As a missionary I have many opportunities to meet with different kinds of people and discuss the gospel with them. In doing so, I have experienced a wide variety of responses, both positive and negative, from all types of people. Often I have wondered what people are thinking, doing, reasoning; and why. How they have come to act, think, or profess to be a certain way. Coming to the realization that despite the world and all it's diversity in culture, language, and religion, in the long run there are only two paths that matter. Two paths that ultimately we all must decide between: God's and Satan's.
In his vision of the tree of life, the prophet Lehi witnesses the course of humanity and their journey towards either of these two masters (the Lord or the devil). He sees a tree, "exceeding all beauty," "which is precious above all" (1 Ne. 11:8-9). This tree is the tree of life, which is a representation of the love of God (1 Ne. 11:25), and the path to it is God's path, which is "strait and narrow" (1 Ne. 8:20). In contrast, the great and spacious building is a representation of the pride of the world (1 Ne. 11:36) which is where Satan would lead us.
Lehi recounts in his vision the different methods by which people arrive at the tree of life or the great and spacious building (see 1 Ne. 8:4-34). I'm not as concerned with how to get to the great and spacious building as I am with how we can arrive at the tree of life.
Because we have a loving Heavenly Father, he has provided a way for us to reach the tree of life and partake of the fruit, which fruit is "most desirable above all things," and "the most joyous to the soul" (1 Ne. 11:22,23). In the vision there is a rod of iron which leads us to the tree. That is order to partake of the fruit, and make it through the mists of darkness, one must catch hold of the iron rod and press forward, continually holding on to it.
The iron rod is the word of God (1 Ne. 11:25) and is the only way we can stay on the strait and narrow path and experience the fullness joy that comes from the gospel. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is promised to lead us without fail back to our Heavenly Father, as long as we cling to it and press forward. The road is tough, there are temptations and trials and we will sometimes lose our way, but the Book of Mormon, the word of God, will always be there to help us stay on the path.
I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and as Joseph Smith testify that "the Book of Mormon [is] the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by it's precepts, than by any other book" (Book of Mormon, Intro.). I also know that the fruit that comes from diligence and obedience to the gospel brings greater joy than anything that this world has to offer.
What a tremendous blessing! What a great, and merciful, and loving Heavenly Father! How great is our God! To have a prepared a way for us to be happy. Eternally, and fully happy. To be guided in a world of darkness and confusion. To light the path beneath our feet, and lead us by the hand.
I love this gospel, and I love the Book of Mormon. I invite everyone to read it, whether it's the first time or the thousandth time, to feast on it's words, and watch in wonder as it leads you back to your Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. "The gospel is not our last option, it is our only option" (Al Fox).
Moroni, a prophet in the Book of Mormon stated simply yet clearly, "God prepared a more excellent way" (Ether 12:11).
Throughout life we face trials and pitfalls, sorrow and discouragement, but God prepared a more excellent way. We sometimes lose sight of what matters most, and fall short of our potential, but God prepared a more excellent way. This mortal experience isn't easy; it is challenging, it is trying, it is difficult. Which is why God prepared a more excellent way.
"Men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world" (Ether 12:4). Heavenly Father loves us, and He did not send us here to fail. He sent us here to succeed. We cannot do it alone, we have never been able to do it alone, and that is why He didn't leave us alone.
Through Jesus Christ we succeed, we conquer, we have hope, we experience the fullness of joy. I know because He is what bring me the greatest happiness. He is my Shepherd, my Master, and my best friend. As we recognize and cultivate our divine relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost our lives will change.
"In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way." (Ether 12:11, emphasis added)
He loves you, He is always there, He has promised that He will not "fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Joshua 1:5). I know that through the fullness of the everlasting gospel found only in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we "might be partakers of the heavenly gift" (Ether 12:8).
How grateful I am to share this message with all the world.
- Elder Horne
To learn more go to mormon.org or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everything is going wonderful. With the turkey day coming up this week, to celebrate thanks and all the things I'm grateful for, I decided to fill you in on some of those!
I'm grateful for good food, reading emails, my family, my friends, my puppy, all the missionaries I've been able to meet, my mission president and his wife, the opportunity that I have to serve a mission, yoga, my little plants, getting letters in the mail, sweaters, gloves, the Book of Mormon, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the knowledge that I have of who I am, where I came from, and where I am going, all of the things that I can learn and improve, the Atonement and it's power to sanctify and redeem, the blessing that it is to be able to change, technology, planning, counsel, the talks from General Conference that I can read, cameras and memories, and much much much much more.
I am grateful for all of you and love you very much!
There hasn't been too much out of the usual here. Working hard, doing missionary work, loving it.
