Sunday, June 14, 2015

The heavens are open and God is speaking.

The Book of Mormon has saved me so many times on this mission.  When I have needed help with a missionary, a training, a child, or some spiritual question, the perfect sentence or verse has touched me and given me the spiritual knowledge that I needed so badly right at that moment. 
For doctrine at zone conference a few weeks ago we decided that we would let the missionaries share spiritual experiences they have had with the Book of Mormon.  What an amazing experience we had!  We heard powerful witness of the Savior, the power of faith and love, and spiritual experiences they have had with God speaking to them through the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is true and living scripture that is a vehicle for God to speak to us. I have learned that there are layers of truth to be had for anyone who will study and live by it’s teachings. The Book of Mormon doesn’t just teach about righteousness and it’s blessings in a way that enriches and enlarges the soul, but teaches about wickedness and evil in a powerful, warning voice.   I took pages of notes as I wrote down each day the spiritual experiences missionaries shared from specific versus from the Book of Mormon. 
Here are a few:
Sister V – “My family are not members.  I wanted to go on a mission but my stake president said I wasn’t ready, that it is hard to serve a mission.  He said I had to:  1.  Not go to any dances, (I love to dance and be social).  2. Go without my phone; no talking or texting. 3. Not have any boyfriends.  All of these things were very hard for me to quit but I stopped all of them.  The stake president then said I needed to study the Book of Mormon.  As I was reading I kept feeling if I wanted to be a missionary then I needed to invite my mom to read the Book of Mormon too.  This was so scary for me.  But I finally did it and my mom started reading the Book.  When I left Tonga to go on my mission my family was very sad.  As I was leaving my mother gave me a piece of paper when I got on the airplane I read it, it was this verse and has been my favorite ever since.  1 Ne 2:10 – O that thou mightiest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord! I knew this was my mother’s prayer for me that she had found as she was reading. I love the Book of Mormon and I love my mom.”
Elder F – “I found being in Moscow was very difficult.  College kids were really making me mad.  I was feeling like they were looking down on me with a kind of derogatory attitude.  It was really getting to me.  I was reading in 1 Ne 8:30-33 and knew I was paying too much attention to the people in the great and spacious building.  It’s discouraging when the finger of scorn is being pointed towards you!!  The world will point the finger of scorn at those who are partaking of the fruit.  But those who are strong and focused will heed them not.  Since then I have had the strength to not pay attention.  I know I need to choose where to put my focus.  Heed them not -is powerful words in my life.”
Sister H – “I have had a hard family life.  I wasn’t raised in the best of circumstances.  When I started to prepare to come on a mission I felt everything was going wrong.  My family was being attacked by hard things.  I started to waiver and wondered if I should still go.  I read 3 Ne 5:13- I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. I knew I was meant to serve.  Now every time I am having a hard time I think of this verse and I feel strong.”
Sister E – “I was having such a hard time when I first came out on my mission.  My family wasn’t emailing me and I felt so alone.  I felt I wasn’t a good missionary either, everything was so new.  I felt so small and worthless.  I read, 1 Ne 21:15, 16 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.  I knew the Lord hadn’t forgotten me.  Christ will never forget me.  I remind myself of that often.”
Sister S – “I have heard so many people say various things against the church while I’ve been serving.  I felt my faith wavering one day.  I read this and knew this was for me.  Jacob 7:5 – And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me.  And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.  This was me.  I knew God was telling me to remember, and in doing so I have felt I cannot be shaken. I remember God, his goodness to me and all that I have seen, heard and felt.”
Elder J – “I was feeling a lot of opposition in my missionary work.  I started thinking about why do some get so upset, and why do I get offended and angry when they do?  I came across this scripture, 1 Ne 1: 19,20 – And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them;  for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.  And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away.  But behold I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their  faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.  When I read this I knew pride is what keeps us from accepting Christ, correction and change.  I knew I had to protect my own humility as well.  To be a true disciple of Christ I have to be humble.”
Elder B – I haven’t always been able to stand up and have a voice.  There have been many times in my life when I have just followed the crowd.  I wanted to change but didn’t know how to do it.  When I was really seeking for an answer of how to change I found this, Hel 3:34&35 – And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren.  Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.  Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God. I knew I needed to fast and pray and yield my heart to God.  He could change me then I could be brave and firm.  I have seen it happening in my life as I have done it.”
Elder T – “I come from a very violent community and have seen some bad things happen in my life.  I’ve been wondering a lot about why bad things happen to good people.  Why am I serving the Lord and all this bad stuff happens to my family and other people who I love?  I came across this verse and it hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before.  Mos 24:14 – And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.  I know because of this that God’s promise is whatever we are going through he will help us and we can strand strong with Him by our side.  I know when I need God and I receive His help, then I come to know him better than I knew him before.”
Sister R – “I have wanted to learn and understand the atonement better while I’ve been serving.  I feel I know information about it but lack true understanding. I was giving a training in MLC and came across this scripture.  3 Ne 17:7 – Have ye any that are sick among you?  Bring them hither.  Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner?  Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.  What hit me so hard was the word, ANY.  I hold on to all my stuff.  I don’t feel worthy.  But I felt this verse was speaking to me.  EVERYONE is afflicted.  I along with everyone else need a savior.  That is why he is our savior.  All can be healed, me included.  He feels mercy and compassion for ME!”
Elder M – “I appreciate the small characters in the Book of Mormon.  One is in Alma 23:14 – And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one; neither were any of the Amulonites; but they did harden their hearts.  The Amalekites and the Amulonites are the most hardened people of the Book of Mormon.  Yet one believed and was converted.  It’s easy to join when everyone is there with you and you have support, but this unnamed Zoramite converted on his own.  I know I need to be like this unnamed man; strong enough to stand alone when none other stand.  I want to be one.”
Elder C – “It’s hard to work and work and not see much come of it.  But when I read this I had a spiritual understanding hit me.  Words of Mormon: 7 – And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me.  And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.  I realize I don’t know everyone, but God does.  And what God expects of me is to follow him and do his will.  That is all I need to know.  He will work in their lives and it’s not for me to say what that work should look like.”

Well this is getting long so I better quit.  But I hope you can feel the wonderful spirit of our missionaries and the way God is teaching and speaking to them.  He lives and is working with each one of us to bring us back to him.  He wants to communicate with us and that is why he has given us the beautiful gifts of prayer and scriptures.  I am so thankful for every spiritual blessing that has come into my life by reading and pondering the Book of Mormon.  I am so thankful for the personal work he is doing in every one of our missionaries lives.

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