Do Our Lives Matter?

alexmission22June 26, 2017

This week has been a very good week.  We found two new investigators.  One was a former investigator from the Young Single Adult ward, and another was a nine year that we found through tracting (yes that occasionally works here in Utah). I’ll share their stories another week.

I was asked the question this week: does my life really matter?

So many of my Generation have asked this question. It is sad. So much depression has come in this generation.  We want to make huge impacts on the world, we dream big, only to have our dreams squared to reality.  And we are left to wonder, “What was I supposed to do?  “Is this all I am?”

We seem to want to revolutionize the world and when we find out we are just a drop in the ocean we beat ourselves up and think “Why wasn’t I better?”

But this is why the plan of salvation is so relevant to us.  We don’t have to move mountains to make God love us.  We don’t have to solve major world problem to have God be pleased with us.  God doesn’t give eternal life, the greatest gift, to just prophets; but to mothers and fathers, to kings and Janitors alike.

The plan of salvation is our purpose, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our plan.

The reason the gospel brings joy is because it narrows our focus.  Instead of worrying about the world, God would rather have us focus what is around us.  Instead of worrying about worldly honor we strive for honor from God, which will never perish.  And at the end we are not rewarded for the impact we had on the world, but for the impact we had on ourselves.

Please know that God loves you, and he wants the best for you.  He wants to see you again, he wants you to return to him.  Please stop worrying about how you measure up to those around you. Please stop stressing about the details, instead focus on what you did good.  Only then identify what you can improve, then improve it.  Come unto to Christ; have faith in him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end, and you will find meaning for life.

I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Plan of Salvation.  They have given me a purpose and a plan.  They have taught me much.  Yes I will still have hard days, and so will you.  But don’t worry Jesus Christ has overcome them all.  And he would overcome all over again to help you.

In the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Regards from Elder Brown.

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Moving Apartments and Member Missionaries

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June 12, 2017

I’m moving today. So this will be short. I have a lot to do today.

Apparently, I’m the master of closing apartments, because this is the  4th one I’ve closed, and I’ve only served in three areas. We have to clean a lot, and missionaries who lived here before us have left way too much stuff behind. Note to all future missionaries, and parents of missionaries (so you can pass it onto your missionaries), nobody wants your apartment “treasures.”  Please throw away the things you do not need or want anymore.

We happen to just be moving around the corner.  Which is kinda funny. It’s kinda of nice to not have to relearn driving around the area this time.

We had an investigator named Cassey who was just baptized.  She has an awesome story.  Her grandmother had tried to choose baptism in the past but she was to scared to get in the water.  She lived all the standards and lived a fulfilling life.  Then she met a young man named Ammon.  Ammon was a returned missionary. Ammon and Cassey started to date. Ammon decided he wanted to marry Cassey in the temple, so Ammon asked Cassey to meet with the missionaries (that’s us). She agreed and shortly afterwards, she accepted all the commitments and  decided to get baptized.  Right before the baptism Ammon proposed.  So basically the baptismal service was also a celebration of their engagement. I preformed the baptism, Ammon confirmed her a member of the church and confirmed on her the Gift of the Holy Ghost. They both are very happy, and I’m very happy for them.

Regards from Elder Brown.

Salvation Thru Christ

 

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June 5, 2017

 

As many of you might be aware, I was just transferred into a YSA Stake.  It’s very interesting.  The leaders we work with are experts in smart phones, which is not normally something we have.  I mean, we can throw out a name, and somebody will track that person down pretty quickly and accurately within moments.  It’s crazy.  Also, we work with a lot of RM’s [Editor’s Note: short for Returned Missionary].  So, everybody knows how missionary work works.  But most YSA’s are gone during the day, so we can only catch them in the afternoon.

Our area also covers a family stake (that’s right 2 stakes, 14 wards!!!), so we have all of our bases covered.

I’ve also been trying to answer a question every week.  The question for this week is: “Why do we need a Savior? How can someone else pay for our sins?”

This is a huge question, and honestly the answer is not completely straightforward. Nobody can really answer this question for anybody else.  Everybody has to understand personally the role of Jesus Christ as the savior and redeemer.

The part of this question stands out to me is—How can somebody else pay for our sins?

