefs and was interested in reading the book.

Then her 12 year old son in the other room yelled out, “Mom, you threw that Book away!”

Mom said, “You are mistaken, I liked the book.”

Son said, “You told me it had the spirit of the devil!”

Mom said to me. “I’d been having these headaches and nightmare, so I threw out a bunch of stuff that might be causing my suffering.”

The son said, “Mom you only threw out the Mormon Book!”

The lady was turning red and then said, “Sorry”

The boy then said, “I got a Book of Mormon from my friend at school”

The mom said to me, “See we already had a Book of Mormon around.”

The son fired back, “But mom you made me throw that Book away too!!!”

At this point the mom told the boy to go back to doing his homework. She later went in to him and told him, “not to say such things because it might embarrass someone.” She was right it embarrassed her a ton.

I was also in a very tough competitive situation this week and on Friday I was on the phone with the client while the competitor was sitting with the family and we were both presenting to them and “discussing” the relative merits and problems with each others solutions. It was very intense, but at the end I got the other planner to agree that my plan was better for the clients. This contact could lead into working with a whole group of retirees from Coors and it could be great. We shall see. Prayer for me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

I have been reading a few things about developing as a man and am going to pen some different New Year's Resolutions this year. In the past I've divided goals into Spiritual, Physical, Social, Intellectual items but that isn't where I want to head this year. I want to be a better person and so here are my ten New Year's Resolutions:

1. Listen to the promptings of the spirit - when I get those flashes I need to act. The missionaries failed to meet some non-members we had over for dinner tonight because they didn't listen to a prompting and I don't want to miss opportunities.

2. Forgive others - even the most difficult ones to forgive. I don't need to extra weight of carrying grudges.

3. Honest in all my doings - especially with clients. I may not be the smartest but I can be honest and trustworthy.

4. Less personally competitive - I want to feel more joy at the good news of others, less emphasis on money, and more value placed on giving.

5. I want to be more thankful and grateful - this leads to greater happiness and is as easy as changing ones mind and prospective.

6. Let virtue garnish my thoughts - think and see the good in others.

7. Patience - that even means in traffic situations and when I'm running late.

8. Kindness - to speak and act with others in mind. Don't pick on the weak and look for opportunities to serve.

9. Speak out for the Savior - use opportunities to talk about my beliefs and my love of the Savior.

10. Love others - what would make Tracy happy, how can I help the family, doing a good job at my church calling, and if there is a way I can help someone I need to step up and do something.

I would encourage you all to help me with these personal goals - I want to be a better disciple of Christ.