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Friday, November 18, 2011

Any Dream Will Do

Well, folks, this is probably my last blog post as a full-time missionary.  It's been an absolute dream come true.  I can't even begin to tell you how much my mission has meant to me in terms of my personal growth, me coming to understand the Atonement of Christ as the source of every good change and blessing in my life, and being able to see God work in the lives of my brothers and sisters. 

I hope this blog has been able to help y'all feel closer to God and His Son, and has been a source of support or insight or a way for the Spirit of God to teach you something.  I plan on continuing to post every so often, although I might change the name/theme of the blog again.  We'll see what happens. 

Anyway, just wanted to let y'all know what will be going down in the next little while.  My call to serve in California may be ending soon, but the call to be a disciple of Christ never will; His invitation to be "fishers of men" doesn't come and go with a black badge.  I love my Savior.  I know He lives.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was the prophet through whom God restored the Church of Jesus Christ in the last days before His Son's Second Coming.  God bless you all!

All my love,

Elder Christian David Spendlove

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life!

I just celebrated my 21st birthday this weekend!  Woohoo!  Now I'm officially, totally "legal"...whatever that means.. except I don't think I can rent a car yet.  Bummer.

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me birthdays are a time of reflection on the good times I've had throughout my life and the blessings God has given me each day.  I think back on all the October 22nds I've had (the night before my birthday-- B-Day Eve), and the mental playback that scrolls across my consciousness as I try to fall asleep (usually to no avail because I'm so excited for my birthday the next day).  This year, it seemed my entire life flashed before my eyes as I lay there in the dark, listening to the serene sounds of my companion sawing logs.  As I relived each year, I realized what a wonderful life I've had.  No matter the ups or the downs, it seems each year was filled with laughter, goodness, light, and growth.  How am I so blessed?  I don't think I'll ever fully understand the reasons.  But this much I do know:  God loves me, and He loves you.

Reminds me of a few scriptures in the Book of Mormon.  First, Nephi's simple declaration of God's love:
I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
I echo Nephi's testimony.  I can't account for all the things--good or bad--that have happened to me or others during my lifetime.  But I do know God loves each one of us more than we can comprehend and He has a purpose for our lives.  And what did an understanding of that love and a willingness to love God do for Nephi and his people?  Again, his answer is simple:
And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
I know the blessings I've received in my life so I could "live after the manner of happiness" have come because of my faith in Jesus Christ and His ability to make me a better person.  Living the gospel--Jesus' teachings and example--is the only way to true and lasting happiness in this life and forever. 

My life has truly been wonderful.  I have been blessed with family, friends, opportunities to grow, and the light of the gospel.  I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for His goodness these twenty-one-derful years, and know His kindness will be my rock and support for the rest of forever.  I know the same can be true for you.  If your life has been less-than wonderful, it's never too late to find true happiness.  Start with prayer.  Then read God's word.  Above all, trust in His love for you and His plan for your happiness.  I know these things to be true, because it's a wonderful life!

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Act Well Thy Part

Check out this photo. 


Do you get it?

The first time I saw this I didn't really get it either.  But thanks to my wise and wonderful dad, I learned that each row, column, and diagonal's symbols add up to 18.  Example: Check out the top row.  The hand in the pentagon is 5, the X is a Roman numeral 10, and the triangle, of course, is 3 (and that's a magic number).  Add 'em up, and you get 18!  Now go down that left column--5 + 4 + 9 (don't worry about adding up the sides, it's 9, I promise) = 18!  Cool, huh?  So what does that mean, though?  You probably had to do little math squares like this in 4th grade, so what's so special about it?

Well, just think for a second if that little "5" hand got tired and decided it wanted to slack off and be a 4 instead.  It would screw the whole thing up!  Then the row, column, and diagonal wouldn't add up to what they needed to add up to, thus throwing off the balance of the entire 3x3 grid!  Or what if that little 2 (bottom row in the middle) got sick of being the low man on the totem pole and puffed itself up to be a 6?  Once again, numeric chaos.  Can you see how important it is for each number in the grid to be itself, and itself only?  Thus the admonition at the top:  "Whate'er thou art, act well thy part" (translation: whatever you are, act your part and do it well!). 

Hopefully you see where I'm going with this by now.  It's not just about numbers and cutesy little metaphors.  You are you for a specific reason!  Nobody else in the whole world could do what you do, say what you say, and be what you be!  ... I mean, are...(sorry, Vallejo days came back for a second)  God doesn't care if you're rich or poor, a dentist or a ditch-digger, living in California or Timbuktu!  You just make the most out of your circumstance, and God will fill in the gaps.  I've learned this firsthand as a missionary.  I've had many different assignments and chances to work with a bunch of people in many capacities.  And the lesson that rings true through and through is this little rhyme:  "Whate'er thou art, act well thy part."  I've come to the realization and testimony that I've been placed exactly where God needed me with exactly the right people at just the right time to experience, see, and participate in miracles.  It's just come down to me doing my part, and doing it well.

One last connection then I'll let you go.  You probably remember me talking about my experience playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat two years ago.  What if I had decided that I wanted to play a different part?  Or if one of the other actors decided they wanted my part?  Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be for two Pharaohs to come onstage impersonating Elvis?!  Or two narrators singing all those stinkin' colors over and over again?!!  Again--chaos.  You have a specific role to play in your family, community, church, school, etc.  So act well your part.  People are depending on you!  And never forget how much God loves you and has invested in you!  You. Are. Loved.  Trust in Him.  He's your biggest fan. 

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

PS-- this talk is all about how much God loves you and how important you being you is to Him.  Check it out! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fight the Good Fight!

