Monday, November 13, 2017

"Hard is Good"

Hello,

This was an interesting week. I am taking lead in a new area for me and also training a new missionary. My companions name is Elder Peters. He is from Layton, Utah and is waiting for his visa to India. We are both in a weird situation at the moment, but we are just trying to do our best and build a good program for the area we are in.

Last Sunday, was a little crazy because we both gave a talk in first hour, then taught the Gospel Principles class in second hour, and then I was asked to sub for the lesson in Elders Quorum. We had to do something for each hour at church. It all went well though. My talk was about how my mission has strengthened my faith. At the end of it, I bore my testimony in Malagasy.  It almost felt like I was giving my homecoming talk. I hope my Malagasy does not get worse before I have the chance to bare my testimony in Malagasy for the real last time.

My mission feels a little hard at the moment. Whenever I have hard times or selfish thoughts I am reminded of things I have read or heard before. Today it is a talk from the latest General Conference entitled "Hard is Good". Hard things happen in our lives to strengthen us and make us better. We do not want to have hard times because they suck. But when they are over you are grateful for it and you are better for it. Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to cut us down, or "prune us when we are flourishing", so that we can grow stronger. I know that i will become a better person from the hard things I experience.  Thanks for your prayers.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen




parking lot transfers.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I will be Staying to Lead and Train

Hello,

This is the end of transfers for us here in California. I have been trying really hard to learn how to do things here in this mission and to learn the area. I just got transfer news that my two companions will be leaving the area but I will be staying to lead and train a new missionary here. It feels a little soon to me but I am hoping that it turns out good. I am also the designated driver now so that will be cool. Hopefully I don't crash and kill my new baby boy. My new companion is a "visa waiter" so I will train him until he is able to go.

Halloween was pretty fun. We ate pizza and watched Meet the Mormons at one of the Churches with all the missionaries.

Something I found pretty funny last week was when we visited a former investigator named Rose. When we got there her husband answered the door and told us that Rose was at the market. As we were leaving the house and walking down the street my companion noticed that she had driven passed us. We decided to turn around and go see her since she was just getting home. As soon as we turned, around her car swerved out of its main course up towards her driveway in order to keep driving straight. We went and sat in our car until she returned from the loop she made around the neighborhood just to avoid us. The things people will do to not talk about religion.

Here is a cool story that my sweet mom sent to me this week that I really liked.  It was in a talk given by Pres. Packer called The Candle of the Lord:

What Does Salt Taste Like?
I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”
He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”
When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.
Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)
When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”
I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)
Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”
“Of course I do,” was his reply.
“When did you taste salt last?”
“I just had dinner on the plane.”
“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.
He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”
“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?”
“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience—I know it as well as I know anything.”
“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”
After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”
“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”
After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”
As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”
From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)

I have been asked to give a talk in Church next week about Madagascar. No topic, they just want to hear about Madagascar. I will  try and talk about the spiritual stuff that happened. I will probably bare my testimony in Malagasy at the end.  That will be cool.

Love,
Elder Allen







"The typical Californian Rabbit"





Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Thank You from President Foote

November 2, 2017

Dear Parents,

We have witnessed many miracles in the past few weeks during the transfer of our missionaries to their new assignments.  We have to admit our heartstrings were being stretched as we bid farewell to these tremendous missionaries.  They will certainly be a blessing where ever they go.

We were directed to have the missionaries out of Madagascar in just four short days. This made it difficult for them as they were asked to follow specific instructions, such as not calling investigators or members to tell them they were leaving. We are grateful for their obedience and it helped to ensure their safe transfer.  We felt of your support and prayers as we moved forward with the departures.

We look forward to the day we will be back in Madagascar.  Please keep the wonderful people of Madagascar in your prayers as well as these devoted missionaries.  This will be an adjustment for them as they work to build and grow the gospel in other parts of the vineyard.

Thank you for sharing your sons and daughters with us. They have changed our lives.

May God bless your family and this marvelous missionary effort.

