Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Glimpse into My Ensign

I love my May 2018 Ensign. I treasure cover2cover club. Although very few people seem to want to be members. I need to work on that and convince others into joining this priceless "club." (Read the General Conference Ensign cover to cover and your automatically in the club!!)

My Ensign is covered in color... multiple colors... and has handwritten thoughts/ notes. Others in my ward seem to always want to look at my Ensign and I have tried to hide it. I thought it would make others feel bad because theirs didn't look like mine. At the same time, I didn't want my ward members to think that I was better than anyone else because of how much I had read it.

Today in Relief Society, our disscussion was on the talk from Elder Neil L. Anderson. I LOVE this talk!! Possibly even one of my favorite quotes in the whole magazine is from his talk. If not absolute favorite quote, it is definitely high up on my list. As we were sharing "Action Plan" ideas, I encouraged others to join cover2cover and to finish it before the next conference... which is in just a few weeks. (I'm soooooo excited and grateful that conference is quickly approaching. I can hardly wait to listen again!)

The action plan that came to me though was I need to be brave and share my Ensign. I need to let my testimony help strengthen others. I decided to take a few pictures (which grew into a lot... trust my I kept cutting out quotes and trying to make this post shorter... just skim it! Lol!) of my favorite quotes and lettering throughout the magazine. Truthfully, I love the entire magazine, cover2cover and I could take a picture of nearly every page and post the entire magazine. I did try to limit it though to my very favorites.

Please see my notes and markings as ONE way to read Conference. This is certainly not the ONLY way!! Each person who reads and marks their own copy, should realize that each marking will reflect ones own personality.

And my honest hope... in the next few weeks, I will find more to underline, draw connections and write in. I hope that before Conference starts that my magazine will be loved even more than it is today!

I didn't realize that my scriptures were in the background when I took the picture.
It makes sense because I read them together.
Instead of cropping them out, I decided I LOVE them together.

Elder Brian K. Taylor, "Am I a Child of God"

This quote is not a part of his actual talk...
But if you read the footnotes, the idea of this quote was mentioned in his talk.

Elder Neil L. Anderson, "The Prophet of God"

This is the quote that might be one of my very favorites in the entire magazine!

Elder Dale G. Renlund, "Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing"

Pres. Russell M. Nelson, "Ministering with the Power and Authority of God"

Elder Larry Y. Wilson, "Take the Holy Spirit as Your Guide"
And I do love this quote too!

Sis. Reyna I. Aburto, "With One Accord"

Elder Claudio D. Zivic, "He That Shall Endure unto the End, the Same Shall Be Saved"

Pres. Henry B. Eyring, "His Spirit to Be with You"

Pres. Dallin H. Oaks, "Small and Simple Things"

Pres. Russell M. Nelson, "Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives"
This is another one of my favorites!!!
It is this simple one sentence thought thrown in the talk.
And it could easily be overlooked.

Umm... taking a picture of the entire page was just easier!

Elder Ulisses Soares, "Prophets Speak by the Power of the Holy Spirit"

Pres. Russell M. Nelson, "Ministering"

Bishop Gerald Causse, "It Is All about the People"

Pres. Russell M. Nelson, "Let Us All Press On"

Blessings from Pres. Nelson to each of us personally.
There is no catch. Or something we have to do to obtain them.
They are just given to each of us freely.

(I promise I really deleted some of the picture quotes I had... I was trying to delete more but all of these are just so good that they had to stay!)


Thursday, September 6, 2018

MINISTERING... Understanding with a Different Lens

I feel like I was trying to see things from a different perspective but I kept looking through the same lens and expected different results. My vision will never change, if I keep doing the exact same thing.

I don't know about the rest of you... but to me, the ministering topic is so done. It has been discussed and re-discussed every fourth Sunday plus multiple other times too. I'm not sure what else there is to learn about it.

Ministering... it replaces home and visiting teaching though it appears to be basically the same thing with a different name. That which we call a rose...
Ministering... it is a holier approach yet we are still expected to have contact, talk to our assigned people and help them if we can. It is still a rose...
Ministering... there are no reports but rather interviews. A different type of rose but still a rose...
Ministering... it is supposed to be more flexible by meeting the needs of the assigned individual but wasn't that the goal before? To help those we were assigned to? Definitely still a rose...

In my ward, we have discussed ministering as trying to become friends and really care instead of just being an assignment. We have made lists of what we can do to better minister to each other. Surprisingly (and sadly), most things on the list were basic requests...
*Say hi to me.
*Sit by me at church.
*Listen to me.
*Don't gossip about me.
*Smile at me.
*Visit me in my home.
*Remember me on my birthday.
*Text me during the week.
None of these things are hard and yet, at least in my ward, the change in ministering feels like we are not even meeting each others basic needs as sisters. Did the freedom from reports really make this much of a difference that we gave up on ministering all together?

As I have studied this past General Conference, there is definitely a ministering theme; as there should be because the change is new and we each need to learn about it. Various quotes throughout conference state how effective ministering will protect us from the adversary, it will prepare us to meet Christ as His coming, we will feel unity, it will help build our friendship, strengthen our testimony, and become true disciples of Christ. These are seriously just a brief example of why the change to ministering.

The basic theme I pulled out from conference is ministering is a holier, more personal, testimony strengthening, opportunity for friendship that will prepare us better to meet Christ. These basic answers though, just seem like the fluff answer and don't really explain it.

Typically, everywhere we drive in the car, we listen to General Conference. I don't know how many multiple times I have heard each of these talks. My May Ensign, is covered with color, hand lettering & scribbles alike, arrows connecting thoughts and is held together by tape. I have studied these messages and they truly are deep inside my heart, not just words on a paper.

