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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


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