Last weekend was a semiannual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Basically, twice a year the living prophets and apostles give addresses for two days of things that they feel inspired to share with members of the Church and the world.  One of the talks, given Saturday night by Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle, was possibly one of the most stirring I've ever heard.  For all intents and purposes it was a reiteration of the clarion call to keep fighting  the good fight and to not surrender to the declining morality of our society.  (I took tons of notes!)

I've thought about this battle a lot.  Paul's words to the Ephesians come to mind:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I meet a lot of people everyday, and I wonder how they're faring in the battle.  With some, the wounds are obvious; with others, it is more difficult to tell what demons they may be facing.  No one goes through this life untouched by strife or unharmed by the buffetings of the enemy. 

But lately, I've come to an understanding of a different tactic to which we often fall prey.  Satan doesn't usually come right out and attack us or parade around touting evil as good and good as evil (although that has unfortunately become much more and more common).  No, he simply distracts us, blinding us with a glittery new toy or money or job or car or house until we've forgotten that this life is temporary, and the things of this world don't go with us when we're gone.  We become wrapped up in the here and now and forget about who we are and where we're going. 

He doesn't beat us by hitting us with a bigger stick; he beats us by making us forget to fight. 

It's for this reason, I'm convinced, that the word remember is one of the most often repeated words in the scriptures.  If we've forgotten to fight or why we're fighting or that there is a fight at all, then Satan has free reign to drag us through the mud and lead us carefully astray; however, if we remember that it is upon the Rock of Jesus Christ that we must build our lives, and we "always remember Him and keep His commandments" that He gives us to be safe and free from the wiles of the devil, to read His words and pray to Him and never ever let something temporary become more important than something eternal, then we will come off conqueror.  We will win the fight, because in all actuality, the fight's already won.  We just have to do everything we can to be on the right side of the line in the sand every single day.

I invite you to reevaluate your priorities.  Are they God's priorities?  Are they eternal in nature?  Are they bringing you closer to Christ or closer to the enemy of your happiness?  I invite you to be honest and brave in rejecting the world's view of happiness.  It's difficult, I know, in this world of glittery things and tangible pleasures.  But I can promise you, as does the Savior, that as you "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness...all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)  So get back in the fray, fight the good fight, and follow Paul's counsel to Timothy: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 

This fight ain't over yet, soldier.  We're in this till the end!


Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feelin' Fat Fat Fat!

Whew!  We accidentally had two dinners tonight!  Yep, on accident.  Here's how it happened:

We got some cash from the family who was going to feed us and couldn't because they were sick, so we went out and got some really good burritos.  And then we went to our 6:30 appointment, who also wanted to feed us--how could we say no to authentic Chinese food?  So here I am, big as a beach ball, trying to figure out how to connect my bulging belly to a principle of Christ's gospel. ...And, as a nifty bonus, try to justify my overindulgence.

One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 9 because it covers a wide variety of topics.  Toward the end, the prophet Jacob teaches us an important lesson about what's really important:
Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy...and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
I really like his counsel there because there's so much stuff always in front of us.  Some of it is worthwhile and spiritually nutritious (spending time with family, education, exercise, wholesome recreation, etc.) and some is not.  Some of it will bring lasting happiness and some will not.  We only have so long in this life, and then it will be over.  When that day comes, will we have spent our time nibbling at the feast of life?  Will we have chosen the metaphorical Fruity Pebbles over the steaks and salads?  Will our souls be skin and bones or will they be bursting at the seams because we've nourished and fed them? 

I'd invite you to anti-diet your soul.  Get fat and sassy!  Throw away the spiritual Atkins diet and dig in! God has set the table and we are all invited to feast.  Let your soul delight in fatness!  At the end of the day, the "biggest losers" will be those who spent their time, money, and energy in trivial pursuits (not the board game...) instead of pigging out on the great, abundant smorgasbord of life.

What are you waiting for?  Chow down!



I'm on the 2 Nephi 9:51 diet!


 
Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Blind" Obedience

Picture this:  you're walking along a beach when you notice a sign that reads "Warning!  Whirlpools--NO SWIMMING!".  What are your options?

Well, you can keep walking on the beach, you can collect seashells, you can have a picnic or sunbathe, you can go home, you could read a book--you could do lots of things!  And, I suppose if you were brave or foolhardy (or both) enough, you could go swimming.  Just because the sign is there doesn't mean it prevents you from being able to go swimming, but it is warning you of a danger you might not be able to see. 

God's laws and commandments work the same way.  He can see every danger that lies in our path and has given us commandments for our safety.  Some people say, "All those commandments restrict and hold you back!  How can you possibly have any fun in life if you can't do all these things?!"  I would humbly submit that those are the same people who would go swimming in our metaphorical whirlpool zone.  Keeping God's commandments isn't about abiding by a restrictive list of dos and don'ts--it's about trusting God enough to know that when He says something is dangerous or ultimately harmful, no matter how "fun" it might seem at the time, He is only looking out for us and trying to protect us from disaster. 

Some people peg believers as "blind followers" or folks who "follow blindly".  I would definitely agree! We are all blind to the dangers that lie in the shadows of our path, and it is only by obedience to God's commandments that we can navigate those obstacles successfully.  I follow because I am blind; I need the all-knowing, all-loving help of my Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, to help me get where I'm going--back to Them!

So the next time someone ridicules you for "blind obedience" say, "You're right!  I obey because I can't see, so I trust Someone who can!"

Much Love, 

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Be Ye Therefore--WHAT?!

I know, I know, it's been a while.  I apologize for my delinquency.  Something else you should know is that I will now be posting no more than once a week as part of a change in the assignment I've been given to share the gospel online.  Translation: fewer posts, but far more powerful because it's all my thoughts crammed into one!  Enjoy.

