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Cody, Wyoming, United States
I am serving a 2 year mission in Montana/Wyoming For the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints (Mormons)I have been out over a year and I love it

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Courtesy of Elder Holbrook

As the companion to a District Leader, I've had the opportunity to sit back and twiddle my thumbs while they did good work on Facebook and wrote inspiring blogs. I've been very impressed with their ability to resist the urge and temptation to talk to their friends and families, and to come up with thought provoking blogs. It has shown me that this idea of online proselyting, which I questioned at first, actually is a good idea, and can be beneficial. I have heard many stories, and witnessed for myself, the effectiveness of online proselyting. People open up more through online chat or comments than they would face-to-face, and it allows us to say things that we might not say face-to-face either (don't worry, nothing bad... just being a little bolder than we're comfortable with). At first I questioned, and was even against the idea, saying that if I get that opportunity, I'll pass (at least on Facebook), but now I have changed my attitude about it. It is a wonderful tool, and I am glad we have this opportunity. I've been hearing this quote ever since we first started this online deal, and that is "The adversary has had control of the internet too long. Let's take it back." So, with all of your support and efforts, we can take it back. We can't do it alone, we need all of you to help us. Share these blogs with your friends. There are dozens of missionaries making blogs; peruse them, follow them, pick your favorites, and refer your friends to them. You can make a difference, and it's quite simple. You just point your friends where to go, and we'll take care of the rest.

With that being said, I'd like to move on to a spiritual thought. As missionaries, that's kinda what we do. We won't leave a house, member or non-member, without something. So, technically you have let me into your house, so I'll give you a spiritual thought:
As a full-time missionary, I have the great opportunity each morning to set aside an hour to study the scriptures, and whatever else may benefit myself as a missionary. I love it, and hope to continue this process after my mission. There's always something new to be gleaned each time you read the scriptures, and no matter how many times you read it, you can always take something away that you had never noticed before (I've noticed this when people tell us "they're very familiar with the Bible", and we bring up something to which they respond "huh, I never noticed that before"). So, this morning, I was reading in Alma chapter 32. To members of the church, this should sound pretty familiar. In verses 38 and 39, it says:

38But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
 39Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

However, I'd like to think that people who aren't members of our church may also recognize a familiar ring to it. My mind was instantly taken to Matthew 13, and the Parable of the Sower:

3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

If we have faith, that faith is like a seed: it's small, but if you nourish it and take good care of it, it will grow, and bring forth fruit. And what is that fruit? The fruits of our labor. If we nourish that tree and let it grow, we will want to good do things, to follow the commandments, and follow the counsel and example of Jesus Christ. I'm reminded of another scripture, Matthew 17:16:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Think about this: someone gives you a puppy. New born, adorable little puppy, cutest little thing in the world. Are you going to take good care of it, feed it the necessary food, take it for walks, teach it not to piddle on the carpet, and train it? Or are you just going to ignore it and let it fend for itself? Of course not (at least I really, really hope not). You would take care of it and help it to grow from an adorable little puppy to a regal dog. Our faith is that little puppy. It needs care and nourishment. We can feed it by feasting on the scriptures (2 Nephi 32:3), we can exercise it by praying (Luke 18:1), and teaching it to be obedient and follow the commandments (Jarom 1:9).
The more you do these things, the more the seed (or puppy) will grow, and the stronger or more fruitful it will be. I am reminded of yet another scripture. Matthew (again) 17:20 says:

20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Now, why a mustard seed? There are lots of seeds that he could have said. He could have said a sunflower seed, or an olive pit, or a tulip bulb. Why did he choose a mustard seed? That seems obscure. Well, it wasn't the first time he did that. We turn back a few chapters, where in Matthew 13:31,32 it says:

31Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field.
32Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

So there ya have it. A mustard seed (which, if you've ever seen one, is indeed tiny. Easily mistaken for a grain of sand) can grow into a large bush, or tree. Our faith is the same as that mustard seed. If we plant it, and nourish it, fertilize it, water it, and keep the weeds away, then our faith can sprout forth from a tiny little mustard seed to a large mustard plant.
So, my question to you is: Do you have a green thumb?
Love, Elder Holbrook

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