Grateful for the Opportunity to Serve

Sunday I was formally released from my calling as 2nd Counselor in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency in my ward. This is the same ward I was baptized into about 5 years ago. I remember hearing from a previous Bishop with such a release can come a flurry of emotions. My most powerful right now is gratitude. I will not lie, I was sad to be released.

For starters release is a term we use in the church to acknowledge our current Calling (position/job) term has come to an end. The only callings that you cannot be released from are if you are called to be an apostle or Prophet/President of the church. So local and area positions can come to an end.

It was indeed an honor to serve the brethren of my home ward. Of course releases can come without warning. sometimes followed by another calling, or the basis that the Lord saw fit for your skills and gifts somewhere else. I am planning on moving soon, and while I am sad to see my time in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency come to an end, it will allow me time to focus on house hunting and packing.

When I called my girlfriend after my meeting with the High Priest, she reminded me of something I had told her a year or so ago, that “It’s a part of serving God, and that the Lord will indeed find work for you to do…”. I pondered long and hard about it, and found comfort in the fact that indeed there will always be work for me to do in the Lord’s kingdom.  One quote, my favorite Book of Mormon quote comes to mind…

“But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it, Amen”

1Nephi Chapter 9, Verse 6

No matter what I know the Lord will guide me towards my truest potential!

As I said before, it was an extreme honor to serve my brethren, some of who helped me out and showed great fellowship when I was a new member of the church. I feel through my service in the presidency, I was taught more lessons from those good brethren. I have no idea what the next few months hold as I prepare to move to a new town, and a new ward, but I’m confident in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ, and my kind and gracious Heavenly Father.

This summer has been a very emotionally draining one, and I do know I will now have time to focus on feelings I may have tried submerging regarding the loss of my grandmother. I think within the next month or two, finding myself spiritually and emotionally will be of priority. I’m so grateful for the love of a wonderful family, an amazing girlfriend, and great friends, through this. As I have said, it was my grandmother and her Christ-like example that led me to my faith. She always urged me to follow God in everything I did, and I know I wouldn’t be here without her.

Through it all one thing is for certain and that is the growth in my testimony, that I know that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father are there every step of the way in our lives. I know and wholeheartedly believe that families are eternal, and that This church is true! I know that we have a living prophet in Thomas S. Monson here on this earth, and I know no matter how old I am or what my condition is, the Lord will always put opportunities to serve and teach in my path, and I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ….

Amen.

Gerald R.

 

I promise this will not be one of those Welcome Back posts….

Long time no see Blogging world!

I have been on a bit of hiatus of late due to increased business at work, and seemingly no time for many other things. But I’m back! I can honestly say I don’t think there will be so many breaks between my posts, and I pray I can deliver spiritual posts that help others find a way through this crazy world. Through my testimony I hope I can help others.

So in the time I’ve been gone, I recently as of Sunday was set apart as the 2nd counselor in my Elders Quorum Presidency in my family ward. For those of my friends and family who are not familiar with the organization of my church, Elders Quorum Presidency headed by a President and his two counselors are leaders over the men in the ward. We serve and make sure the men and their families are doing well, and assist as needed. That’s kind of like the 50 cent gumball machine definition. (I promise a more in depth post on Church organization). But I felt so honored and humbled to be given such a responsibility and opportunity to serve in the ward I was baptized in almost 4 years ago. I have no idea what the next months or year or so holds but I know through faith in Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father all is possible. Like it say’s in the scriptures

But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold , he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen

1Nephi 9:6

I’ve lived by that scripture these last few weeks. It’s brought me great comfort as the world around me has faced turbulence and tragedy. It has given me faith through it all, and has given me hope that no matter what is thrown in my way all will be well, and I will persevere.

I can testify to all that no matter what you face in life, The Lord will show a way. If you trust in him and hold onto his counsel and guidance you will have a light through the storm of life. You can find peace in Jesus Christ the savior and our Heavenly Father.

It feels so good to write again on here, and I look forward to continuing as I continue to grow! Hope you all have a great day!

Gerald

Sorry for the Hiatus

Yup the title says it all. Now I could say that I’m saving all my typing for this wonderful trip in 5 days, but that’d be a lie. And that’s a sin, and that’s not cool as well. No I’ve been legit distracted and busy, and I took some time off. But as the season gets warmer, and the Earth wakes up during the months of spring into Summer I’m sure there will be countless more posts.

