Got a lot to talk about with you today, but not at the moment. See, we were in Ashland with President cropper (from the mission presidency) and he had a cool service/teaching opportunity for our Zone. We'll be driving back soon so talk to you then!
Alright, now for my real email :)
This week has been crazy good! We visited lots of places and people and are just having a blast!!
I love Yreka. My area covers two wards. They are not large wards by any means, but they are wards none the less. I love the car we drive. The RAV4 is super duper nice, our apartment is a two bedroom, large kitchen, nice bathroom with tons of hot water, AND an air conditioner. Most important than any of those is the people. The people here are so loving, and kind. I know I'm just going to fit right in and get some good work done.
This week is kinda crazy! The senior couple, The Sivula's, are super nice. Every time we go up to Medford, they drive us. They are seriously the nicest missionary couple ever!! So today, they drove us up to President Croppers house. President Cropper is in the mission presidency, and he had a fun idea for an activity for us. He invited the whole Zone over to harvest wheat. We read the parable of the wheat and the tares, then he had us go out and harvest it. We talked about the parable and its implications. It was so fun and definitely gave me a better perspective on the way that parable is given.
Tomorrow we're driving in for interviews with President Orton. I'm super excited for that! The Sivulas are driving us again. They are so nice to do that for us!!
The rest of the week will be pretty run of the mill. We'll be in Etna Wednesday/Thursday and we'll be spending time with some members, Friday we may or may not have District Meeting, then Saturday is normal and Sunday is church.
We also gave talks yesterday, so I'll attach that for ya.
I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness. There are countless times in the scriptures that we are commanded to forgive, but I was pondering why. With forgiveness come peace and a huge burden is relieved from our shoulders. I think that Satan really wants us to harbor our feelings of anger, hate, bitterness, and so forth, so that we become miserable like him. Since he wants us to feel miserable, he'll try to stop us by making us feel that forgiveness is hard, and not worth it. My plea is to stop thinking that way. I know what peace can come from forgiveness, and it is so much sweeter than the bitterness of not forgiving.
Alight, I've given my speech for the day.
Moving on to Elise, I will definitely pray for her. Marching camp is hard, but she can do it. I'll email her about my first year and that might help.
Love you Mom, thanks for your support.
P.S. Can you tell Dad that the anchor tie is his? It might have torn a bit, but I made the tie and wanted to give it to him :)
Okay so here is my talk
Whatsoever He saith unto you, Do it.
Sacrament Talk 7/23/2017
Good morning Brothers and Sisters. It is a pleasure to be here with you today. When Elder Luke told me we were speaking on Sunday, my first though was that he was kidding. I was wrong.
Since I'm new to the Ward, I'm going to take a second to introduce myself. As was announced, my name is Elder Snyder. I'm from Orlando, Florida and I enjoy the sunshine. I've been out on my mission for about a year and a half and have enjoyed every minute of it. I am excited for the opportunity to be here in Yreka, and I am looking forward to getting to know all of you.
Jesus's first miracle
The beginning of John chapter two gives an account of Jesus's first miracle. This is what it says:
1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (John 2:1-11 KJB)
As amazing as this miracle is, I could probably spend an hour talking about its importance and its implication. However, there is a short phrase that Mary tells the servants to do that I am going to dive into. That phrase is
"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
This phrase is powerful. Mary gives charge to the servants to do whatsoever Jesus tells them to do, no matter if it simple or complex, hard or easy, they do it. After, miracles happen. This plea to be obedient to the Savior will bring blessings.
When thinking about the example of being asked to do something, and doing it, my mind is turned to Nephi. In 1 Nephi chapter 3, Lehi asks his sons to go back to Jerusalem to get the plates of brass, or in other words the scriptures, from the wicked Laban. Nephi's older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, complained about how hard of a task it will be, but Nephi says:
"7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7 B.of M.)
Nephi knew that whatever the Lord asks him to do, he needs to do it. He also knew that there is a way prepared for us to accomplish what he asks.
This isn't the only thing that Nephi was obedient about. Before getting the plates, Nephi had to make the choice to follow his father into the wilderness. After getting the plates of brass, Nephi and his brothers were sent to go get the house of Ishmael and bring them along. Nephi was also commanded to construct a ship in the way that God would show him him.
I am so thankful for Nephi's willingness to obey the lords commandments. What an example he is to us. Nephi's obedience has definitely helped me while preparing for, and in my service as a missionary. Whatever God commanded me to do, he has prepared a way for me to accomplish it.
I have a testimony of that principal. I know it's true because I've tried it out, and it worked. I know everything that God commands you to do, he will provide a way as well.
