Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Last Thursday as I prayed about what to do with my evening, I felt to go to the stake center at 8 pm. Martha and Lester needed help setting up for their reception so I figured that is why I felt to go at 8 pm.

No one really was at the church. I walked around pondering why I was there. Martha text me and said that set up was at 9:30.

I went into the RSroom. I found the room flooded with the window light and an upright piano just calling out to me. I sat down and for several mins forgot everything and just played and sang to my hearts content. I looked at the clock-- 8:10ish and I felt a little guilty for playing for me when Thursday nights are my nights to work with others. I moved to leave, but felt to stay until 8:30. With that conformation I was tickled pink as the approval to play the piano was felt. I played and sang my guts off!

8:30--okay time to leave, but just one more song.
8:32--the hallway door opened and I could only make out the outline of a woman standing before me. A little embarrassed I thought it was a leader and asked if she needed the room. She started to close the door and about the same time I heard "Sister Cloward?!" I realized that it was Hannah standing in the doorway!

Meet Hannah! When I was in the Young Women's in the Deaf Ward, Hannah was a Beehive. This shot is from June 2007.

This shot is from Dec 2006. Hannah is the 5th one over from the right. This picture is actually in the same room I was playing in last Thursday. Notice the piano in the background. Well NOW Hannah is a very grown up 17 year-old Laural. I ran to give her a hug. We laughed over the fact that I was at the building randomly--and it was her young women's night, which was over, but she now was waiting for her brother.

We started to talk and Hannah mentioned that she was still taking piano lessons. I asked her if she would play anything. She said she couldn't remember anything... but then quickly said she remembered an arrangement she had made. She sat down and played me the following song. My heart stirred and I told her I had to run to my car to get my camera so that I could video her. Hannah was nice enough to humor me.

It was an honor for me to hear such a beautiful piece of music and especially coming from someone I love and admire so much. After she finished playing for whatever reason I felt to sing her my Sunbeam song?!! (Anyone who knows me knows I just don't sing for people.) But very nervously I sat down and played/sang for her.

We went out to the car. Hannah was just hanging around for her brother. I told her how I felt to come to the Stake center at the time I had. She said that when she saw me her thought was, "I hope I get to hear Sister Cloward sing". ?!! We then had a great conversation about revelation and how God does answers prayers. A few folks showed up for to help set up the reception. Hannah called and got an okay with her mom to stay and help set up.

While we were talking about revelation I felt I needed to go see Gavi. I asked Hannah if she would like to come along with me. She did. Together we went and visited Gavi. Gavi had just changed her cell phone number that day--and had we not gone over there I think I would have been out of contact for some time with Gavi. It was a miracle.

We went back to the church only to find nearly 35 of my ward members who had shown up to help set up the reception. (Seriously, I have the most amazing ward!) Hannah stayed around for a little bit, but in all honesty we were good on help so she left to go home.

I told her I wanted to put her song to some temple pictures... and within a day or two she sent me a recording of her song so I didn't have to use the one I filmed at the church. I LOVE the song!! Thanks Hannah! You are so great! And I know that God works through you!

So this past week... Davey and Mandi got married! Thank goodness for Rachel's big heart and her mom's amazing "reception" in a few boxes--stuff. :) With Rachel's expertise we had the RS room decked out pretty well. Davey and Mandi decided to not to make a big deal out of the wedding because they want the Huge party/recetpion to be a year from now when they go to the temple. Hearing how they came to this conclusion was amazing. Within a week and a half I saw God do a 180 with their thinking and ideas.

Their vows were given, and I can honestly say I have never felt the spirit so strong in a civil marriage before. Davey promised to keep the commandments and to do the things that God would have him do as a husband and a father. Mandi too bore a vow/testimony of her commitment to the commandments and to honoring God through her marriage. Cheeks were wet in the room. You would have had to have a complete iron heart not to feel the spirit as they both testified through their vows. Afterwards I went up and hugged Davey and asked him who had helped him write his vows. He looked puzzled and with a look like "was I suppose to have someone help me" he said that no one had helped him. Serious, this kid has only been a member of to the church for one month. He is bound for greatness!
Sam helped film the wedding and what a blessing! His camera has high definition video on it... and it just so happened he had enough juice in his battery to get the important vows and Bishop's counsel. Jaimie, showed up with some brownies and just wanted to support.

Honestly, this past week, I could not have been more touched by the services given by others.
Andrew is in the middle of Chemo treatments for Cancer and although I know he has no energy/much strength to his name, he helped set up the night before and came to the wedding. He doesn't let anyone catch on to how difficult his affliction of Cancer is right now, (and mostly because it fights it with a great positive attitude) but I was moved to tears seeing his selflessness. Vanessa made homemade brownies. Meg made cupcakes. Eve brought a pan full of warm brownies. Kristi took off work. Rachel brought her kiddos. Eric, help set up and take down. Jordan played the piano. Celeste brought Chocolate milk. Chelsea and Jong's helped set up the night before. JiHye, Paola and Rachel would not let Krist and I clean up alone. It was a good 5 hour process in the day--and I am surely forgetting someone who came and supported the wedding, but seriously my heart was deeply touched by people's innate goodness. Wow, so good. Mind you this day took place in a RS room that decided not to have AC.

