*sirens* *alarms* *generally loud noises and things*
“Attention, this is not a drill! The story is here! I repeat, the story is here!”
Yes, that’s right, that story I’ve been talking about? Ya know, that story that I said was super cool? Well, I had time this week to type it out! *Woot woot* So, yes, read it pls. 🙂
Other amazing things that happened this week, my cousins who I’m very proud of, Angel and Eric, were ordained as Deacons! I was so happy when I heard the news! I’m glad that they made the decision to do this, and I can’t wait to see them grow up to be strong priesthood men!
Also, my cousin Ellie was baptized last week, which was a very special day for her, and I know she will remember that for a long time! I’m proud of her as well, and I know Heavenly Father is proud too!
Last but not least, my cousin Rachel got her Patriarchal blessing! I still remember how excited I was when I got mine, it was an experience like no other, and I’m sure she felt that way too.
So, my week this week was… good… slow… okay it was kinda boring if I’m being honest. We did teach one or two lessons to Brother T. which was good. We kinda touched base with him and he let us know that he HAD met with the Stake Pres., but that he was still working through a few things. He does still want to be baptized, and he is still going strong! He just needs to wait a while before it can happen.
Elder Prevette and I finally were able to get in touch with some of the former investigators that the previous Elders were teaching, so hopefully we can start meeting with them soon!
So, a cool thing that happened this week, my comp. and I were contacting down on the boardwalk (it was after the sun was down, so there weren’t any bikinis, don’t worry) and this kid walks past and says “Hi Elders!”. So then his family walks up and starts talking to us. Turns out they’re Mormons too, visiting from Arizona, and on their way to get ice cream at the pier. They invited us to come with, so we did. The kids (there were like, 9 of them) were just asking us lots of questions about our missions and where we were from, and we were all just talking and having a good time. So we get ice cream and walk back up the boardwalk, and we give them the address of the church and part ways. Then, we see them there on Sunday and take pictures with them and they are all “Hey, can we take you guys to lunch or dinner this week?” What?! So yeah, we basically got the celebrity treatment from this random family from Arizona, which was pretty cool and kinda funny.
So, I guess first I should give a little back story before I begin. A few weeks ago, we went on companion exchanges, and I went with the Elders who are covering the YSA Ward. That day, there was an activity at the institute building and we went to help set up chairs and tables. So we got there a little early, and the Sister missionaries were already there in the institute directors office talking with him and a visiting institute teacher.
They were discussing the topic about us as missionaries not being so focused on numbers instead of focusing on being in the moment and really fulfilling our purpose, which is to invite others to come unto Christ. This is when the institute teacher started to explain to us about how he views the Plan of Salvation.
He took a blank piece of paper, and he drew the diagram that we all use to explain the plan to others, with all the circles and lines. He told us,
“This is great, because it explains where we came from and where we are going, but this isn’t The Plan. You should still use this when you first start to teach people because it keeps things simple and easier to understand. This is how I like to explain The Plan,” and here he flips over the page, “but I like to start off with a story.” (so now I will tell you guys the actual story, thanks for being patient!)
So, let’s say we are in the pre-existence, and you walk into Heavenly Father’s office and say,
“Dad, I’ve figured out what I want to do.”
“And what’s that, son?”
“I want to be like you.”
“That’s good son.” He smiles and asks, “Do you know what I do?”
“No, but I want to be like you.”
“Okay. Come with me.”
And in an instant, Heavenly Father takes you to the edge of all creation and says, “Look,” and you look. He asks you, “What do you see?”
And there you see all of creation, everything that the Father has created, planets, stars, galaxies, and you ask, “Dad, what is all this?”
“They are all mine, son. I made them all.”
“All of them?”
“All of them. And I know them all by name. And some day, I hope to give them all to you, son. Come.” And in an instant, he takes you to the other side of it all and says, “Look at it from this side.”
“Dad, it doesn’t end. There’s so much.”
“Come.” And you are in front of one planet, just one. And as you get closer, He says, “Listen.” And you begin to hear voices, calling out.
“Dad, who are they? Who are all those people?”
“They are mine. My children, your brothers and sisters. I created them all. I know them all by name, like I know you. Come.”
And he takes you into one home, where a little girl is crying because her mom yelled at her. “Come.” Now you are in another home, where a young boy got home from school covered in bruises because the other kids were beating him up. “Come.” You are in an office building in one office, where a young father is stressed out of his mind. He’s got bills to pay, mouths to feed, and a job to keep. You see many other people, in all kinds of places. Some are laughing, some are crying, others are confused and looking for answers. After a while, you ask, “Dad, who are all these people?”
“They are your brothers and sisters. They are praying to me, asking me for help, guidance, comfort. I try to help them as much as they will let me. Do you still want to be like me son?”
“Yeah dad, but I don’t know how. I’ve never been lost, I’ve always been with you at home. I’ve never been sad, or happy. Dad, have you ever cried?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Do you get sad?”
“Do you ever smile?”
“Oh yes, I smile a lot son. Come.” And He takes you back to His office, and sits you down.
“So, you said that you still want to be like me, but you don’t know how to be. I have a plan.”
(At this point, the Institute teacher draws a dot on the blank page)
“This, is one planet. Earth. I created it for you and many of your brothers and sisters. I’m going to take everything that I have experienced, everything that I am, on that planet, and you are going to go through it. Don’t be afraid, I’ll be there to help you the whole way. And if you make mistakes, I have a way to fix them and make them right. But every day, you’ll go through the same challenges and worries, but you will get older, and grow from these things. It won’t be all bad, you’ll have some fun too. You’ll laugh, cry, run, work, play, and learn to love each other, like I love you. And eventually, you’ll figure it all out.”
So, I love this story. While it isn’t doctrinal, I’d like to think that maybe this could have happened at some point. But this puts things in a new perspective, doesn’t it? The Plan is to live in the moment, to be here and to help as many people as you can to come unto Christ. To bear one another’s burdens, to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort. Because that is what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do for each of us.
So, what’s the take-away here? Follow promptings from the Spirit and be part of the Plan for someone else. In a way, that’s the Plan for you too.
Well, that’s all I got for this week! I’m still going strong, even with “all this rain” (seriously, this is nothing.)
Love you, miss you,
– Elder Jon Peter Ahlstrom