Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Goal in the Hole

I have really enjoyed the Christmas Holidays!  As a missionary I feel it has been an exceptionally blessed time for me as everything has seemed so much more simplified.  I have not had to worry about getting gifts or decorations or any of the usual things which come with the season.  But I feel it has been a very blessed time for all of us here to experience a little more what the real meaning of the Christmas Season is.  It has led me to ponder a little more about the future, it seems this Christmas season I have gotten a lot of warnings about preparing for the future, and establishing a sure foundation on Jesus Christ as the scriptures teach us.  Even the board game my parents got for us to play here seems to teach this principle.

The game is called “Feast and Famine.”  It is basically playing out part of the story from Joseph and the Old Testament.  The first part of the game players are trying to collect pieces and tokens during a time of plenty to prepare for the impending famine.  The next half, players try and use the preparation they have done to save the house of Israel.  As is logical, the person who has acquired the most in the first round is able to be most successful in the second round, it is about preparing and planning ahead.  While the game is quick and fun, it has led me to think about how we can establish a sure foundation for the hard times in our lives. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Filling our Sails With Faith to Ride Through Stormy Seas

Believe it or not, this fearsome pirate ship on the side is something which I actually colored myself!  I actually started coloring it first . . . and then had the idea for this blog post.  I have learned being here as a missionary there needs to be balance in everything we do.  As we work, we need time with healthy recreation and sleep to revitalize ourselves, so we can again work with a renewed focus and determination.  So, to help balance the work we do, I have followed Elder Moxley’s example and I have done a little coloring.  The pirate ship in its own right represents a juxtaposition of ideals.  There is the idea of pirates, representing fear and terror juxtaposed with the Christmas spirit of hope and faith shown in the sails.  Faith and fear create a balance of opposition as two forces which work against each other.  It is on the roles of fear and faith in our lives which I wish to address my remarks today.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Digital Story of the Nativity

I found these videos that some people had posted on their facebook.  I thought it was a fit well with the online work we do here and with the Christmas season.  I love the message at the end, the means of communication we have today is certainly much different then that of the past, but the message is still the same.  Whether being taught in a living room or in a chat room the gospel is still the same and has the power to change lives.  I am grateful for this Christmas season, and the opportunity we have to remember Jesus Christ.  It is because of Him we are here as missionaries.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and Elder Ahlstrom

Recently it seems people have been asking me a lot on the chat about whether or not we really have agency, or free will.  The questions usually go something like, if God knows everything, and God created us, how could we possibly choose our future?  Or if God knows every action we are going to make, does that mean we have no choice to go against it?  At the surface, these questions can seem a little perplexing, but a deeper look helps us to see the freedom we really do have.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Caution: Learned Men Deceiving, and Blind Man Running!

One of the unique aspects of serving as a missionary online is the vast amount of anti-Mormon material we are exposed to.  Much of it I was not familiar with before I came here to be a missionary.  I have not done a lot of research myself on many of the things I have been exposed to.  I have never learned Hebrew, I have not done an in depth study of ancient civilizations, and I have never visited the Holy Land to see Jerusalem and see where Christ was born.  I do not need to rely on any shroud, any ruins, or any physical evidence to know God is real, and to know He cares for me.  Neither do I believe those things can let us know God loves us.  They may help, but they are not the answer.  I do know the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true.  As I read through many of the anti-Mormon criticisms I often think of this verse from the Book of Mormon;
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