President Raymon D. Foote         Sister Foote

Madagascar Antananarivo Mission

Monday, October 30, 2017

Getting the Swing of Things but Still Hope to Go Back

Leaving Madagascar because of the Plague:
Warning sign about symptoms of the Plague

Goodbye lunch with Mada Missionaries.  



Saying goodbye to Elder Blatter. (MTC group)

Saying goodbye to Elder McCormick - good friend from MTC group

Elder Wilson at the mission home

Saying Goodbye to Elder Wilson, a very dear friend and companion



Last Day in Mada in the mission home

Plane in Mada

Getting on the plane in Mada

sitting alone in the Paris airport

Hello,

The mission here in California is very different but I am slowly getting in the swing of things. I still have a hope to get sent back to Madagascar though. I write my old mission President often and that is the goal as soon as it is possible.

The work here goes a lot different . Knocking doors is a whole new experience. American Culture is a little rude when it comes to visitors. People in Madagascar are a lot friendlier and enjoy talking to visitors.

Also, a lot of people do not understand what "No Soliciting" really means. We walked up to an open garage the other day and as soon as the man saw us he just says, "Oh don't bother me with that crap!" and then he walked inside. Another time we met a guy who did not believe in a God at all so I gave him a pamphlet and then encouraged him to try praying to God. He then asked me if I would try praying to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. I just told him that I would try if he would try praying
to God. He refused and then called me stupid... i am just trying to have fun with it.

1 Samuel 16:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Some cool things about working in California are the members. We are fed almost every night. Also a lot of people in the ward have cool jobs. My Bishop is one of the four original animators that works for Disney. He still does the old style drawing animation for them when it is used. He worked on Aladdin and Hercules. One of his kids as a baby was what he based baby Hercules off of. Another guy is an artist for shows like King of the Hill and Futurama. It was fun chatting with them about those things. I am still meeting the ward and hope to find more people with cool jobs and stories like that.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen




New Apartment and companions in California - Elder House and Bergeron

New apartment in California

dinner the first night in California with some members in the ward.  (This just so happened to be a friend of our cousin Taylor, so she sent Jenn this picture that night. One Jenn considers a TENDER MERCY!)


Trying on new clothes in California ???

Trunk of Treat with members - he looks very handsome in his new clothes 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Emotions - "Do you have the faith not to be saved?"

Hi,
 Just in case you haven't heard, the Bubonic Plague has gotten too bad for us to stay in Madagascar so the church evacuated the entire mission this week and reassigned us all to new missions.  I have been reassigned to the California, San Fernando Mission.  It is a temporary assignment, but I only have 9 months left so this may be where I finish my mission.  We all have hopes of possibly returning to Madagascar by February or March, but not sure that will happen.

This is my first real day in California. It has been a long flight coming from Mada to South Africa then to Paris and then coming from Salt Lake to California. It was hard to stop in Salt Lake. It felt like i was coming home, but instead of seeing my family, I had to get on a fourth flight to Cali. It has been a hard couple of days preparing to leave one of the greatest places in the world!!

We have had restrictions placed on us as missionary and we knew this could be a possibility, but we never really thought it would happen.  President Foote tried really hard to keep us there but keep us safe. He is an incredible man.

On Wednesday we were put on lock down, which meant we couldn't leave our apartment.

On Thursday we got the call that we were being evacuated and leaving Madagascar after being told not to leave the house for two days.  We were told to pack quickly and not to tell anyone we were leaving.  I packed up and then got taken straight to the airport on Thursday with my baggage. I ended up not getting on the plane though because I had an expired visa. They detained me until we could show proof I was legal in their country.  So I stayed in the mission home until Saturday.  Until then we just stayed in the mission office watching people leave little by little.  It was so hard.  Everyone was getting reassigned to new missions and having to evacuate.  Sister Foote was so sad, she felt like she was losing all of her kids. It was a sad experience and I do not recommend it.  Some people went to La Reunion with Pres. Foote, some went to Zambia, some went to South Africa, a few of us came to California, and some went to Arizona.  My trainee went to St. George.  Even though we are all over the world, the First Presidency said we will always be "Madagascar missionaries!"

I did not leave Madagascar until Saturday the 21st of October at 3:00.

