Saturday, March 8, 2014

On The Path With No Destination

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day; it was about 45 degrees outside and the sun was shining. I decided to dust off the bike and go for a ride. I had about an hour and a half until my next plans so I thought I would ride out for 45 minutes on the Provo River and Murdock Canal Trails. As I was crossing over from one trail to the other I saw a group of scouts (I am assuming) taking a picture, so I stopped and offered to take the picture so that the leader could be in it as well. I asked them where they were headed, and then they asked me the same question. I told them I wasn't sure I was just riding the trail until my time was up.

As I continued riding I began to think to myself and process what I had just said. Then what to me was a profound thought came to my mind. We don't have to know the destination to know we are on the right path. It was a beautiful day and I was enjoying the relaxing ride with the amazing views around me. What more did I need? I didn't need to know where I would end up, just that I had a goal to keep going and to enjoy the ride. And enjoy the ride I did.

Then came the analogy to my life. Up until last week I had thought that I knew what I was supposed to do over the next 5 or 10 years in regards to school and a career. Since last week I have been questioning all of those plans and feel like maybe I am supposed to do something else, something quiet different from my plans. **Side note for those interested: I was planning on getting a master's in social work and being a therapist. Now I am thinking about getting a PhD in criminal psychology and working in law enforcement.** I have been really confused and am not sure what to do. Today it hit me that I do not need to know, all I need to know is that I am on right path, which I believe I am. As I continue on that path the destination will become more clear, eventually. 

Back to my ride, at one point the trail was under construction so there were signs for a detour. Although it was not the original path I had planned on, it got me to where I needed to go. I know that it is the same with our lives. Hang on, pedal your heart out, and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All Things Denote There is a God

This morning, being a little bit stressed, I had the feeling like I should go for a walk. So I did. I ended up walking by the chapel in town and decided to stop. I sat on the picnic bench in the back and just pondered. I looked at the beauties around me and couldn't help but think of God's love.
 Then as the feeling of stress entered my mind yet again, I began to pray out loud to God while sitting here on this picnic bench. I had the feeling to simply thank Him for my many blessings. The trees, the sun, the cool breeze.
I continued to thank him for my family, and for the opportunities to grow that he sends to me and trusts me with. Peace filled my mind and I knew that He was close by, listening to me and watching over me. I know that everything will work out because He is in the details of my life. Being filled with love, peace and gratitude; I got up to leave, took some pictures around the church and then as I began to walk away felt like I needed to write this post here and now. So I came back to the picnic bench, and thanks to the technology that I have with me today, I began to type.



I know God lives and loves each of us. I know He watches over us all. When we take the time to pause and "Be still and know that I am God" He will enlighten us and fill us with His love. (Psalms 46:10) We can then realize as Alma did that "all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it." (Alma 30:44) I challenge you to think about your blessings and how you have seen God in your life and then write it down!

He loves you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Most Precious of Gifts

Christmas has come and past, what was the most precious gift you received?

Christmas time is a wonderful time of year to be remember the birth of Christ, be together as a family, share good times, good food, and good gifts. The world has commercialized the Christmas holiday, it seems to be, whoever gets the biggest gift is the best off and the most loved. People spend countless hours trying to think of and find the "best" gift to give. Giving gifts, especially at Christmas time is not a bad thing, we just must always remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Serving a mission has been a wonderful tool for me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, and not so much on receiving gifts. I am hundreds of miles away from home and away from my loved ones, but I am doing the best work that I could ever do, spreading the name of Christ, and His true gospel throughout all the world, or at least here in Tennessee. I had the opportunity to ponder on the birth, life and sacrifice of our Lord, and the impact it has had on me, thousands of years later. It has been such a blessing. However, I still did receive gifts from my family. I would like to share with you the most precious gift I received.

