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.

 

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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

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

Spirit and.Body

It’s no secret that the body and the mind are connected. We’ve heard many times, that a clean body makes a clean mind. But what about the spirit….

My girlfriend and I decided that we’d start eating better. We’d start working out, and bettering our bodies, with the goal of having a long enjoyable life together.

No lie she fears for me, and the horrible ways I eat and the lack of workouts as of late. Quite frankly she has good reason, and in my experience it’s best to listen to your other half.

When she met me 5 years ago, I was an athlete. I was preparing to go play college football, working out all the time, and at a good slim 250 pounds. Over those 5 years I’ve had many roller coasters in my weight and workout regiment. Not even a year ago, I was at the pinnacle of my physicality. Back in February, I had no doubts in my mind that I could’ve walked onto BYU’s football field and played football like I did when I was young….

Then something happened…

I got injured. I hurt my back to the point where I couldn’t walk, I got scared, I stopped working out, and I stopped caring….

Not caring screwed me over. I work a desk job. I don’t work the manual labor jobs of years past, and sit at a desk for 9 hours a day. I eat like complete crap, and I don’t workout.

Well as of a week ago, my girlfriend and I were talking, and she again for the millionth time let me know she worried for me, after about 6000 times it begins to sink in and you decide maybe it’s time for a change.

The first part was the dieting, Eating clean, and striving to stop bad habits formed over the last year, the second and most important part was getting over my fear of getting hurt again. That fear and that pain in my lower back was loud in my ears and kept me away from any gym.

Monday, I packed my gym bag that morning, and I got my preworkout ready, and I got prepared for a day 1 of a new start. That meant:

1.   Only water and juices that are natural.

2.   Limiting the amount of bad food I put into my body (*much harder than you think, a few slip ups)

3.   Working out atleast 3 days a week until I can get back up on my normal “Beastmode” like levels.

4.   Trying to sleep better.

5.   Focus on the matters of the spirit more…

Now lets jump into number 5…. “Focus on the matters of the spirit more…”

When most people think of getting healthy, they don’t consider the spiritual matter behind it. Now it’s no secret I am a spiritual person with a deep testimony in our savior and his gospel, but until a few days ago, it never occurred to me that maybe the other thing holding me back from being healthy was the lack or atleast the limit of spirituality I had put on myself…

Let me explain. The combination of Spirit and body is no secret. When I was in high school, I used to tell my mother all the time “My body is a temple”. It was a mantra I lived by. No drinking, no smoking, no bad foods, working out constantly, and being ready to lay someone out on Friday.

Now over those next 5 or so years after high sxhool, I began to deter from that mantra, and certain changes took place. Especially when I was away at college during off season.

I have a firm belief as it has been taught, that a good healthy spirit wont find residence in an unclean body! If we live healthy as well as spiritual lifestyles our lives will be better.

The last 8 or so months in many aspects have been some of the best months I’ve had, but in terms of health have been horrible, and it’s all because of how I felt about myself. Living in the fear of possibly injuring myself kept me away from the gym, in turn my body took a turn for a route I did not want it to go, and constantly being reminded by friends that “oh you should get back at it… there’s some pounds you could lose… you’re just not who you were…” got annoying real quick, and it sucked to be honest. I didn’t want to do it because my friends told me to do it. But it was more or less the loving words of my girlfriend that helped me get over that hump.

The thought of her and I going far in eternity and then me not being able to continue this mortal journey with her because I had health issues, or the thought I wouldn’t be able to play with my future children because I was broken apart and fat scared the crap out of me. Or even worse the thought of my parents burying me…

So I changed…. Although it is not easy

Being healthy and finding that spiritual balance is about many things, but none is more important than your own personal influence.

If you’re in the process of making a spiritual and physical change, find and hold to something that matters most. There’s a scripture that I remember reading and I’ll paraphrase, “Where your heart is, is where your desires will be”. With a healthy body, and regular spiritual involvement, whether it be church attendance, scripture reading, temple attendance, prayer, what ever it may be, and at the end of the day that spiritual and mental strength will help to get over any obstacle that is holding you back.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors! I hope you can find a point in your life when Beast-mode meets the Spirit!