Plus those of my readers that remember last year’s instagram/facebook flooding of pictures and posts from the Palmyra roadtrip will know there will be much to type and read in the coming week.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you, and bearing my testimony. I love you all, and hope all of you are doing well

Gerald

Thoughts from Sacrament “The Sacrament”

First off I’d like to acknowledge that even though I work for one of the biggest I.T. companies in the country that it took me 3 months to figure out I could change my picture in the above box to the picture of the lovely DC Temple I took a year or two ago!

It’s been a crazy month to be honest. The East coast has been getting slammed with winter weather advisoryWeekend storms that for most have either postponed, or cancelled Church services all together. It was something that I had never seen before. In the three and a half years I’ve been in the church I’ve never seen Church cancelled.

SnowWell we were sitting in ward council Sunday, and there was snow and ice coming down. The ward Mission had organized an activity at the Visitors Center to watch the Film “Meet the Mormons”. Something Jason had been working hard to organize. We were all proud of it. Alas a winter mix threatened to cancel it.

Well as I was saying we were sitting in our weekly pre church ward Council meeting trying to decide what to do about Sacrament. Should we cancel it? Should we abbreviate it? What about the Break the Fast potluck dinner, or the activity? Most of these questions took precedence during the meeting. Then I remember my Bishop something along the lines of this…

“Yes the Talks and the sharing of testimonies are important, but the Sacrament is the main reason we come on Sunday. The most important ordinance we can take every week. That’s most important”

Those words stuck with me. It was fast Sunday, so I had decided in my head I was going to get up and speak. But he made me realize something, we come to Sacrament meeting to partake of the Sacrament and remember the Sacrifice our Savior Jesus Christ did for us.

So there we had it, We had our opening hymn, the opening prayer, Partook of the sacramentsacrament, then the closing hymn and then funny enough I ended up giving the closing prayer. It was short, but it was powerful, because it helped me personally remember the sole reason why we are in church on Sundays.

sacrament 3I think some times the true meaning of Church services gets overcrowded with social aspects and other things. We should come to Sacrament meeting with our prayers and our broken hearts and contrite spirits ready to renew the everlasting covenants we made at baptism and repent and prepare for the new week. I dare say it was the best sacrament meeting I’ve attended. And no I’m not saying that because we got out early, (I  actually ended up being there until like 330).

The Truth of the matter is, no matter what happens in our lives our focus should Jesus always be on the Savior. Seeing how I didn’t get the opportunity to do it Sunday in Sacrament I want to do it now, I know that this gospel is true, and I know that our Savior lives. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father in heaven who is always looking out for us, no matter how far we turn from him. I know sharing the gospel and missionary work is a path to happiness, for I have felt the joy in missionary work. I know that we are all here for a reason, and have a capacity to make this world a better place, and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen.

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

I hate to do stupid little things to a blog post meaning to be spiritual, but I wanted some feed back on the new design route I’ve taken. Let me know what you think in the Poll here below. Stay blessed and Stay safe! I love you all! Even those I don’t klnow.

Yes, He spoke to a young boy in the woods

So tonight like every Monday evening I’m scheduled to go out with the Elders in my ward. We are scheduled to teach an individual on “The Restoration”. Well I decided to reread the pamphlet on the Restoration at my desk that I had in my arsenal of literature, just to refresh myself on the lesson we’d be teaching, and I came to the page where the Prophet Joseph Smith gave his account of what happened in the sacred grove:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me… 

“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air; One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said pointing to the other—–

This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

Joseph Smith- History 1:16-17

Every time I reread that record I get the chills and feel joy. having stood in the same grove of trees that the young Prophet did, I reccount my own feelings from the day my best friends and I took a trip to the Sacred Grove last March:

“Words can barely do justice for how much peace I feel in the sacred grove…

 My body and mind feel at peace. I feel completely away from the outside world! It’s beautiful. The heavy cloud cover has slightly broken to show a bit of blue and radiant sunlight!

I can feel the spirit as I walk these trails and kneel in prayer off the beaten path. The stressors of the world have no voice here. Only the serenity of God’s creation reside. I know I was heard out here in prayer.

 I know my father in heaven walks this path with me here in this grove and outside! I know Joseph Smith to be a prophet. I know there are prophets and inspired leaders on earth today as in ancient times… I can feel it in my bones everyone one of us is here for an eternal reason and I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me. And I say these things in the name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen”

Myself

When I reread my own account of how I felt in the grove some almost 200 years after the events the prophet Joseph Smith lived through I just am filled iwht the spriit. The testimony burns inside as I think of the events that followed. I know in my heart God spoke to to a young boy, who was an incredible tool in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Through further revelations, ordinances and commandments were given that were from our Heavenly Father to give us joy, protect us, and inevitably lead us back to Eternal Glory. As a man who’s been baptised in His name, ordained to the Priesthood, and has walked the halls of the Lords house (Temples), I know that our Heavenly Father spoke to a boy. I know that our Heavenly Father interacts daily through Prophets here on this earth today, and through the Holy Ghost gives us  revelation.

