Saturday, December 5, 2015

Change Of Heart

Over the years, I have always wondered how members of the church that weren't actively on a mission, how they overcame their fear of talking to others about the gospel.  How did they even start these conversations?  I have always been afraid that I would come off the wrong way and ruin relationships because I am trying to share my knowledge of the gospel with them.

This past year, I have been praying more fervently to overcome this fear.  I've been actively looking for ways to share the gospel with friends and family that are not of my faith.  The Lord has been very patient with me in showing me the way.  In the Book Of Mormon, the story of Alma the younger and the sons of the Mosiah always left me in awe.  I was able to really feel their change of heart.  If you're not familiar with the story, you can find it in more detail here.  Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah go around persecuting the saints and trying to destroy the church.  Alma's father is the prophet and Mosiah is a righteous king over the Nephites.  They both fast and pray for their sons.  The Lord sends an angel to them and he says to them in Mosiah 27:13-14: 'Why persecutest thou the church of God?  For the Lord hath said:  This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people.  Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.'  In verse 19 it says: 'And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father.'  His father gathered his priests together to fast and pray that his son would be able to speak.  Their prayers were answered and one of the things that Alma says that really sticks out to me is this: 'Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.'

Because of the all the sins that Alma committed, he had to pay for those sins in order to be forgiven.  He had a 'change of heart' because of the suffering he went through.  He had a very tiny taste of what the Savior went through when He had to bare the weight of the world alone.  If Alma felt this way when paying for only his sins alone, what of the Savior when He had no sins of His own to pay for, but because we could not do it ourselves, He chose to pay this debt on our behalf.  I always get so emotional when I think of the atoning sacrifice of the Savior.  It humbles me in ways nothing else can or ever will.  This is the 'change of heart' I am working towards and the Lord, in His mercy and love, has been leading me and guiding me step by step in learning how to serve others with a desire to do good continually.  Slowly increasing my desire to serve others has been the answer for me to have my heart changed in the way I've needed it to so that I can act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost when prompted to do so.  I try my best not to make excuses or doubt my righteous desires.  I know where those desires are coming from.  My faith has increased and I act more, instead of just hoping.  I am grateful for the gospel in my life.  I'm eternally blessed to be able to feel of my Savior's love for me every day of my life.  I try my best not to take advantage of it.

If you're feeling empty, lonely, or a yearning for more. . . . .something that you just can't put your finger on what that something is?  I invite you to learn more about the Book Of Mormon by clicking here.  You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.  Have an open mind and a prayerful heart and I promise you that you will find the answers you've been looking for that you haven't been able to find anywhere else.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hard Work

Mosiah 3:7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

I don't think there was a man that walked this earth who worked harder for the salvation of man than the Savior himself.  He gave his life to bring to pass the immortality of man.  I feel indebted to Him for all that He's done for me and yet, I know that I will never be able to repay Him so I choose to live my life in a way that helps me strengthen my relationship with Him.  I want to know Him so that I will know how to become like Him.

As a wife and mother to an amazing husband and some beautifully talented kids, there is no work here on earth that I've encountered that challenges me more on a daily basis like these two roles that I play.  Because family is everything to me, there isn't anything that I work harder at keeping in tact and on track than this.  But that doesn't mean that it doesn't have it's fair share of pain, stress, heartache, anxiety, sadness, pride, suffering, and loss.

J. Richard Clarke said, "Every piece of work that we do is a portrait of the one who produced it."  This is how I feel about my role as a mother.  I have a responsibility to teach my kids correct principles and rear them in righteousness or the Lord will hold me accountable for their wrong doings.  He's entrusted these amazing spirits into my care so that I may teach them to keep His commandments.  The best way for me to do that is by living it.  Nothing speaks louder than words like action.  Through action comes examples.  Sometimes I think that we think of work as an occupation outside of the home.  As much as it is, our most important work will be the one that's performed within the walls of our homes.  J. Richard Clarke also said, "We work to earn a living, it is true; but as we toil, let us also remember that we are building a life.  Our work determines what that life will be."