A few days before Christmas I got several letters, that on the back was written, "Do not open until Christmas." So I patiently waited. Christmas morning I went for them first. The first one that I opened was from Grandpa and Grandma Reed. Inside was a card, with 3 pieces of folded paper inside. As I pulled out the paper I saw a hand written note from my Grandpa, I started to read his shaky handwriting, and realized that it was his testimony. As I fought back the tears, I devoured every word, then quickly read Grandma's and energetically opened the other two letters. Which were the testimonies of some of my siblings. It was so great. Tuesday after Christmas, I got letters from the rest of my family, each containing their personal testimonies! Simple... Yes! The most precious gift they could have given... Yes! I know that my family loves me and that they have a firm testimony in and of our Savior!!


I loved this Christmas time to focus more on the humble birth of our Savior, but now that it is past and the new year has begun, we don't have to stop focusing on and thinking about the role that Christ plays in our lives! He is my Savior, I know that he loves me and that He gave all, even His life, so that I can return to live with Him again!! I know He lives!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dying For Happiness: Changing Lives


"You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23), but they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). The gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fulfill their deepest desires." (Preach My Gospel, p. 1)

Missionary work is a work of changing lives. There are so many people who are searching for more in their lives, and this gospel is the place to find it. It is our duty as missionaries to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them recieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel, p. 1) Many lives are changed when a person leaves the comfort of their home to help others come closer to Christ.

I would like to focus on the lives of three main groups that are changed through someone serving a mission. The missionary, the missionary's family, and those whom the missionary teaches.


The Missionary
One returned missionary had the following to say about his mission,
Serving a mission changed my life. I came to understand more clearly my relationship with Heavenly Father. My testimony grew, and the significance of the work, of bringing souls to Jesus Christ, became eternally impressed on my mind and heart.

What is most dear to me now that I have completed my mission is the promise I made to God that I would endure to the end. I remember my mission president’s words as a group of us were soon to be released. He said he wanted us to stay worthy so we could all be together again in heaven someday. I have thought of this challenge often, especially during times of trial.

My heart is filled with gratitude. I am grateful that God has protected me and provided me with learning experiences. Many of these experiences were surprising and unexpected, but they all have stretched me into becoming more like the servant of the Lord I so much want to be. (Wang Shu-chuan
The mission definitely has an effect on you. I have changed and learned a lot on my mission. I have learned how to love people, even people that I have never met before and never seen since, I have loved them. And those people that I have loved have made such a big difference in my life, and I have learned so much from them.

I have also learned a lot about myself, and how to handle myself and my many problems. I have gained more of a trust in God and allowing him to help me with even the simple trials and difficulties in life. And greatest of all, (which may seem the most simple) I have learned that God really LOVES me, and all of us, His children, here on this earth. And that He is always there. He is ALWAYS there for us. It is us who turns from Him! I have gained a greater love for my Father in Heaven, a love that I will strive to carry for the rest of my life!


The Family
My Brother Richard, said that having a sibling on a mission has effected him in the following way.
[It] makes you think more about being a better member missionary and to take the time to have missionaries over for dinner or to go out with them more often since that is what I would hope and expect of the families where [my brother is] serving. It is difficult to pray that [he] will have success without including the members as part of that success, thus we need to be involved in our own wards so that [he] can receive those blessings.
I have heard of many changes that have come to the lives of the families of those who serve missions. Ben Truman and Jason Deere say it well in their song "In a Letter Home."
I've made mistakes you know that left me broken and I've scarred the hearts of mom and dad, but this prodigal son is doing things he's never done as I pray for mercy with all I have. Down on my knees I 'm finding answers. How could I have known? In a letter home you'd save me how did you know that I just wasn't right. You gave me the strength to break free from thousands of miles, you saved my life in a letter home... I 'm finding courage in your faith in me, and you need to know I feel your prayers. Over and over I read your words as they soften this heart of stone...That love's the thing that always mattered most, that Jesus really died to save me. Two years in a foreign land, how'd you know that you would find the most desperate man in a letter home?
I know that when I was younger and my older brothers served their missions that it had an effect on me and the man and missionary that I am now.



