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.

 

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

Prayer- The Most Sincere Form of Communication.

Currently in my singles ward I serve as the Assistant Mission leader.So I have the privledge of going to the Gospel Principles Sunday School Class. Well for the last few weeks I have been attending the 6 week Family history class as suggested by the Bishop, but this Sunday I decided to go to my old class, and sit in.

I love Gospel Principles. It’s such an amazing class. It usually consists of new members or investigators, and teaches the basics of the Gospel. It’s always been a belief of mine that mastering the basics of the gospel was the key to eternity. I just love the spirit of that class!

But this week’s lesson was on prayer. Something until a few years ago, I hadn’t done much of since I was a child praying nightly with my mom and sisters before bed. Now before I begin I must say in terms of super consistent prayer I’m probably more of a in the moment, before bed, and while I’m driving type of prayer. Nonetheless I have a testimony in just how powerful prayer can be.

A little over 3 years ago when I was first looking into the church, I rediscovered prayer. I grew up with prayer so it wasn’t a new concept for me, it was just a lacked and forgotten one. But I remember during that summer of 2011 when I got down on my knees and asked our HEavenly Father for guidance in life. I knew my life was spiralling out of control and I wanted to regain some sort of control and have some guidance.

The phrase “ask and ye shall recieve” became real to me through my friend Desiree’s example, and Sister Bishop, Sister Egbert, and Wade E. from my old family ward. I learned a new meaning to prayer, and reaffirmed the early principles of what my mother, father and grandmother had taught me years ago; that prayer was indeed the most sincere communication with our Heavenly Father!

Now typically as members of the LDS church it’s suggested you pray in the morning and at night, while praying throughout the day. Indeed the  Latter Day hymn “I need thee every hour” rings in my ear. I find myself needing that constant guidance from our heavenly father almost every hour.

I work in a very stressful work field. Tech support especially Consumer tech support is not an easy field. It’s not for the weak at heart either. It’s 9 hours of constant onslaught of negative people yelling and complaining, and at the end of the call you’re still expected to have a smile. Outside of the open scripture study at my desk, routinely I have to just pray. I Pray for comfort and strength, and pray for understanding other’s situations.

Prayer is something that can be done at all times of the day, and doesn’t have to always be done vocally. There are those that Pray in their cars while driving, those that pray silently walking on a trail, those that pray vocally in secluded forests, and there are those that pray by the beside. No matter when you pray, the point is to pray. Prayer allows us to speak with our heavenly father, to ask for the things we may need and want, to give praise and thanks, or repent of wrong doings. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts we have here on Earth, and is assecible to everyone.

I remember the first time I truly prayed for someone else besides myself, it was 3 and a half years ago when my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. For those who know me, I love my mom! Seriously, she’s one of the strongest women I know! But when she was diagnosed I found out no human on earth was completely invincible. My mom was diagnosed, and I remember it was a night after I had joined my friend Wade and his wife for a Family Home Evening at the Washington D.C. LDS Temple visitors center. I got home to call and tell my mother about my night, and that’s when she told me. In a moment I went from being so incredibly happy, to my face soaked with tears and my worst fears facing in the face.

Now to be honest I didn’t hear what type of cancer it was, all I heard was (cancer)! That was enough to send me over the edge, and nearly lose it! I went to my grandmother who was up in her room who had already heard the news, and I just cried. I couldn’t believe what was happening. My mom who seemed so invincible, who seemed like a Giant standing at 5’2″ had a sickness I only ever heard of killing people!

My grandmother told me to pray. To pray for my mother, to use my new found faith and ask God to be with her. That night I did just that. I prayed my heart out for her, and prayed my family could be strong, and that I could be there for my mother.

A few days later it turned out that the cancer wouldnt be as bad, and they also discovered Diabetes in her, which would actually make these dramatically worse if gone untreated. She began her treatments, “Radiation”, and she began watching what she ate and treating her diabetes, and in February of 2011 the doctor let her know that the cancer was in remission! My heroic mother beat Cancer.

Now if it hadn’t been for prayer I would’ve lost my mind. And I feel the Lord answered my prayers by being there for my mother, so that she now has an opportunity to live old and meet my future children, which is something I dream of often!

Prayer is REAL! In every sense of the word. It’s tangible, and requires faith. Prayer requires the faith and love for our HEavenly father and his son Jesus Christ. Prayer brought me to God and has implanted me in my faith. I am so grateful for God hearing my prayers and saving me, and being there for all those I love. I encourage you to pray often and seek after the Lord’s guidance, he’s listening, and wants to hear us, and be there for us. All we have to do is reach out. Never Hesitate!

I leave you with my testimony of prayer, that I know it works and it is our most tangible and intimate communication with our Heavenly Father, I know that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and we can be saved through his atonement, and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

 

A Little about Myself

Hello,

Welcome to “Spiritually Declared”. This is a new blog I’ve created to share my thoughts retaining to spiritual and worldly matters. I figure with this being my first post, I thought I’d tell you a little about myself…

My name is Gerald, I was born and raised in the great state of Maryland! I’m 25 years old, and I work for Verizon, and I also am an independent writer… “aka: I haven’t published anything yet” I’m absolutely in love with writing, and if I could start all over again, I’m sure I’d either elect to be a professional writer or a Teacher of religion or english!

Speaking of Religion, I’m a mormon, which influences my life, and most of my wriitngs.

I love Football, Rugby, Lacrosse, and pretty much any contact sport! I love the Baltimore Ravens, BYU cougars and Baltimore orioles!

I love food, and working out, and it took everything in me to not include the world “beastmode” in the title. To those that know me, they know that was quite a feat! The reasons for creating this new blog was to inspire, and inform, and educate.

I hope everyone who reads this blog will be inspiried to be more greater than they were yesterday! I hope that this is an uplifting post, and that it can bring a good spirit to your life!

Please feel free to leave comments, I love all input!

Talk to ya soon

Gerald