Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Called to Serve

One year ago today, a member of the Quorum or the 12 Apostles pulled up my mission application and said a very significant prayer. He knew that my life would be dramatically changed by the people I would meet in the mission field. One year ago today, an Apostle of the Lord prayerfully decided to send me here, to the Washington DC North Mission. Three short months later I was stepping off a plane to meet a place I would soon call home. (: I know that Heavenly Father calls us to serve where He needs us to be, when we need to be there. Most of you know it took me quiet a while to decide about a mission, but I have never been more sure that the Lords timing was essential. 

Have you ever wondered how they assign us to a specific mission? This is a talk given by Elder Rasband of the Quorm or the seventy. He was invited to join Elder Eyring in assigning mission calls and he recalls his experience here:
"First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day. 
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?” 
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary. 
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor. 
From others of the Twelve, I have learned that this general method is typical each week as Apostles of the Lord assign scores of missionaries to serve throughout the world. 
Having served as a missionary in my own country in the Eastern States Mission a number of years ago, I was deeply moved by this experience. Also, having served as a mission president, I was grateful for a further witness in my heart that the missionaries I had received in New York City were sent to me by revelation. 
After assigning a few missionaries, Elder Eyring turned to me as he pondered one particular missionary and said, “So, Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” I was startled! I quietly suggested to Elder Eyring that I did not know and that I did not know I could know! He looked at me directly and simply said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention and you too can know!” With that, I pulled my chair a little closer to Elder Eyring and the computer screen, and I did pay much closer attention! 
A couple of other times as the process moved along, Elder Eyring would turn to me and say, “Well, Brother Rasband, where do you feel this missionary should go?” I would name a particular mission, and Elder Eyring would look at me thoughtfully and say, “No, that’s not it!” He would then continue to assign the missionaries where he had felt prompted. 
As we were nearing the completion of that assignment meeting, a picture of a certain missionary appeared on the screen. I had the strongest prompting, the strongest of the morning, that the missionary we had before us was to be assigned to Japan. I did not know that Elder Eyring was going to ask me on this one, but amazingly he did. I rather tentatively and humbly said to him, “Japan?” Elder Eyring responded immediately, “Yes, let’s go there.” And up on the computer screen the missions of Japan appeared. I instantly knew that the missionary was to go to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Elder Eyring did not ask me the exact name of the mission, but he did assign that missionary to the Japan Sapporo Mission.
Privately in my heart I was deeply touched and sincerely grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience the prompting to know where that missionary should go.
At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants."

For the full talk.

It is touching to me, to know that this was how I was assigned to the Washington DC North mission. I know that Heavenly Father knows me perfectly. He also knows the people here in Washington DC. I know I am called here by and through the power of modern day revelation and I am so grateful for that.


How have you felt Gods love for you? Have you ever felt that he guided you somewhere?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How Did You First Hear About the Book of Mormon?

If you know know I'm not a big reader. It was something I struggled with as a child and didn't really enjoy later in life because of that. However, some of my earliest memories were reading out of the Book of Mormon. We would gather as a family, and take turns reading every three verses. My dad would lay on the ground and I would sit on his back. I leaned over his shoulder as he whispered the words in my ears so that I could read when it was my turn. Even now, whenever we are together as a family, we read.. taking turns, every three verses. Now, I don't have to have my dad whisper the words in my ears and its much more than an opportunity to spend time as a family. Its become a great source of spiritual strength. With the birth of Lilly last week, the majority of my family is in Utah together and I got a pretty special note from my mom in her email this week.

"We read 2Ne13 when we  had Kas with us on Saturday night.  Always warms my heart when we get to read scriptures together.  I love hearing what impressed each person." She then sent me a list of things she remembered learning while sitting with my family and discussing the things that she learned with them.

Its always neat to have the chance to learn and grow as a family. I'm grateful to my parents for introducing The Book of Mormon to me at an early age. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seeking the Light of the Gospel

It's interesting that my studies today have been based on the revelation. I don't know why it comes back to that same subject but when I got on it came up again.

The question, "is it just me or is it the Spirit?" I love the Lord. I love His apostles. Elder Bednar gave this talk 3 years ago. I remember it well. I had been seeking to  better understand the Spirit all semester. My religion professor gave us a challenge to pick a subject and seek inspiration daily about this topic in our scripture study. This was my chosen topic: how can I know the Spirit is talking to me?

Everyday I would get little piece of information about how the Spirit worked with me then when conference came around the same principle applied, seek knowledge that relates to your topic. That very conference Elder Bednar devoted an entire talk to this principle entitled, "The Spirit of Revelation." It answered every question I had and more. He talked about the different levels of light and while I don't have time to explain it in detail I highly recommend you read it!! (: Each of you.

Really, who hasn't had this question at one time or another? Am I just making it up or is this the Spirit prompting me?  

Shortly after that talk was given, Elder Bednar did some more interviews that show small clips of him explaining the different aspects of this talk. This is the one I watched today: The Role of the Holy Ghost.
Again, I highly recommend you watch it. It really just is a good reminder.

"Why would the Lord send and angel when the Holy Spirit can bring into remembrance the angel voice of your mother?" 

 I know He lives. I know He loves, comforts and guides us in our day to day lives. We are His children. As Our Father he wants to hear from us daily. He is the Light and the Life.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Light

This last month we were able to experience the Festival of Lights. It's really a rather rare opportunity spending time in a Visitors Center.

