I Like That!

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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Go, Go, Joe! (Part I)

Now, before you get all excited, this is not another of my yarns I'm spinning you.  This is a series of posts about my main man, Joseph who was sold into Egypt (think Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Donny Osmond, etc.  Got it? good.  Here's his story in the Bible if you want to check it out).  For a long time (since my mid-teens) Joseph has been my hero, one of my greatest examples of bravery, trust in the Lord--especially in times of trial, and especially when those trials are seemingly undeserved, and virtuous living.  Joseph's life was a difficult one, but he persevered and overcame through his unwavering trust in God's will for his life.

Before I became a missionary, back in October 2009, I had the great privilege to actually play Joseph in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat we did with some of the members of the Church in San Antonio, where I live.  Let me tell you--it was literally a dream come true.  Since I had first seen the play, I had dreamed of playing the role of Joseph and exemplifying through acting and singing the man to whom I looked as an example of faith, dedication, and courage.  As I "grew into" the part I tried to think like Joseph, to act like Joseph, to face difficulties as Joseph would have faced them, and to put my trust in God as he did.  I was also preparing myself to dedicate two years of my life to serving God full-time by being a missionary and bringing His truth to other people; this emulation of Joseph really helped me prepare to be a servant of God who had really given it all he had. 

It was frustrating for me because, as I underwent the various medical examinations required to submit my application to be a missionary, the physicians discovered various problems I didn't know I had, not the least of which was a slight heart murmur in my left shoulder.  How ironic is that--I was trying to prepare my heart for God's work, and the thing holding me back was a murmuring heart!  I was, needless to say, a little confused.  As I prayed that the condition would be overcome, I felt the reassuring peace of the Lord comforting me and inviting me to be patient with my problems.  Despite the peace I felt when I prayed, it wasn't any easier to deal with the delays. 

One day at play practice, I got the message loud and clear.  I was singing the play's aria, "Close Every Door", when Joseph, thrown wrongfully into prison for standing up for his beliefs, prays to his Heavenly Father and says, in effect, "I trust in your will and your timing, although I may not understand the reasons."  As the words and the melodies drifted from my lips, I began to see my situation more clearly: God had not forgotten me.  I was going to be alright.  He wouldn't ask me to do something and then pull the rug out from under me.  I wept, overcome with emotion and gratitude.  I sang the last line with as much conviction as I'm sure Joseph had in that prison so long ago:
Children of Israel [God's people] are never alone. I know I shall find my own peace of mind, for we have been promised a land of our own!
God had promised me great things, and I knew that I was going to find the reasons and the peace along the way.

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apology

Dear He Hath Filled Me With His LOVE faithful (and friends and visitors)...

I publicly admit I have been a total slacker in not posting more regularly in the last few weeks.  I apologize for the lack of spiritually uplifting material and little quips and anecdotes of which you have grown fond.  I further promise that I will do a better job in the upcoming weeks to bring you the content you are desiring. 

Apologetically,

Elder Spendlove

PS.  Here's an awesome story from the scriptures for you to read until I get back.  Think about this in the context of God's help in your times of distress.  :)

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