This morning I was studying scriptures about the nature of our Father in Heaven and came across one that is in both the Bible (Matthew 5:48) and the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 12:48):
Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Holy Cow!  Talk about a tall order!  I don't know about you, but I've never done anything perfectly, let alone my own personal flaws.  But as I thought about that mandate, I also thought about how much trust Jesus has in us to invite us to be like Him and Heavenly Father.  He believes in us.  It might seem like the bar is too high, like trying to do all the things required of us and be the "perfect person" might be impossible and would cause us to feel immense pressure to always, always toe the line and never mess up.  But people who feel that way forget something else Jesus said:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  (John 16:33)
So you see, through Jesus Christ we can have peace in this world.  Yeah, there's a lot that tries to drag us down, and yeah, there's a lot of bad that happens, even to good people.  We aren't going to be perfect in this life, nor do we make ourselves perfect.  But it is up to us to try, try again, to always choose Jesus Christ.  The world says people will never be perfect, so why even try?  But Jesus says, "I would that ye should be perfect."  We have His confidence--what more do we need?

Fear not, for He has overcome the world.  Have a great week!

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

PS Share this with someone who's having a bad week.  That's the best way to feel Christ's love--by sharing it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Claw!

This morning I woke up and all I could think about was "the Claw" scene from Toy Story.  Remember?  Woody and Buzz find themselves trapped in a claw-game vending machine, surrounded by zealous little alien squeaky toys, only to be captured by Sid, Andy's nefarious and sadistic next-door neighbor.  As I thought about this scene, it made me chuckle how life is sometimes like this.  We find ourselves stuck somewhere, we don't know how we got there, and our next move is just as uncertain.  I also thought about the words of one of the aliens: "The Claw is our master.  It decides who will go and who will stay!" 


"Farewell my friends! I go on to a better place..."

Thankfully our Master is not an arbitrary, unfeeling metal claw, manipulated by greedy children; He is the Good Shepherd who lovingly invites us to follow Him and return home to our Father in Heaven.  But He knows better than we do.  He can see things from a top-down perspective, where sometimes all we might see are the obstacles in our way.  God and Jesus know all things, but they do not determine our choices.  We still have the ability to choose the path in front of us, but sometimes They nudge us along or warn us or direct us another way. 

So unlike The Claw, God does not force us one way or the other, but similarly He puts us where we need to be.  Then it's up to us to decide whether or not we will cheerfully follow His path or choose another.  Woody and Buzz made the best out of their imprisonment in Sid's house until they could finally make a break for it and return back to the loving arms of their beloved Andy.  We too don't always get to choose our circumstances, but we certainly can choose our reactions.

Food for thought.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Image from http://porcelainexistence.tumblr.com/post/5655772108

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

He Lives!


Today I just wanted to share something very simple with you: my feelings about the Savior Jesus Christ.  I could go into it for hours and hours, but I just want to tell the world--briefly--that I know Jesus lived and died and lives again for each one of us.  His life is a pattern to follow; His death is a payment for a price I could never possibly pay; His invitation is to lay our burdens at His feet and "Come, follow me". 

I have felt His strengthening grace, His loving mercy filling in the gaps of my life.  I know that if I do what He asks I will be a changed person for the very best.  And who could ask for more than that?  Don't we all want to be better?  I know I do. 

He lives, I know He lives.  And because He lives, I'll live in such a way that when I meet Him again someday, He'll look at me with tears in His eyes, wrap His arms around me, and welcome me Home.  I'm living each day for that.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Best Blood of the Nineteenth Century

Turn back the clock to this day--June 27th--in 1844.  In the late afternoon of a muggy day in Carthage, Illinois, two brothers and two of their friends sat in a cell on the upper floor of the local jail.  They knew their time was short, but they found comfort and solace in the words they read from a Book for which they were about to give their lives.
Thou hast been faithful; wherefore … thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.
“And now I, Moroni, bid farewell … until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ."
Minutes later, an armed mob stormed the jail and after a brief struggle, the two brothers lay dead--first the elder brother, and then the younger.  One of their friends who was there, John Taylor, later described the martyrdom of these two men, Joseph Smith Jr.--a modern prophet of God--and his brother Hyrum, in these words:
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. ... He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated! ...henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon...cost the best blood of the nineteenth century...

I too want you to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  Anyone can come to know that for themselves.  All you have to do is read the Book of Mormon and ask God to help you see it's true.  I know God works through prophets today like He did anciently and that your life will be blessed if you listen to His modern prophets.

I pay tribute to Joseph Smith on this anniversary of his death.  The media may mock his life, but I celebrate it.  Have questions about him or what he did?  Just ask.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Want more? Watch this film about the life of the prophet Joseph Smith!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hold On (#2)

Let me share a story with you from the beginning of my mission--last January.

I had only been a missionary for 6 weeks when I was asked to be the trainer for a new missionary, to show him the ropes and get him acclimated to the new lifestyle.  It was incredibly rainy and I had no idea where I was going as we ventured from Vallejo, CA to Santa Rosa (about a 90 minute drive, give or take).  As my previous companion and I drove up to Santa Rosa, I tried my best to remember where everything was at and how to get back, but I was really unsure and the rain-washed landscape made it even more difficult.