I got to watch some movies on the long flights over to America. I am pretty caught up with movies now except I held off on Star Wars.  I am still adjusting to the new life style and culture here in California, it is literally the opposite of Mada. I will miss Madagascar a lot especially Pres. Foote. My new mission area is Solemint California that is apart of the San Fernando Mission. My companions are an Elder House and an Elder Bergeron. This morning I had to throw out some of my old beat up clothes and go buy some new ones. I got some new pants and shoes that the mission is going to pay for. My old ones were not acceptable, especially my gray shirts.

I am still pretty sad at the moment about the change. I had to just drop and leave all of my Investigators and members back in Ambohibao. I didn't get to say good bye.  I had a couple of families that were supposed to get baptized last Saturday but now they are not. I am not sure what happened when we didn't show up.  It all just kind of sucks. I hope as time goes on I will adapt more and find a purpose here in California.

I keep being reminded of the recent talk in the last General Conference that said, "Do you have the faith not to be saved?" Sometimes we pray for things that we want and when we do not get what we want our faith decreases. That talk was all about submitting yourself to Gods will and having the faith that whether you get what you prayed for or not God has a plan for you that is for your benefit. It makes me think about my faith in God's plan for me as a missionary. Whether I have the faith in his plan for me here in California or not. I prayed a lot to hopefully one day get to go back to Mada but I think i just need to have the faith not to be saved. I know God has a plan for me here. I will continue to work hard and hopefully one day find the reason that I came here.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen


My mom sent me these thoughts and it made me feel a little better.  These are thoughts from a dad of one of the Elders in my mission in Madagascar.  (Elder Snow's Dad) It helped me see a new perspective and realize that this needed to happen:

"Just random thoughts on all of this:  
(1) the Mada missionaries need to be encouraged to SYL (study your language) with each other as much as possible, especially with the newer elders who are going to be missing the language immersion experience they would usually get.  Some, if not all, of them WILL be returning to Madagascar and they'll need to be able to hit the ground running when they do.

(2) I think some people (myself included at first) thought this evacuation was premature. Then I thought about the disaster it would be if they waited until the situation was more serious.  Several neighboring countries were already talking about imposing restrictions on inbound travel from Madagascar.  How do you evacuate the missionaries once that happens? Also, the kinds of things missionaries do every day (going door-to-door, meeting and speaking with large numbers of strangers) are exactly the kinds of things you cannot do when you're dealing with an epidemic of a 100% fatal, airborne disease. And what if a missionary did get sick or even worse, helped spread the disease? As disappointed as we all are, it's pretty easy to see the wisdom in this decision. 

(3) The Lord has proven himself to be a master of backup plans, and he has one for this. All of those investigators and members will be provided for and we need to trust in him.  He KNEW this would happen and the pieces are in place for the work to go forward and the elect will not be lost. 

(4) Our sons are capable and strong young men who are going through this because the Lord knows they can handle it. It's tough, but part of the mission experience is to find out what you're capable of doing in partnership with the Lord.  This is one of those great unique opportunities. 

(5) Everyone needs to read Elder Bednar's talk from the April 2017 Priesthood Session of General Conference https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/called-to-the-work?lang=eng. It's been quoted below, and it's perfectly inspired, comforting, and timely."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Meeting President & Sister Henrie

Dear Brother and Sister Allen,
Elder Allen arrived today in the Great California San Fernando Mission.  President Henrie and I are excited he is here.  Elder Allen has received his companion and has been assigned to his first area.  All is well.  We look forward to serving with your son as we join with him in the great purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ.
In addition, we would invite you to follow the Great California San Fernando Mission on our Facebook page.  You can find us on Facebook at CASF Mission 2015-2018.  Check in often to see pictures of our mission activities.
Thank you for raising a righteous son who is willing to consecrate himself to serving the Lord.  We will take good care of him.
Love,                                                                                                                                                                                
Sister Henrie


New Address

Hello Elder and Sister Allen,
This is Sister Wilson from the CFSM office. It was great to see your son, Elder Allen last night.  He looked great considering all he has been through.

