With school starting and the other kids involved in their sports I haven’t updated this as much as I should have. Also, with Chance being made District Leader his letters are much shorter. He said he’s never been busier in is whole life, but he is loving it and doing well with all the extra responsibility. At times it weighs on him but I just remind him that this is a great learning experience for him and he will look back and be glad that he was able to learn so many leadership skills. As an overview for the past few months Elder Brown has been doing service, service and more service. They usually go out and do organized service 2-3 times a week. His mission is very service oriented. He helps with habitat for humanity, the local food bank, catholic charities, service at the Lubbock temple, individual services in his area with non-members and previously served in a hospital and at an animal shelter. Chance has moved more people than I can even count. Sometimes he will do numerous moves in one day. Him and his companions have even moved their own apartments from one apartment to the next and back within days of their last move. They do take a little time out from service and work once in a while to have fun and de-stress. One thing he has really enjoyed is golfing with Brother Bowman. He absolutely loves this guy and his family and loves when he gets to golf with him.
I have had many people ask if Chance was affected by the hurricane in Texas. He is actually about eight hours away from where the hurricane hit so he wasn’t affected at all and they were to far away to be able to lend a hand. It did make us realize how big Texas really is! That’s as far as Disneyland is from us!! Plus, Chance said there is still about 3-4 hours to the top of the state from where he is serving! It’s hard to wrap my hear around how large Texas really is!! It’s HUGE!!
In this post I’m just going to share a few of Chance’s thoughts from his emails from the past several months. Some that have made a huge impression on me and opened my eyes to a different way to look at things. I especially love this one because it helped give me a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith.
- “My spiritual thought this week is something taken out of a talk given by Elder Holland but its one of my favorite talks- May I refer to a modern “last days” testimony? When Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum started for Carthage to face what they knew would be an imminent martyrdom, Hyrum read these words to comfort the heart of his brother: “Thou hast been faithful; wherefore…thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. “And now I, Moroni, bid farewell,,, until we shall meet before the judgment seat of Christ.” A few short verses form the 12th chapter of Ether in the Book of Mormon. Before closing the book, Hyrum turned down the corner of the page from which he had read, marking it as part of the everlasting testimony for which these two brothers were about to die. I hold in my hand that book, the very copy from which Hyrum read, the same corner of the page turned down, still visible. Later, when actually incarcerated in the jail, Joseph the Prophet turned to the guards who held him captive and bore a powerful testimony of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Shortly thereafter pistol and ball would take the lives of these two testators. As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest-and last-hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book ( and by implication a church and a ministry0 they had fictitiously created out of a whole cloth? Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “house-less, friendless and homeless’ and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it is to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied an deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history-perhaps like no other book in any religious history. and still stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died- from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”
This one has really stuck with me and I try to keep it in the back of my mind at all times.
- He says, “in 1 Kings 3:3 it talks about Solomon and how he made sacrifices in high places. As I read that it really stuck out to me and made me think about why they made sacrifices in high places and I came to the conclusion that its really easy to make a sacrifice in your backyard, but to pack up all the stuff, get the animal, climb a mountain and make the sacrifice takes effort and it shows a sincere desire to the lord that we really want to be making that sacrifice for greater blessings. After realizing that I asked myself, “am I making sacrifices in high places? Am I making sacrifices that are hard to make?” I recognized just how easy it was for us to make a small sacrifice, whatever it may be, but what the Lord really wants is for us to make some sacrifices in high places, sacrifice that takes effort. I invite everyone to think of a “High Place Sacrifice” and make that a priority over the next week. I promise that as we do so we will be blessed beyond measure and we will draw nearer to our Heavenly Father.
I want to be willing to sacrifice for the Lord, especially a High Place sacrifice where I know I’m doing absolutely everything I can, no matter how hard or how much I have to give up just so I can sacrifice for my Heavenly Father.
This one, Chance shares with us a part of one of his favorite talks from General Conference.
- Elder Hollands talk was my favorite even though it was hard to pick one. One thing I really like that he said was “… Every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human. May we refuse to let our own mortal follies, and the inevitable shortcomings of even the best men and women around us, make us cynical about the truths of the gospel, the truthfulness of thee Church, our hope for the future, or the possibility of godliness. If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete.” None of us will ever obtain perfection in this life but that’s no reason for us not to try. Don’t feel bad that you aren’t’ perfect just be grateful that the path your walking and the Savior your following is. God does no t expect perfection, he just expects progression. And that is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It’s not only a saving atonement. It’s an enabling Atonement.
I want to end with Elder Brown’s testimony.
- I know Christ is the risen and living son of God. I know he suffered the atonement for trillions but he also would have suffered it for just one. The Lord works one by one. Just as he allowed the Nephites to feel his scars one by one he healed them one by one. We all attend sacrament each week and are reminded of Christs scars and healed one by one. Christ carries each of us through our trials and weaknesses just as he carries the splinters of the cross in his shoulders. He suffered all manner of temptation to overcome the world and through him we too can overcome the world. Sin loses its scarlet stains and death loses its sting through him. In the Garden of Gethsemane he asked if there was a better way but knowing there wasn’t, took upon him enough sin and anguish to bleed from every pore. On the cross of Calvary after suffering almost everything imaginable he suffered one last thing. His father withdrew his spirit and Christ cried “Father! why hast thou forsaken me!?” all this was done by him to allow us, sinners, to enter into our fathers presence. He is the Mighty, The Prince of Peace, the Wonderful, and the Perfect Advocate with the Father. Let him in each day!