Later that afternoon as I left Santa Rosa, I asked a more experienced missionary if I could follow him most of the way back; he was going to nearby Fairfield and it would be easy to find my way from there.  Or so I thought.  After winding through the back roads of Sonoma for a good hour or two, we found the freeway but missed the exit and had to circle back around until we finally got headed in the right direction just as the rain started really coming down--I mean really coming down, I could hardly see three feet ahead of me!  I was pretty nervous that we were going the wrong way or that we were going to get hit or something, so I said a silent prayer and asked God to help me find my way back to Vallejo.  I remember feeling or hearing or both, as I strained my weary eyes to see the road ahead, the words Hold on.  And I did.  Reassurance replaced my fear and we made it home alright.  Soaking, but alright.

Sometimes in life that's all we can do.  We can't see ahead of us, we aren't exactly sure if we're headed in the right direction or what that "right direction" is... all we can do is hold on.  It's hard to have that kind of faith, that trust in God that it will be OK in the end, but just hold on.  Stick with what you know, follow your heart, and hold on for dear life.  You'll make it! 

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Do you have any stories of just holding on?  Let us know below!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time of Your Life


You know, time is a funny thing.  I've been spending a lot of it recently thinking about how fast it's going--so fast I can hardly catch my breath!  And each year, each month, each day seems to go faster and faster.  You ever feel like that?  There's so many things that always demand our attention: meetings, errands, kids to pick up or drop off, school assignments due, work, chores, recreation, the list goes on and on.  The problem is, as everyone seems to mention, "there's only so many hours in a day" and we can't possibly do it all!  So what do we do? 

Well, I won't pretend I know how to prioritize your life, and I certainly won't preach to you.  All I know is that sometimes it takes a little planning.  We only have so long, you know?  and each of us wants to make sure our time is wisely spent.  Again, I'm not challenging what you do or saying anyone's activities aren't worth their time; I guess this little post is mostly a reminder to myself (and to anyone else who feels time is running away from them) that our time is precious and short, that we all need to take a step back, evaluate the things that occupy our time, and stop and smell the roses every once in a while.  Take the time to play with your kids--they need you!  Take time to tell someone you love that they mean the world to you.  Take time to sit and watch the sun rise or set (or both!) and to just be for a little while.  Life is what we make of it--it's our journey.  Like my dad always says, it's about the compass, not the clock--it's not about the unforgiving march of time that leaves us wishing we had more, it's about the direction we take and the meaningful things we do and the joys we find along the way.

I hope this week you find time to stop and reflect.  I hope you get all the "things you need to do" done, and then get some time to sit and be still.  I quote Ferris Bueller in closing:
Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Priority Map:


Image from:  http://komplexify.com/blog/2009/10/17/1t-once-upon-a-time/

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ponder On the Beauty

We baptized two wonderful ladies today who found the light of Christ's gospel shining through the lives of their friends.  It was my pleasure and privilege to baptize Rebecca and my companion, Elder Bevan, who finishes his two-year tour of duty on Tuesday, baptized Jeanette.  It was the first time in probably 13 months that I was the one doing the actual baptizing--usually I like to have local members of the Church do it so there can be a bond there, but Rebecca insisted that I do it. 

I have to mention one more thing: I've been very blessed as a missionary to have been involved in the baptisms of more than 25 people to date.  Each service has brought an amazing sensation of love and peace that I simply cannot describe, nor can I ascribe it to anything other than the Holy Spirit.  I must confess, it becomes easy for that Spirit, that influx of joy and peace, to be taken for granted or for one to miss the rarity and specialness of that feeling when it is experienced over and over again in a short period of time.  Now don't mistake--every baptism I've been a part of has been a beautiful, wonderful experience for which I would not trade the world.  I am so grateful for the faith and courage the good people with whom I've worked have shown in choosing to be baptized; they are examples to me!  I mention that only as a backdrop to the overwhelming sense of love, joy, peace, and gratitude to be doing what I do that I felt today as I sat in white next to Rebecca and watched the tears of joy stream down her face.  I admit, tears welled up in my eyes as these feelings swelled in my heart. 



After the baptism I looked heavenward, thanking my Father for the tender mercy that was to me.  I looked at the rain-washed sky and drank in the beauty of the purple-and-yellow tango of the clouds and the sunset; as I did, I once again reflected on the great goodness of our Father in Heaven.  From our birth to the day we die He is there--watching, guiding, weeping with us, and waiting to bless.  If ever life seems to become robotic or unfulfilling, just look at a sunset or count your blessings or stop to thank God for that breath you just took.  I know He is in the details of our lives.  I know He loves me and wants each of us Home.  And when you feel alone, just imagine His loving arms around you when you make it back and His gentle, powerful voice whispering in your ear "Welcome Home".

I just can't wait.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Image isn't mine, unfortunately... it's from http://www.karoopixel.co.za/gallery.aspx

Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't Get LAX!

I'm not very sporty or athletic (just ask any of the missionaries I played basketball against today), but my second semester of college I found one sport that I like to play as much as I like to watch: lacrosse.  Despite my south Texas upbringing, lacrosse tops my list over football, basketball (for sure--I am horrible at b-ball), or soccer.  It's the fastest sport on two legs!  You get to hit dudes with a stick and wear pads!  And you get to fling balls at people--I mean, goals--at incredible velocities!  What's not to like?  Basically, lacrosse involves a lot of running, passing a fist-sized solid rubber ball to teammates using a pole with a net on the end, body-checking opposing players to try to obtain the ball, and shooting the ball at a net guarded by a goalie.  I won't get into all the rules, but trust me--it's killer!

I played defense and goalie (I wasn't very skilled at shooting or passing, just getting the ball away from people), which was way fun because I was able to do a lot of hitting and blocking.  I quickly learned why we wore pads--getting hit with a metal stick and with a hard ball at 90 mph hurts!  Bad!  If I hadn't worn my protective gear I would've totally gotten killed, no question about it.  Even with pads on I collected a wide variety of bruises, scars, and welts (which actually made me feel pretty hardcore).  With balls flying at you and dudes body checking you left and right you learn to rely on your gear and your pole to not only help protect you, but to help you win too. 

