My name is Elder Kyle Rasmussen. I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The message of the Church is one of joy and happiness. This message has given me this great joy and happiness in my life and now I want to share that same joy with everyone else. I know it can bless everyone's life and that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Puzzling Thoughts

"A testimony is a witness or confirmation of eternal truth impressed upon individual hearts and souls through the Holy Ghost, whose primary ministry is to testify of truth, particularly as it relates to the Father and the Son." - Elder M. Russell Ballard

I tried to describe a testimony at it's basics and Elder Ballard really nailed it. But sometimes I wonder how do you gain a testimony. I don't believe anybody wouldn't want such a testimony and witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. So how does one gain such a testimony?

My dad taught me this simple truth in many different ways. Imagine your testimony is like a puzzle. How do you put a puzzle together? Well obviously piece by piece. Step by step you place the pieces together one at a time to construct an entire picture. Our testimonies are built the same way. You don't gain a testimony all at once, but rather over time and piece by piece.

Those pieces you add to your testimony puzzle come from many different things. Reading the scriptures, you add a piece. You pray sincerely to your Father in Heaven, there's another piece. You pay tithing, there's another piece. You attend sacrament meeting, another piece. The list goes on and on. It's not the acts themselves that provide a piece, it's the Spirit that is felt that confirms the truthfulness of what happened. The the Spiritual things you experience as you keep and live God's commandments and diligently seek Him out are those pieces you add to your testimony puzzle.

For example, my father owned a motorcylce when he was in his youth. He was riding home one day on this motorcycle and was going pretty fast down the road. As he was riding a quite but powerful voice filled his mind and heart. It said "Slow Down". He thought about but really didn't listen to it. He heard it again, "Slow Down". This time he listened to the prompting. As he began to slow the bike's back tire blew. Huge chunks of rubber went flying and one of them caught in the chain. The bike started to fishtail and swerve all over the road. However my dad was able to maintain enough control of the bike and was able to stop on the side of the road. If he hadn't of slowed down, I don't think I would be here.

The Spirit is real and you can experience such promptings. But those experiences don't give you a testimony all at once. This thing that happened to my dad added a huge piece to his testimony puzzle. We can add such pieces to our testimonies if we do the right things. May we strive to do all the rights things so we can add more and more to our testimony puzzle.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It Will Get Better Once it Stops Hurting

That statement always makes me laugh. It's one of my Grandpaisms my Grandpa Hess always likes to say. He always says funny things like "Kill to stones with one bird", or if you fall down "Come over here and I'll help you up". But the saying "It will get better once it stops hurting" really has some truth if you think about it.

Life's tough sometimes. There's nothing really around that fact. Sometimes during life we experience some pretty hard times. Trials and tribulations are to be expected, but that doesn't make them anymore less painful. We face so many different kinds of trials like sickness, death, depression, loneliness, guilt, family issues, finance problems, learning problems, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. At times we seem to be thrown a never ending string of them that doesn't look like it will let up. Each of us individually face our own personal demons that turn life into this gauntlet of pain. Life isn't fair; it's not a cake walk; life is hard. In Matthew 5:45, the Savior says "he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Good things happen to bad and good people, bad things happen to bad and good people. Life is hard. But there is hope.

We have a loving Heavenly Father and we are His children. He loves each and every one of his children. That is why we are here on earth. He wants for us to receive all that He has. His purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." He has provided us this opportunity to learn and progress so we can be more like him. We are here on earth to be tried and tested, and that means sometimes things aren't going to be very pleasant.

Life is a refiners fire. Trials are those hot flames that lick and scourge us. But through those flames we melt off the imperfections we possess. We burn off the portions of our lives that need to be removed. It's not fun, it's not pleasant, and it hurts at times. But the end result is something pure and sweet, beautiful and incorruptible. Orson F. Whitney said "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility....It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire." And we aren't suppose to go through them alone.

2nd Corinthians 1:3-5 says "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."

God is there and so is His Son Jesus Christ. Just like any parent or sibling, they want to help their sons and daughters, brothers and sister get through anything that they are struggling with. We can find hope and comfort in our afflictions in our Savior. I know this to be true. Through them we can get through anything.

So what do we need to do to receive this help? First we need to ask for it. Prayer is essential for help during trials. I remember one experience in my life that really helped me out. I was on a scout river kanoing trip in Wyoming. All of our equipment was stored in these five gallon buckets and tied down in the middle of the kanoe. Due to bad planning on my part the sleeping bag I chose wasn't quite the right size for the bucket so the lid didn't close all the way. Despite my most desperate attempts, our kanoe got swamped as our leaders and fellow scouts had fun trying to sink everybody else while going down the river. When we finally got to shore to camp the night I inevitably found my sleeping bag soaked with water. I tried to let it dry out before the sun set but still it was pretty damp by the time night came. A cold Wyoming night in the wilderness in a wet sleeping bag didn't exactly add up to a good nights sleep. I crawled into my bag and immediately the cold sapped the heat from my body. I shivered and shivered and things got colder and colder. I was out of options that night, I had no where else to turn. "I could potentially die tonight" was what I was thinking. I needed help. In my cold, damp sleeping bag I rolled over and offered a silent prayer to my Father in Heaven. I asked Him so desperately that this would seem so insignificant to everything else that was going on in the world but I really needed to be warm so I could sleep. After I ended my prayer immediately warmth ran throughout my body. The shivering stopped and I relaxed. I was able to sleep that night so peacefully and warmly than I ever thought possible. I know God answers prayers. During our times of affliction, I promise that if you call upon God for aide He will answer.

Along with prayer, your scripture study can be such a source of inspiration and strength to you. Christ when he was on the earth was always healing those who were in needed. Any sort of affliction or sickness he healed. He could heal people miles away, just by His words. Christ's words have the power to heal. So why should the scriptures be any different? Scriptures have the power to heal and strengthen us. There are so many good things hidden in the scriptures that will speak just to you for exactly what you might be going through. So when in doubt, scripture it out!!

As I've said before, trials are tough, but they are necessary. The Lord hasn't designed these trials for you to go through alone. Christ gave up His life to give us the greatest gift of the Atonement. He has gone through all our pains, sorrows, afflictions, and sins. He knows what you are going through more than we can imagine. That makes Him the only one who can really comfort us in times like trials. When we need Him most, He will come and bear us up. Push forward through whatever life throws at you. Doctrine and Covenants 122 is so famous for whatever we face in life. Remember whatever we face is for our own good and will give us experience.

I hope that this will help anyone who is going through anything hard in life. Remember prayer and scripture study. By small and simple things are great things come to pass. And remember, it will feel better once it stops hurting.

President Uchtdorf said "Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can't see the Lord's Hand in our lives until long after trails have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understand, and happiness."

Here are some tips from Elder Wirthlin that will help through trials.