The Investigator
The gospel heals wounds and changes lives. It has that effect on any one who allows it into their lives. Here is a great example from a woman that I have a great love for.
I want to tell you how I came from searching for the Truth since I was a teenager. I've been to almost every denomination you can think of. At 14, I knew I was in the wrong church. At 16, when I started driving, I would church hop. Sometimes I would enter a church building and the people were very friendly but that's as far as it went. I also felt like an outsider at some and even though I yearned to be part of their service, it was too clickish and I was ignored. I'd even begged members of these different churches to study with me, but to no avail. I felt like I was traveling in a foreign country where I didn't understand their language. I never would give up though and off I'd go to yet another church. Nothing changed after I was married. We both ended up church hopping. We had children and we drug them with us. That is until one day.... We had a yard sale 6 months ago and up rode two little Elder fellers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on their bicycles. They were so kind and they asked if we had any ties for sale. My husband actually went into his personal stash and let 'em pick through it. They offered to come back and help us clean up after the sale was over. We were dumbfounded but said it was okay but I didn't think they would show. We couldn't believe they actually showed back up! We had an amazing discussion and they invited us to their church service. Of course we said yes because remember we were church hoppers. We hadn't even gotten out of our car the first Sunday morning before somebody came rushing over to welcome us. Wow! I figured it was probably a fluke but no, it was a continuous stream of welcomes. I'll admit, the service was slightly different than any other church I'd been to. It was amazing! I was a sponge and soaked up every smile, handshake, and spiritual lesson. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I didn't want it to end! My heart melted when I went into this class called Relief Society and I was intoduced as a "Sister". Why is that such a big deal you ask? Well, at other churches, it was explained to me that since I wasn't a part of their church, I couldn't be called a sister. I have to tell you at this point, I knew in my heart that my search was over. How did I know this? Every time the Elders would come and teach me, I understood and believed every word. It has been so natural for me. I've been studying with little Elder fellers for almost six months. I have new Elders now that are studying with me and......... I am getting baptized this Sat! WooHoo!!!!! I am just "giddy" and I can't hardly contain myself. I can't wait to "bury" my old self and become new when I come up outa that water. Oh.....I cannot wait to receive the Holy Ghost after. Spiritually. I am the happiest I've ever been. So...... The moral of this story is: Don't lose hope and don't give up. Keep searching for the Truth and you will find it....at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well, that's my Testimony and I'm sticking to it. I write these words in the name of Jesus the Christ, and amen.
Since Darla wrote this she, as well as her three children,  have been baptized and confirmed. They all have a glow about themselves. Oh how the true gospel can change someone's life.

Missions change the lives of all involved, the missionary, their family, and those they teach. My mission has changed my life and I will be forever grateful to God for the opportunity to serve and to grow and change.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dying for Happiness: The Mission Process





Going on a mission is a process, there is a lot of preparation involved, but every second of that preparation is worth it!

Of course the preparation for a mission begins from a young age, in primary, like with singing the songs, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission," and "We'll Bring the World His Truth." Also, gaining a testimony of the gospel was a large part of the preparation for a mission. For the purposes of this post, I will talk about the preparation right before going on a mission. However, I do not want to minimize the importance of having the desire to serve, and having the knowledge and strength in order to do so. For anyone who is planning on going on a mission, or should be planning to go on a mission, start now. Start now to prepare, to learn how to study the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, how to get answers to your prayer, and how to follow the Spirit. All things that you will treasure on your mission. And start right now by gaining a testimony of this great gospel for yourself! The promise of Moroni is not exclusive to certain people. "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5) We all can and all must receive a personal witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

On the Album, "The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries" Brother Jason Deere wrote a wonderful song about gaining a personal witness of the truthfulness of the gospel before serving a mission. The song begins about how he knows that everyone expects him to serve, and that is great, "But I still need to ask, just for me, I'm down on my knees, asking my Father above to hear my plea. Can I have a witness just before I do this? Let my soul acquire its humble desire, let my heart burn like fire, once more before I leave."


God will answer your prayers, he has answered millions of people's prayers, he has answered mine, and he will answer yours. Ask Him!!

For me, the preparation leading up to submitting my papers started as I went to speech therapy, with Dr. Susca (See Trial of My Life Part 2.) I had to learn how to talk again, so that I would be able to serve a mission. Once I got to BYU I met with my Bishop there and than began the paper work process, which included much typing and filling out all of the information that the Church requested. And then of course all of the dentistry and medical work that needed to get done. Then finally after a few interviews those papers got sent in. And I waited...