See where I'm going with this?  In the game of life, we aren't guaranteed an easy win--in fact, we're pretty much promised a rough ride.  Whether it's something we cause ourselves, something someone else does to us, or if it's just a consequence of the natural flow of life, we are all banged up and bruised basically every single day, although usually not physically.  Paul put it this way:
For we wrestle [play lacrosse] not against flesh and blood, but...against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness...
Paul then goes on in Ephesians chapter 6 to describe the armor of God which shields us against the attacks of our opposing team, led by the devil himself.  It's interesting to me that the only offensive weapon he mentions is "the Spirit, which is the word of God"--the scriptures and our own knowledge of what is true.  I know that if we trust in the protection God has promised us and learn to use our "lax poles" (aka the sword, aka the Spirit), we will win, no matter the opposition. 

Suit up!
 The Prophet Joseph Smith, who suffered intense opposition and persecution his entire life, said this:
...Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent...
So gear up!  Trust in God!  Start by praying, reading God's word, and keeping His commandments.  And in no time, we'll be kicking back at the Victory Party in our Heavenly Home. 

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Powered by the SON!

Back in the 60s, this cartoon came out called Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.  The main character, a superhero named Birdman, received his powers (flying, shooting light rays from his hands, etc.) from the sun.  The closer he got to the sun or the longer he was exposed to it the stronger he became; if the sun was clouded over or something like that, his powers waned dramatically.  As you can probably guess, the TV show was a big flop and nobody remembers it anymore, but I thought I'd bring it up because it's been nice and sunny around here recently.  That's nice for us as missionaries because we are personally cheerier, we don't have to get our suits all drenched, and there are people out and about with whom we can share the gospel. 
There's also a parallel there for our souls.  The closer we get to the light of the Son (ah, homophones, how I love you so!), the longer we are exposed to Him, the stronger we become.  When we choose to walk away from that light by sinning or by not caring enough, or when we let the problems in our lives cloud things over, we become weaker. 

In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord declared this:
This is the light of Christ.  As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. 
Stay in the light of the Son!  He will give you power and He will lift you up.  I know that is true.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Image from:  http://es-es.facebook.com/people/Pablo-Ba%C3%B1ales/1154127682

Friday, May 20, 2011

True Joy

love a good banana split.
Picture this: a nice, long, oval shaped glass bowl. In it is placed a perfectly sliced banana. On top of the banana is laid a scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of strawberry. To add to the sweet bliss of this dessert, streams of chocolate and strawberry syrup are gracefully woven atop the ice cream. What seems like a fairly large dish is practically doubled in size by the whipped cream. To give even more color to it, a generous amount of sprinkles is added to the mix. And, of course, in order for it to be complete, there must be a cherry on top.

Who wouldn't enjoy a dessert such as this? It makes me happy just thinking about it. I really cannot explain the pleasure I get out of eating a banana split similar to the one described above. I love to just lose myself in the glory of eating it. But! the thing with a banana split is, you have to have it all for it to be truly glorious. You can't just go with half a banana and a small scoop of vanilla. That just doesn't cut it! Neither can you have the whole deal and only take a few bites. Why would you stop short with just a little bit of enjoyment?

I LOVE the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Picture this: you're in a beautifully white room. You're surrounded by your friends and family, the people you love. Everything is absolutely glorious: you, the people, your surroundings. Everything is peaceful. Everyone is happy. The joy of being in this room is multiplied by the fact the God and Jesus Christ are there as well. The room is filled with ultimate love.

Who wouldn't want to be in a place such as this? The happiness I feel while eating a banana split? Nothing in comparison with the joy I feel by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It makes me so excited! The fact that my family and I can live with God and Jesus Christ in a perfect, glorious state brings me absolute happiness. Not just temporary happiness, but Eternal happiness. When you can have something as marvelous as that why would you settle for something less? What's a half a banana and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the entire, decked-out banana split? They just can't compare. Neither can anything on this world compare to the glory of God's kingdom. And when you have something this wonderful, why would you only take a few bites? Why stop short of everlasting life and eternal happiness? 

I definitely cannot explain the immense joy I get out of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love to just lose myself in it. I know that the gospel brings TRUE JOY. When we live it Fully we can enjoy All the blessings God has in store for us. I do love a good banana split. But I LOVE the gospel of Jesus Christ even more!!!

Much love,

Hermana Haslam


Monday, May 16, 2011

No Rain, No Rainbows!

The clouds have burst here in Santa Rosa (/Sebastopol).  It's raining.  After a month of solid rain in Ukiah I was done with drippy skies, but now after a little break, it was nice to see some moisture again and get to enjoy the sights:


Makes me think of this T-shirt my dad gave me one time after he came back from Hawaii on a business trip.  It had a bunch of really slick Hawaiian catch phrases on it--you know, really "hang loose", flip-flops-on-the-sand, Joe Cool style--the last of which has stuck with me for years:

No Rain, No Rainbows
I've thought about that from time to time, especially when I see rainbows streaming through the gloominess of an ashen, rain-washed sky.  It makes me grateful for the rainbows my Heavenly Father sends my way whenever it seems I can't hold on any longer or when the rains are going to wash me out.  I could go off about all the different "rainbow connections" (right, Kermit?), but I think I'll just leave you one more thought in this little snippet. 

