Friday, February 19, 2016
P-day has come sooner than I expected but at the same time it couldn't have come sooner. 16 hour days are HARD. But I have already learned so much. my district is in some sort of pilot program where they are trying a new way of teaching. We are focused on learning things that the investigator needs rather than things we need to do to help the investigator. Which makes sense to me and I really like the perspective we are learning from because I am sure Jesus wasn't sitting around thinking what can I do for people but more what do people need from me? Does that make any sense or am I saying the same thing in two different ways? idk I hope it does because I really like it.. I just hope that we also learn a little bit about the discussions and how to teach people because I really don't know a lot about that! Because we are in a pilot program while everyone else gets an hour of personal time we are in class studying which is SUPER fun. And it also means we start teaching our "investigators" sooner. like the very next day.we got some info about him and planned our lesson and then morning we taught him. Our investigators name is "Josh" and I know he is fake but I love him!! he just moved to Provo to live with his LDS friend named "Jason" He had a lot of family drama growing up and his dad left him, his mom has had a hard life bc of it and so have his older brothers and they have turned to some not very healthy things as a result. He sees how Jason's family lives and wants to have a future family like that and he is just general curios about what Mormons believe bc now he lives with a bunch of them. So we decided to teach him about God and how he is our Father in Heaven and he loves us. then we went to meet him... He basically told us he believed in God but he didn't think that God loved or really cared about anyone. and it frustrates him when people say "I KNOW that God loves you" bc how can they know it if he doesn't even know it!! SOOOO we basically scraped our entire lesson right then and there. We asked him if he had ever prayed to know and he said yes he prayed to God during a really hard time in his life when he really needed to feel comforted and asked God to help him feel some sort of peace and nothing happened. And he doesn't understand why any loving God/Heavenly Father wouldn't comfort there child in that moment. We tried to show him ways that God's hand may have been in his life but I feel like we were just arguing with him the whole time?? The lesson was basically a disaster and he rejected all of our challenges we asked him to do. But I weirdly was really pumped about the whole thing. Sister Anderson and I both were. I think its because now that we know more about him we know how we can really help him and were excited to help him realize the truth!!! and then we started planning..... and it did NOT go well. we couldn't understand each others ideas and we couldn't really find an answer for Josh, finding out God loves you is something you kind of have to learn on your own?? idk. we have to teach him today at 8 and we still don't really know what we are teaching him yet. I know you probably want to hear more about the actual MTC but I literally haven't been able to stop thinking about Josh! I can't imagine what having multiple real investigators is going to be like because I pray and care about our fake investigator so much!! I'll probably never be able to sleep in the field.. jk I am pretty much always on the verge of falling asleep in class.
Other unrelated things:
Companion: Sister Anderson!! She is so cute, and we are going to the same mission! She is from Idaho but hates the cold which doesn't make sense to me.... I don't want this to sound mean bc she is really sweet but she complains a lot. which is weird bc that is kind of my thing?? But its good bc it helps me to be more positive and bring her up rather than me being the one complaining all the time. She is excited to go to Chicago and has wanted to go on a mission since she was in 8th grade!! She did track in hs which is cool but also not really bc at gym time we are running around like crazy which is not "my thing" but its good for me so I'll do it anyways. It's interesting how well we balance each other out. She knows a TON about scriptures and I kind of know how to talk to people. She hates going to bed and I hate waking up. the list goes on..
Our District: bc we are a pilot program we don't have anyone else in our zone (stake??) so pretty much everyone in our district has some sort of calling, which is kind of weird bc we all have callings so there is no general public?? if that makes sense. But I am told that we are going to be getting two more districts. Anyways I am the relief society teacher so I will be doing that for the two Sundays I am here. also. I am actually only going to be here for two weeks?? idk how it happened. this makes be both panicked and relieved. bc I am ready to be done and I don't really enjoy role playing but panicked bc I don't know anything and idk how I am going to be ready enough . also the food here isn't terrible. They had ravioli for lunch today and I almost cried I was so happy.
My physique: Our class and our bedroom are both on the top floor (5th floor? I think?? I try not to think about it..) So my calves are looking GREAT. But we sit in chair for at least 12 hrs of the day so my butt isn't lookin too great.
