Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts of a Dying Missionary

No, I'm not actually dying.  Dying is a term we use for a missionary going home.  The period of time on your mission being like your life.  Thus when you start your mission, you are "born" and when you end your mission you "die".  Anyway I timed this post to be my last post and it is to be posted the moment I should be walking on to the plane heading home.  You could say at the time of death, these being my parting words.  As a missionary, especially one heading home, (or dying) you wonder if the time you spent was worth it.  If your effort really made a difference.  Two years dedicated to serving God, but was it better served elsewhere? Thousands talked to, but did you impact anyone?  These questions aren't hard ones to answer once you've serviced to the best of your abilities.  As for my time, it was one of the best investments I've ever made.  Sure I put off work and schooling for 2 years, but I gained an education that I would not have been able to obtain otherwise.  And did I impact anyone? Well I hope so, but at the very least I've impacted myself.  With all said and done the entire experience was one of enlightenment, self- improvement,  and life-altering. I wouldn't have traded it for any other opportunity. 

I now enter the 'afterlife' of my mission.  Having now learned many principles and skills that can and will carry me through life.  I would say that I am very much the same person I was when I started.  The same likes and dislikes.  The difference being that I now understand myself, God's plan for me and my potential.  Which in reality, only enriches the life I previously enjoyed.  A happiness I never thought obtainable.  Of course there were changes, but it was the mere shedding of unwanted attributes, leaving room for better ones.  As for missionary work.  I've thought it a shame that such an opportunity to serve your fellow being must end.  Although as one friend reminded me, it doesn't have to end.  She was right.  I think Paul explains the desired attitude best : "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you"  Just because the tag comes off and I return to normal life of school work, and future family, doesn't mean that I can't participate in such a glorious opportunity as is missionary work.  What I've learned on my mission can't die, it lives on.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Laser Pointer

It seems that laser pointers are the world's most curious thing when your an animal.  Be it cat or dog, (or maybe even other animals possibly)  they just have to follow the tiny little dot that is emitted onto the floor.  They try and try and try but all efforts are futile.  They can't catch the elusive little light.  As humans we realize that the point of light is impossible to physically grasp, but we sure have fun with our pets tricking them to thinking it can be.  I then thought about the situation from the pet's perspective.  Poor thing just wants the dang light but can't understand how it cant obtain it.  I then thought about how Satan dangles, what he calls fun, in front of us in the same way I was having the pet chase this point of light around.  He wants us to run around aimlessly, I dare say, for his entertainment.  He tempts us with these sins that we hope to find pleasure and fun, but in the end we find that it's empty, and no more obtainable than a beam of light.  One of the struggles of life is not to be distracted with his tempting nonsense, and to focus on following the Savior.  As we all know that is where true happiness is found. 

To really illustrate this example I've included this video. While somewhat funny.  Just imagine your self as the cat it would incredibly frustrating.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Belief

Belief is a strange thing.  Everyone's got one, no one agrees, and everyone thinks they're right.   I think a lot of people hold to a belief with out the the thought of what if I am wrong?  Let me give an example:  Have you ever taken a test, where your gotten the answer wrong? Maybe everyone here has gotten perfect straight A's in school and never missed a question, ever, but unfortunately I did.  I remember particularly in physics class I would often work though the problem, and find the answer I found to be correct.  When the test returned to me I found the problem was marked as incorrect.  I was positive it was done correctly! Although, when I questioned the teacher as to why my answer was marked incorrect, he promptly pointed out the places where I had miscalculated.  He was right, I was wrong.  Just believing my answer was right didn't help me any.  I think too often we can get caught up in the method of finding answers.  Only to realize that our math didn't add up, we misread the information,  or we just have plain wrong information.  This all making the end result less than perfect.  Well shoot, what is to be done about it if we can't really trust anything?  We go to the teacher, or in our case God.  He can show us truth,  He can show us where we made some errors, He can lead us to the correct answer.  Truth is eternal, unchanging, and constant.  Each of our beliefs should always search out truth from God. When this truth is located, we should embrace it, and cherish it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stuck in the Snow


