It’s been a tough week. I have done a lot of studying and pondering this week after hearing of Dakota’s tragedy accident. I have become more comfortable with the events of last weekend. The following are some of the things I have learned and received strength from this week:
I have been reading from the book “The Gateway We Call Death” by Russell M Nelson. He explains that no matter when people die in this life, whether young or old, people still have the same emotions. There is never a time in life when it is easy to let go of those we love.
Since I have been on my mission my testimony has grown a lot and I have begun to understand more of the “why.” The “why” is answered by Robert Millett in his talk “God and Human Tragedy.” It’s because we live in the fallen world with death and tragedy and we must accept that. Death is more of a part of this world than life. We live to die basically, and we die (physically) to live for eternity. Live to die and die to live!
The better question for us to ask is “What are we going to do about it?” “What are we to learn from this at this time right now?” In the book “The Other Side of Heaven” is talks about how sometimes the Lord allows people to die. Because He gives us agency and He can’t give us agency but then keep us safe, as well, if we break the laws of nature or the limits of life. There is no promise we will live through it. So sometimes God allows people to die. And He takes special spirits back home to Him early as if to spare them from hard trials that they may have faced later on in life.
Another great talk by Richard G Scott in the April 2012 Conference. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/how-to-obtain-revelation-and-inspiration-for-your-personal-life?lang=eng
Excerpt from that talk--Another example of revelation is this guidance given to President Joseph F. Smith: “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We cannot forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we cannot break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.” Relationships can be strengthened through the veil with people we know and love. That is done by our determined effort to continually do what is right. We can strengthen our relationship with the departed individual we love by recognizing that the separation is temporary and that covenants made in the temple are eternal. When consistently obeyed, such covenants assure the eternal realization of the promises inherent in them.
And a couple of scriptures I found this week.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
From a book I read this last week it talked about how succor means: to give comfort and support in times of hardship and distress. And it is conditional upon us turning to Him. We must turn to Him to receive the comforting.
“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.
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.”
The Lord didn’t deliver them out of their bondage, but He strengthened them in their bondage. He isn’t going to deliver us from our pains, but He will lighted them and strengthen us as we turn to Him and accept the things as they are and pray for help in the trials we are going through. The Lord asks us to come unto Him, because He knows the way. He is the way, the truth and the light. And this life has two paths- we either believe in Him or we don’t! And it’s a whole lot easier to believe in Him and to receive help in our trials.
As for missionary work this week. We have worked and worked. But not had a lot of success in following through with some of our investigators. Had a couple cancel out on appointments and such. We are continuing to try and work with them as best we can. Didn’t have a lot of success with the Bible classes this week either- again only the missionaries showed up for the class. We were able to do some service one afternoon at the local charity shop and for a family in the area. Love doing service.
The farms in the area are doing really good. The potatoes are up now and you can see them from the road. They have a unique irrigation system. It’s a 200 gpm end gun on a platform with wheels. They run the 3 inch mainline and hook it to a 2 inch hose on a reel to get to the platform. Some of the grain is starting to head out, I think the winter variety. The beets are getting huge, you can see a solid green line from the road. It’s super crazy the time difference in crops from here to home. You are talking about just having beets planted and they are already starting to cultivate some here.
The weather’s been really nice. We were able to go golfing today with one of the guys in the ward. It was fun!
We did have Stake Conference this weekend and it was very good. There were a couple of talks on keeping eternal perspective. Like glasses when we have the glasses, or eternal perspective, things are more clear and you understand more. But when you don’t have the glasses, or the eternal perspective, you don’t understand anything. You can’t make sense of things and you become confused and mad. I really loved that analogy.
I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ. That we will be able to see our loved ones again. That we will be able to receive much peace and joy as we accept things and lean on our Savior to receive comfort and strength in our afflictions. He will not deliver us out of our afflictions, but strengthen us in them. I know that there is a life after death, where all that had been made wrong, will be made right in the next life. That relationships are continued on the other side of the veil and we are able to strengthen them even while we are separated for a short amount of time.
Love, Elder Stevenson