“Family and friends! What a week. Isn’t it always though? There is never a dull moment in the mish, let me tell ya. I mean in just this week I joined what I like to call #TeamCrocs, had three flat tires, and got bronchitis. #Yep #MyLife
So let me explain…
Story number one, with #TeamCrocs. Before the mission I was very much so anti croc shoes. Very much so. This past week, my feet were just killing me and Sister Price offered me a pair of her crocs. They looked like flats, so they weren’t as ugly as the original crocs I have seen, and so I said I’d give them a shot. Oh my. Never turning back. Best walking, biking, standing all day in Belize mission shoes EVER! I feel like I’m walking on pillows. So I just wanted to publicly apologize to all the croc owners I once mocked. #I’veRepented #HappyFeet
Next story, three flat tires. What is with me and my stinking bike? I fall off of it, get tangled up in it, and now I get stranded in the middle of nowhere with it! I have a history of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere but in the past it has been horrible driving and no sense of direction. #ManyCanTestify. My poor companion, we did a lot of walking this week. So here is the story. Tire popped, bought a new one. Next day, flat. Got it filled up. Next day, flat. Took out tube. Fixed tube. #GiantHole. And then the next day no flat tires, happy bike, happy girl. #TheBikeLife
And now onto that b word, bronchitis. Oh how I despise coughing/not being able to breath/ dying. Ya, pretty much. Haha! Sister Price and I both, not fun. I’ve been taking medicine that tastes like black licorice which does not help as far as me being happy, but definitely helping on the healthy aspect. #AllIsWell
So let me squeeze in four fun facts for the week too!
So this one is a shout out to Bailey Bennett my life long best friend sister girl. So I was having a rough day one of these weeks, you know the normal, just in my bed dying of coughing, and so I pulled out my scriptures, that always helps right? And I opened up and right on the side of the page you wrote, “I love you. – Bails” #MadeMyDay
Fun fact two I met a dog named Sushi.
Number three I cut sister Price’s hair this week! Just a trim you know. I could only think of my cousins Carrie and Natalie Patterson. #FiguredYou’dBeProud
And last, we got to do helping hands! I have awaited for this day! Wore the yellow vests and all! #Fabulous. The church donated a bunch of desks to a bunch of school’s in Belize and we helped deliver them, the kids were so cute and thankful!
So I had the feeling to do my thought this week on something very special to me. That special thing is prophets!
What is a prophet? We can read about lots of different prophets in the Bible. We’ve got Noah, Moses, Abraham, and so on. All were men chosen by God to fulfill a purpose on the earth. For example, Moses was a prophet in the old testament that led thousands of his people out of Egypt and slavery! Something I know only a man of God could really do.
In Numbers 12:6 we can read more about prophets, it says, ”And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.”
Today I wanted to talk about a special prophet to me, his name is Joseph Smith. Now here comes the attacks right? “You worship Joseph Smith!”, “He made his own church up!”, I could go on, I hear this everyday. But I wanted to say that I can testify those accusations are false. And that’s why today I wanted to explain simply and clearly about the prophet, Joseph Smith. To just help everyone understand why he is a special prophet to me. So hear me out!
So let me start from the beginning with the Savior, Jesus Christ himself. From the time of the Creation of earth, the children of God looked forward to the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life. While on the earth he established His church, taught His gospel, and performed miracles. I love reading the New Testament about Christ’s life while on the earth. It’s beautiful. When I read it I can only feel of his love and concern for each of us to choose the right, follow him, and have his gospel in our lives.
I love reading in John Chapter 21. This was after Christ was resurrected and knew soon he would be leaving. He was talking to one of his twelve apostles, Simon Peter. Earlier that day Christ told him and the other apostles to “cast the net on the right side of the ship”. They received so many fish, they could barely bring them back in the ship. #Miracle. And so later Jesus asks him, “lovest thou me more than these (the fish)”? and Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest I love thee.” Then Christ said, “Feed my sheep.”