Our mission is a driving/bike mission.  We need a DMV record for him.  If you could get that and either email or mail it to our office that would be very helpful.  Also we have temporarily provided a bike for him.  If he could buy a helmet and bike lock that would be helpful as well.

If you have any questions please contact me at our mission office.
661-288-1614

23504 Lyons Ave Suite 107
Santa Clarita, CA 91321

Thank you,
Sister Wilson

A Surprise and Much Needed Text

Text sent to Jenn from a member in the Paris airport


Not sure if you got the email, but here is the message from your son again just in case. -  

Hi Mom this is your boy Elder Allen. I met some nice members who are letting me use their phone to contact you. I am being transferred to California and I should be calling you guys when I get there. I love you guys.


He is taking it well, he was happy and ready for his next adventure. He was very disappointed to leave the families he was working with and the mission. He was very hopeful of returning maybe by March. We met him at the Paris airport, he had been traveling for a couple of days and they weren’t allowed to tell anyone they were leaving. He had 10 people scheduled to be baptized yesterday and he has no idea what happened with their baptism. He was flying to SLC and then he thought his mission would be San Fernando. Got to go we are on our next flight. Wish you the best. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Evacuating


Pictures from President and Sister Foote







New Temporary Call

Scott and Jenn,

I found this resource on the bishop’s online tool for Sam’s new mission.  These provide some good detail of the new mission boundaries.

Bishop Bain





Temporary Assignment

This is a copy of his temporary reassignment that we received from Bishop on Friday Oct. 20
Subject: Temporary Assignment: Allen, Samuel Tucker #583438
Please see the attached notice below concerning changes for the following missionary:

Missionary: Allen, Samuel Tucker 
Missionary Type: Elder 
Missionary ID: #583438 
Action: Temporary Assignment


Called to the Work

A recent Conference Talk sent to Sam from Mom



Called to the Work
By Elder David A. Bednar
Of the Quorum of the Twelve ApostlesAn assignment to labor in a specific

An assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.
President Monson, we are thrilled to hear your voice and to receive your instruction. We love you, we sustain you, and we ever pray for you.

I pray for the assistance of the Holy Ghost as we consider together principles pertaining to the great work of preaching the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

Called to Serve and Assigned to Labor

Every year tens of thousands of young men and young women, and many senior couples, eagerly anticipate receiving a special letter from Salt Lake City. The content of the letter affects forever the person to whom it is addressed, as well as family members and a great number of other people. Upon arrival, the envelope may be opened neatly and patiently or ripped apart excitedly and with great haste. Reading this special letter is an experience never to be forgotten.

The letter is signed by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the first two sentences read as follows: “You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the ______ Mission.”

Please note that the first sentence is a call to serve as a full-time missionary in the Lord’s restored Church. The second sentence indicates an assignment to labor in a specific place and mission. The important distinction expressed in these two sentences is essential for all of us to understand.

In the culture of the Church, we often talk of being called to serve in a country such as Argentina, Poland, Korea, or the United States. But a missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve. As the Lord declared through the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1829, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.”

Each mission call and assignment, or a later reassignment, is the result of revelation through the Lord’s servants. A call to the work comes from God through the President of the Church. An assignment to one of the more than 400 missions presently operating around the world comes from God through a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, acting with the authorization of the Lord’s living prophet. The spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attend all mission calls and assignments.

Section 80 of the Doctrine and Covenants is a record of a mission call to Stephen Burnett extended by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1832. Studying this call to Brother Burnett can help us to (1) understand more clearly the distinction between being “called to the work” as a missionary and “assigned to labor” in a particular place and (2) appreciate more completely our individual and divinely appointed responsibility to proclaim the gospel.

Verse 1 of this section is a call to serve: “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Stephen Burnett: Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice.”3

Interestingly, verse 2 informs Brother Burnett about his assigned missionary companion: “And inasmuch as you desire a companion, I will give unto you my servant Eden Smith.”