Things I miss: pants. google. all of you.
also rn there are more sisters in the MTC than elders so like #GURLPOWER
I am trying to think of more things to tell you.. they have hot pockets in the vending machines and BYU ice cream and string cheese. These have all saved me at one point or another.
I love you all and will write again!! :)
Posted by Colleen Madsen at 3:19 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Today I’m going to talk to you about Change, but more specifically on Elder Lawrence's talk from this last general conference called “what lack I yet” the theme around this talk is asking God a question and harkening to his answers. I am grateful to be able to expand on this topic because it describes a very similar process as to how I decided to go on a mission. It wasn’t until after high school and well into college that I started to seriously consider going on a mission. I had gotten these feelings at the beginning of college but kind of suppressed it for as long as I could. I didn’t think a mission was for me, and I was having fun at college and didn’t really want to go but the idea was always in the back of my mind nagging at me. I knew a decision had to be made once and for all. So I knelt down and prayed to Heavenly Father. Asking him if I should go. I waited and waited for his reply but nothing came. Time went on and I remembered a technique that one of my seminary teachers had taught me in High school. He said that it is often easier to get an answer in your prayer if you make the decision yourself. and then pray to ask if it is the right choice than it is to ask a direct question. So I prayed again. Telling Heavenly Father I had decided not to go on a mission and asking if it was the right choice. again I waited and again there was no reply. So I thought “Ok, well he didn’t try to stop me, so I guess I off the hook”. the next day was the first day of April General conference. with the help of the Holy Ghost and our General Authorities, I quickly realized that I was not. “off the hook” For which, I know I will be eternally grateful.
We are blessed with the gift of the holy ghost so that we may constantly have a spiritual companion with us. he provides us with guidance and inspiration when we ask Heavenly Father questions. He is the Lord’s messenger. I don’t think it is an underestimate to say that our salvation is dependent on our relationship with the holy ghost. Because without him we cannot Grow closer to Heavenly Father or Jesus. The spirit and the atonement are essential if we are to gain eternal life and live with our Heavenly Father and loved ones again.
there is a quote from Elder Bednar that elder Lawrence used in his talk, saying
“Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so
sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better
I think that we often have to remind ourselves that Christ is forgiving to all. As someone who has been born into this gospel I find I am often less understanding with myself and my mistakes and because I know that i know better than to do some of the mistakes I make. I think everyone has this image of their ideal self, who embodies all your goals and accomplishments and is essentially the type of person you want to become. We have these expectations of ourselves and when we make mistakes or stray from the path to get there it becomes hard to see the possibility of our imagined self becoming a reality. When we make mistakes we feel guilty, which is good, but often times Satan will use this guilt to talk us down and make us feel even worse. He tries to discourages you from trying to become better because you are just going to mess up again anyways. It is hard to ignore him, and often times we find that Satan echoes our own thoughts and self doubts. But. everything has its opposite, and as we have Satan on one side telling us evil things, we have the holy ghost on the other, telling us holy messages from our Heavenly father.
ELDER LAWRENCE Said
The atoning sacrifice of the Savior is what makes perfection or sanctification possible. We could never do it on our own, but God’s grace is sufficient to help us.
though sometimes it is hard for me to remember, I am grateful that Christ often is more forgiving and accepting of my sins than I am and that because of his sacrifice in Gethsemane I can be better. the atonement is for all. It is not only a gift that, with repentance, washes away our sins. but can provoke and encourage change.
Elder Lawrence goes on to tell of instances when he and other people asked Heavenly Father what they could be doing better and the answers they received.
I noticed that all the promptings that Elder Lawrence mentioned, such as
clean your room,
don't interrupt people,
keep the sabbath day holy
and clean up your language
are all small but important changes that will help to develop Christlike attributes.
as we implement the this concept from Elder Lawrence's talk, which is to simply ask the Lord what you can be doing better, we begin a process of change that will ultimately lead us closer to Christ.
Our ultimate goal here on earth,is to follow christ’s example and become perfect like him and our Heavenly Father. And through change in our hearts and Heavenly father's grace it is possible.I want to share a scripture with you that I often would come back to while I was preparing for my mission when I was feeling particularly inadequate.
