I noticed this the other day and thought that I would post a blog entry about it. 3C stands for a number of things to me. As most of you know, I was originally assigned to the Mongolian Ulaanbaatar mission. 3C is the Mongolian version of 'CTR.' 3C actually stands for Зөв Сонголт which means 'choose the right'. Anyway, the other day I was looking at all of the missionaries' cars and noticed something cool. The number and letter for the cars originating from the county of Billings is 3C. Somehow there is yet another connection between Mongolia and Montana.
In one of our last zone conferences we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Allan Packer of the Seventy. Elder Packer talked a lot about how we were specifically assigned here to the Montana Billings Mission. He had me stand and talked to me with his back facing the audience for a good three minutes about how even reassignments were inspired and that I was in the right place. It was very awesome and I am glad to say that Montana is the place that I am supposed to be. This reminded me of the 3rd verse of the song in the LDS Hymn book 'I'll go where you want me to go' which reads:
There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I’ll be what you want me to be.
I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I’ll be what you want me to be.
The Lord always has a plan for us, we may not see the whole picture at once, but I know that he has the best in mind for us. Nothing happens by chance and everything happens for a reason. Let us do our best wherever we are 'called to serve.'
So I had a dream last night to look up "Twas the Night Before Christmas lds version" and put it on my blog. Kind of a random thought, but it is a nice poem, so here it is:
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
With thoughts of St. Nicholas and what he'd bring there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
Without a moment of bowing their heads.
The scriptures were thrown on the shelves without care.
Little hope of remembering the precious words there.
And I with the tinsel and Ma with the lights
Had prepared for Christmas with no thoughts of Christ.
We had snowmen and elves and of course Santa Claus.
We thought we had decorated without any flaws.
For weeks we'd prepared with lots of traditions,
Cards of course and so much work in the kitchen.
We'd been to parties galore all dressed up in frills
And spent hours at stores to get the best deals
The lights on the house were all flashing with fun
Lots of presents under the tree; we thought we were done.
We thought not of the needy, nor help to a stranger,
We thought not of the poor, and not of a manger.
No angels were singing in our house that night
We hadn't invited them so none were in sight.
The real spirit of Christmas was absent as well.
For only Christ's spirit will make our hearts swell.
And I wondered that Christmas how it could be
That the Christmas spirit wasn't stronger in me
Why Christmas didn't seem as it was in the past
Why Christmas just came and went by very fast.
When out of my wondering mind did appear.
Some scriptures I'd learned as a child so dear. Luke 2:4-7.
Of a loving kind Father who gave His own Son John 3:16
God saw all our needs and chose Christ as the one. Abraham 3:27
Christ has the power to serve us so well
Healing the things that can lead to spiritual jail
I could change if I wanted with eyes that could see
"Come Follow Me," was His only plea.
I decided to change and begged forgiveness please
And asked how to serve Him while down on my knees
Serve others and do it as if unto Him
Was the answer I heard in the sound of a hymn
I rushed from my bed and I got scriptures for all.
So we could start Christmas just right after all.
So Christmas day we planed for the months yet to come
Of people we'd serve and we talked of the fun
Now Angels are singing in our home today
We finally invited them to come our way.
And Christmas is lasting the whole long year through,
With scriptures, prayer and devotion His spirit grew.
Today I thought that it would be fitting to study about the birth of the Savior since we're so close to the day that we celebrate his birth. My all time favorite scripture about his birth is found in the chapter that tells of his birth. Luke 2:11 says: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." This is what the angel said to the Shepard's that were watching their flocks. I thought that their response was interesting, it says that as soon as this happened they said one to another: "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:15-16 I highlighted the words with haste and Let us now because this showed their willingness to act on the marvelous invitation they had just received as well as the eagerness to follow. How many of us would drop everything we're doing to come unto Christ? I think that the Shepard's provided a great example to us and that we should be willing to give up all that we have to follow Christ, especially during this Christmas season. May you all have a very Merry Christmas and remember the reason for the season!
Today we had the chance to work at a food bank in Butte. It was fun to put into action the principle of service that we were reminded of at our zone conference. We did several odd jobs like sweeping the floor, stacking pallets, and breaking down boxes, but the job that we all enjoyed the most was helping the people get food into their cars. There was something in their eyes that you could tell they were tired and in need of assistance and it was neat to help them out. We also enjoyed talking with the man in charge of the bank because he was a great guy. You could tell by the way he acted that he was a great guy and really cared for these people. The whole time we were working with these volunteers there was a great spirit of service there. Everyone was eager to help out in any way that they could. With all of the evil in the world today, it was nice to see people working together for others with cheerful hearts. Service gives back to you more than you put into it. I know this principle to be true and received a wonderful feeling for helping others today.