Alma The Younger's example
I also like the example of Alma the Younger given in Alma chapter 8, While he is out preaching repentance to the different Nephite cities. As he went to go preach to the apostate people in Ammonihah, Alma was struggling. He had every door slammed in his face, people spitting on him, yelling at him, and eventually got kicked out. As he was walking away from Ammonihah towards the city of Aaron, Alma had much tribulation and anguish of soul towards the people because of their wickedness. While he was in this state, an Angel appeared to him and says:
"Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people." (Alma 8:15-17 B.of M.)
So let's think about this for a second. Alma is kicked out of this city, and in the process getting mocked, ridiculed, spit upon, and so forth, and then is commanded to go back?? I've tried putting myself in that situation and I'm not sure what I would do. It definitely would be a trial of faith for any of us.
Alma's response, however, gives me courage. The scriptures say that Alma went back speedily to Ammonihah. Which because of his obedience, finds, converts, and receives the most amazing missionary companion of all time, Amulek.
Alma knew what it meant to do whatsoever thing the Lord asked. Literally thousands were blessed because of it.
One of the most courageous prophets in the Book of Mormon is Abinadi. Abinadi was a prophet at the same time wicked king Noah came to power. King Noah was leading the people to commit many sins and transgressions that were not pleasing to God, so God told Abinadi to preach repentance to the people. The people were frustrated because Abinadi told them that they were sinning, and since King Noah didn't like to be told he was wrong, he kicked Abinadi out and told him never to return.
God told Abinadi that he needed to go back and tell the people that if they don't repent, that their city will be destroyed. He does so and gets cast into prison. When put on trial, Abinadi delivers a powerful message of the Ten Commandments and on Jesus Christ, and while he is delivering his message, nobody can touch him because he was filled with the power of God. After Abinadi delivered his message, King Noah's priests (except for Alma the Elder) wanted to kill Abinadi, so they sentenced him to death by fire.
I love Abinadi. His faith and courage to follow what Jesus Christ has done is amazing to me. I couldn't comprehend being put on trial for my beliefs, let alone doing so knowing that I probably would be put to death. Abinadi did because God told him he needed to. Because of that, Alma the Elder was converted, and converted many thousands after.
Abinadi knew what it meant to do whatsoever The Lord asked him to do.
Tomorrow marks 170 years since the day Brigham Young said the famous words "It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on." and the first pioneer saints entered into the Salt Lake Valley. We commemorate July 24th as a day to remember the trials and hardships of all the pioneers faced in their quest to follow what God has asked them to do, and that is Establish Zion. When I think of "whatsoever He saint unto you, do it" my thoughts wouldn't be complete without the Mormon Pioneers.
One of these pioneers was named William Clayton. This is an excerpt from Our Heritage that depicts his story.
"William Clayton was called to be in one of the first groups to leave Nauvoo and left his wife, Diantha, with her parents, only a month away from delivering her first child. Slogging through muddy roads and camping in cold tents wore his nerves thin as he worried about Diantha’s well-being. Two months later, he still did not know if she had delivered safely but finally received the joyful word that a “fine fat boy” had been born. Almost as soon as he heard the news, William sat down and wrote a song that not only had special meaning to him but would become an anthem of inspiration and gratitude to Church members for generations. The song was “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” and the famous lines expressed his faith and the faith of the thousands of Saints who sang in the midst of adversity: “All is well! All is well!” They, like the members who have followed them, found the joy and peace that are the rewards of sacrifice and obedience in the kingdom of God."
("Our Heritage" Church of Jesus Christ of LDS pg 71)
My heart is full of gratitude for the thousands of faithful saints who risked their lives to follow The Lords instructions. Many of these men, women, and children sacrificed all they had to come to Zion, and establish a place where we could rejoice in this gospel free from persecution and attack.
These pioneers knew what it meant to do whatsoever the Lord says.
But Pioneers aren't just the people who pushed handcarts. According to WordWeb dictionary and thesaurus, a pioneer is anyone who "takes the lead or Initiative in"
So in a way, we can all be Pioneers. Pioneers in our faith, beliefs and standards. One of my favorite children songs is called "To be a Pioneer" which teaches us
"You don’t have to push a handcart,
Leave your fam’ly dear,
Or walk a thousand miles or more
To be a pioneer!"
"You do need to have great courage,
Faith to conquer fear,
And work with might for a cause that’s right
To be a pioneer!"
As we have courage, faith, and work for this excellent cause, we are pioneers.
When I think on this principle, a recent convert I taught in Grants Pass comes to mind. Mark is in his 40s, and has had more trials and tribulations than I have ever seen anyone go through. I don't want to give any details, but he had every reason to be bitter at life. But he didn't. When the missionaries taught him, he took this message, despite opposition, and ran with it. Giving up coffee and tea was no issue for him, he knew that the Word of wisdom is given to us by God. Tithing? He had faith that in the end, God would provide a way for him to pay tithing and his bill, though it sometimes the numbers didn't look like they would add up. Every thing God asked him to do, he did.
Mark Hasting is a real life pioneer, and he knows what it means to do whatsoever God asks him to do.
I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.