We are surrounded by the support and love of Senior Couple Missionaries as well as our fellow Sisters. The forty of shared this experience, to support in hard times as well as rejoicing in the miracles.

There was one day, I was on exchanges with our wonderful Japanese sister, she of course, is the only one around that speaks fluent Japanese. As we were on shift, another sister came up and told us that there was a young girl visiting the US as an exchange student from Japan. While we went over to talk to her and her host family, she got the chance to talk to this girl who had been away from home for a little over a month or so. It was such an experience. I stood there and watched them communicate, obviously not able to understand their conversation but what I witnessed was remarkable. This sweet daughter of God had been in such a foreign land with no contact to anyone and little ability to communicate her feelings. As she talked to Sister Nakatska, her eyes welled with tears. We sat downstairs with her and cried a little bit just seeing this sweet miracle that she was able to talk to someone who had been in her shoes not to many years before. I talked to Sister Nakatska a little about their conversation. She just said she knew how the girl felt, to be far from home, to be alone. She said "I just shared my testimony" but I know it was more than just the words, that young girl felt the love of her Savior that night.

Its all we can give, to be an ear, to be a heart, to love, to serve. To do what our Savior would do if he "were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent [us]." Our call as missionaries, to learn, to love, to support to serve. To be witnesses of our Savior in word and in deed.

Friday, November 29, 2013

For me, and for you!

We were talking with some of the missionaries in our ward and the question came up "What is the motivation for missionary work? Why do we do it?" Everyone knows that serving a mission isn't easy, so why stay?

Upon further discussion, one of the Elders asked, "what do you think of when you think of the word 'Atonement?'"

Each of us came up with different responses. Forgiveness. Love. Acceptance. Mercy.

When it was my turn to respond the words "for me" came to mind. The Atonement is for me. I need it.

I need forgiveness. I need to repent--daily. Forgiveness if for me. Christ loved me enough to take on my sins. My pain. My suffering. It was personal. It was intimate. It was for me. The Atonement showed Christ's love for me. The Atonement is there for me to accept. The Atonement provided mercy for me.

The Atonement is as much for me as it is for you. It's there for you to accept, to feel loved, to feel forgiven and to be wrapped in the arms of mercy. It's there for you whether you choose to accept it or not. It can relieve pain. It can heal hearts. It can mend relationships. I can testify of that. I have felt it, I know its power. It's for me, its for YOU

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Fortify and Strengthen the land"

I know I promised to write more about the Plan of Salvation and I will.

But today, I want to share something that I learned in my scripture study. A couple days ago I was reading and I ended up skipping a couple pages that "I didn't really want to read." Then today I was reading and I got up to take a call and when I came back the pages had turned back to those few that I had skipped. So "fine...I'll read them" haha!

Anyways. It was Alma 48. Its not like its bad or anything, I'm sure there are many people who would say this is one of their favorite passages of scripture. The Title of Liberty etc. Its great, don't get me wrong, I just didn't feel like reading about it at the time.

So anyways, now that I'm being called to repentance I decide to read through it. A couple things stuck out. The first thing being in verse 9:

 "And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites." (Alma 48:9)
Clearly its talking about war, but I think its interesting to note that he says they "place[ed] the greater number of men" in the weakest places which strengthened them.  In our own lives, we have those "weaker places" and that is where we have the most need for putting "more people" or stronger defenses. There's not as much need to put an army behind a strongly built wall, but maybe our walls have some weaker places and we need to start strengthening those areas first.

I have started to find some pretty big gaps in my wall but I know that those things can be over come because we all have our "red foxes."  (look forward to reading a post next week titled: Red Foxes)

I wouldn't be a missionary if I didn't invite you to act! Sooo, I invite you each to think about your 'wall' what are your weaker spots and how can you fortify them?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Plan for Us All

Every time we're walking on the streets I look in peoples faces and they know why they're here? Do they know what their purpose is on Earth?

For those who don't know, I apologize. It never occurred to me before that this was knowledge that I had been so deeply blessed by. However, knowing this information is what gives me purpose and meaning in life. So, for the next few weeks I'm going to talk more about this. To begin, this is a brief overview of what we refer to as the Plan of Salvation.
Life Before
Before this life, we lived with God. We were his spirit children. That is why we often refer to him as our Heavenly Father. While we were there, we learned of his plan for us, or the Plan of Salvation. This plan included the opportunity to have a body, to learn from our own experiences Those who agreed to this plan came to Earth to have this opportunity.

Life on Earth
When we came to this Earth, we knew it would mean forgetting our time in per-mortal life  and being out of God's presence but Heavenly Father still gave us the opportunity to feel His light. The light we feel helps us to know good from bad, right from wrong. Additionally this light helps us to recognize truth. This allows him to help us a little in our choices to give us some guidance and direction.  Making choices means we also make mistakes. Heavenly Father He knew this would happen and so he provided a Savior, even Jesus Christ. Christ came to the Earth, and through his Atonement or sacrifice, we can be forgiven.

Life After Death
When we die, our spirits are temporarily separated from our our mortal bodies. We go to a waiting period where we have additional opportunities to learn and to teach. Everyone will have an equal opportunity to learn about Christ and to accept His gospel. Then we will be Resurrected, just like Christ was. Our bodies and our Spirits will be reunited and we will be judged according to our deeds.
I know God lives. I know He allowed us to come to this Earth. I know that through Christ we can be forgiven and live with God again.