And, we're stuck.  Being from California this wasn't a common problem to find myself in such a position.  (lack of snow)  I thought I'd be able to pull a little off the road a bit and turn around.  It was just a little snow. Plus I was in a truck, a truck can't get stuck right? Well I found out the hard way that the truck very much so could be stuck.  For the next 45 minutes we tried to drive, rock or dig ourselves out of the mess we had gotten ourselves into.  Nothing seemed to work. We finally swallowed our pride and called for help.  Within minutes of the friends arrival, our truck was yanked from its snowy snare and back on the road.  During the entire struggle I realized a very apparent parallel.  I thought about how many of us think of our selves as this truck, strong and powerful, and able to get out of any situation.  Although this is just not the case.  We end up justifying just a little sin and we find ourselves stuck, in a snare we thought easy to escape.  Then we continue to think that we are in control of the situation,  we think that we can manage to take care of the problem ourselves.  After some time we find our efforts are futile, we succumb to the fate that we have led ourselves to receive.  Unless there is another.  The only one that has the power to pull us out of those slippery traps of sin is that one, the savior, Jesus Christ.  I think very much like how we had to humble ourselves a bit to call for help, the same must occur for us to call upon the savior.  With his help we can be free.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monopoly

Monopoly, your classic game of exchanging fake money.  Ironically, while the money is fake, the game manages to produce many real human attributes associated with money.  Such as greed, jealousy, stress, and I guess the occasional happiness that comes with success.  I think that's what makes the game impressive.  It feels real to a point.  Recently I played a game of monopoly which reminded me not to get some of these harmful attributes in the way of things.  All the proprieties were bought, and I didn't have a monopoly.   Me and another player both had what each other needed to get the much desired monopolies.  So, we could work together, right? An even trade and we both come out ahead.  Well, greed set in and both of us wanted to better the other, thus not allowing a fair trade.  This greed with didn't allow us to work together, and eventually cost us the game, we both lost everything.  (fake money, nothing of real monetary value)  The lesson I pulled from the humiliating loss was that when we fail to work with our fellowman we fail ourselves. Not only because of greed alone, but any hurtful attributes can cause this. Some examples are: anger, jealousy,  dislike, etc. To avoid 'losing everything' we aim to overcoming these harmful attributes and replace them with their respective opposites.  Anger-Love, Greed-Service, Jealousy-Sympathy. etc.  It's interesting to me that by helping others we really end up helping ourselves.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Easy Money

Usually at the end of a typical missionary day we have a bit of down time.  About an hour or so.  The time is usually spent with extra studying, some working out or the occasional board game.  Just recently we came across a new game it's called "Easy Money." (I guess the game isn't new it's used)  It looked like a knock off of the popular game of "Monopoly." For a mere $1.50 we thought it was worth a try.  Upon opening the box, we found out there were no rules included. We thought we could figure the game out.  We failed miserably.  Too many rules, choices and consequences that we didn't know or that we weren't able to figure out.  We abandoned the attempt to play, deeming it impossible without the rules.  It made me think about the complexities of life with its many rules, choices and consequences.  How many of us are unsure 'how to play' or try to pound through life almost blindly.  Luckily life does have an instruction book.  The scriptures.  It lays out the rules of life.  Teaches us of life's many choices and opportunities, and warns us of dangerous consequences.  In reality, life without divine instruction from the creator would be as confusing as playing a board game without the game maker's instructions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spam

Have you ever had spam?  Spam emails that is.  I think in this electronic age pretty much everyone has seen what I'm talking about.  Some of them are just obscene and quickly spammed.  Others are letters from unknown sources advertising free cruises and money.  Then there are those are supposedly from my friends with the topic that reads "YOU MUST SEE THIS!"  Some catch your eye, and stir your curiosity.  Your cursor might hover for a second over it while the link is temping you to click it.  As soon as you do though, a plethora of things can happen.  A virus can then infect your computer, harming performance or even accessing private data in a attempt to steal money.  Obscene material could be displayed, or even sent to you friends.  Links could lead you to sites which trick you into entering you credit card number to win a prize.  Only to find out the only prize is for the guy who just stole your identity.  The list goes on and on.  It becomes clear knowing the consciences of opening those emails that it's just better to delete them and be done with it.  Temptation is a little like that.  Satan tries to disguise sin.  He can make it look fun, interesting,  normal, etc.  The fact is that it's better to just delete those temptations.  It's always just opening a big can a worms.  The promises he makes are hollow,  fun turns to sorrow, interesting turns to damaging, and normal turns to obscene. Satan can not make us happy, we shouldn't let ourselves think he can.
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