We heard from an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ today, Elder Neil L. Andersen.  He talked a lot about our faith in Christ and how that can help us raise families and deal with the day-to-day.  I loved one thing in particular that he said about or lives here on Earth; he said, "We can't know everything about this life.  That's impossible!  we will never figure out every reason why bad [or good] things happen to us.  We will never have all the answers.  But that's because this is not our Heavenly Home.  We are here, away from our Father in Heaven, being tested and tried to see if we will be faithful, obedient, and true.  And if we have trust in God, no matter the outcomes, no matter the unanswered questions, we will be happy with Him forever in that Heavenly Home." 

I absolutely love that.  It rains a lot in our lives (like a spiritual Seattle!), and sometimes we even forget what the sun looks like.  But I can promise you God will send you rainbows.  He has for me.  Just look for them and you will find the splash of color against the dismal background of your trials.  I know that is true.  No rain, no rainbows!

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Listen Up, Buttercup!

Something I've thought about recently is how much we talk compared to listening.  You've heard it since first grade, but the old saying is true: "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason--listen twice as much as you talk!"  It's struck me lately how little we listen--to ourselves, to others, and to what God is trying to tell us.


Missionaries talk to all kinds of people every day.  A good missionary knows that his ace in the hole in helping people understand what he's saying is to start by understanding where they are coming from.  It's hard sometimes because people are "so busy" and don't really want to stop and talk, but if you can ask the right question to get them thinking, then listen intently to what the response is, you can get a better picture of how to tailor the gospel message to their needs (*Note: the same can be said about working relationships, conversations with your spouse or kids, friends, or anybody! The point is to listen!).  Conversely, it is very difficult for someone to feel the peace of our message if they are unwilling to listen to what we are saying or, more importantly, what the Holy Ghost (a.k.a. the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, etc.) is trying to tell them. 

For whatever reason, we sometimes choose to tune out God's voice in favor of our own, the voices of friends or family, or the voices of the world (e.g. media, Hollywood, advertisements, popular culture, or misinformed rumors).  While it is good to listen to different sources for our information and have an open mind about things, when we discount or discredit the voice of the Lord, we are distancing ourselves from the happiness and security He's got waiting for us.  Period.  We cannot be happy if we tune out God's voice. 

So how does one learn to listen?  How can we tune out the noise and listen to the message of love coming in softly but clearly?  These age-old questions have surprisingly simple answers:
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. ...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me... (John 10:11&27)
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
I say unto you, I would that ye should...hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.  For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?  (Mosiah 5:12&13)
And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things...And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep... I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life. (Alma 5:57,60,62)
The invitation is clear: Come, follow Him.  Listen to what He's saying.  Repent and be baptized.  If you really listen, all He's asking us is to be happy.  No strings attached, no installation fees, no monthly interest, just an agreement to happiness in this life and the next.

Are you listening?

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Image from :http://blog.analysisuk.com/2009/01/default.aspx

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Angel Mother

It isn't Mothers' Day where my mother is right now (San Antonio, TX), but I have 2 hours left so this is still appropriate.

My stalwart father, me, and my angel mother

One of my favorite quotes on motherhood comes from President Abraham Lincoln:
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
I couldn't agree more.  As missionaries we get to call home but twice a year--on Christmas and on Mothers' Day.  I had the blessed privilege of getting to talk one-on-one with my angel mother for about 25 minutes this afternoon and the truth of President Lincoln's statement once again rang true.  As we reflected together on the great blessing it is for me to be a missionary, I was reminded of how hard she had worked for me and how many hours she had put into making me who I am today.  All the long hours working on projects assigned months ago but due the next day; countless different extra-curricular activities I wanted to try in which she supported me; advice with different life situations--friends, girls, the gospel, everything! Reading, re-reading, and editing my English papers; listening to me practice my singing and helping me memorize lines, Latin vocab, and rehearsing how I would ask a girl on a date; teaching me from an early age to love Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and to pray; making me laugh and smile when I felt like crying.  I can honestly say I would not be anything close to who or what I am today without her.  She is my greatest ally, my truest friend, my wisest counselor, and I love her so. 

One of the speakers in our church services today quoted a poem that I really loved and felt appli (thank goodness for Google! I was able to find it in 2 seconds!):
God made a wonderful mother;
A mother who never grows old.
He made her smile out of sunshine;
And He molded her heart out of gold.
In her eyes He placed bright shining stars.
In her cheeks, fair roses, you see...
God made a wonderful mother;
And he gave that dear mother to me.
I know we all feel a great love and tenderness for our mothers more than words can express.  I am so very thankful for everything my mother has done for me--more than I probably even know.  I am grateful to my Father in heaven for giving me my mom.  Truly, all that I am or hope to be or do or become is because my angel mother loves me enough to raise me up and encourage me to achieve beyond my wildest imagination.

Why are you grateful for your mom? 

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ch-Ch-Changes!


Yup.  It was time for some Spring cleaning--I revamped the blog.  I hope you like the new layout and new face of what was previously "He Hath Filled Me With His LOVE", now A Christian's Mormon Mission
Turn and face the strange!

It's been a time of change for me as a missionary and as a person.  I've come to a new area (Sebastopol, California), I'm with a new companion (Elder Darion Bevan, who was actually my first companion!), and I've got new responsibilities.  I'm visiting new people, driving to new places, and trying new things.  It's all been a whirlwind affair, but it's been great. 

I really like what Thomas S. Monson, a prophet of God, has said about change.  He sums it up really well:

At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.”

Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.
...
Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes. (General Conference, October 2008, emphasis added)

I've thought a lot recently about the changes I've made as a missionary and especially as an individual these last 18 months.  I think about who I was, what got under my skin, what I liked, what my thoughts were back then compared to now and I have to stop and thank God for the help He's given me.  Like he says, the changes have come slowly, almost imperceptibly, but they have come.  I know that there are lots more changes to come in my life, especially when I get tossed back into the "real world" when my time as a missionary is through, but that's OK!  I know that with the changes come the blessings.  Sometimes they're hidden, sometimes they don't come right away, but if we are trying our best and leaving to God the rest, we'll come out alright in the end.

