Monday, June 18, 2012

Brightly Beams Our Father`s Mercy

Dearest Friends & Family,
I've thought a lot this week about the fact that all of us in our lives are sending messages. Even if you chose to be silent you can't help but sending a message. The way you dress, the way you cut your hair, the expression on your face, the way you eat your food, use your words, etc, create the sum total of your message. I have decided that I want my life to be a message. I don't want it to be mine however; I hope that when people reminisce my memory that it is said "his message was Jesus". The promise has been given that if we speak under inspiration (which only comes after studying and living His words) than our words can be His words; I in He and He in I; what a thought! The thought also occurred to me this week that you cannot leave this life without serving someone, consider it; we cannot serve two masters; so at all moments we are serving one or the other. Besides the obvious feeling that comes when we are serving the Masters, there are a few ways we can know for sure just exactly who we are serving; Where are our feet? Do we stand in Holy Places? Who are my friends? Do they move me closer to the source of light or further away into the darkness? What drives us? Do we move about the day trying to accomplish vain ambitions? Are seeking to serve ourselves or our use others to accomplish our purposes and meet our needs? What do we think about? Where do your thoughts go on a silent ride or when your head hits the pillow? We are what we think about and we serve our selected master with our thoughts. Lastly, what do we care about? Consider the pride and the crafts of men; Think to yourself for a second, what does the world care about? Recognition, materialism, all whims of the flesh.Then ask and ponder, what does God care about? Moses 1:39 reads, "For behold, This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". That scripture speaks to me as to what He really cares about. Isn't it comforting to know that the Father takes interest in us; that He loves us; so much so He was willing to send Hid Son to suffer the world and men in it? My hope is that we will say what the Lord wants us to say, do what He wants us to do and be what He wants us to be. It is a sobering thought when you realize the most loving thing you can ever ask them to do is repent; to do so is another way of saying "your my brother or sister, I loved you then, I love you now and I want to love hereafter, else I wouldn't bother". My friends and family I love you. Jesus is the way, lets not kid ourselves or let "ol' scratch" have his way with us. Think, say and do what is most important and may our lives be our message.
Stepping down from my soap box now ;) It was a great week here in Ohio. I love Elder Metcalf so much. He and I do work together. There is a little flame getting lit underneath everybody in the ward right now and it is so exciting to see. They are all getting so enthused about missionary work and it has been because of the very small and simple things we have practiced. It is amazing how people become naturally interested when you are passionate about something. We found a great Part-Member family this week who had been less active previously. The marriage is pretty much in shambles in fact the wife asked fora divorce on Monday and we called asking if we could come by on Tuesday. Tuesday we met with the husband only and discussed his situation. I was so surprised how much he trusted us; he had a sense we cared and knew it was no coincidence that we contacted hm in such a timely manner. He has now been to church two weeks in a row with his entire family, including the wife. He told us that the spirit has been working on him so hard that he wants to prepare to baptize his 10 year old daughter. Her name is Heather and she is a little cutie, we taught her for the first time this week and she can't wait to get baptized. Kids have been shocking me as of late with how smart they are . We had one 9year old girl in the ward that we role played with who then went on to share the Book of Mormon with her friend on the school buss with ease; kids are such a great example, they get it! We are really excited to work with this family. As we left the first appointment the spirit impressed to me as to exactly what the problem was and I resolved to be candid with this man next time we met. As we talked this last week the impression was spot on and we identified where his marriage has been failing. It was so good to be able to relate to this man and offer the proper advice to repent; there are no coincidences in this work. The priesthood is real. Revelation is a real and will guide you if you are willing to obey it. I can't tell you how much I have come to value to the promptings of the spirit. Don't delay them; they may just save a life! Two nights ago we had a lesson on Missionary work with David and Danielle which was incredible. David juts broke down crying as he described his anxiousness to share the gospel with his friends and being frustrated by not having the words to say. We vowed to him we would give him the tools and we would teach the basics; we also suggested he didn't have to say anything, just hand them over to us ;) Man, life is good. I am completely lost in the work! I know I am because of what I am constantly thinking about. It is so fulfilling to make a real difference. I wrote this poem this week. It is simple but I know it has had great power in my life:
I love you all, Hope you have a great week! - Elder Prince

