Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day of Giving Thanks

     I'm sure you were all expecting this entry, but I would be ungrateful to NOT have a post about Thanksgiving! It's the real start to the holiday seasons in my opinion. The family traditions, recipes and jokes come out! It's the greatest time of year!!

     So a few years ago in Seminary we were challenged by our teacher to create a gratitude list of 100 things we are grateful for! Now at first glance that seems somewhat challenging, but do able. However, he also challenged us to be as specific as possible. Now that made it easier. Because instead of being grateful for my family, I can say I'm grateful for my mom, my dad, my sister, etc...!
     I'm sure he noticed how that made the challenge easier for us. So he then promised that if we would truly be sincere in our gratitude, think of why we are grateful for each and every item, and then pray to our Heavenly Father with the list in hand, we would have a better holiday season. Seemed like a great thing to do the night before Thanksgiving and so I did!
     My list began with the common things such as, family, friends, technology, transportation, the church, my testimony, the covenants I've made, opportunities given to me, my education, my future, and so forth. Sadly, once I got to around 40 I believe, it became harder... I didn't want to foolishly write down things just to fill the space. I really wanted to have a list of things I really was grateful for! After sitting for a good while, pondering what I had written and what I was missing, thoughts just started flowing. Slowly but surely I was being reminded of so many blessings. Such as, being raised in the great state of Utah, having the culture that I do, having so many temples near by, being able to be an example to my family and friends, having food so easily available 24/7, never going hungry, safety, having a wonderful working car, a warm bed, enjoying the beauty of all 4 seasons, my health, my youth, the clothes on my back, the support around me, the gospel around me, love all over the place, examples all over the place! Sheesh the list cannot stop!!!
     It was the greatest thing ever to have filled out that list and then some with honest items I felt so grateful for. I love the holiday seasons so much! Its always filled with love, humility, gratitude, and service!

     I challenge you all to create a gratitude list of 100 items as well! Once you have felt you have completed it with honesty in every word, pray to your Heavenly Father and read it off one by one. You're eyes will be opened to all you've been given and man is it a humbling experience!
     I love you all and wish you a very safe and loving holiday season!

Love always,
Attitude of Gratitude

    

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CALLED TO SERVE

     This week my appreciate for the Brethren of the church, namely the Prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors and the 12 apostles, has grown beyond comprehension. For many reasons, most of which are too personal to share.

     But to answer the question that was brought up in my last post... I GOT MY MISSION CALL!!! I have been called to serve a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California, San Jose mission. I will report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on February 13, 2013. I will preach the gospel in the Tongan language and will serve for 18 months!!!
     I was blessed enough to have opened my call surrounded by the majority of my family and my close friends! It was one of the greatest experiences of my life! The spirit was so strong and I knew that wherever I'd be sent was where I needed to go!!
     So the time has come to really truly prepare. I feel like I've been preparing my whole life, but now is the time to really know the doctrine. I can now picture where and who I will be serving! It makes it all that much more real and important! In a morningside at my highschool Larry Gelwix, a rugby team coach taught up about hardwork. He said, "We can either feel the pain of HARDWORK or the pain of REGRET!" And I feel that is especially important when it comes to missionary work! The number one thing I do NOT want is regrets! So in order to accomplish that I'll need to remember President Monsons words. "Life by the yard is hard. But life by the inch, is a sinch!" And lastly, the greatest quote in reference to missionary work has to be the one given my Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the quorum of the 12 apostles. He said, "Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance!" Oh how I pray I wont take my mission lightly. That I will work hard every single day because the people I'm serving deserve that. This is much too serious!

     I am so grateful for my calling to serve in San Jose, California! I'm grateful to serve the wonderful Tongan speaking individuals and more importantly, the Lord. I know this call came from God and that the apostles that decided on it and the prophet who signed off on it, are men called of God. They are here to direct His church. They are righteous men who are doing their best to be more like our Savior. We would all be wise to follow their counsel.

Nofo A,
Toko Ua Samples

( goodbye and sister in Tongan (: )

Sunday, November 11, 2012

D&C 100:6

     Holy cow!!! This week I am super thankful for institute! I am learning so much and my mind is somehow being able to take it all in, along with all the school junk that has to be slammed into my brain as well!
     Some exciting news to share!!! MY MISSION PAPERS ARE IN!!!!!! Last Sunday I saw my Stake President and he told me he'd submit my papers to church headquarters that day!!! AMAZING!!!! So the call should be here in about a week! I'll be sure to write all about it for my next entry and let ya know where I'll be serving the Lord for 18 months!!

     So in preparing for the mission I am in the temple prep class for Sunday school! It has been thee most amazing class and I feel like I am learning so much!! Last week we were taught about qualifications for the temple. Why we have to be worthy, what it means to be worthy, how to become worthy, ect...
    Our teacher used a great analogy! He said that going to church, fulfilling callings, going to seminary, and mutual was all like Elementary, Middle and High School things. They are really just there to prepare you for the University, or the Temple!! It completely relates in the sense that you cant skip any of those, you might be able to skip little grades, but definitely not the whole step. Also along with the thought that everything you learn in the younger grades is exactly what you learn in the higher grades. The only difference is that it is more in depth, with more information, but the same stuff!
     So since the majority of my family aren't members or aren't active, what could I do to help explain the reasons why they aren't allowed in the temple. My teacher was totally inspired! He said, well it's not that Heavenly Father doesn't love them! That's not it at all. He does love them and want them in his home as much as possible. However, there are a lot of reasons why someone cannot enter into his home. First off, within the temple you gain further knowledge about principles taught at church. If you are unwilling to go to church or dont like it, you wont like the temple. Another, going to church strengthens and grows your spirit. By not doing so, it shrinks. Therefore your spirit wouldn't be able to comprehend things within the temple because it hasn't grown enough, nor become strong enough. (He listed someother things, but these are just the ones I liked the most.)   
     I hope that made sense. Another thing I thought of was just the fact that the Savior, Jesus Christ has walked the halls of His home. If you were unworthy you wouldn't want to be there. You'd want to be clean in His presense wouldn't you? It's the same thing!

     So that's my thoughts on it anyway! If you have questions, feel free to ask!!
     I love this gospel and the peace is brings to me! I'm very excited to be found worthy of a temple recommend and covenant with my Father in Heaven. That I will keep His commandments, do what He would do if He were here and love everyone like He would love them!!! This gospel is true! It's what He needs His children to know and understand in order to come back to Him!!! I cant wait to serve a mission for Him!

Love always,
WHERE AM I GOING?!!!