Life changes.  Things change.  People change.  The world changes.  God's love never changes.  And for all the changes that do happen, I'm thankful for that constant. 

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prize the Sweet

Twas the week before Easter and all through the blog,
not a post had been written!  Elder Spendlove, you dog!

This week, 2000-some-odd years ago, marked the last week in the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He must have known what was coming--His imminent suffering, betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection.  He surely anticipated that bitter end to His life of service, but faced it with bravery and love because He knew what that would mean for the rest of us, His brothers and sisters--freedom.  Freedom from death, from hell, from being barred from the presence of our Heavenly Father.  And He did it all for us.

How sweet that truly is.  I am grateful that my Lord and Savior suffered the bitter so I could know the sweet.  Of course life is hard and of course I make mistakes.  But when I truly repent and follow Him, looking for His peace and His strength in my life, I am blessed.  I can overcome.  I can face the trials of the day-to-day with serenity and faith, knowing that He overcame the world.

With the weight of His responsibility crushing down on Him that last week, He did not seek to comfort Himself.  As He had ever done, He turned outside Himself and gave these beautiful words of comfort to the hearts of His Twelve Apostles:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  (John 14:27)
I love Him.  I love the peace He has left me.  Whenever I am afraid or alone, whenever I am uncertain or can't seem to figure things out, I know I can rely on that promise of peace.  My bitterness is replaced with inexplicable joy--"the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).  One young man long ago who had experienced the pains of sin described his conversion, his rescue by Jesus Christ like this to his son:
Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
Jesus is the fountain of sweet, pure, living water.  And this weekend we commemorate His triumph over the bitter.  If you have anything bitter in your life you want removed, I invite you to pray, study Christ's words, repent, and be baptized by someone who has Christ's permission to do so.  Those bitter tastes can be replaced with the sweetness of redemption through Jesus Christ.  I know they can.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Minesweeper

"Great.  We've come this far and now we're stuck," spat Jonesie.  It had happened--we'd gotten through the jungle only to find ourselves in front of what was obviously a minefield.  It wasn't very wide across, but it we'd seen the telltale signs enough to know that it would be less-than-smart to traipse across the stretch of dirt in front of us--I could even see some of the treacherous green devices on the ground ahead of me.  Despair was as thick as the humidity as we set our packs down and drank for a minute from our canteens.  I looked around the group--a ragtag platoon out here in the hellish nightmare of Vietnam, stuck between impending Vietcong action on the other side of the jungle and a treacherous minefield in front of us.  Talk about a rock and a hard place!  It was me--Spendlove--, Jonesie, Smitty, Burt, and Cap'n (Captian Scott Buckman); we'd lost the other half of our little band in the jungle and to enemy gunfire.  We were dirty, sore, almost out of ammo, and doing our best to not lose hope. 

I thought of home, my mother and father, my brothers and sister, my friends, the folks in our town who frequented our family store where I'd swept and stocked shelves and counted change before I was drafted.  It all seemed so far away.  I had gotten over the tears long ago, but I couldn't help wondering, once again, if I'd ever see those faces again.  I leaned up against a tree and sighed heavily as Jonesie got up and began to pace.

"What're we gonna do?  I mean, it's not like we have any metal detectors or anything!"  He was right.  It's not like we were equipped to make it through unharmed. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why?

I walk out the door for another day here in this place and I ask myself
Why?

I look at the blue, blue sky and see the birds and hear the sound of the wind in the trees and ask myself
Why?

I feel the warmth of the friendly sun on my face, basking in its goodness and walking in its light and I ask myself
Why?

Why do I feel so good when I help someone or say a kind word?
Why do I long for love and long to show love and to be loved?
Why do I feel like there's something else out there beyond these four walls and the canopy of the sky?

Why?

Two guys in ties walk up to me and ask if they can talk to me
Why?

They tell me I can find out who I am and where I came from and where I'm going when I die.
Why?

They say God loves me and He's my Father and He wants the best for me, even when I can't figure it out
Why?

I begin to feel something real swelling inside, a familiar, happy feeling.  Like Home.

Why do I feel good when I reach out to God?
Why am I feeling like I can overcome the things I never did like?
Why is this so real to me, such an obvious answer to such a puzzling question?

Now I know why.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Even as a Child

We had an awesome spiritual feast today--the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Every six months the leadership of the Church gives addresses about subjects of faith, hope, Jesus Christ, and how to be better disciples. Pretty awesome, huh?  (If you have any other questions about General Conference, facebook me or visit this site)  One of my favorite talks today was from a woman who spoke about children and their examples to us of humility, patience, unconditional love, and devotion to Jesus.

Once, when Jesus was asked who was the greatest in God's kingdom, Jesus brought a little child in front of His followers and said,
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
It makes me wonder how I'm doing in becoming humble like a little kid.  Note also that Jesus wants us to become childlike, not childish--there is a definite difference. 
A father and child very near to my heart!

Remember when your parents told you to do something or not to do something and it didn't make sense to you?  Remember when you did it and you saved yourself a whole mess of trouble? or maybe you disobeyed--caused you grief, didn't it?  God doesn't expect us to know all the reasons He gives us, but He does expect us to trust Him, just like a little child totally and completely trusts their parents.  I know there are things in my life that I don't understand (and there will be plenty more!); but that's alright.  We are children of our Heavenly Father and Father certainly knows best.  It's alright if we don't get it all the way the first time or if there are things that bug us or get in our way.  That's all part of the test of life.  I know that if we will believe in what God says to us through the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and prophets, we will be alright.   

