Monday, May 30, 2016

Fertile Wilderness

Hello Everyone!

It's warming up quite a bit here in Utica.  Compared to the sweater/coat weather we had in previous weeks it's becoming hot and muggy.  It's been well over 90 degrees for the past few days and I'm not sure if you can go over 100% humidity or not, but we probably did.  I've never been a huge fan of the humidity, but I guess I'll deal with it!

This past week as Elder Haslam and I were reading in the Book of Mormon with a less-active member.  We decided to read 1 Nephi 16, incidentally one of my favorite Book of Mormon chapters, and to focus on the faith that Nephi had to act even in a tough situation.  But what caught my eye this time around was verse 16, which reads:

​"​
And we did follow the directions of the ball
​ [the liahona]​
, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.
​"​

As they followed and "gave heed", as the scriptures say, to the liahona, they were led through good portions of the wilderness.  I had to pause and think for a bit about how much of a blessing it must have been to be led in the more lush parts of the Arabian peninsula near the Red Sea.  We read in this chapter of how Nephi broke his bow, and usually we describe it like we would if we accidentally dropped our phones and the battery popped out.  Nephi breaking his bow was a big deal, as was being in the best parts of the wilderness.  We'll do a quick headcount of who they had to provide food for:

Lehi and Sariah
​Laman and his wife
Lemuel and his wife
Sam and his wife
Nephi and his wife
Zoram and his wife
Ishmael and his wife
Ishmael's oldest son and his wife
Ishmael's middle son and his wife
Ishmael's youngest son and his wife

We also know that Ishmael had sons who had wives, not sure how many, but we'll just assume ​
Ishmael's sons were comparable to Lehi's sons.  So we'll guess 3 sons to be on the safe side.  

If we assume that at the time they didn't have any kids, and Jacob and Joseph hadn't been born yet, that is still 20 people to provide food for.  I've never personally had to feed 20 people before, but I've had to provide food for 4 missionaries and I think the amount they eat is about equal.  That's a ton of food, and likely a large portion of the hunting lay on the shoulders of Nephi.  

So how great a blessing and comfort is must have been to have been led in the "more fertile parts of the wilderness".  Don't get the scriptures wrong, they were still in the wilderness.  It wasn't that when they were disobedient they walked through the Sahara in the noon-day sun and when they were obedient they were riding on segways in air conditioning.  They still were in an untamed land, full of trials and tribulations, but when they kept the commandments and gave heed to the directions they received from Heaven, they were blessed with an easier route of travel.  And such it is with our lives.  

Obedience doesn't make us exempt from trials, but allows us to endure with cheerfulness and to obtain greater blessings and aid from Heaven.  I know that these are true and correct principles because as I look at our mission, many missionaries who are exactly obedient (or striving to be) still struggle to find and to teach.  But their attitudes are exemplary and their faith is strong that the Lord has a plan and that this is his work.  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Gailey

"Why are they not chosen?"

Hello Everyone! 

It's been a little while since I've written a blog post, my schedule has gotten slightly more hectic as of late.  But today, in consequence with a recent study of it, I would like to comment on a verse found in Doctrine and Covenants 121.  This is a more priesthood-oriented post, but the principles of Christlike leadership and the development of our spiritual power is applicable to all.  

This section, revealed to Joseph Smith Jr., contains great advice for those in suffering and those called to serve in any capacity.  The doctrines and principles contained therein are of great worth.  But I wish to focus on verses 35-36.  In these verses we are told that many are called, but few are chosen.  This phrase is not unique to the Doctrine and Covenants, but also appears in Matthew 22:14.  But what is unique is the sentence immediately following which asks the powerful question "And why are they not chosen?".  A short synopsis is given that simply those that are not chosen by God are the ones that don't choose God.  

In verse 35 it says that the reason is the failure to learn a simple lesson, at least simple on paper for practice is where the true test lies.  This lesson, so key to leading and being an example to the world, is that "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness."  These God given rights come with their own instruction manual, they have certain restrictions and organizations.  The powers of heaven require righteous desires and actions in order to have them in our lives.  

President Russell M. Nelson spoke about unblocking the flow of priesthood power and noted several ways that priesthood power can be blocked or restricted.  President Nelson noted that "the flow of power [can be] blocked by sins such as laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality, or preoccupation with things of the world."  Much like Doctrine and Covenants 121, we lose priesthood power and lose the power and Spirit of God as we act in ways that aren't in line with God's will.  And this doesn't mean we're doing bad things, but we're just not doing the things we really need to be doing.  These small choices can and will limit our spiritual and priesthood power if not bridled like Alma admonishes his son Shiblon to do in Alma 38:12.  Ultimately we are the culmination of all the choices, great or small, that we have made throughout our lives.  And who we are and where we are in the eternities will be determined by the choices, great or small, that we will make through the rest of our lives.  

As we make correct, and if circumstance demands it, corrective choices we will find a new-found power in our lives.  We will have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us and to give us power from heaven to aid us in all aspects of our lives.  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Gailey

Monday, May 16, 2016

A picture is worth a 1000 words

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then this is a LONG BLOG POST!!  Some of the wonderful people I have had the chance to meet and teach while on my mission....








Monday, May 2, 2016

SPICY MISSION

videoSo there's a lady in the Ward named Thida, she's from Cambodia, and she feeds us every week.  She makes this spicy sauce simply dubbed 'Spicy' that she serves with all of her rice dishes.  Elders Tanner, Miles, and DeSpain said I wasn't down to eat a whole spoonful of it because they can't handle it.  I guess all of those street meals in Thailand paid off because I took it without a hitch.  I also did a food eating challenge this week called the Towering Inferno.  Sadly I didn't beat it, but I'm going to.  I'll send some pictures of that as well as some others in a little bit.  

Love, Elder Gailey 

ps. Missions don't always beat ALL the stupid out of young men.  They just refine us a little bit.