This is repeated two more times, “feed my sheep.” I can just feel the love and emotion behind that phrase. Meaning Christ is our shepherd and he cares for each and everyone of his sheep… Us! It was so important to Him that the church was established on the earth to bless lives of everyone.
When Christ established his church He called and ordained apostles and he gave them the authority called the priesthood to baptize and teach. And after Christ’s death and resurrection, He continued to guide the apostles through revelation (going back to that first scripture I shared). The Bible records many ways in which he continued to direct His Church; it was led by God, not by man.
Eventually the apostles were killed and that priesthood authority was taken off the earth. Good people remained and much truth remained, but the fulness of the gospel as established by Jesus Christ was lost. This is what is called the Great Apostasy.
God knew there would be an apostasy and we can read about in the Old Testament in Amos 8: 11-12,
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”
Exactly. This apostasy resulted in formations of many churches with conflicting teachings. Men and women sought the truth, but were unable to find it. There wasn’t the fulness or that priesthood authority on the earth. A restoration was needed.
Now this is where Joseph Smith comes into play. As I metioned earlier, each prophet is chosen by God to help fulfill a purpose on the earth. Through Joseph Smith the Lord restored the Church of Jesus Christ back on the earth, along with the priesthood authority of God. How? Let me explain.
Joseph Smith lived in this time of the apostasy, as a young man, Joseph was confused by the differences in all the churches in his area. He desired to know which of all them was true. If there is one God, why is there not just one church?
Joseph grew up in a Christian background, so he was accustomed to reading the Bible often. One day he came across averse in James 1:5: ” If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
That verse was stuck in his head, “if any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” He knew he lacked that wisdom and had that true desire to know, so he did as James directs, he asked God. He went out to a grove of trees near by his home in upstate New York in 1820 and prayed to know the truth. In this moment God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared unto him. This is his experience:
“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Christ told him none of the churches were right and that through Joseph Smith the church was to be restored.
As God has done with Noah, Moses, Abraham, and others, he called Joseph Smith to be a prophet through whom His gospel was restored.
Now I am going to have to wrap it up here because I am short on time, but I want to end with my testimony. That I know that God lives and loves us. And I know that the church that Jesus Christ established on the earth before is on the earth again. Why? Because he loves us and wants us to have His gospel to bless our lives, #FeedMySheep. With the same teachings, doctrines, principles, and establishment as it once was when Christ lived on the earth.
I, little Tor Tor, am on what sometimes feels like the other side of the world, here in Belize, on my mission, because of this message: The Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again. We have a modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides us just like the prophets of old. Do we worship Joseph Smith? No. Would we worship Moses, Abraham, or Noah? No. These are just men who were chosen of God to bless us as people through the will of God. And I testify of that. I testify Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he did see God and Jesus Christ. I know because I’ve prayed about it. I would encourage you to learn more, and pray to know. Because there’s really only so much I can say in just an hour of emailing time. But I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now, doing what I am doing right now, if I didn’t know this to be true with all my heart and soul.
And this is why he is a special prophet to me, because of his obedience and his diligence to the Lord, he was able to participate in the restoration of the fulness of the Gospel on the earth again. Despite all the persecution. This was not an easy task, just as leading thousands out of Egyptians out of slavery was not an easy task. But he did it, because he knew he saw the Father and the Son. He pressed forward and just look at the church today. Many are coming to see the goodness. I want you all to taste of this goodness. The gospel will only bless your lives. It will only bring you happiness. Because of this, I am on the mission. I am helping spread the message! The Church is on the earth again in it’s fulness. I’m helping feed the sheep.
Talk to the missionaries in your area, they are everywhere! Las Vegas, Paris, Hong Kong, whereever you may be! There are missionaries all over the world just like me, wanting to just give you blessings from the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn more, go in with an open heart! I know once you pray with a sincere heart, you will feel the prompting that I have felt in my life. And one day you too can stand and testify as I can, that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.
I love you all, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about prophets, who this Joseph Smith guy is, and about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope you were touched by my testimony and that I sparked that interest and desire inside of you to continue to learn more. Again, love you all. Have a great week!