Jacob 4:7 Nevertheless The Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.
Growing up I used to always hear grace explained in different ways that were complex and confusing and at times contradictory. It got to the point where I had no idea what grace was. Because every time I thought I knew. I would hear a new talk or a speaker say no, grace isn't “this’. its “this”. it was this big huge mystery to me that I that I felt I could never understand.. But I think I have kind of figure it out now, Grace, at least for me, means that When we try our best and still fall short his grace not only makes up for the things we lack, but it is what empowers us to try our best in the first place. He gets us there, and then helps us all the way to the end. In the Bible Dictionary under grace it says THrough grace of the Lord, individuals receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”
While Elder Lawrence talks about asking of God, he also mentions acting on the answers we are given. Which is the fundamental first step in our eternal progression. If we don’t act on our promptings there is really no point in getting promptings. Not only should we ask in faith, but we should also act in faith. He tells a story from the Bible that I want to share because I think it represents this idea perfectly.
Let’s consider the New Testament account of the rich young ruler. He was a righteous young man who was already keeping the Ten Commandments, but he wanted to become better. His goal was eternal life. When he met the Savior, he asked, “What lack I yet?”3 Jesus answered immediately, giving counsel that was intended specifically for the rich young man. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and … come and follow me.”
The young man was stunned; he had never considered such a sacrifice. He was humble enough to ask the Lord but not faithful enough to follow the divine counsel he was given.
Although many of the answers that are given to us in prayer may not make sense at first. They are events in our lives that Heavenly Father knows need to take place in order to become more like His Son. Heavenly Father has the eternal perspective that we lack, his plan for us is always the right one even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
In April as I was driving back to Logan after watching conference with my family and realizing I was supposed to serve a mission. I was thinking and planning out what the next steps for me were going to be, and I kind of started freaking out. even after my prayers had been answered I still thought to myself “ok well, do I really have to go?” and this is ridiculous but immediately this little part of JOSEPH SMITH HISTORY popped into my head. that I am sure you have all heard before .
It's from CHAPTER ONE VERSE 25
For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it,
In context he is saying this after he has expressed that others are persecuting him and trying to get him to take back what he said about his vision and calling him a liar
Now obviously I don’t claim that I have seen Heavenly Father or a vision or that people are calling me a liar.. But I do know he has answered my prayers. and I know what the answer is. And I think that the answers and promptings that we receive should be taken just as seriously as a Joseph Smiths. Because they come from God. and they are his will.
Heavenly father fought to give us our agency. it is all we have that we can call our own. To give it right back to him and say “I will do whatever you tell me to do” is one of the only real sacrifice we can make for him. We owe everything we are to Heavenly Father, he gave us everything, even his son. we are forever indebted to him, to give him our agency, seems like a small gift to him in comparison. But to him it is more than enough. I know if we do this, we and heavenly father will both be happier and life may go a little more smoothly.
when people ask me why I am serving a mission. I could probably name off 50 different reasons for why I decided to go. But the main and most important reason is that, it's because I know I am supposed to.
I know the plan of salvation is true. and I am grateful for it.
I see a lot of my family members here today. and I am grateful to know that I can be with them forever.
when you are the oldest kid your parents are always saying things like “you can't do this because if you do it then they will when they are your age” and telling you to be a good example.
so I hope I have done that.
I hope that through my example my siblings and anyone else knows that if lazy old Hannah, who complains all the time. Who loves to watch tv and nap and at the beginning of this whole thing didn’t know or understand anything about book of mormon. that if I can change and I can serve a mission that they can too.
I know that if we draw unto Heavenly father he can make our weaknesses strengths
I know the plan of salvation is the plan of happiness. And I am excited to teach people that families can be together forever. I know that this is church is true. and that joseph smith restored the gospel on earth today. I know that Heavenly father and Jesus love us and that he wept and died for us. I am grateful and forever indebted to Christ for his atoning of my sins. That because of him I have the power to change. I know that because of his enabling power I can return to my heavenly father and our loved ones again. I know that the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion, and through that power we can be on a course of steady improvement. I am grateful.
Posted by Colleen Madsen at 8:59 AM