Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mission Update December 22, 2009

December 20, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

What stands out most when you are on a mission is not how much you miss your loved ones, and you do, but rather how important it is for you to be doing the work of the Lord. I have recently become aware of some things that clarify why Sister Heaton and I are here.

First of all, Sister Heaton had an opportunity to go to Phoenix and take care of her mother for about a week while she convalesced from surgery on a broken arm. On the way to the airport, just prior to coming back to the mission, she was talking to our youngest daughter Sharice.

Through her tears, she expressed to Sharice how difficult it was to return to the mission field and leave her mother and loved ones behind. She told her to be sure and tell our grandson, Kael, how difficult a sacrifice it was and how much she missed them. Sharice replied that at least we were willing to go and serve. She said that that is what would really matter to him and her more. This moment helped bring a clearer vision of the wonderful blessing of serving. It helps those that you care for most see what matters most in this life and the next. I think of Christ as a young boy in the temple asking questions of the clerics of his day. With his mother’s worries, after being lost to his parents for three days, it reads:

Luke 2:48-49

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (italics added)

That is the question you ask before you go and leave your family on a mission and that is the response that you give to those that do not understand how two people can leave their children and grandchildren for 23 months to serve full time in the Father’s kingdom. “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

We have learned since coming out here exactly what our Father’s business is and who we really are if we stay true and faithful, enduring to the end.

Moroni 7:29,31

29 And because he hath done this, (Christ ascending into heaven to be our advocate) my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

31 And the office of their (the angels) ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

We learn from this scripture that angels go before His missionaries and prepare the “chosen vessels” of the Lord so that they can bring them into the fold. Then we find out what the “chosen vessels” are supposed to do when they are gathered up…..”bear testimony of him (Christ)” to the world as directed by the Lord.

In essence, the chosen vessels gather other chosen vessels to testify of Christ to the world. There will come a time when “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of the world.” They will see him as he is! Sometimes missionaries get discouraged because of the lack of success in baptizing and bringing people into the church. Those that feel that way are not justified in their thinking. What they little realize is that everyone is going to need to know who Jesus and His Father purport that they are; glorified beings that organized this world and worlds without end and that they have a plan for us, His creations. Everyone taught by missionaries and other members of the church and every lesson on the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ stands as a testimony of the Savior and who He and His Father are. When Christ comes the second time in all of His glory everyone will have had an opportunity to see Him as He is. His angels and His missionaries carry that message forward to fulfill the covenant that our Father in Heaven has made to all mankind, that of providing a Savior to this fallen world. We help Him in His work. Not all will accept his gospel, but they will know who He is. For those that do, the chosen vessels of the Lord, will receive all that the Father has…..worlds without end.

Just to show how one of those chosen vessels impacted the world, I quote from Paul’s conversion and how Ananias, the Lord’s disciple (missionary), reacted to this challenge…

Acts 9:10-17

10 ¶ And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

What I have learned since coming out to serve is that the chosen vessels are not always packaged as I or anyone else might think that they should be, that I should not be shy to testify to anyone that the Lord has in mind for me to speak to, that all that I testify to whether they accept the message or not will recognize the message when the Savior comes again.
I ask myself, “What if Ananias had not followed through because of his fear of Paul?” About a third of the New Testament would not have been prepared for us to use in our day. Clearly the Father’s work would have been slowed.

Here in our mission we see similar things going on all of the time. Today we had a group of people that wanted to come to church. Before we could get someone to help bring them to church, they decided to go to their old church. Sometimes it becomes discouraging when you see what could be and then what is. The saving grace is that the Lord has his hand in all things and we know that he gathers His chosen vessels. Some chosen vessels are born into the church and others are gathered through the efforts of his disciples or missionaries after the Lord has prepared them. His work moves on whether we are willing or unwilling to do our part. The choice is ours to either be those chosen vessels that testify of him to the world or not.

Miracles have not ceased! Angels do go before us in the mission field. I know because we get to see it with every baptism that takes place. We see the Holy Ghost help people feel the truth of who the Savior and His Father are as we lend our witness to those in the scriptures and others as well. My prayer is that we might be true and faithful in all that the Lord has us do and that miracles will not cease and I add my testimony to that of Moroni…

Moroni 7:35-37

35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay;

In the name and love of Jesus Christ our Savior.


Elder and Sister Heaton

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