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’m back

It has been a month exactly since my last blog post. Sorry for the hiatus. A lot has changed in the last month. Some beautiful things have happened, and change has come about. Nonetheless I am back.

I figured with my return I’d bear my testimony. I want to bear my testimony that this is the true church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that Heavenly Father guides us and that we have the agency to do as we will and to become the Consequences of those decision. I beleive in the atonement and that it is the reason for which we have all come to be, and I vow my servitude to our heavenly father and Spreading the gospel through this globe, whether is be through the web or in person, and I say these things 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.

My personal “Sacred Grove”

Last March I had the opportunity to travel with 3 of my friends up to Palmyra NY, and visit the Sacred Grove. In Church History it was the place a young wpid-20140802_192807.jpgJoseph Smith went and recieved revelation from God that he was to bring forth the fullness of the gospel to the world. This fullness of gospel brought about another Testament of Jesus Christ, claiming that he had indeed visited inhabitants of the early Americas. It was here that the Latter Day Faith began… I personally remember being in the Sacred Grove with my friends walking the paths and admiring the scenery. I felt so secluded from the loud world, and I felt so much peace. I felt at one with nature, I felt closer to God.wpid-1401491402227.jpg

The moment brought me back to an Elders Quorum lesson shortly after my baptism 3 years ago where we were talking about places we like to go and pray and meditate, and just get away from the world for a little bit. At the time I didn’t really comprehend what they were really talking about. Most of them talked about forests, and to be honest at the time that was what really stood out to me, partially because I spent a lot of time as a young boy camping with my family and hiking, that being in nature away from it all just seemed so natural…

Last Spring around May I was hiking in a forest around wpid-20150104_162111_hdr.jpgmy neighborhood. I was just walking, I had a lot on my mind and just wanted to escape! As I was walking, along the waters of the late, I saw a bench. IT was along the bank of the waters. The bench was off the trail and kind of tucked away by brush and bushes. I went down wpid-img_20150104_160140.jpgthere and sat along the water. I took a deep breath and prayed, and then I read from my scriptures, and then I just sat there for what seemed like hours. I didn’t hear the sounds of the road a mile away, I couldn’t hear the voices of people, I just heard the spirit, my thoughts and the calm soundtrack of nature. I felt close to the Lord in my own “Sacred Grove”wpid-20150104_161216_pano.jpg

wpid-20150104_155618_hdr.jpgI say “Sacred” because it’s sacred to me. Not that I expect world changing prophecy or anything of the sort, but it’s my own personal place I know I can go to get away, and ponder the things that concern me and those I care about. Sometimes I’ll play music through my headphones and just read my scriptures or my patriarchal blessings. There are times I’ll pray and record the feelings of my heart and soul into my journal to wpid-img_20140928_192028.jpgponder on later. Nonetheless I have my own place.

To be fair only 2 people have ever seen it. Well it’s in a public area so I’m sure many have, but I’ve only shown two people where it is; Mario and Colleen. It’s kind of like one of those things you don’t want it to get overrun.

I think every person should have their own “Sacred Grove”. AS a disclaimer this does not mean a grove of trees, this can be anywhere you find refuge from the world. I know the temple is that refuge for myself, but the temple isn’t always open. We all need that place we can get to quickly in a moments notice and just contemplate wpid-20140621_155453.jpgthe wonders of the world.

So I encourage you, go forth wpid-20140621_152319.jpgand seek out your own personal Sacred Grove. Find time to become one with you and the Lord. Feel free to share your thoughts and help encourage others to find one of their own below in the comments!

Have a Great Day!!!

Gerald