I cry out my testimony that we are our Heavenly Father’s children! We are a chosen generation where we are here to spread his word through the far corners of the Globe. We live in an age where our messagescan be sent faster than the speed of light across the world. We are his army here on the Earth.

When I think back to my feelings in the Sacred grove last March, I feel so much joy and peace. We can feel that joy every day. If we live wholesome lives. The blue print is there ladies and gentlemen we just have to discipline ourselves to follow. It’s not always easy, but as my dad used to tell me when I was younger “The best things in life never come easy!”

What started out as a structured post on the Restoration, has become a personal witness and testimony of the gospel. Obviously that’s what I was meant to write. I bear my testimony that as we follow the gospel and strive to make today better than yesterday and lend a helping hand, that we will feel Heavenly Father’s love and peace. I know this gospel to be true and I know that I am a tool in His plan. To all my friends who have questions send them this way, I’m an open book! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

Free Write (2/11/2015)

As most of my regular readers and friends know, I serve in my singles ward as an Assistant Mission Leader. I’m 25 and I’m a convert to the church. I love my calling, and I love serving in the capactiy that the Lord allows. So my calling and situation in my ward is really awesome and I wouldn’t trade it. It allows me to serve others and share the gospel, and seriously quite honestly, what more could you want?

So in January, I decided to do a self assessment of myself, and also after a regularly PPI, or a Personal Priesthood Interview, with a member of the Bishopric. I wanted to better magnify my calling, and do more service and work. I wanted to give more of myself so that I could carry out the Lords plan.

So I decided to get better at reading the scriptures, praying more, and start making it to my meetings on time, no excuses, and go to the temple more regularly.

Well I’ve been doing those things, and I’ve seen the change, and it’s awesome! I see it makes my relationships with people more better, and I just feel so more connected to the spirit, and able to hear it’s promptings so much better.

So Sunday we had the Monthly Stake Missionary Correlation meeting, and we were prompted by the Stake President to begin praying more for opportunities to share the gospel. But not just pray in general, but to pray everyday, and also to share our testimonies>

So usually most people gain full testimonies of things through basic action and reaction. So I took my Stake President’s council on praying for opportunities to share the gospel…

Lo and behold if it didn’t take three days for something to happen and that council to come to pass.

So I get to my office, and sit at my desk and start the daily ritual of turning my computer on and setting up my stuff for work, when a friend of mine who I ahd worked with at a previous job and had went to high school came up to me. HE lifts shows me “The Restoration” pamphlet handed out by every missionary usually on the first visit.

He asked. “this is your church right?”

I quickly replied, “Yeah dude,” At first I thought he had gotten the one I usually leave on my desk, but came to find out he had indeed met with missionaries, who had helped him at a time, referring to them as angelike in their timing and thier service when his car broke down. I was floored. This person is a long time friend, and here he was telling of this powerful experience he had just had. We shared a few more words and then I finished logging in.

Quickly I felt prompted to give him the Book of Mormon I kept in my desk for just this type of sitation. I wasn’t sure if they had given him one, but I decided to take a chance. I held the book in my hand, a little nervous, as anyone is before sharing a big part of their faith. I decided to just do it. I went over to him when I had a little bit of time, and I hadned him the book, explained a little about it, and then he shared he was going to be coming to church next weekend. He’s married so there wouldn’t be a visit to the singles ward. I told him I’d love to go if he’d have me there, and if he had any questions that he could come to me. He was gracious and thanked me.

It was such an extraordiany experience. I have had many missionary opportunities, but it really cemented my testimony on the daily prayer of such opportunities.

Simply put the Lord is going to put those opportunities in front of his disciples when the time is right. Pray for such opportunities, stay versed in the gospel to the ebst of your abilities, and keep yourselves in a lifestyle and mindset to recieve direction and inspiration of the spirit, and you will indeed have the fire and power of Heavenly father, and be a great missionary.