My husband and I have countless conversations about the well-being of our children.  We talk about what we're doing to help them develop into the divine beings they are meant to become in this life.  We set goals on how to help them reach their full potential and then we execute them by doing our best to be in tuned with the Holy Ghost so that when we receive promptings, we're able to recognize them and act on them immediately.  It's been our modern day Liahona to help guide us during these times when the world tries to sway us in every direction that points opposite of the Savior.  It can be a very scary place to live in, but living the gospel has been such a saving grace in my life.  It's everything.  It helps me to remember my covenants that I've made with the Lord as well as helping me to keep my lines of communication open with Him through constant prayer.

Something I've been working constantly on these past couple of months is the law of tithing.  I have seen the Lord's hand directing me in the very simplest of things as well as things I've had to increase in patience about in order to learn the things I've needed to really love this law/commandment.  My testimony in keeping this law has strengthened so much and the blessings that have come from it have been in such abundance.  I continue to work hard and tirelessly at being able to increase my learning in this sacred law so that I may know the Savior.  Giving of my time and talent(s) is another way of being an instrument in the hands of the Lord because He is the one that has given me the time that I have here on earth as well as the talents He wants me to use in order to move His work forward.  I am ever so grateful for the gospel in my life and for a loving father in heaven that continues to guide and direct me in the affairs of my life.  I'd be so lost without Him.  If you want to learn more about this gospel, click here

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Road Not Traveled

This past week I've indulged in the last part of 2Nephi.  I have read and re-read chapters 28-33.  There were many things I loved and learned while studying these different chapters and even verses.  The first one that caught my attention was 2Nephi 28:2 which reads:

2. And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.

President Ezra Taft Benson taught that, "Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations."  "If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon?  We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record?  What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?"

I have taken these questions to heart while studying it out in my mind.  I believe that these prophets of the Book of Mormon were inspired and guided through the power of the Holy Ghost to write specifically for our day.  The last days.  They were shown our day so that they may be able to discern what we would need in order for us to make it on that strait and narrow path back home to our father in heaven.  A path that is not easy at all.  You could call it. . . the road less travelled.  One of my peers in my online class used the Savior as the ultimate example.  He talked about how the Savior travelled the road not travelled at all by anyone else because no one else was qualified for that 'bitter cup' that he partook of in the garden of Gethsemane.  When I think of this moment in His life, I think of D&C 19:16-18:

16. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.
17. Bit if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18. Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit-and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink

I am so humbled to my very core when I read this scripture.  It is such a heart-wrenching read.  I can't even imagine what He went through, but for Him to carry out His father's plan so that I may have a sure way back to my heavenly home, fills me so much love and compassion towards my Savior.  It helps me to continually ask for forgiveness for all of my short-comings and work towards turning them into strengths.  I am so grateful for such a loving father in heaven whose arm is always stretched out still.

Another interesting couple verses that I learned so much from this week was in 2Nephi 29:12-13 which reads:

12. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

I was really excited after studying these two verses because I am excited to discover in the Lord's time, when he will reveal these "lost books" unto us.  It's so amazing to know that there are other people that the Lord is revealing His work to and I look forward to reading it.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "Lost books are among the treasures yet to come forth.  Over twenty of these are mentioned in the existing scriptures.  Perhaps most startling and voluminous will be the record of the lost tribes of Israel.  We would not even know of the impending third witness for Christ except through the precious Book of Mormon, the second witness for Christ!  This third set of sacred records will thus complete a triad of truth.  Then, just as the Perfect Shepherd has said, 'My word also shall be gathered in one'.  There will be 'one fold and one shepherd' in a welding together of all the Christian dispensations of human history."