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Report from Ohio

Dearest Family and Friends,
These are days truly never to be forgotten! In the service of the Lord I have truly found myself. I cannot say enough about how much enjoy my assignment as Assistant to the President. Initially I had a hard time adjusting to the demand and change of it all, but I can truly say I feel that I have been being prepared for this moment my entire life. The atmosphere here in the mission is beginning to change as we anticipate the arrival of President Vallinga. Although President Sorensen will continue his pace until the finish line it seems as though almost every conversation we have starts with the words "Now, Elder Prince, you are going to want to make sure that when President Vallinga comes.....". It is a lot of fun but I am not sure if it has fully registered to me yet that President is leaving, this man has been a rock to me, it will be a c challenge to see him leave; he is the heart and soul of this Mission's culture. Changes are on their way but come what may, the Lord we will trust.
This week was one of the best of my mission. Elder Metcalf had our first real chance to let the mission see us in action together. We hosted a leadership training meeting for two days. The first day we assembled all of the District Leaders and Zone leaders of the mission to Kirtland for a morning meeting. The meeting was held at Joseph Smith's old home in Kirtland. The church has just recently bought this home in the recent month from the Community of Christ. It was the first time that the priesthood had gathered in that home for a meeting since around the time that Joseph had to left that home in the dead of night after being warned in a dream to flee Kirtland. It was an honor to be there in that formal setting for the first time since the early saints had met there some 180 years ago. It is the same house that many important revelations were given relative to church organization and disciplinary action. We had the morning segment of the the meeting at Joseph's home and from there we headed to the Chagrin River in Mayfield, Ohio and stood on the banks of the river as President instructed us. He told of an account in which Sidney Rigdon taught hundreds of people where we stood, and as the story goes they were compelled by the spirit to come forward and be baptized numbering 30 souls. The words He expounded to us will always be a part of me. He spoke on how the power of Godliness is manifest in the ordinances of the Priesthood and how through witnesses these ordinances we would feel the Love of God. Following President's words at the river we headed back up the back into a shaded grove where we had set up chairs for all 38 of us; it was now my turn to give workshop on "The Doctrine of the Fathers Love". I had anticipated sharing my feelings on this subject all week and had prayed earnestly for the spirit to guide my words. I have never felt so empowered in teaching as I did at this time expounding this doctrine. I expounded on 10 Doctrinal evidences of the Father's love (which I will include at the bottom if anyone is interested). The whole meeting was so rich in the spirit, I will never forget that afternoon in the grove of trees. The next day we had Mission Council and the night before all of the Zone Leaders and the Assistants got to sleep at the Mission home. In the morning President took us on a bike ride through one of the most beautiful metro parks here in Cleveland, with the tallest bright green oak trees you've ever seen. It was such a stress reliever riding through this park early in the morning with all of the missionaries. Before we left President asked each companionship to wonder off into the forest and have a kneeling prayer and testimony together. Elder Metcalf rode off a little ways and found a quite spot on a river bank. The river moved so slowly you could hardly notice it going downstream. We just sat there on some rocks at waters edge and began to supplicate in prayer unto the Lord. We both thanked Him that we had this marvelous opportunity to serve together; following which we bore testimony to each other and as it was our 1 year mark exactly w committed to "being utterly lost in the work by this same day next year". We also promised that we would return and report at that spot together in ones years time. This was yet another moment never to be lost on me.
Saturday night was the baptism of David and Danielle Torres! It was such an incredible service. I did everything I could to make the building immaculate and even was newly deemed with the title of "perfectionist" by our ward Mission Leader. I saw to it that every thing from the AC to the windexed doors, to the hymns being placed uprightly in the hymnal holders; this placed looked nice. All of these things in my mind are the "unwritten order of the Priesthood", if you eliminate clutter and distractions; the Spirit has a greater chance to testify. I now understand why my Mom went to such great lengths just to make the house look neat for our guests (I was paying attention in childhood, wasn't I? Yaaaaaa...). David and Danielle were both tearful and full of appreciation. They truly glowed with the light and their closing testimonies sunk into all of our hearts. I am perhaps more honored to have taught this couple than anyone else on my mission; they will do amazing things in this church! Speaking of baptisms; I received an e-mail from an Elder currently serving in Ashtabula and he told me that 5 of the recent converts that Elder Crosland baptized went to the temple this weekend, and the two boys received the Priesthood this week! I nearly bawled my eyes out when I read that! The Lord is so good! The confirmation of David and Danielle was equally as powerful and the Spirit of the Lord was again manifest. The beauty of them both being baptized this weekend is that on the exact day that they will be eligible to go through the temple to be sealed is the exact day I will be released from the mission, that is going to be an amazing day!
Today has also been a great day. My companion and I completely changed the way report numbers in the mission and built new excel spreadsheets from the ground up, they are much more efficient than the previous method and saved us about 3 hours of sleep last night. One day this week I worked on excel from 10 AM to 10 PM, it was so brutal but President kept me fueled with fruit smoothies and wheat grass shots all day long it was great! So for once on Monday morning we weren;'t exhausted so we got up early and played basketball at the church with our recent convert David; it was a lot of fun. Also, Dad, I'll have you know that I took your advice to get all the advice I could from President Sorensen on every thing from marriage to career and education choices; we went to lunch today and he gave Elder Metcalf so much great advice that really put a lot of great ideas into my heart about the future and truly how great it can be if we have a plan and trust in the Lord. Man, life is great. Being in the service of the Lord is uncomparable to anything else. I love this work. I know it is true. I know every word is true. I love you all and I hope that you may have a great day today, keep Christ at the forefront. Love you all,
Love, Elder Prince
1. Made in His Image, look at your body you are designed to do the work of God. Every organ, every joint and limb has a purpose.
2. Agency/Mortal life, if you figure the why behind the plan it all points to the progression of His children, making themselves the authors of their destinies.
3. Plan of Salvation- From Eternity to Eternity, forethought is shown in its blueprints, it is flawless evidence of His love, including the sacrifice on His Only Begotten Son.
4. He Provides for our Needs, He feeds even the sparrows and provides every needful thing or those who call upon Him and even those who don't.
5. Personal Prayer, as you know He listens. He guides the future as He has the past and delights in His personal relationships with His children.
6. He reveals truth, here a little and there a little He will always liberally gives to His children who seek. He delights in shedding forth His wisdom to them and has designed every law of truth for essentially one reason; they bring happiness!
7. He sends the Comforter, though we are skewed by the veil He comforts us by His spirit, which is His revelator; that will be our guides and bring 'all things to our rememberance'; even our pre-mortal identity and relationship with Him. He wants us to know who we are!
8.He ordained the Family; we did not chose these; He chose these and adapted them to us according to the knowledge we needed to gain from the individual members as well the love we needed to feel from them.
9. He Ordains Prophets; every prophet was sent with a message of love to mankind; especially if that message was repentance. He foreordained these servants with the foreknowledge that they would not be accepted even in their own countries and would die for their testimonies.
10. He Restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which at it's core is based on the doctrine of the Atonement; which is the greatest act of love in behalf of Heavenly Father to His children. It is even harder to sacrifice One's Son than to sacrifice oneself. The Atonement made possible all that we can can hope for including the greatest gifts of our Heavenly Father; eternal life.