Verse 3 indicates where these two missionaries are to labor: “Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.”5

I do not believe that the phrase “it mattereth not” as used by the Lord in this scripture suggests that He does not care where His servants labor. In fact, He cares deeply. But because the work of preaching the gospel is the Lord’s work, He inspires, guides, and directs His authorized servants. As missionaries strive to be ever more worthy and capable instruments in His hands and do their best to fulfill faithfully their duties, then with His help they “cannot go amiss”—wherever they serve. Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.

The next verse highlights important qualifications for all missionaries: “Therefore, declare the things which ye have heard, and verily believe, and know to be true.”6

The final verse reminds Brother Burnett and all of us from whom a call to serve truly comes: “Behold, this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Overcoming Misunderstanding

Some of you may be asking yourselves why I have chosen to discuss in a priesthood session of general conference this seemingly obvious distinction between being called to the work and assigned to labor. My answer to this question is quite straightforward: my experience has taught me that these principles are not well understood by many members of the Church.

The single greatest reason for addressing this matter is what I have learned over time about the concern, the worry, and even the guilt felt by many missionaries who for various reasons were reassigned to a different field of labor during their time of service. Such reassignments sometimes are necessary because of events and circumstances such as physical accidents and injuries, delays and challenges in obtaining visas, political instability, creating and staffing new missions, or the evolving and ever-changing needs around the world in the work of proclaiming the gospel.8

When a missionary is reassigned to a different field of labor, the process is precisely the same as for the initial assignment. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve seek inspiration and guidance in making all such reassignments.

I recently spoke with a faithful man who shared with me the deepest feelings of his heart. In a meeting, I had just explained the difference between being called to the work and assigned to labor. This good brother shook my hand and with tears in his eyes said to me, “The things you helped me learn today have lifted a burden from my shoulders that I have carried for more than 30 years. As a young missionary, I was initially assigned to a field of labor in South America. But I was unable to obtain a visa, so my assignment was changed to the United States. All these years I have wondered why I was unable to serve in the place to which I had been called. Now I know I was called to the work and not to a place. I cannot tell you how much this understanding has helped me.”

My heart ached for this good man. As I have taught these basic principles throughout the world, countless individuals have expressed privately to me the same sentiment as the man I just described. I am addressing this subject today because not a single member of this Church should carry an unnecessary burden of misunderstanding, uncertainty, anguish, or guilt about an assignment to labor.

“Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.”9 As you ponder the words of this scripture and open your heart, I hope and pray you will invite the Holy Ghost to carry deep into your soul the understanding, the healing, and the restoring you may need.

One additional reason I have felt impressed to discuss this topic is my personal experience assigning missionaries over many years. For the Twelve, nothing affirms the reality of ongoing latter-day revelation more powerfully than seeking to discern the Lord’s will as we fulfill our responsibility to assign missionaries to their respective fields of labor. I witness that the Savior knows and is mindful of each of us one by one and name by name.

Preparing for a Call to the Work

I now want to discuss briefly a fundamental but frequently overlooked aspect of preparing for a call to the work.

Three interrelated words define a pattern of preparation and progression for sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. Sometimes as parents, friends, and Church members, we focus so extensively upon missionary preparation for young men that we may neglect to a degree the other vital steps along the covenant pathway that must be fulfilled before beginning full-time missionary service. Working as a missionary certainly is one but not the only important building block in the process of creating a strong foundation for a lifetime of spiritual growth and service. Priesthood and temple blessings, both of which precede arriving in an assigned field of labor, also are necessary to fortify and strengthen us spiritually throughout our entire lives.

Young men, as you fulfill your duties in and honor the Aaronic Priesthood, or lesser priesthood, you are preparing to receive and magnify the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood, or higher priesthood.10 Personal worthiness is the single most important requirement for receiving the higher priesthood. A lifetime of selfless priesthood service lies before you. Prepare now by frequently rendering meaningful service. Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.

After receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood and a call to serve, a young man can be armed with power11 through the covenants and ordinances of the holy temple. Going to the temple and having the spirit of the temple go through you precedes effective service as a full-time missionary. Personal worthiness is the single most important requirement for receiving the blessings of the temple for you young men and for all members of the Church. As you live in accordance with gospel standards, you can enter the house of the Lord and participate in sacred ordinances throughout your teenage years. Your love for and understanding of temple ordinances will strengthen and bless you throughout your life. Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.