I have been working on the attribute of obedience these past couple of weeks.  Obedience to many things for this attribute can be applied across the board in our lives.  I see the Lord's hand in every single moment of my life.  I see it in my kids' lives.  I see it in the lives of those around me whether they be families, friends, or neighbors.  Keeping this attribute of obedience has given me such peace of mind in my life.  It has helped me to draw boundaries that I will never cross.  It has helped me grow my testimony in the law of tithes, offerings, prayer and fasting.  This road has not been an easy one to travel down and that's okay.  I'm not one to take the easy route in anything I do.  Some may call it stubbornness, but I know that every experience I go through is Heavenly Father's way of molding me into the person I am to become.  I have prayed for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide me through this ever so lonesome and dreary world.  I have prayed to recognize his still, small voice so that I may be able to act on the promptings I receive.  It has been a saving grace for me.  I have been able to strengthen my personal relationships with my kids through consistent family prayers, weekly church attendance, and weekly family home evenings.  We've made some big changes in our lives as a family and I am touched with the Lord's hand in these decisions we've made.  We are working on our eternal salvation with a family goal of, "No empty seats in heaven."  That is our exact goal to eternal life.  We have talked about having no empty seats in heaven.  We don't want anyone to be left behind.  We can't imagine eternity without any one of us there in the celestial kingdom together so we have weekly challenges in our family home evenings that are attached to each lesson given.  We report on how we did or did not work on our challenges in the following week's family home evening.  It has been a success so far and has helped us to each work on different attributes that will help strengthen our relationships with the Savior on a more personal level.  This week's challenge is on prayer.  Praying to Heavenly Father on something we are struggling with right now or something we want to understand more of or just plain thanking Him for specific blessings he has bestowed on us individually.  I'm looking forward to hearing their reports and reporting my own experience.  These weekly challenges have forced us into action.  We are not just talking about how we should be.  We are doing what we should be doing and growing through our different progress.

Elder David A. Bednar said, "Coming unto Christ is not a single event with a fixed point of beginning or ending; rather, it is a process that develops and depends during a lifetime.  As an initial step in the process, we certainly must obtain knowledge and learn about Jesus and His life, teachings and ministry.  But truly coming unto Him also requires consistent obedience and striving to become like Jesus in our thoughts, motives, communications, and actions.  As we 'press forward' on the pathway of discipleship, we can draw near unto the Savior with the expectation that He will draw unto the Savior with the expectation that He will draw hear unto us; we can seek Him diligently with the hope that we shall find Him; we can ask with confidence that we shall receive; and we can knock anticipating that the door shall be opened unto us."

I challenge you all to, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

'Judged Of Their Works'

It's amazing how a single choice can alter your whole life.  I've been struggling to post about something so personal in my life because I didn't know what to say or even how to feel about it.  My husband called me last week from work and asked me if I'd seen the article that the Salt Lake Tribune posted about my cousin being arrested for murder.  I told him no and I hurried and logged on to read the article and was in complete shock.  You can read the specific article here.  Basically, my cousin, Henry Kaufusi, beat his girlfriend's ex-husband to death.  I was so confused when I read the article and thought for sure that there had to have been a mistaken identity.  I've grown up knowing Henry since I was little.  He's never even been one to get into fights or cause trouble.  He started a clothing company where he promoted the talents of polynesians in pursuit of their dreams in all different areas of life.  What we call the Poly Movement.  I couldn't wrap my mind around what he did.

This past week's reading really hit home for me while I was going through this roller coaster of emotions.  It's easy to read this article and automatically pass judgement on a man accused of beating someone senseless. . . .even to death, but it's different when you actually know the accused as someone being THEE total opposite of this terrible, terrible act of violence.  Of course, Henry isn't perfect and has made many mistakes in his life just as we all have, but this?  This is so unimaginable, yet it happened.  I am in no way passing judgement on my cousin, who I love so much, but my eyes were opened in a different way when reading Elder Dallin H. Oaks conference report from the Ensign, Oct. 2001, where he says, "the Final Judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts - what we have done.  It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts - what we have become.  It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions.  The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."

I have complete compassion and so much love for all those that are grieving the loss of Sione Mangisi, which is the man that was murdered.  I can't even to begin to comprehend their grief.  I, honestly, shed so many tears on their behalf for their loss.  I also shed many tears for my cousin, Henry.  I have no idea what caused him to go over the edge, but that single choice has altered the life of so many people.  No one can relate to this horrible tragedy like the Savior can for He literally prayed for those that were crucifying Him on the cross and asked His father to please 'forgive them for they know not what they do.'