And waited. Those two weeks were some of the longest two weeks ever. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I went to Rexburg Idaho to spend Thanksgiving with my brother, his wife and our grandparents. And of course, it came while I was in Idaho. So it sat in my apartment until Saturday afternoon when I finally got back to my apartment. Not long after, that letter was ripped open, and read to a few friends that were there with me, and to my family over the phone. "Dear Elder Jordan Lyman Dye, you are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you are assigned to labor in the... Tennessee Nashville Mission."
So I had the call, now what? My first thought, was that is not in a foreign country, and then, where is that, and oh, I like country music. To be perfectly honest, Tennessee is not what I expected by any means, and I especially didn't expect to go English when all of my brothers went Spanish. I was a little disappointed. The next day was Sunday, and church was great. As I sit in Sacrament meeting while the priesthood passes the bread and water I read my patriarchal blessing, and that day, I had a special experience. As I got to the section that talks about me serving a full-time mission it felt as if the paper said that I was supposed to go to Nashville Tennessee. I knew at that moment that the calling to Nashville English speaking was of God, and that it was where I was supposed to be. Since then I have had many experience that have confirmed that I was called of God to be here!

Then, from that moment I needed to make sure that I stayed pure and strong so that I would be ready to represent the Lord in Nashville! After returning home from school, I was endowed in the temple. The nearest temple to us back home is an hour and a half away, a blessing, but I was worried that I would not be able to attend very often before I went on my mission. Thanks to a close friend, that worry was taken away. He owns his own business and he was able to leave work early once a week so that we could go to the temple together. That was such a special experience, that I cherish so much, even to this day. We had the opportunity to have good conversations about life and the gospel on our car rides and to be blessed and uplifted by our service in the temple! The temple is a special place and I am so grateful for the blessings and strength that I received there to stay strong and be prepared to serve my mission.



The Sunday before I left I gave a talk in church, then that night I was set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Then off to the Missionary Training Center. Wednesday morning my parents took me to the airport in Modesto California where I then flew to Salt Lake City Utah, my roommates from BYU picked me up from the airport and took me to the MTC in Provo and the missionary experience began.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Come Listen to a Prophets Voice

"Twice a year, modern-day prophets and apostles gather at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, to speak the words of the Lord. " (1)



General conference only comes twice a year, and this weekend is it!!!!! I am so excited for conference!!!!

So what is general conference anyways?

General conference is a time when we get to listen to a prophets voice! Conference is five different sessions spread across two days. The sessions include, "Messages... given by the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and general officers of the Church." (2)



"The messages, which are broadcast to the world, are prepared under the guidance of the Holy Ghost and are directed to every person, in every country, in every circumstance. Everyone has something to gain from general conference, according to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He says that with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, each individual participating in the conference is entitled to personal revelation. 'If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you,' Elder Holland says."(1

Conference is a time where we get to gather as friends and families to hear the sacred words from the prophet and apostles. It is a time of peace love, revelation, instruction and introspection. Conference is especially exciting while on my mission! My companion describes it as the super bowl for missionaries!! It definitely is exciting now, but it has been exciting in the past as well. I remember in April of 2009 my priests quorum made the trek to Salt Lake for the conference! It was a wonderful experience. We had the opportunity to see the sites of the area, and prepare to hear the prophets voice!




It was special to be there in person, however I remember for many years growing up watching conference in the church building, and while at BYU watching it on a laptop in my living room with my roommates! No matter where we have the opportunity to watch, whether it be at the conference center, in a church building, or in our own home, we can feel the spirit of the conference! 

Just as the people in 3 Nephi 11 who, "While they were thus conversing one with another... heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard... And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not. And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard."

The third time, they understood the voice, because they opened "their ears to hear it and their eyes were towards the sound thereof." So it is with general conference this weekend. We can hear the words of these great men and women that will speak to us, but if our ears are not opened and if our focus is not on them and the spirit we will not understand the things that God wants to tell us!!!

