Livin the dream...

The alarm clock blares its morning taunt, begging to be slammed against a wall. 6:30 always comes too early. After a few sets of curls, a quick bowl of cereal, a shower, a shave, and a quick prayer, it’s time for scripture study. Most 20 year old kids wouldn’t relish the idea of pouring over a set of writings from over 2 millennia ago, battling sleep and confusion, for ten minutes, let alone two hours. Yet, somehow, the scriptures always contain a valuable lesson. The Holy Ghost improves my spirits and helps push the sleepy haze from my mind. The things I’ve learned from the scriptures prepare me for another long day of knocking on doors, talking to students on campus, and teaching people about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. From an outside perspective, I can see why people think we’re less than normal. Who wants to sit down and talk about Christ when there’s so much to do? There are papers to be written, classes to sleep through, and girls to nervously avoid. I was a student at one point. I remember the helter-skelter, frenzied pace of a busy college student. I plan on going back to it all in three short months. But for now, I’m a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can testify of the comfort, peace, and direction that have come into my life from the gospel of Jesus Christ. It gives me strength to press forward in difficult times and enables me to serve those around me with true Christlike love. While some may not envy my lot in life, I feel as if I’m living the dream.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joy through Charity

     As I have been reading from the scriptures in the over the last few weeks, I've been taught an important gospel truth.  The filling of our souls with joy comes as we internalize the well-being of God's children.  As our relationships with others grow, we increase in charity and will extend our potential to receive joy.  This principle is demonstrated throughout the scriptures: 
     In the 26th chapter of Alma, (Book of Mormon pg. 273) Ammon rejoices with his brethren at the close of his mission among the Lamanites.  His brother Aaron cautions him that his " doth carry [him] away unto boasting."  Ammon's reply reveals his depth of humility and gratitude for the Lord.  He states "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, MY JOY IS FULL, yea, MY HEART IS BRIM WITH JOY, and I will rejoice in my God." (Alma26:11)  What is it that has brought this fullness of joy to Ammon?  He recounts the story of his conversion, which undoubtedly filled his soul with a great measure of joy.  But his joy at that time was not full, nor could it have been.  His fullness of joy came as he diligently served the his brethren, the Lamanites, and the Lord his God.  In verses 26 and 27 he tells of his depression and afflictions in the wildernes.  He also tells us that the Lord promised him success if he would bear these feelings with patience.  As he obeyed with a willing heart, he was granted this promised success in his converts, who were so converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ that they refused to harm their brethren.  They buried their weapons of war and many of them exemplified the epitome of  Christian discipleship by laying down their lives rather than defending themselves. (Alma 26:32-34)  He exclaims in verses 35-37 how this joy only comes through Christ and testifies that God is merciful and powerful.
     I testify that there is no greater work than that of the Lord, that he loves all his children and extends his Almighty arm to all those who will receive his love.  I echo the words of Ammon that "...this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever."  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.