Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 10: "Faith Without Works Is Dead."

They used the glow bracelets I sent as 4th of July decor! Hahaha!

I don't even know..Tired from service I'm going to say! ;)

Hey Momma,

How are you doing today?

I'm doing well. I'm glad to hear that you got to go and see President and Sister Russell. They truly are an amazing couple, and I am so thankful to have been able to serve with them. So thankful.

I'm also thankful that I get to serve with President and Sister Orton. I got to meet them on Saturday. They’re from Utah, and are super super nice. They will be good powerful leaders, just as president and sister Russell were. They are different, but just as loving and just as strong.

My week was good. We got a lot done. We taught a few lessons, and did a ton of service. We started helping a guy clean out this property he bought from a hoarder. He has a bunch of scrap (crap) everywhere. We're kinda piling it up just to get it out of the way, and he's giving the previous owner guy a period of time to take it out, or he's going to scrap it. It's complicated, but he appreciates the help.

It looks like the funeral went well. My heart is with the family. I really wish I could have been with the family, but I know God can do more for y'all than I can. 

I'm glad to see those pictures! Jason and Nicole sure were blessed with a cutie!!! I can't wait to hold her!!

I gave a talk in sacrament. I gave it in Eugene a year ago or so. I've made a few changes to it, but I'll attach it anyway. Sacrament was good!! We had a surprise in Sacrament meeting though. A huge family from Utah walked in five minutes before sacrament meeting started. Before they walked in, we were expecting to have only 15 or so people in the meeting. After they walked in we had 79 people in our chapel. That's the most I've ever seen and this little branch building. It was really fun to speak to almost a whole ward! ....But I was really nervous.

All in all it was a really good week. I was really happy to be here in Oakridge, where the weather is warm and the mountains are beautiful.

Love you mom

Elder Snyder

Faith Sacrament talk

Greet/intro
Good morning brothers and sisters. It is such a privilege to be here with you this morning. For those of you whom I haven't met yet, My name is Elder Snyder, and I have been away from home for a little over a year serving the Lord in the best mission on the planet. I was born in Logan Utah, but I grew up in Orlando, Florida so I claim that as my home.

About 17 years ago, my Father faced a difficult choice. He was offered a chance to go over seas and study at a school in Belgium for his doctorate degree. My father and his young family, who at this time hadn't left the bubble of Utah, was worried that we weren't going to be able to live in a foreign place, with different food, an extremely different culture, and most importantly, not being able to speak to the people, as we didn't speak a lick of french. As my family contemplated this decision, we decided to pray. We got a confirmation from the spirit that this was the right decision for our family, and so we boarded the plane and headed to Belgium. Once there, we stayed in a tiny apartment and slept on air mattresses, and the first time mom went grocery shopping, she said she broke down in tears because despite seeing the products, she couldn't figure out what she was buying, since none of the labels contained any English!! 

After a week, my mom and dad had a conversation on whether or not they could actually do it. They reflected on the prayers they had, and knew that God wanted them to take this path, but they had no idea how to push forward. Luckily, and thankfully, despite it being hard, they put their faith in the Lord and made it through.

I love thinking and reflecting on this story because there are many things I can learn from my parent’s example. Some of the lessons I've learned from this are on faith. there are three things I learn about faith in this story, and I'll go through them one at a time, and go into depth with them as we go.

first lesson of faith.
Faith starts with a belief in God and Jesus Christ.

One of the Book of Mormon Prophets, Alma, teaches this in Alma 32. Verse 21 states

 "21 And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

Alma also teaches in verse 27

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Alma teaches here in these two verses that faith isn't a perfect knowledge, but is a hope. He also teaches that even if you have a desire to have this hope or belief, that God will work with you to help grow your faith.

