Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family History

Hello Everyone, lets talk about Family History for a moment.  

Today I'd like to honor my namesake, my Great Great Great Grandfather John Gailey. His life and stories from it stand as a testimony to me of the power that comes from a sincere testimony and understanding of Christ and his divinity. He was a man with a strong testimony, who knew his Savior, and who loved those around him. Though I never knew him, the stories I have been told have shaped him to be a great man in my eyes and one that I seek to emulate.  

A verse from Helaman chapter 5 rings in my ears when I learn of my namesake:

"Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land...and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good." (Helaman 5:6)

Great spiritual strength and understanding can come of family history work.  You gain a greater understanding of the power of the Atonement of Christ, and learn great stories that lead up to who you are and where you are.  We should all seek to "sufficiently [retain] in remembrance the captivity of [our] fathers...and...[retain] in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them". (Alma 5:6)

If you aren't currently doing family history, set yourself a goal to find just one more name that you could prepare and archive.  Or you could begin your own history of your current family.  You could save pictures, stories, and journal entries for future generations, that they might be able to remember you when your time is over on this earth.  

I may not have time to do family history while on my mission, but I'm very grateful for those that have gone before me and paved the way that I might do what I am on this earth do to.  

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Monday, July 20, 2015

Member Missionary Work

Y'ello Everyone!

So this week I gave a training alongside my new companion, Elder Holt, on the importance of working with the members.  Now if you're reading this blog, chances are that you're not a full-time missionary with the nametag and white handbook.  So this week I'd like to just share some of the insights that we shared as a part of out training.

The first that I would like to share is a quote by Elder Quentin L. Cook, which reads:

What we desperately need is for member-missionary work to become a way of life—for the Savior’s mandate to share the gospel to become part of who we are.

(Quentin L. Cook, "Be a Missionary All Your Life", given as a BYU Devotional March 2007)

What I love about this quote is that Elder Cook stresses the importance of making missionary work a way of life.  In this quote he implies that member-missionary work is far more than just occasionally going out with the missionaries or giving a referral to them every now and then.  True member-missionary work is shown every day, not just on the days when the missionaries ask for assistance.  It's living in such a way that our testimony is visible, not just something that we say.  

As you all live your lives, stop for a moment an consider whether you share your testimony in everything that you do, or whether you just share it during fast and testimony meetings at church.  A testimony is a terrible thing to keep to yourself, and sometimes the most powerful testimony is the one that requires no words to be spoken.  

Another point on member-missionary work is to show just how awkward missionary work can be at first.  I'm not going to lie, being a missionary is weird.  You talk to a lot of people about a subject that many people avoid talking about in public.  It can be weird talking about religion to a stranger or to a friend if you've never done it before.  But as with anything, the more you practice the less-awkward it becomes.  In an article titled "Seven Lessons on Sharing the Gospel", which I would recommend everyone read, Elder Clayton M. Christensen gave this piece of wisdom concerning sharing the gospel:

The ability to share the gospel isn’t “gift” that has been given to only few Latter-day Saints and denied to the rest. We have concluded from our own experiences and from watching others that finding people for the missionaries to teach can be easy and natural for all‍ of us—if we go about it the Lord’s way.

Missionary skills aren't restricted to missionaries.  The same skills and gifts of the spirit that are available to the few that wear the tags are available to every member of this church.  Spreading the gospel can become natural, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and try spreading the word of God.  I remember the first few weeks as a missionary.  They were awkward and full of mistakes and mishaps.  There's a definite learning curve, but the more I worked at it, the better I got.  Soon enough, talking to people on the streets or on their front porches became second nature.  And though I still have some fears, many of the large ones have been swept away in the joy of sharing the gospel.  

I just want you all to know that missionary work brings great joy, but I can tell you that all day and it wont change your life.  What will is if you have faith in the promises of the Lord and try sharing the gospel.  Prove the Lord and see if he wont bless you and aid you in this righteous goal.  I love you all, and hope that you discover or rediscover the joy in spreading the gospel. 

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Introspections Insights

Hello Everyone!

So I'm safely in Ballston Spa, New York now and life is going great.  I'm pretty much all unpacked and I'm getting used to my new routine.  The people here are great, but I want to move on to one of my favorite subjects as of late: introspection.  


The examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes.

There's the definition of introspection if you quickly type 'define introspection' into Google.  I wish to propose a great scriptural definition of introspection that comes from the book of Haggai in the Old Testament.  Now some of you  may think to yourselves "is that actually a book in the Old Testiment?"  Yes, yes it is.  And it's pretty short and it's not an oft quoted book, but in the first chapter there is some amazing wisdom from the Lord given to Haggai in a very short phrase which reads:

Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5)

Consider your ways.  What an excellent piece of advice from a loving Heavenly Father.  We are, just as Haggai, admonished to consider our actions and by connection to consider everything that makes the person we look at in the mirror.  Why would the Lord want us to consider who we are and why we are ourselves?  Simply because if one does not understand where one is in relation to God, one cannot possibly make lasting progress in becoming like God.  We are commanded to "be ye therefore perfect" by the Savior (Matt 5:48).  But if we don't adequately understand our own mortal state and the flaws that are inherent within each of us, how can we possibly become perfect.  

Imagine for a moment this scenario.  A college student near the end of the semester walks into one of his classes for an English final.  He sits down and begins to write his essay.  For over an hour he writes based on the generic prompt in front of him about the book he has spent weeks pouring over.  From a stack of blank papers this student produces a long, well written, essay.  He confidently turns in the paper to his professor and leaves the classroom, certain of his upcoming achievement.  Days go by and the professor has finished grading the papers.  The students gather to see their scores and congratulate one another on their success.  But when our fine student sees his grade his is dismayed to find that he has scored far lower than he thought he should.  Filled with a mixture of agitation and incredulity he meets with his professor shortly thereafter and inquires of the reason for his poor performance.  The professor sits him down and explains that the reason for his poor score was that his essay had been written on the wrong book.  The class had required a reading of one book that was supposed to be the basis for the essay, and he used another of his own choosing.  The rubric and scoring was designed for the book specified by the teacher.  And though the student wrote excellently, he has missed the mark.  Though he had worked, he had failed to work hard on what truly mattered.  

So our lives can be if we do not take time to ponder how our actions and works will be graded upon at the day of judgment.  We can spend our lives doing work that ultimately misses the mark on what this life is meant for.  Too often in our lives we can become consumed by the miniscule and become lost in the thick of thin things.  If we do not take time to ponder where we are in relation to the eventual judgment that will take place, we can finish our lives feeling confident that we have done well, but are in for a rude awakening when we are brought before the judgment bar and measured to the only scale that matters in the eternities.  My hope is that all of you will 'consider your ways' and see if they are the Lord's ways.  Follow his footsteps instead of making your own trail.  

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Farewell to a Master Teacher

Hello Everyone!

This week I'm a little short on time, but the article the Church has put out concerning the passing away of President Boyd K. Packer really struck me as a read it and watched the video.  I would like to encourage you to do that same thing this week.  

Ponder on the teachings and the spirit that you can feel as you read and listen to the words he speaks.  He truly was and is an amazing man, and an amazing speaker and teacher.  He was a man who truly understood the scriptures and their implications.  He is a great role model for anyone that wants to learn how to understand this gospel fully and to find the joy that comes from doing so. 

I love you all, and hope to have more time next week!

Love, Elder Gailey