Consider what a Book of Mormon prophet had to say on the matter:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, ... and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit... and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a childsubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
I know that it is through the Atonement (the sacrifice and sufferings) of Jesus that we can become the childlike people He knows we can be.  If we practice being like children in our attitude toward God and His commandments, we will be happy, blessed, and be on the way to realizing our true potential as sons and daughters--children--of our Heavenly Father.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Climb Ev'ry Mountain!

We have a bunch of people with whom we are working who are getting ready to be baptized.  That's basically the most exciting thing in the whole world for a missionary--our job is to help people feel ready for baptism, and to make that agreement with God.  But seldom is there a person who gets baptized who doesn't overcome some pretty big obstacles.  For example, two of the people we're teaching are making the very big decision to get married so they can live one of God's greatest laws, the law of chastity.  That's HUGE!  By doing that they're basically telling God that no matter what comes in their way, they know that building their foundation as a family on Jesus Christ is the best way to ensure their happiness and success.  It's so cool.

Other people have different struggles: they have to overcome addictions of various kinds, or tell skeptical family members or friends just how much this decision means to them.  Some deal with doubts, others with feelings of inadequacy or guilt from past transgressions.  There are so many things that try to thwart somebody's baptism, it isn't even funny.  I've talked a lot about building our foundations on Christ so we can't be blown off course or knocked off--that's not really what I want to focus on today.  The fact of the matter is following God's path is never easy.  We face mountains that stand in the way or gulches we can't see that we can fall into and lose our way.  But baptism, following the example of Jesus Christ and being "born again" is worth so much that we should not fear the obstacles.  Jesus said this:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
We don't have to fear or think we aren't good enough.  We don't have to worry about what the outside world thinks.  I love what the Book of Mormon prophet Alma said about baptism:
Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism. 
And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth... he shall have eternal life...

Come and fear not.  That's the invitation.  Eternal life is the promise.  What on Earth could ever matter more?

Climb Ev'ry Mountain!
Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Fam

You know, I've been having a lot of those familial feelings lately--you know, where you just feel super close to your family?  It's not that I'm necessarily homesick or that I cry myself to sleep every night or anything, it's just that I've been feeling a particular closeness to them, even though I'm so far away.  I know that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's how I feel right now.

I know I've mentioned this before, but as a missionary I've seen a lot of families that have been broken by various things.  I am so grateful for a good, solid family built on the foundation of Christ and His teachings.  We are working closely with a small family who is trying to do what's right, get married, and build themselves on that foundation right now;  they are finding increased peace, direction, and understanding as they give their lives over to the Savior and try to do what He has asked them to do.  Maybe that's why I've got family on the brain?

Makes me think--have you ever felt those longings for our Heavenly home?  our Heavenly family?  I know I have.  I think that's why families are so deeply important to us as a human race (a "human family", as it were);  we are all God's family!  Our pictures are all on God's refrigerator!  We need to realize that God loves each one of us, no matter how badly we mess up.  That's why He sent our Big Brother, Jesus Christ, to suffer for all of His other children--so we can feel better when we mess up and get back to Him someday.

Our families are there to help us out.  Sure they come in different shapes and sizes, but that's what makes them uniquely ours.  But I know that more than that, we are all a big family.  So do something nice for one of your brothers or sisters you've forgotten.  People aren't "strangers".  They're our brothers and sisters.  My fam.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

PS Check out what the Mormon Church has to say about the family!  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just a Little Post

Life is kinda crazy sometimes, huh?  Like, we have to do things that make us stretch and grow; people come in and out of our lives; situations change (for better or worse...), we change, people around us change.  Curveballs seem to be the rule, not the exception.

One thing I know for sure is that when we look outside of ourselves and love other people more and try to focus ourselves on helping others, those problems clear themselves up.  Jesus' life wasn't a walk in the park, but He served and gave life for the downtrodden--for you and for me. 

And that's something worth talking about.

Comment below or message me on facebook:


How has looking past your own problems helped you?

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Go, Go, Joe! (Part II)

Joseph's story is the ultimate tale of rags-to-riches.  In a nutshell, here's what happened:

He's loving life, enjoying his dad's praise and love.  He gets this totally awesome coat for no reason other than his dad thinks he's great. His brothers get ticked because he's favored and literally sell him to the gypsies (boy, if I had a dollar for every time I was threatened with that as a kid!).  He tries to be a nice guy, gets a sweet gig cleaning house for the captain of Pharaoh's guard, but his boss's wife tries to put the moves on him and he gets framed and thrown in prison.  While in jail, Joseph relies on God to interpret the dreams of some of the other prisoners, which gets Pharaoh's attention.  Joseph gets an even sweeter gig as "Pharaoh's Number Two" and eventually saves a bunch of people from famine, including all Egypt and his brothers who'd tried to kill him, returning their spite with kindness, and everyone lives happily ever after!

Pretty great, right?

You know, each of us has a story.  We, like Joseph, go through ups and downs along the journey--we've all got "prison cells" in our lives as well as times when we're on top of the world!  It's up to us to make those "rags" moments into "riches" moments.  Jesus can help with that.  He's restored information about who we are, why we're here, and how we can overcome through a prophet--a man who speaks with God and can help us find God's will in our lives (like Joseph!  he was a prophet, did you know that?).

From rags...




...to riches!




Click around the links on my blog (especially the links to my facebook page and mormon.org)--it's my privilege as a missionary to help people find God's strength and love in their lives.  There are resources to help you out.

Much Love, 

Elder Spendlove

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