Thursday, April 28, 2016

You know how you are supposed to liken yourselves in the scriptures - well it happened the other day.  
We had finished a very long day of teaching and it was now dark but we still had to make the long drive home.  After driving the straight roadway we turned into a city proper.  The streets were so crowded with people standing all over, tricycles and colorful jeepneys blasting loud music, and glaring streetlights blinded our vision.  We were dodging for our safe travel every minute.
We had to focus very hard to get safely through town and back onto the straight road to home.  I told Theron I felt like I had just lived through Lehi's dream.

I am so thankful for the scriptures and what we learn about the trials we may be confronted with.  The scriptures prepare us to handle these challenges with faith and courage. I can say as Nephi did  "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them".

Friday, April 22, 2016

Elder Anderson - Then and Now

In 1970 I was called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for two years.  I was called to the England North Mission which has since been split into two, the England Leeds and England Manchester missions.
I loved serving the people of England as I now love serving the people of the Philippines.   Cathy and I are assigned to Self-Reliance Services / PEF and are helping many to realize the blessings that God has for them as they work to become self-reliant.  While each of us have specific assignments our ultimate purpose as stated in Preach My Gospel is to Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive 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.
These principles were the same in 1970 as a 19 year old in England as they are today in the Philippines more than 40 years later. 
Why do we do this?  Because we know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His son and that he Atoned for our sins and for all the pain we have in this mortal life.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God along with the Bible they each testify of Jesus Christ.  This is why we do what we do.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Forgotten Wedges

In 1970, while serving as a 19 year old missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I first heard this story retold by President Spencer W. Kimball, then an Apostle in the church.

It touched my young heart in many ways and I have never forgotten it.  It was written by Samuel T. Whitman.

"Forgotten wedges"

"The ice storm wasn't generally destructive. True, a few wires came down, and there was a sudden jump in accidents along the highway. Walking out of doors became unpleasant and difficult. It was disagreeable weather, but it was not serious. Normally, the big walnut tree could easily have borne the weight that formed on its spreading limbs. It was the iron wedge in its heart that caused the damage.

"The story of the iron wedge began years ago when the white-haired farmer was a lad on his father's homestead. The sawmill had then only recently been moved from the valley, and the settlers were still finding tools and odd pieces of equipment scattered about . . .

"On this particular day, it was a faller's wedge—wide, flat, and heavy, a foot or more long, and splayed from mighty poundings. The path from the south pasture did not pass the woodshed; and, because he was already late for dinner, the lad laid the wedge . . . between the limbs of the young walnut tree his father had planted near the front gate. He would take the wedge to the shed right after dinner, or sometime when he was going that way.

"He truly meant to, but he never did. It was there between the limbs, a little tight, when he attained his manhood. It was there, now firmly gripped, when he married and took over his father's farm. It was half grown over on the day the threshing crew ate dinner under the tree . . . Grown in and healed over, the wedge was still in the tree the winter the ice storm came.

"In the chill silence of that wintry night, with the mist like rain sifting down and freezing where it fell, one of the three major limbs split away from the trunk and crashed to the ground. This so unbalanced the remainder of the top that it, too, split apart and went down. When the storm was over, not a twig of the once-proud tree remained.

"Early the next morning, the farmer went out to mourn his loss. 'Wouldn't have had that happen for a thousand dollars,' he said. 'Prettiest tree in the valley, that was.'

"Then, his eyes caught sight of something in the splintered ruin. 'The wedge,' he muttered reproachfully.

'The wedge I found in the south pasture.' A glance told him why the tree had fallen. Growing edge-up in the trunk, the wedge had prevented the limb fibers from knitting together as they should."

We all have wedges in our lives, we all have things that we plan to fix tomorrow.  Wedges that we plan to put away in the woodshed next time we pass that way.  The fact is, if we are going to make changes in our lives we have to do it deliberately, consciously, not just when we are going that way.

it is the same with self-reliance.  President Packer said, "Things that don't change, stay the same."  if you are not being successful in becoming self-reliant, it is time to start changing some things.  Take your situation to Heavenly Father in prayer and tell him what you are doing, what you are thinking of changing and ask for his guidance.  Then take time to listen before you get off your knees.  This is a process so be patient and work hard.  You will be blessed.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Count your Blessings

Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Air conditioner, room fan, lights, electricity.  We will have them all again tomorrow.  Good things come to those who wait.  We are without any power today from 1:00p to 10:00p.  At least we were warned. 

We attended church at a different ward thinking they were away from the outage area.  The power went off precisely at 1:00 as the meeting was starting.  They asked Theron to speak for a few minutes after the testimonies of the two new bishop councilors.  He gave a nice talk on sustaining callings.  He took less than ten minutes and when he was through the Stake President said "I thought you would talk longer so I have not arranged for another speaker".  

President Terceno covered the last 30 minutes. He told a story of a man that was working very hard to move a large stone and his friend asked him if he had used his full strength and all his power to accomplish what he needed to do.  He answered yes and then his friend said you have not because you have not asked for my help.  I like how that relates to everything we do.  It is a great visiting teaching, home teaching lesson.  Our Heavenly Father promises to provide a way for us to accomplish everything we need to do. He does not come personally to stand by our side to help, but does it through the help of our family, friends and leaders...even at times through the help of a stranger.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Self-Reliance Services / PEF

Self-Reliance Services / PEF

What does this title mean?  When Cathy and I received our mission call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the Philippines, Urdaneta Mission we were thrilled.  Our letter from President Thomas S Monson told us that we were assigned to Self-Reliance Services for 18 months. 

Today marks the end of 11 months of service.  It is hard to comprehend how time can go by so fast.  We love the Philippines.  We REALLY LOVE the people here.  We have made so many friends, they are so kind and so teachable.  We love self-reliance services.

Cathy and I were both raised by parents who taught us to work for our maintenance.  There was no allowance in our lives.  If we needed money, we had to find a way to earn it.  I remember helping a neighbor one day with his irrigation.  I did not do it for money, I loved playing in the water and it was fun to help him.  I remember how thrilled i was when we were done and he handed me two shinny quarters and told me thank you.  I was very young and yet my self-worth was increased so much by that 50 cent payment.

Because of the way we were raised by "goodly" parents, when we got married and started our own family we followed the same principles.  We planted and harvested a garden each year.  We canned the tomatoes and other vegetables grown during the summer for use during the winter months.  Cathy sewed for our family so when money was tight our children were still well dressed for church and school.  When something broke, we fixed it ourselves.  

We learned to avoid debt and always paid our tithes and offerings and tried to put a little money away in savings.  These financial principles allowed us to leave our home and business and serve a mission when we received the call.

Many people asked us what we were going to be doing on our mission.  They asked us about self-reliance and we tried our best to explain.  Since being in the Philippines we have found countless opportunities to serve in ways that we had not imagined. Link to News Story about Self-Reliance on KSL TV

This is a news story that aired on KSL in Utah last week.  It tells the remarkable story of the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) since it's announcement by President Gordon B Hinckley 15 years ago.  It tells where the program is today and how Self-Reliance Services is helping people around the world escape the bonds of poverty.  You will not regret spending 45 minutes watching this.

We pray daily thanking our Father in Heaven for the opportunities he has given us to serve in the Philippines.  As I said, we love the people so much and we know that these principles have blessed many and will continue to bless those who are willing to exercise their Faith through action.  We are blessed to witness miracles daily.  We pray that we might be the answer to someones prayer each day as we serve Him with all our heart, mind and strength.