So I've been following what's been happening in the Philippines as close as a missionary can, and have been hoping and praying for safety for those out there. It's always tragic when things like this happen, but I'm grateful that the missionaries were safe, and now will be able to assist in rebuilding and aiding those in need, which is many. I'm grateful that no matter what the Lord loves them and will be there for all who need him, and am praying that the people of the Philippines will reach out to him in renewed vigor and faith throughout this trial. We have a Sister missionary serving out here from the Philippines and she has been a great example of faith and diligence despite the destruction that is happening in her home country among her family and friends. Prayers going out to the Philippines right now.
Rely on the Lord in all things, and we will wake up to a better tomorrow.
This week we had the first snow of the season! It's still not too cold out, but I'm so grateful that we have a car to travel in, compared to a lot of missionaries who don't.
Snowfall that we woke up to in the morning
I had to make a snowman out of the first snow of the year! (Even if he was just a little guy)
So there are some exciting new things happening in this mission. In just a few weeks each missionary will receive a personal iPad Mini, and each companionship an iPhone 5 to aid in teaching more online. The mission is putting a lot of emphasis on teaching online, teaching people from around the world, and these new gadgets will be used as tools to help us in all aspects of missionary work. We'll be having a bunch of training sessions when they finally get here, and we'll watch and see how the Lord is hastening His work!
I hope you guys are doing great, I love hearing how you guys are doing. Love and miss you!
P.S. So a member has a bunch of guns that he keeps in a case, and we may or may not have taken them out to take fun pictures...
Yep. Someone thought it was a good idea to let Elder Horne hold a gun.
So this week went by really fast. Being the last week of transfers we had a lot going on. We didn't have anything to worry about though, no changes. Elder Wilcock and I will be here for the next 6 weeks.
We went and did service in Susquehanna though! I know that there were some pictures taken, but I haven't seen any yet, so next week I'll post some pictures of doing service! We cleared out a lot of bushes and trees, it was a ton of fun. All alongside a river, and it was super steep. Good times!!
Halloween this week, and a LOT of exciting announcements coming next week!
Hope you guys are doing great!!!
Love and miss you,
The Scranton District!
(this isn't even all the missionaries assigned to the ward!)
So there aren't a lot of funny stories or pictures from this week, but it was still a really great weekend!
We had Stake Conference, and the whole focus was Hastening the Work of Salvation. It was incredible to hear from our stake presidency and those they asked to speak to us. Wonderful reminder of how much we really can do, how much one person really can make a difference. How much work we have to do if we hope to hasten the work, hasten the Lord's work. I love how the focus for missionary work, even with all the missionaries out, ISN'T on the missionaries, it's on the MEMBERS. Our mission president was talking to us about how we, as missionaries, are called to be teachers. He gave us the image of a professor going around and knocking on peoples doors, trying to teach them. That knocking doors for missionaries just isn't working as well anymore, and that it is the members responsibility to find, so that we can teach. With that, I'm going to be trying MY hardest to be a member missionary, to talk to my friends (even though they are far away) and try to help them accept the gospel, because I know that the Lord has put people into our path who are ready to accept it, we just simply invite. THEN after we do that, it is the missionaries responsibility to teach. I challenge you all to think of those in your life who could meet with the missionaries, someone you could invite to experience the blessings and joy that comes from the gospel. I will be doing my best, and I hope you will be doing yours.
So this week we went to Susquehanna to the Restoration Sight!! It was breathtakingly beautiful, I tried to get some good pictures, I'll include them at the end. I'm so grateful for the restoration of the priesthood of God on the earth today, that in this dispensation we have the authority of God to perform saving ordinances and to seal on earth and in heaven. I'm eternally grateful for this wonderful blessing.
This week was great, we raked leaves!!! It was tiresome, but I love service. When you're in the service of your fellow man you are only in the service of your God. Our pile was taller than 6 ft, and hopefully we'll be able to stop by and teach a lesson this week!
Love you all and wishing you the best!
Raking leaves for an investigator!
Beautiful drive to Susquehanna
Monument at the Restoration Sight
The gravestone of Alvin, next to the Restoration Sight.
Things have been getting a little colder up here, which is nice because I like the cold, but isn't nice because we're outside all the time...
Here was a fun experience I had finding though! We decided to go around asking people if we could rake their lawns. The idea came from me wanting to rake some leaves and jump in piles of crunchy leaves, and Elder Wilcock thought I was just being funny, but we saw a house with a ton of prime crunchy jumping pile leaves and I wanted to jump in them SO bad, so went and asked if we could rake them! The guy we talked to was a little taken aback, and said he didn't have a rake in the first place, but after that we started talking about church, and he's the most solid person I've met up here! (and he's Italian which is cool, but then again like all the people in our area are Italian...) We're planning on finding some rakes and going back and teaching him! Win win!! I've been trying to get some pictures of the beautiful fall out here, but it's normally the drives that are the best, and Elder Wilcock likes to drive fast so it's hard for me to get pictures. I tried to take a couple though, here is one right next to the church.