Yet, I still don't understand the real reason of why. Why ministering? If I put forth the effort, what blessings will come? For every commandment kept, a blessing is sure to follow. But what comes from ministering? How does ministering effect, bless, and change MY life?

This morning as we were driving to the store the dots finally connected. I had a light bulb moment. And my testimony of ministering itself was increased as I sat in the parking lot pondering and listening to the gentle confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

{I am not saying this is absolute doctrine. It is my opinion. Please remember this is only my opinion as you finish reading this post. It was the thought that came to me. Take it for what it is worth... my own thought!}

Pres. Henry B. Eyring shared a list of "how to receive continual spiritual direction and comfort through the Holy Ghost." These are things probably everyone has heard of before. Humility. Pray. Obey. Serve. But his fourth point of serve is one step towards of my why/ how light bulb experience. He talked about how he has watched "prophets of God pray, ask for inspiration, receive direction, and act on it." Then he said, "I have seen how often their {meaning prophets} prayers are about the people they love and serve. Their concern for others seems to open their hearts to receive inspiration. That can be true for you."

As I learn to better minister to those I am assigned to, I am able to receive more inspiration, my heart will be open to it. Hmmm. Remember that thought.

Sis. Jean B. Bingham shared a long list of what ministering looks like. These are once again basic things like walking together, chatting or texting, sharing a scripture, etc. She reminds us that "simple acts of service can have profound effects on others, as well as on ourselves" and that "true ministering is accomplished one by one with love as the motivation... [and that] miracles will happen." But she also promised the same blessing of increased promptings from the Holy Ghost.

"When we consider how to minister most effectively, we ask, 'What does she [or he] need?' Coupling that question with a sincere desire to serve, we are then led by the Spirit to do what would lift and strengthen the individual."

Hmmm... ministering leads to being led by the Spirit.

Sis. Bingham also said, "As we accept the opportunity to wholeheartedly minister, we are blessed to become more spiritually refined [and] more in tune with the will of God."

Hmmm... more in tune with the will of God and therefore the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

And that is the real reason for ministering. It is a gift for ME personally, not the people I am assigned to. It is MY gift because I need the companionship of the Holy Ghost. 

Yes, it is about learning to serve others and be His hands here on Earth.
Yes, it is so we can take care of others and help lift them when they are weak.
Yes, it is to develop true friendships instead of merely an assignment.
Yes. Yes. Yes. It is all of these things. But these are the surface answers, the one same lens I kept looking through and expecting to see deeper meaning.

The real reason for ministering? It is not about the other people that I am assigned to at all.

Ministering is about ME!
Ministering was given to ME as a way I can learn to better listen to the gentle but subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Ministering was given to ME to strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father.
Ministering was given to ME as a way to become more pure and in tune.
Ministering is not an assignment but rather an opportunity.
Ministering truly is a gift that will enhance MY life in ways I have not even dreamed about yet.
Ministering is not just about what I can do for others, it really is about what I can do for myself.


Monday, September 3, 2018

A Glimmer of Light

Our trip to Denver was extra special because it was our Little Loves first airplane flight. They were so excited. Heidi constantly asks when are we going to fly on the "hair-pwane" again. Going through security with over stuffed backpacks filled with multiple electronics, food, and liquids WITH two Little Loves was not so fun. Flying was awesome though.

One of my favorite parts of the airplane ride was surprisingly the extremely early time we took off at. It was pitch black outside when we boarded the airplane around 4:30 in the morning. There was a quietness, on the roads driving and even in the airport. I savored that silent, still world feeling.

When we took off, the only lights we saw out the window were the twinkling city lights below us. As we climbed higher into the sky, eventually the entire window was pitch black. I have thought about this darkness and how the pilot and copilot had to rely completely on the instruments they have (really I have no idea what they have... maps... gps... I don't know!) and not on sight. This reminds me how sometimes when the hardest trials come that we have to rely on faith. Sometimes our lives may feel dark. Yet, despite the feeling, I know my life will never be dark. It will be hard. It will be trying. But it won't be dark. It won't be dark because of the Atonement. And because of the Holy Ghost.

As we flew East into the rising sun, it was the most amazing view out our tiny airplane window. We saw just a tiny glimmer at first. The light was so faint that when I tried to take a picture, it is almost unnoticeable. But. It was there. That first, barely visible light gave a light that was not there previously. And the darkness could not hide it.

The light grew. Ever so slowly but also so magically. One interesting thing was we never actually saw the sunrise. We only saw the light coming from the sunrise. When we landed, the sun was completely up and not even close to the time of "the sunrise." Since we never saw the actual sun rise, the mountains we were flying over remained completely dark. There was no light to brighten the them.

This event of flying East into the sunrise should seriously be on everyone's bucket list or maybe even one of the natural wonders of the world. It was that incredible to witness!!

But even more incredible is the Light of Christ. Even the tiniest amount of light shines forth and will conquer the darkness. The smallest amount of faith. The slight amount of hope. The limited amount of testimony. It is there. And it will continue to grow, ever so slowly, just like the airplane sunrise.

One's testimony does not have to be strong today. It is a work in progress. The faith we have for today is sufficient. Tommorrow, hopefully it will be stronger. And bit by bit, the light we each carry will grow.

A glimmer of light, a glimmer of faith, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of knowledge. It is enough. It will dispel the darkness. The fear. The uncertainty. Hold on to that glimmer. Hold on and let it grow!