There is a God and he loves each and every one of us. He has something to tell us this weekend no matter who we are or the background we came from, or the position we are no in! I know that is true! I have seen in over and over at conference time, when I open my ears to hear, and my eyes to see!

You can watch conference at a church building near you, or online at lds.org.

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dying For Happiness: Happiness Can Be Found

Happiness can be found in our lives! I know that is true, I found it in my life and I know that you can find it in yours as well! I was able to go from discouragement and despair to happiness and hope, and so can you!!!



 Elder Wirthlin talked about four ways that can help us find happiness in our lives. We can learn to laugh, seek for the eternal, understand the principle of compensation, and trust in the Father and the Son.

  • Learn to Laugh
     There are times in our lives where we just simply don't feel like laughing. We are sad or hurt, and by golly we are going to stay that way! How wrong. Attitude is a choice, and when we learn to have a good attitude about our circumstances, whether they be good or bad we will better be able to endure through and overcome our trials! This was demonstrated in my last two posts, (see Trial of my Life Part 1 and 2) as I was negative about my stutter and angry at the world, things got worse, not better. However, when I decided to change my attitude things improved and got easier! It was hard to laugh, but I was able to learn to make light of some negative situations in my life. When people would tease me, I would laugh with them, which often would catch them off guard, but it made it easier for me to handle it! After stuttering severely while reading out loud in class, I began to smile and chuckle rather than put my head down and beat myself up inside! This happiness helped me to make the change with more ease!

  • Seek for the Eternal
    Elder Paul V. Johnson said, "[Trials] are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature. If we handle these afflictions properly, they will be consecrated for our gain" (1) All of the trials and afflictions in our lives happen for a reason. There is something that we can learn from each of them that will prepare us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Seeking for the eternal in the midst of our trials makes a large difference. Just as Joseph Smith, we must remember that, "thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high." (D&C 121:7-8) And, "that all these things shall give thee experience,and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"(D&C 122:7-8) Christ truly has descended below everything that we will ever go through, and is therefore qualified to help us on any and every trial we go through! Seeking for the eternal is a huge help in being happy, because we are able to see that there is purpose in life and there is a purpose for our trials! This principle helped pull me through, because I knew that there was more. I knew that I was more than just some kid who couldn't speak like everyone else. I knew that God knew who I was, that he loved me, and that he had a plan for me!!! As I sought for the eternal, I was able to see past the cloud of darkness and see the light of Christ's love shining on the path that I was supposed to travel on!

  • Understand the Principle of Compensation
    "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way." (2) In the case of Job, "the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10) The Lord will compensate us for our loses and sacrifices, He will also do it in his own way. We will receive the things that really matter most, which are not always what we think we need or deserve in the moment! I was compensated for my trial! I did not receive flawless speech like I thought I needed and deserved, but I gained peace, humility, patience, love, and understanding through my trial. And since then I have received so much more, one of which is that my stutter is now manageable! The Lord does compensate us through our trials. The blessings may not come in the moment, but they will come!
     
  • Trust in the Father and the Son
    "I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 36:3) Trusting in God plays a big role in finding happiness through trials. We must trust that this trial will actually be for our good, and that we will actually be able to over come it and grow from it! Our heavenly Father Knows us and loves us and we must trust him that he will do with our lives what we need. He can see all things, many things that we cannot see at the time. I had no idea at the time of my trial in High School that I would be on a mission and find several people who I could immediately relate to because they also had a stutter. I had to trust that God knew what He was doing when he put this trial on me, and I had to trust that he would help me through it, which he did!!! "The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in. He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong." (2) I know without a doubt that we are loved! God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ loves each and every one of us. They love me, and they love you! Trust in them, and they will help you!!!

"I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it. As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, 'Come what may, and love it.'” (2)

I know that these things are true, and I know that these four principles can help us be happy and love life, no matter what happens! I know that applying these things can be hard at times, but I know that they help and that we can be happy in the midst of our trials. I saw it in my own life, and I know that it can happen in yours!

As we turn to Christ and his Gospel Happiness Can Be Found!