To answer the question, I must also ask the opposite—How could anybody pay for their own sins?

When you come to understand how detrimental and fatalistic sins actually are, you come to realize how much help you actually need. Sin in any degree separates us from the presence of God, our Heavenly Father.  Sin is separation from God, often called the second death or hell. It is an offense to God, and His eternal judgement declares that in order for anybody who has made such an offense to come back into his presence, one must pay a price for these sins. We do not fully understand what that price is but we know there is a unavoidable consequence that must be paid.

We cannot pay the price ourselves. It is simply outside of our reach because we are all flawed, because we are all imperfect.  But Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. He was perfect, he is perfect.  Only he was completely free from sin, only he could pay that price for sin.  Jesus Christ choose to pay every price, for every sin. He was inflicted with every punishment, every pain, affliction, torment, and infirmity, for every person.

This is The Atonement of Jesus Christ. And because Jesus did this, because he suffered for our sins, our Heavenly Father gave Jesus Christ the power and authority to forgive sins. Only Jesus Christ has that authority, only Jesus Christ can forgive sins that separate us from God. And Jesus has said that he will forgive sins upon the conditions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: which is to have faith in Jesus, repent (or stop doing our sins), be baptized (or partake of the sacrament for those already baptized), receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End.

Because we have a savior, the condition for salvation is no longer perfection (which is simply impossible); it is instead improvement (which can be accomplished by every single person on this world).

But like I said I’ll never be able to fully answer this question.  But God can, and is eager to point all his children to the salvation of Christ.

So here are my recommendations for how one can get a fuller answer to this question.

–  Read the Book of Mormon, everyday, looking for the answer to this question.  I can’t stress this enough, I have been doing this for about half a year now and it has been amazing the answer I have received. (See “the power of the Book of Mormon” Thomas S. Monson, general Conference April 2017)

–  Pray and Ask God for the answer to the question.

–  Visit https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/jesus-christ for a more complete (and more simple overview on why we need Jesus Christ)

–  Watch the video “The Mediator” (can’t find a link help please mom).

–  Read D&C 19, it’s a overview of this subject, but it comes straight from the Lord.

–  Read Preach my Gospel Chapter 3, Lesson 3:  It explains the Gospel of Jesus Christ in straightforward terms.

–  Record any promptings or answers to your questions.  (Seriously do this)

I hope I helped answer this question.

Regards from Elder Brown.

Treasures In Heaven

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I am at Cinnamon Creek Campground, at the outmost edge of our mission, at the Fathers and Sons campout. Wish you were here, Dad.

 

May 29th, 2017

Hey Dad, I got your email. Thanks for the advice on making habits.

You asked a question you asked last week, “Why do the wicked prosper?” [Editor’s Note: Alex has asked us to ask him gospel related questions. If you have a question you would like him to answer, please send him an email.]

I think another way of looking at that question is—why don’t the righteous do better in life?

First off, the answer is not that riches are evil, and it’s not that there is no God. But both of those responses don’t look at the big picture. The answer is simple, the righteous lay-up riches in heaven more than they lay up riches on earth.

The things we have here will all disappear one day. But those things we seal up on heaven last forever. Christ didn’t say, follow me and I’ll make you rich beyond belief: rather, he said follow me and I will give you eternal life.

We follow Christ so we can have eternal life. Satan wants us to trade our integrity, faith, family, etc. for the riches of the world. Whereas Christ says seek first the kingdom of heaven and all those things will be added unto us. Abraham was a very wealthy man. Yet we hardly remember him for being rich; we remember him for the covenant that God made with him. God didn’t make the covenant with Abraham because he was rich, but because Abraham had integrity, faith, loyalty, and other Christ-like virtues.

And honestly, God is far more concerned with who we become than with what we have. Like with Job who was very wealthy and a righteous man, but God took it all away. And why did God take it all away? To try Job and build his faith even more. And at the end of the day Job had more than what he started with. Imagine the reward Job had in Heaven, the reward he had in heaven must be far greater than the reward he had on earth.

Long story short. The righteous have everything they need, for now and for eternity.

Regards from Elder Brown.

More pics:

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Kinda looks like North Carolina!

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Cinnamon Creek

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Me in my new short-sleeved shirt. Thanks Mom!