Many young men and young women already hold a current limited-use temple recommend. As Aaronic Priesthood holders, you are finding your own family names and performing baptisms and confirmations for your family members in the temple. Maintaining your temple recommend demonstrates your worthiness, and serving others in the temple is an important part of preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Young men, each of you is a missionary now. All around you, every day, are friends and neighbors “who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”12 As you are directed by the Spirit, you can share a thought, an invitation, a text or tweet that will introduce your friends to the truths of the restored gospel. You need not and should not wait for your official call to become anxiously engaged in missionary work.

As priesthood, temple, and mission blessings are gathered “together in one … in Christ”13 and synergistically interact in the heart, mind, and soul of a young missionary, he can qualify for the work.14 His capacity is increased to fulfill the responsibility to represent authoritatively the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritually potent combination of honoring priesthood and temple covenants, receiving “the power of godliness”15 through priesthood ordinances,16 serving selflessly, and proclaiming the everlasting gospel to God’s children enables a young man to become “firm and steadfast in the faith”17 and “rooted and built up in [Christ].”18

In our homes and at church, we should give balanced emphasis to all three elements of the Lord’s pattern of preparation and progression for faithful sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. All three require us to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.

Promise and Testimony

My beloved brethren, I promise that the spiritual gift of revelation will attend your call to the work of proclaiming the gospel and your assignment to a specific field or fields of labor. As you diligently prepare now through selfless priesthood and temple service, your witness of the Lord’s living reality will be strengthened. Love for Him and His work will fill your heart. As you learn to love being worthy, you will become a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord to bless and serve many people.

Joyfully, I witness that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, live. To be engaged in Their service is one of the greatest blessings we can ever receive. I so testify in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mormon Missionaries Evacuate SLTRIB

Mormon Missionaries Evacuated because of Madagascar Plague

An outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague has forced evacuation of nearly 80 Mormon missionaries from the southeastern African island nation of Madagascar.
LDS Church officials stressed Thursday that the evacuation was precautionary and that none of the missionaries had shown signs of the deadly disease.
“Missionaries serving on the island of Madagascar are in the process of being transferred out of this area or temporarily reassigned to other missions,” the Utah-based faith stated in a news release.
The evacuation involved only Mormon missionaries on the main island, not those serving on the islands of Mauritius and Reunion, which administratively are also within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Madagascar Antananarivo Mission.
Of the 79 evacuated missionaries, 69 will be either relocated or reassigned to yet-to-be-determined missions. Ten missionaries near the end of their service will return home.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our missionaries is our top priority,” the statement noted. “ In recent weeks, measures have been taken to reduce risk to missionaries, including providing them with prescription medication to help prevent plague and asking them to remain in their apartments.”
Missionaries’ families have been kept apprised of the situation. It was not immediately known if any of them were from Utah.
According to the World Health Organization, as of Tuesday 849 suspected or confirmed plague cases had been reported in Madagascar. Nearly 40 health care workers treating the sick also had contracted plague since the outbreak was first noted Aug. 1.
Sixty-seven people had died from the disease, WHO reported.
Madagascar is well-acquainted with plague. WHO officials say the usual pattern is for cases to spike between September and April along the island’s rural plateau. this latest outbreak broke into urban areas, including the capital, Antananarivo, and the port of Toamasina.
The LDS Church currently lists 11,340 members and 39 congregations in Madagascar, a nation of 23 million people. It was not known Thursday morning if any of them had become infected with or died from plague, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said.

LDS Church fortunes have gone through cycles of both growth and stagnation in Madagascar, according to independent Mormon demographics researcher Matthew Martinich, and currently conversions are in a “slow phase.”
“Growth in Madagascar has really ebbed and flowed since the church was established there initially about 25 years ago,” he said Thursday. “At times, growth has been among the most rapid the church has seen in Africa and, at times, it’s been among the slowest.”
Martinich added that “political instability, poverty, converts joining the church for secondary gain and leadership development have been major challenges for growth.”


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