I hope you guys are doing great, and will talk to you next week!
I hope you're all doing great. These past few weeks have been awesome. I'm now serving up in Scranton, The Electric City, and home of The Office! I love it up here, it's incredibly beautiful and the people are great!
My new companion is Elder Wilcock, he is from Helena, MT and he's a great missionary. I love being able to serve the Lord with him here.
I'm so excited for General Conference this weekend, it's going to be amazing! I would encourage everyone to come and listen to a prophets voice. Hear from modern prophets and other church leaders. This time last year they made the announcement that Elders could serve missions starting at the age of 18, which allowed me to come on my mission earlier than expected! Modern revelation is a wonderful gift, and I'm so grateful for our church leaders and they're continued inspiration and guidance.
Anyways, things are great up here, love and miss you guys!
So this last week I got a haircut, by Elder Solano, and they had this trash bag that I could wear, and we decided it is now the haircut dress haha. I wouldn't make a very pretty sister missionary it seems.
The other day I made cookies! But despite the awesomeness of the cookies, check out the awesome sweater that a member gave me!! It's a spaniel, and I love it.
So the big news is: I'm being transferred!! Its crazy, I've only
ever been in this ward, this area, my whole mission. It's going to be
really different going somewhere else, but I'm excited for the change,
it should be a lot of fun. So hopefully next week I'll be able to get
you all the info on my new companion and new area and ward and all that.
So this week Elder Shayne Bowen came to our mission, and we had an
awesome meeting with him. He talked a lot about the blessings that come
from obedience. I was thinking about that, and how sometimes its easy
for us to play around the gray line, because we're not doing things that
are necessarily harmful or sinful, but that aren't good for us, and
obeying what the prophets have said with exactness. I was thinking about
how some of those things don't necessarily seem harmful, and some
people have the tendency to rationalize those things, but I realized the
greater harm comes from losing the blessings promised. We talked about
exaltation, and how that is our end goal, but how in this life we can be
happy and find joy, and that comes from obedience. I know that
sometimes it may be easy to not obey with exactness, but that as we do
we will receive all the blessings that the Father hath. I know that
obedience is the first law of heaven, and that all blessings are
predicated on that, so be obedient to the Lord!
I know I haven't written a lot recently. Everything is awesome out here,
the summer has been nice, and it will be interesting to see how fall missionary
work is like.
Chris is doing awesome. He has found the "pearl of great price" and has
been doing everything he can to greater experience the joy that comes from fully
partaking of the gospel.
Here is a picture of us with Chris at the Ikners. We came right after our
zone unity, so we're wearing normal clothes. It was really weird not being
dressed as a missionary. We had a water balloon fight and played games with the
zone before that though so that was fun.
Also we had zone conference this week and Elder Kim is going home so I had
to get a picture with him
Also some fun facts that I learned! Atlantic City (where we go a lot) is
home of the Miss America Pageant, it is about to start here in a couple weeks,
so that will be weird. Monopoly, the game, was also based off of Atlantic City.
It's actually kind of cool to get on the bus at the bottom, and take it up and
go through the game pretty much as you go up the city.
Hey guys! Sorry its been awhile but it's been super
super busy here, lots of work and without the car we have to spend a lot
more time travelling and less time to do other things, like email. I
hope that you guys are doing great! It's been awesome here, Elder Stubbs
and I are doing great!!
I had my first baptism last week!!!!! His name is Chris
and he's the best. We taught him from ground up, and it was so
incredible to see him make that first step and enter into the first
covenant. I love
the work its so great, and I hope you are all doing awesome. Here are
some pictures to keep you guys filled in.
Elder Tan was able to come down from Pottstown, PA for
the baptism. It was awesome. My hair is super long, I cut it myself this
pday, and it doesnt look half bad! I was freaking out though I'll be
decided that I wanted to serve a tropical mission, and we were doing
service for some Puerto Ricans and they fed us afterwards but I took
this awesome picture with my name tag, so I'm a Puerto Rican now, get
So transfers were this week, fun stuff! My new companion is Elder Stubbs. I've been companions with both of the Elder Stubbs' in the mission, this is a different Elder Stubbs from the one that I was companions with in the MTC. He is from Palmdale, CA and is most definitely a country boy. I need some city slickers haha, seems like most people coming out are more country. At least they're nice, awesome people!
