February 15, 2014

Missionary Work and the Atonement

I believe in the miracle of the Atonement. I testify that it is not only able to lift us when we have fallen, but that it also moves us onward and upward. I know that it is only through Christ that we may be saved. I am eternally grateful to my brother, my Savior, and my friend for making the ultimate sacrifice. He gave His life so that I can return to live with my Father in Heaven once again.
I know that the Atonement is individual. I know that Christ suffered for one person at a time, one sin at a time. In those moments when you feel the most alone, please remember, you are not alone. Jesus Christ knows perfectly what kind of pain, sorrow, or disappointment you are experiencing. I testify that if we turn to Him in our time of need, He will carry us to higher ground.
I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” 16 then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

February 8, 2014

To Serve or Not To Serve?

Ia Orana. My name is Sister Hayley Spackman. In January of 2014 I was called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was assigned to labor in the Tahiti Pape'ete Mission speaking French and Tahitian. I will be serving from June 2014 to December 2015.  I could not be more excited!

President Thomas S. Monson announced the lowered age for young men and women missionaries in General Conference of October 2012. At first, I was resistant to go on a mission. I told myself that a mission was definitely not for me. Then one day, while praying to know where to apply for school, I received an answer that I could not deny. The Lord needed me to serve a mission.

Since then, maintaining the desire to serve and the motivation to prepare has not been easy. My heart wanted to go, but my mind would try to justify staying home to make money or to complete my education. These past few months have been some of the most trying months of my life. My testimony has been challenged and many temptations have been thrown my way. During these trials, my life was hard, but looking back, I wouldn't have traded any of them for something else. Every single hard time was worth it because through them, I have been able to grow closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ exponentially.

To all you brethren and sisters out there who are trying to win the fight against the Adversary. Keep fighting. I testify that God is on your side. And if God be for us, who can be against us? {Romans 8:31} He will lift you up and strengthen you. Heavenly Father knows your divine potential and He will push you to your limits because He knows you can reach past them. But because of His infinite grace, the Lord will be there with you every step of the way. I testify that He loves you and He knows you. Sometimes we may be surprised with where life takes us, but I know that everything happens for a reason.

More than a year after receiving an answer about going on a mission, I still don't think that a mission is for me. But I know without a doubt that my mission is for the Lord and the people of Tahiti. Why?... That I do not know, but I cannot wait to find out!