Monday, April 20, 2015

Living Testimony

My last blog post, to wrap up the two years...

Whenever missionaries in this mission go home, they have the opportunity to share their "dying testimony." Dying has too many negative connotations. I like to think that what I'm sharing is a "living testimony". Because that's exactly what it is; vibrant, alive, growing, deepening, real, and tangible. Something you can nurture, support, and strengthen, or neglect and lose. So, this isn't my dying testimony, this is my living testimony.

There are things that I know to be true, there are things that I believe to be true, and there are things that I'm still working on.

I know that God, Our Father, lives. He lives, and He loves us; He loves me. He knows His children, and He is doing everything that He can to help us to return to be with Him. I know that His work and His glory is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39), and that His purposes are eternal and complete. He is our Father. And we can know Him. I truly believe that I have grown closer to Him, and that I know Him better.

I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, is real. I know His love is real; it's tangible and personal, and everything you could possibly wish for. I know He came to Earth to teach us, to lead us, and ultimately to die and be resurrected for us; for me. I know He suffered for my sins and died, and I can't comprehend that, I don't know all the details, but I know it happened, because I have felt it. I have seen it work in the lives of others, and of myself. There is a cleansing and a sanctification that comes only in and through Jesus Christ. He lives. He truly overcame death, and He conquered the enemy of all righteousness. I know that my Redeemer lives.

My father sent me this picture, it was painted for the family of a missionary who passed away on his mission. It has become one of my favorites, because of the truths that it displays, and the feelings it evokes.

I'm eternally grateful for what my Savior has done, is doing, and will continue to do for me. I love Him, and I have come to know Him better as I have served Him. The relationship that we cultivate with the Savior is the most precious, personal, and sacred relationship we can have. It is so important to me, and I strive to build it every day.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the Lord's kingdom established on the Earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and as Joseph Smith, I know that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by it's precepts, than by any other book." I love this Church. I love the temple. I love our prophet, President Thomas S Monson. 

My testimony fills me with incomprehensible joy and peace. It's something that anyone can develop, if they will try. If you need help, reach out. My testimony has moved me to become someone different, someone better, than I was before I had it. It's become a driving force in my life, a fuel for conversion, a fuel that will never run out. 

I love being a missionary. I love it so much. And as the Three Nephites in the Book of Mormon, I "have desired that [I] might bring the souls of men unto [Christ], while the world shall stand. And for this cause [I] shall have fullness of joy" (3 Nephi 28:9-10). It doesn't end, it continues, and I can continue to strive to be a better missionary, a better representative of Jesus Christ, every day.

I have read the Book of Mormon several times since I have been on my mission, and my favorite verse of scripture is found in 3 Nephi 9:13-15, and invitation from the Savior, and it reads:

"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if you will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me. Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God." (emphasis added)

I know these thing are true, "and for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ... and also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ... and I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (Mormon 3:20-22).

In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Forecast: Awesome

I can count the days on my fingers and toes.

That's interesting.

Also, I will only have one more blog post, so next week will be the last one! I'll fill you in on how the next two weeks are going to pan out (no more surprises). This week we'll be on exchange in Moorestown, and we have a ward party on Saturday. For this coming Sunday, the ward choir director surprised me by announcing that we would be singing one of my favorite songs that we are working on - a neat rendition of My Heavenly Father Loves Me - for my last week! Next Monday, we'll be headed down to the shore, to have dinner with one of my favorite families, from my first area! At the end of next week, I'll go to the temple on Friday with the other departing missionaries, and on Saturday with a family from Downingtown that is going to be sealed! My last Sunday will be a Stake Conference Broadcast, and on Monday I'll get dropped off at the mission office. Tuesday: game day.

It's so interesting to see it all written down. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father is keeping me busy busy busy! The members here are being wonderful, and totally spoiling us with meals and service opportunities. They're great. The weather is beautiful, mid 70s.

Life is good. Missionary work is the best. Miracles every day.

General Conference is also now fully loaded on the Gospel Library App, so we have been tearing that up, in a sense, and I find as I'm reading that there are things that I missed, and also things that I learned from the Spirit that aren't actually in the talks. I love it when that happens, except that I can't highlight it and section it off all pretty-like... oh well.

On a random note, we had my last zone training this week, and I did a musical number with Sister Johnstone. We sang Because I Have, which is from Because I Have Been Given Much but with a different verse about missionary work that I wrote. It was a lot of fun, I was going to take a video and put it on here, but I forgot. Sorry.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the Spring; God is good!

Elder Horne

Monday, April 6, 2015

Meetings + Revelation

This past week was full.

Full of meetings. So, so, many meetings.

Thursday: district meeting. It was wonderful, I learned a lot, we talked about the Holy Ghost; all in preparation to receive revelation from our next meetings!

Friday: zone conference. It's like, an all day deal. We left around 7, got back at about 6. It was my last zone conference, so naturally it was sentimental and happy and sad. All the departing missionaries were able to share their testimonies at the end with the 6 zones that were there. That was really awesome, I'm grateful that I had that opportunity, and also the opportunity to hear from my fellow old missionaries. It was just a wonderful day. Wrapped up great, coming home to Chinese buffet.

All leading up to...

General Conference!! Saturday and Sunday. It was so lovely. Absolutely wonderful. The talks were amazing, the choirs did fantastic, equal amounts of "ooh" and "ahh." Lots and lots of notes and insights and nuggets of pure wisdom. I just loved it completely. My mind was just blown, so now I'm working to compile all my notes, to recall all the things I was inspired to write and do.

And it was Easter Sunday as well! Beautiful day, here in Jersey, and it was such an amazing Easter. Watching Conference, and then being fed by members whom we love. Lots of food. It was just a tremendous opportunity to reflect on the resurrection of the Savior by listening to the words of the prophet and apostles, and church leaders; to contemplate on all that He went through, all that He has done for us.

Wonderful, wonderful week. I'd encourage everyone to, as President Uchtdorf mentioned, remember Easter throughout the entire year, and to view or review the messages taught at Conference!

Elder Horne