In the last zone conference post I talked about one of the solutions we came up for overcoming the winter blues. Another solution that was suggested was to do missionary work or service to others. There are many people in this world that could use a little service. As missionaries we find opportunities all around us and often have to decide which people to help. Service comes in a variety of forms and can be as simple as smiling at someone or holding a door open. In the scriptures it talks about how when we serve our fellow men, we serve God Mosiah 2:17. When we serve God or our fellow men we qualify for extra blessings if we do the service with a good attitude. Just like it says in Mosiah 2:9, this is one of the mysteries of God. You would think that the person we are serving is being blessed, and they are, but we are also blessed as a result of serving them. The Christmas season is the perfect time to watch out for those in need and provide service for them. Not only will they be blessed by your service, but you in turn will be blessed. Part of having the spirit of Christmas is having the spirit of service. This will also help pull you from the winter blues as you focus on others and not yourself. Christ gave us the perfect example of service. His whole life was filled in the service of His people. The greatest act of service was performed by Him and I am so grateful for His sacrifice. As a gift to Him who is mighty to save, let us serve one another this Christmas season.
Yesterday we had our zone conference up in Helena with all of the other missionaries. The theme of the conference was having a Christ Centered Christmas and some other topics. One of the topics we discussed as missionaries was the winter blues and how to overcome them. It seems that the holiday season is a time for a lot of happiness with some and severe depression with others. As we discussed it we talked about different ways to overcome these feelings, not only during this time of the year, but year round. The first solution we talked about was being exactly obedient. As missionaries, we have a lot of rules that help us to be better in tune with the spirit. The same applies to everyone that follows the commandments that God has given us. Elder Mervyn B. Arnold relates the following story about his wife when she was younger and how she learned a valuable lesson about keeping the rules:
“When I was 15 years old, I often felt that there were too many rules and commandments. I wasn’t sure that a normal, fun-loving teenager could enjoy life with so many restrictions. Furthermore, the many hours spent working on my father’s ranch were seriously dipping into my time with my friends.
“This particular summer, one of my jobs was to ensure that the cows grazing on the mountain pasture did not break through the fence and get into the wheat field. A cow grazing on the growing wheat can bloat, causing suffocation and death. One cow in particular was always trying to stick her head through the fence. One morning, as I was riding my horse along the fence line checking on the cattle, I found that the cow had broken through the fence and gotten into the wheat field. To my dismay, I realized that she had been eating wheat for quite some time because she was already bloated and looked much like a balloon. I thought, ‘You stupid cow! That fence was there to protect you, yet you broke through it and you have eaten so much wheat that your life is in danger.’
“I raced back to the farmhouse to get my dad. However, when we returned, I found her lying dead on the ground. I was saddened by the loss of that cow. We had provided her with a beautiful mountain pasture to graze in and a fence to keep her away from the dangerous wheat, yet she foolishly broke through the fence and caused her own death.
“As I thought about the role of the fence, I realized that it was a protection, just as the commandments and my parents’ rules were a protection. The commandments and rules were for my own good. I realized that obedience to the commandments could save me from physical and spiritual death. That enlightenment was a pivotal point in my life.”
Not only do we have rules for our protection, but they also give us an added measure of the spirit of God. It seems backwards to say that keeping the rules makes us free, but it is true. If you really think about it, what happens if you break the rules? When you're caught you get in trouble and your freedoms are limited. Keeping the commandments has been such a blessing in my life and I have been given more opportunities for doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I no longer look at rules and commandments as hindrances, but another way to obtain blessings. I love all of the commandments and invite you all to do the same. You'll find that you'll have more happiness, freedom, and peace of mind. I know this principle is true and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today for my studies, I read about the different names that Christ has in the Bible Dictionary. He is known by so many different names and they all have a specific meaning and purpose. Jesus was a pretty common name back then* and meant 'God is Help' or 'Savior.' Christ means the 'Annointed' in Greek and Aramaic as well as the 'Messiah' in Hebrew. Some of the more used names include: Immanuel, Messiah, and the Anointed One.
Immanuel means 'God with Us' and is a sign of God's deliverance. It signifies that Christ as God will be born into mortality of a virgin and will be among the people to save and redeem them.
Messiah means the anointed and is used as the title of an office, it denotes the King and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting. Many Jews, as we learn from the Gospels, were looking only for a deliverer from the Roman power and for greater national prosperity; so when the Messiah came, the nation as a whole rejected him.