We did lose our car, and don't have bikes, which means we have been needing to walk EVERYWHERE, and it's been a very different experience. Walking miracle/lesson I learned the other day. So we were walking from the church, to the closest bus stop, which is almost an hour away, but having never walked there, we thought we could make it in half an hour. As we were walking, we realized that we were not going to make it to the bus stop in time to catch the bus home. Granted, this was the bus that was taking us home for the night, so it was already dark out and if we missed this bus than the next one wasn't scheduled to come until after curfew, and we would still have a 20 minute bus ride. With all that said, we were desperately trying to make the bus. I was saying a prayer as we hurried to get there, that we would be able to catch our bus so we could make it in time. I thought of 1 Nephi 3:7, that the Lord doesn't give us commandments excepts he provides a way that we can keep them, so I was kind of pushing that one on the Lord, and having faith that he would provide a way for us to make it on time. Then the thought came into my mind to hitch hike. Now we're walking in the boonies, which is why there weren't any bus stops close by, and it was night time, and I did NOT want to hitch hike, but then I thought if that's how the Lord is going to get me home, I have to do it. I never thought that something so simple as sticking my thumb out to the side could be so difficult, but it truly was an act of faith! As I did so, none of the cars stopped, but I knew that if I did what the Lord wanted I would be fine. We ended up at the bus stop 15 minutes late, and I was confident the Lord would send us a bus so we could make it in time. I refused to take out the bus schedule to look up the next time, I refused to call our district leader to tell him we would be in late, because I knew that I had done what the Lord wanted and that he would follow through. In lieu to my stubborn faith, the bus came!! We were able to make it home on time, and I didn't care what anyone thought, I got on that bus and said a prayer I was so grateful. 1 Nephi 3:7 is true, and I love it!!
So this week has been crazy. Transfers are tomorrow, and Elder Tan is leaving and becoming a zone leader and I'm staying. We are losing our car and got bus passes and bikes, so I'm about to lose all my mission weight haha. We are really busy because Elder Tan has to pack, but exciting things are happening so I will have more to write about next week!
Lots of pictures though, enjoy!!
Our beautiful zone, love them so much. Yay for missionaries!
The Higbees are an awesome family, we have too much fun.
We had exchanges and had too much fun with the mirrors that the Atlantic City Elders have on their ceiling haha.
This week was amazing. You're probably getting used to the fact that these
aren't going to be super long haha, just because we never seem to have enough
time to write.
Here are some pictures though and then something that I learned this
So we went on exchanges, and I was with Elder Kim who is from Korea, and we
met this Turkish family, and they were AWESOME! They invited us in, taught us
some Turkish words, and fed us some really good Turkish food! Elder Kim
awkwardly asked if we could get a picture with this guy, his name is Hank and
he's super nice. If you ever have the chance to eat some Turkish food, take it.
This week we also met an awesome couple. Her Dad is a less active member,
but she hasn't met with missionaries since she was a little kid. They're super
nice and we love visiting with them. They also took me to get my first
water-ice! (wuter-ice) I got a mango and passion fruit water-ice and it was
We had a missionary come home too! Willie just got back from Brasilia,
Brazil and out here they have huge homecoming parties, it was awesome.
Apparently he was companions with Scott Nelson and they're going to room
together at college! Neat huh???
That's all the pictures I have this week. In the beginning of the week
Elder Tan and I were having a hard time finding and teaching people, and the
work wasn't really moving. We were praying that we would be able to meet our
goals and that we would find some people to teach. Then during studies I
realized something as we were talking about Nephi building a ship to cross the
ocean. The Lord told him in 1 Nephi 17:13, "wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep
my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land, and ye shall
know that it is by me that ye are led." And I realized that we're all headed
towards our own promised land. The Lord has a "promised land" for us, a place
and a person that he wants us to be, and as we keep his commandments and do what
he asks of us, he promises that he will lead us there. I know that as we
recognize the Lord's hand in our life that we will know that it is by Him that
we are led as we keep the commandments, and that we will be headed towards our
promised land. The next few days, we were able to experience miracles and the
Lord truly answered our prayers, and we are able to see that as we did the
things that he asked us to, that he did lead us where he needed us to be, and we
were able to see that he is the one who got us there. The scriptures are filled
with so much wisdom and guidance, I exhort everyone who reads this, whether
they've read the Book of Mormon or not, to pick it up and start to read. I know
that as we do so the Lord will enlighten us and fill us with his wisdom and his
grace. I'm so grateful that I can be a tool in the Lords hand in bringing people
to this truth. I love the gospel and I love the Book of Mormon.