Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hide Not Your Talents

 I recently had the opportunity to go back to my old area in the city to attend the baptism of a couple I had recently taught.  It was a great baptism and the spirit was strong.  It was great to see people make important covenants (promises) with their Heavenly Father.  It was a great day!

On the drive into Philly we passed by a bunch of the different wall murals.  One of my favorite things about driving in the city are all the beautiful murals.  In the time that I served in that area I took several pictures of some of my favorite murals.  I love these murals because I think they are beautiful and they tell a story.  I wish  knew who the artist were because God truly does bless us with talents.  As I was looking at these murals I was thinking about the talents and gifts that our Heavenly Father gives each one of us. 

I often have wondered in my life what are my talents or what am I good at?  It's always a hard thing to see in ourselves.  I often see in others so many talents, like the artists that have painted these murals.  Everyone has been given talents from our Heavenly Father.  I was not given the artistic talent (ask anyone who has ever played pictionary with me, it's pitiful trust me.)  But I do know that God has given me other talents.  Some I have yet to discover but each day I learn new things about myself and how I can acquire more talents. 

Our Heavenly Father wants us to become like Him.  In order to become like Him, he gives us strengths and talents that we need to practice and work at to develop.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “You cannot afford to waste your talents or your time. Great opportunities lie ahead of you." 

God is waiting for us to become who He knows we can be, and the only way of becoming the best we can be is to figure out our talents and then practice using them.  I know we are on this earth for a reason.  We do not come to earth to remain the same.  We come to earth to grow and learn and become more like the Savior, and with that we have to add to our talents and develop them.  

The prophet Joseph Smith said, "That every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold." 

I really like what Joseph Smith had to say about talents because I want to be the best person I can be and I want the Lord to bless me a hundred fold with talents.  And maybe that sounds selfish but I want everyone to be blessed with talents because all the talents we gain and acquire allow us to be more like Christ.    As a missionary I want to be a great teacher, and a good friend, and have perfect faith and so many other talents.  I want these talents so I can help others.  The scriptures tell us to seek for the best gifts. 

Doctrine and Coevenants 46:8-9 says, "Seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;  For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me..."

I know that the Lord has blessed me with talents, as He has with so many others.  I am grateful for the many talents I have been given and hope that I can continue to share them and use them to help others.  Like the artists that have put their talents to good use we should not hide our talents.  They are gifts from our Heavenly Father and we should use them to benefit others.   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

He Lives All Glory to His Name!

I have recently been reflecting on the past 18 months of my life. 18 months ago I was a senior in college and I was pondering and questioning whether or not I should go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After a lot of prayer and and careful considerations I submitted my mission papers. Three months later I arrived in Philly and since that day I have been serving my Savior Jesus Christ all day, every day.

When I get a free second (which is rare it seems) I like to just sit and ponder about life. Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down and really do some reflecting. I opened an Easter package recently that I  had received from home. (Loved it by the way, thanks mom.) But I sat thinking about what Easter really represents and what it means to me.

Easter is focused on Christ and my mind cannot even comprehend all that Christ has done for me. It's almost overwhelming to try and understand it all, so I don't even try. My brain likes simple. I am much like a child in that sense. I can't think about too much. It's exhausting. But in my simple little brain I summed up my thoughts on Christ.

Jesus Christ died for me because He loves me. That's simple enough. I really have been thinking about the unconditional love that He has for me. No matter what I do, or say, or think, He still loves me and never gets angry with me. I am sure I have let Him down a time or two. Probably disappointed Him a lot, but never has He given up on me. He is always patient with me and forgives all of my short comings.

The Savior died for us, so we could be saved. I love Easter because it really is a reminder to me that He lives! He died and suffered more awful things than I can even understand or imagine but I love what the angel says to both of the Mary's at the tomb, "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen" (Matthew 27:5-6).

 It is true He Lives! Because of the Savior we can all live with God again. We can all choose to follow his example and some day we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I love my Savior and am so grateful to know that I can always change and repent. I can constantly become better than I was yesterday if I am constantly striving to be more like Him.  He is always with us and always leading the way.  We just need to look to Him and follow His example.

Like the prophet Joseph Smith, this is my testimony of Jesus Christ, "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!" (Doctrine and Coventants 76: 22).

Friday, April 1, 2011


My sister wrote me a letter last week and asked if I was excited for conference.  And in response to her question, I AM SO EXCITED!  I love conference.  As a kid I loved that it was a Sunday where we stayed at home and watched the prophet and apostles talk.  And then my mom always had conference BINGO or something fun for us to do so we would actually pay attention. 

But now I love listening to the Prophet and apostles and other church leaders speak to the world on things that really matter. 

I love being taught by the spirit, and coming to understand what God wants for me.  I love General Conference weekend because it is a chance for me to learn and grow, and to definitely have a spiritual experience. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love listening to the words of his servants, the prophets.  Conference truly is the best time of year!  :)