Jesus is spoken of as the Christ and the Messiah, which means he is the one anointed of the Father to be his personal representative in all things pertaining to the salvation of mankind.
There are many, many more and they all have a purpose as I said before. My favorite reference to his different names is found in Isaiah 9:6 which says: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Recently the church has had a big push on the internet. I've listed some websites that they have really put a lot of effort into and that I have enjoyed visiting. One of them is called Mormon messages, it is a great missionary tool for our friends as well as for our own benefit. For our preparation day we were able to view a lot of the videos and enjoyed them a lot. -Mormon Messages
We also were able to watch some of the mormon.org profile videos and those were inspirational as well. Mormon.org has come out with about 40 new videos featuring different people who are mormon and their story.
-Mormon.org The church has also come out with a new layout for their homepage. It is more user friendly and has an improved search engine which I personally like a lot better than the old one. -LDS.org In closing I would like to share one last link to a talk from Elder M. Russel Ballard. He talks about sharing the gospel online and talks about the benefits for doing so. The internet has been used for evil long enough, it's time we use it for the purpose it was given to us: to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. -Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet
Today for my studies about Jesus Christ I looked up the different references in the Topical Guide under Jesus Christ, Mission of. It caught my eye, because I'm on a mission and I thought about how my mission and the Savior's mission are similar in ways. Some of the parts of the Savior's mission include that he was to:
-Swallow up death in victory(Isaiah 25:8).
-Save His people from their sins(Matthew 1:21).
-Fulfill all righteousness(Matthew 3:15).
-Reign over the House of Jacob(Luke 1:33).
-Heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, recover sight, set at liberty them that are bruised. And to preach the acceptable year of the Lord(Luke 4:18).
-Save the world(John 12:47).
-Publish Peace(Mosiah 12:21).
-Redeem His people(Mosiah 15:1).
-Satisfy... justice(Mosiah 15:9).
-Atoneth for the sins of the world(Alma 42:15).
-Bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man(Moses 1:39).
I am so grateful for the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am also thankful to be one of His representatives at this time and helping Him fulfill His purpose. Each of us has own mission and plan for our lives. Each one is different, but equally important in God's eyes. I bear you my testimony that Jesus is our Redeemer and only through Him we can have eternal life.
Today I studied the references found in the Topical Guide under Jesus Christ, Light of the World. There are many references to Jesus being the light of the world. Psalms 27:1, John 9:5, etc. The more I read about him being the light of the world, the more I thought about what this means. Light Illuminates our paths, makes darkness flee, and helps others to see the way as well. A couple of scriptures that helped me to realize this are found in John 8:12 which says that he is the light and Matthew 5:14-16 which says that we are the light of the world. Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world and we are able to see our path back home to our Heavenly Father because of him. We too can be lights in the world and let our examples shine to others. One more scripture that I love is when Thomas asks the Lord how they can know the way when Christ if gone. Jesus responds and says I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). I love this analogy and have a better understanding of what the scriptures mean. I am glad that I am able to be a light to the world in these times of darkness. I am also glad to follow the path shown by the master who made it possible.
Our mission president has recently asked us to study the over 18 pages of references to our Saviour Jesus Christ in anticipation of our upcoming zone conference. It has been great to have time to study about the Redeemer of the world as we approach this Christmas season. Most recently I have looked up the different verses that talk about the coming of Christ and there are a lot of them. Here is what I have found:
-Jesus Christ is the bread of life and this was shown as early as in the days of Moses with the Manna that was fed to the Children of Israel. This is found in Exodus 16:11-15 as well as in John 6:48-58.
-Jesus Christ is the Rock of our Salvation as well as the living water. When Moses smote the rock in the wilderness this was symbolic of when Christ was beaten. Jesus also provides us of the living water that "springs up into everlasting life." This is found in Exodus 17:5-6 as well as in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.
-Just as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent, Jesus Christ was to be lifted up on the cross to bear the sins of the world. This is one of the most symbolic references and is applied in a lot of scriptures and other church material. In this month's (December 2010: Modern-day Fiery Serpents) issue of the Ensign it talks about the modern day serpents that plague our world. All we have to do is look to Christ in these perilous times to find the answer to our concerns. Having faith in Christ and his Atonement and truly repenting of our sins is the only way we are able to overcome spiritual death. I also like how this is referenced in John 3:14-17 as I had never made that connection before.
I am so blessed in my life to have the knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This knowledge has given me hope in my life as well as a willingness to always improve myself so that I can one day return with honor to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as well as my family. I love the work that I am involved in and love the people of Montana and Wyoming.