Being a missionary is not just putting on a name tag, as Elder Neil L. Anderson in the April 2013 General Conference talk said-

If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” And returned missionaries, find your old missionary tag. Don’t wear it, but put it where you can see it. The Lord needs you now more than ever to be an instrument in His hands. All of us have a contribution to make to this miracle” 

We can all be representative of Christ without putting a suit on. In my experiences with sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, the best missionary work comes from everyday disciples of Christ like you and I. We will see the blessings that come to one’s life when they accept Christ, and we will also feel the joy of missionary work.

I testify as you choose to lift your voice in the name of Jesus Christ that you will be empowered and you will have the Holy Ghost with you to direct your actions in conjunction with God’s plan. I bear my testimony that the gospel is true, and that we can all spread the message of love and salvation in the example of Christ, and we can lead other’s to salvation through our daily actions and words. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ…

Amen

Thoughts from Sacrament- “Finding Happiness in the Gospel”

So I was sitting in Sacrament this Sunday where the topic had alot to do with the plan of Salvation and agency, but my mind was taken back to how the gospel of Jesus Christ has shaped me throughout the last few years. So therefore I will be sharing those thoughts in this weeks installement of “Thoughts from Sacrament”.

AS you all know, from a previous blog, I was a convert. I always had a belief in Christ, well for the most part before my baptism. But I didn’t have any real personal guidance. My parents and my grandparents were amazing and tried to guide me. But for some reason or another I decided I knew better, and well I didnt. I kind of just went with the wind, and did whatever felt right in the moment. I was very short sighted in the early years of my adulthood. As I told the Sunday school class I taught, before accepting Christ into my life, the only things that mattered to me in college was throwing a 16 pound metal ball at track meets (Shot put) or what party I was going to. Didn’t have a strong career plan outside joined the Baltimore City Police dept, and even that was up in the air.

When I think about everything that happened or I went through before I found faith in a higher authority, I am not ashamed…. In fact I’m grateful for those trials. Those trials got me to where I am today.

To some the commandments that are given aren’t easy. And honestly it’s very true. There are some commandments that are harder for some. When you think of the Law of Chasity which means (No Sexual relations before marraige), or The Word of Wisdom (No Alcohol, drugs, or harmful substances, no coffee or tea) or the Law of Tithing (10 percent of your income to the church, for use of upkeeping holy buildings and welfare programs), Keeping the Sabbath day holy (Attending church meetings on sundays, not shopping, and other activities that dont promote the spirit.) some of those can be hard to follow. And there are many others, but those are just a few. To be honest when they were presented to me before my baptism, I was a little nervous on if I could follow them, and it wasn;t easy. But I see the light in my life when I do follow commandments, because I have a testimony that they come from God for the betterment of my own life.

When I think about it, you truly need a testimony on each Commandment to truly be able to follow them. For example in January’s Ensign, the 1st Presidency’s message main focus was on “Following the Prophets”, well that’s a very Broad Statement, because we can go back almost 200 years and to be honest they’ve said many things. So what you have to do is break down what the Prophets have said.

So 1st off, the point is gaining a testimony that there are Prophets on the Earth today. Today in 2015 it is President Thomas S. Monson.  For me, i remember the first time I truly felt a spirit about him, was the first time I heard him speak in the October 2011 Conference before I was baptized. I felt it in my heart that he was indeed a great man, and called of God. Through study of the gospel and lessons with the missionaries I knew this man to be a man of god. And in my first monthly installment of Home Teaching I’ll go more in depth.

Well once I had a testimony in the Prophets, I started to gain a testimony of the commandments. But just learning them wasn’t enough. I had to live the commandments before that testimony to grow.

Everybody is different. Some will have problems in one area, but strive in another. That’s just how life is. But there’s the saving grace that our Heavenly Father knows we’re not perfect. We’re going to slip up from time to time, and that’s where the Atonement comes in, for someone has already died for our Sins. All he asks in return is that we strive to be better everyday, and to be honest that’s not a bad trade.

So once you’ve made these changes, and found a testimony, and continually try to follow the commandments you will find Joy. One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Book of Mormon says this

O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gateand continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life” 

Jacob 6:11

We’re all on the path to make it back to be with our Heavenly Father. We will all have different paths to take on this journey, we will see different trials, and different joys, but one this is constant and that is the Word of God. That is the Gospel and his commandments. For they come from him that we must obey. For when we obey these commandments we shall be blessed.

So I will leave you with a challenge…  I love challenges therefore I offer them out as well. Pray on a commandment you may be not so good at. Pray hard and seek out a way to become better. The mission is not to be perfect today, but to be better than you were yesterday, always striving for Eternal greatness.