To tie this into the original story, my parents wouldn't have gotten anywhere without having that belief or hope that God was there looking out for them. If you are struggling with faith, this is where you start. You must have that desire to believe.  Back when I was 11 years old, I remember thinking to myself during one fast and testimony meeting, how can these people have such strong faith in Christ? I found myself desiring to have that. I remember praying for the first time in a while telling God that I wanted to believe, and that I wanted to increase my faith. As I acted on my desire to believe and my hope to believe, my faith did increase until I felt like I could actually trust in God. How wonderful it is to me, that God worked with me, I didn't even believe, I just had the smallest desire to, and he worked with it.

The second lesson of faith
Faith requires work.

My father and my family at the time needed to have faith that they could get through this hard time, but it would not happen if my family didn't work at it. For example, my family at the time was praying and praying to help learn and get used to the culture in Belgium, and we had the faith that God would help us in that endeavor. But how could we learn the culture if we just sat in our apartment and stayed isolated from it? God wants to help us, but if we don't do our part, he cannot! Faith is an action word. As missionaries, we study and teach that faith is "a strong belief that motivates us to act." It requires us to do things for it to work. James teaches us in James chapter 2

"17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works"

It is put out there simply Brothers and Sisters, Faith without works is dead! If you are praying and praying for something to happen, but you aren't willing to do all you can to obtain what you are praying for on your own, God will not help you. Spencer W. Kimball taught 

"There must be works with faith. How foolish it would be to ask the Lord to give us knowledge, but how wise to ask the Lord’s help to acquire knowledge, to study constructively, to think clearly, and to retain things that we have learned”

I remember during my junior year of High School, I decided to take several AP classes. I also participated in many extra curricular activities, and worked 5 nights a week at a part time job at a popular fast food joint near my house. I also had the wonderful opportunity to participate in early morning seminary, which required me to get up at 5:30 to make it to seminary on time. Some nights, it felt like as soon as I finished my homework and studies, it was time to pack my bags and leave for the next day. As time went on and the AP exams drew closer, I did all I could on my own to pass. By the time the exams rolled around, I had studied all the exam study guides I had 3 or 4 times, but I still felt as if I knew nothing! I thought to myself, how was I going to pass these exams? I prayed and prayed and prayed for Gods help up until the moment the exams started. I had faith that since I had done my part by studying, God would do His. Well, I give all the credit to God, because I scored solid 4s in all my exams, and received the college credit for those classes. 

I think back on that experience quite often. I had faith that God would help me, but I wonder how much he could've helped me if I didn't study? Probably not that much.

The third lesson of faith
Through faith, we can overcome all things.

I am so thankful that my parents had the faith to sick out that whole experience. My dad was able to graduate and receive his doctorate degree, and we were blessed because of it. I know that my parents had faith, and I know that because they acted in faith, they were able to make though that rough time for our family.

I think about all the times the Book of Mormon shows this. That when people have faith in Christ, they are able to make it through their trials and tribulations. I like the example given in Mosiah chapter 24 where Alma and his people are being persecuted by the Lamanite people, and have heavy burdens and great persecutions placed on them, and are put to death if they pray vocally. Imagine if something like that were to happen to us. Would we have the faith that God would help us? or would we curse God for everything that we're going through? Well, instead of giving up, I'm going to read what the people of Alma did, and what happened because of what they did. Starting in verse 12

"12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.

13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also 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.

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."

(Optional Part)
Mathew 19:26
"26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

Let me say that again. With God, ALL things are possible. That means that we really can overcome all things that we go through. If we say we can't, in essence, we're saying we don't understand the gospel.

Not meaning we're going to be perfect. We'll definitely make mistakes. We will have failures. We will have falls. But through the Atonement, and through faith, we can stand up again. I want all of you to remember this. If you get up one more time then you fall, you'll make it. Stay down, and you won't.

Closing 

Brothers and sisters, if you are willing to believe in our Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ, if you are willing to work hard to show your faith, and are willing to have faith and to submit cheerfully to the will of the father, I promise you that your faith will be as strong as Alma and his people. I also promise, that God will help you through your trials, and help you get though any situation you find yourself in. You will be able to move any mountain placed in your path.


Close with Testimony

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