I broke down when I explained to my kids about this tragedy and took the opportunity to teach them about how a single choice can alter your whole life.  My kids cried with me because they know I'm not a crier, but to see me in such a vulnerable and sad state made them feel the same way.  I bore my testimony to them on the atonement of Christ.  How it's everything!  It's the only thing I can turn to when I can't even comprehend the things of the world and what's going on in it.  It's my only source of comfort and I hope and pray that they realize that as well.  It's helping me to heal from this horrific tragedy.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Journey Goes On

It's been a pretty long time since I posted on here.  A lot has happened these past couple of months.  I'm going to start with my most recent change in life, which might not be that much of a surprise to those of you that know me well.  I'm back in school!  I know, I know.  I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but to all of you that do know me, I could never stay away from it for too long, right?

This time around, I've been blessed with an amazing opportunity that you can learn more about by clicking here.  I am at the end of week three of the semester and I'm honestly loving it.

I am taking online courses through BYU-Idaho and the Learning Model is so different from anything I've ever encountered before.  We prepare, teach one another, and then ponder and prove.  Of course, we expound on these points, but this is to give you an idea of the awesomeness I've been able to participate in these last couple of weeks.  We were given some tips to help guide and direct us.

1.  Seek the will of God and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Ummm. . . .can I just say, where else would you get a tip like this, besides church?  Definitely not any typical university I've ever attended.

2.  Expertise is unnecessary.

How much relief did you feel reading that?  Me, MAJOR!

3.  Begin with the end in mind.

I had a complete 'AHA' moment with this one.  I thought, if I begin with the end in mind, I'll be able to create a plan/roadmap/mini goals that will help me get to where I want to go.  I thought, I would be at a different place in my life if this actual tip clicked for me in the past because this is definitely not the first time I've heard it.  But I do know that the Lord has a plan for me and I was not ready to hear it until now.

There are seven other tips, but that's for a whole different post.  I have been exercising my faith in many different areas of my life while starting this journey back to school and I'm not going to lie, it isn't always easy.  What in life is that's worth it?  I'm learning that I have far more weaknesses than I thought I had, but with that comes a lot of humility in recognizing that I am nothing without my loving Savior by my side.  I am grateful for His continual patience in helping mold me into the person I am supposed to become.  I'm also excited to strive to become like Him.  He's always been the goal.  I love Him and I know that He lives.  I'm grateful for His atoning sacrifice for someone so unworthy as me.  I count my blessings every day and night and in between for the life that I live.  Come and partake of His goodness.  Find out more by clicking here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Working My Way Back

I'm slowly working my way back to my blog. I can't believe the last time I posted on here was early last year. But then again, I can believe it. Life has gotten so busy with the kids, Hoko and everything in between. So in reality, I was talking with one of the regulars at the gym and she was sharing how overwhelmed she's been with everything going on in her life. Both of our daughters are in gymnastics together as well and she's trying to figure out some kind of balance between all of the extracurricular activities her kids are involved in as well as the ones she's involved in. She runs a blog, homeschools her six kids, runs them around to their different activities and so forth. As she was explaining her life, I completely felt for her. This was me last year. Aaliyah had started sports and played all year, baby Hoko started football, which all in itself was time consuming, Sila and Polu were in gymnastics, Savou and Jordan were still home so I took them to discovery time at the library weekly, I was totally fitness focused and had these crazy goals I was working towards, all while still being a mom who cooked dinner six nights a week, was in school full time while juggling a calling at church and trying to be a great wife. Yes great, not just good. I love my husband and he deserves a great wife cause he's a great husband. I've had to figure out some kind of balance, which turns out to be me needing to do my best and not being so hard on myself. I've loosened my grip on being a clean eating nazi and yes, I've totally put on weight. But I'm ok with that. I don't want to isolate myself because of those things. I'd much rather veg out with my kids and create memories. I still workout religiously, but that's really cause I enjoy it so much. It's become a part of who I am. I'm still trying to drop 20 lbs so I can be completely comfortable in my own skin, but I've decided to put time on my side. No more working against it cause that drives me crazy. No deadlines just figuring out what makes me happy and holding onto those things. I'm grateful for my husband and kids for always supporting me in all the crazy things I do. I'm their #1 fan and love watching them learn and grow in so many things! I'm totally ready for school to be out. I wanna enjoy summer making memories with my kids. And I'm excited for it!