This is little Sammi Sunshine! Her mom had the courage to bring her into the world. Prayed and fasted on what to do. Felt to keep her. All the mean while Sammi's Dad was deciding to change his life and give up some things. He did, and un announced to Sammi's mom Mandi--Davey read the Book of Mormon and started investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He completely changed everything. He wanted so badly to be a good father and to provide for Sammi. One little girl--miracles!!
Friday brought Martha and Lester's sealing. Most of the ordinance was done in Spanish. Bishop Madsen and I just smiled at each other. It wasn't until the end of the whole thing when we were all hugging Martha and Lester--that the impact of what just happened really hit them. The fact that they worked for a temple marriage and stuck with it even when wanting to give up--the emotion/gratitude and the significance of Jesus Christ's atonement was present. How beautiful, how clean and pure this sealing was. My eyes were wet as I embraced Martha. How proud of I am for her. It was beautiful.

Sat morning brought a move for Kat. And again, the support that came to help her move was overwhelming. It was choice.

SUNDAY morning
Gavi canceled having me pick her and her kiddo's up for church because she stayed over at her mom's house. I decided I would still go to my family ward and then go out and do some knocking to find if folks on my ward list. Before I left I felt strongly that I needed to put cereal in my bag. *Mind you I don't eat cereal right now, and I surely don't keep it in my bag. I was not going to need to entertain Gavi's kids, so I figured the cereal would stay in my bag for months. But so strong was the thought that I knew it was not from me. I opened a cabinet and found Cinnamon Life. I got a small container and put the cereal in it. (I thought about how bulky the little container was. :))

I also put 2 of dad's healthy bars into my bag. And with that I felt satisfied I had done what I felt to do so I ran off to church. The meeting was great and the spirit was present.

After the first hour was over, I went tracking. House after house and door after door/street after street. I found very little success. By nearly 12:15 I pondered over what I had done with my Sunday morning. But I could not deny that I had felt to go to the places I had. Back and forth in the boundaries of the family ward I am over... I felt to go and knock on each door.

Now you may think I am a little snotty, and perhaps I am. But I have a testimony that if I am on the Lord's errand, I truly expect for him to have people for me to meet or greet. I can find at least one reason in almost every thing I feel to do. Stake Center--to be blessed by Hannah's song. Singing for her-(She has just thought in her mind if she would get to hear me sing). Conversation on revelation and how God does answer prayers. Gavi's-I needed to have her new number. I was not sure what the tracking and cereal were for... but God's wisdom is ALWAYS best! He knows--and later I knew why too! ;D But regardless of what I know--if it comes from God, you just do it. Even if you don't see/can't see a reason why.

The last place I tried searching for the member on my list, the address didn't have an apartment number. So I decided there were only 4 doors that could be the right choice, so I went a knocking.

The first door, nope. The second door said nope, but I felt that it was the right house. But to be sure I went to the 3rd door. I found a man who lives in my family ward. (I say my family ward, but it is really the ward I have been assigned to as a missionary.) He invited me in as he tried to find out from his wife if she had any info on this 19 year old kid I was trying to locate.

The man told me about a family from Mexico that had just moved in next door and that they had a son who had recently become divorced and who was living with them. Just as he was telling me about the new neighbors, the son pulled up and he rushed me outside to meet him. I felt after a whole morning of what you would call in the mission "character building" because nothing else seems to be happening, I was suppose to meet Samuel at that very given moment. He gave me his number and committed to come to church the following Sunday. I even texted him later asking him his schedule for the week, and I was very happy to receive an answer back.

It was great reminder to me how great God is and his timing is everything.

I went to church rejoicing to find/get in contact with such a family.

Sacrament was amazing! Mundo spoke on how patience makes our faith stronger. It was a really good talk. The spirit was present. He talked about how God has faith in us to face our Goliath trials. He said that even our Godzilla trials although they are scary, God has faith in us and will help us meet the challange. Mundo is someone who is so busy, but serves so willingly. He never complains on the homework he is not getting done by serving. It seems wherever I turn, I find this man of God giving encouragement, hope through speaking positive and always, always using his hands. Whether it is in the kitchen or whatever. I never find Mundo idle. I love that about him! He is always serving.

Eric talked about loving those around us, even if they are different. And then we had a Seventy out visiting to check out our singles ward. The church is interested in how they can duplicate what is happening in our ward, to see if they can implement what is happening there into other singles wards and other family wards.

I not knowing, ended up sitting by his wife. His message was wonderful too... truly Sacrament was beautiful. Just the feeling of wanting to be better.

I went to Elder and Sister Rollins Marriage prep class. How tender both Elder and Sister Rollins feel towards each other. It is beautiful to behold such admiration. Such respect and consideration for another. I have attended that same lesson at least 5 times in the past year (it seems I can't make the six week course but I always make the lesson starting the six week course). And although I have heard the stories before, as they related some things in their marriage--both of their eyes were wet. What tenderness, what love they have for each other. Truly a marriage built on serving and holding your companion up as the highest thing possible is a beautiful thing.

Davey was to get the priesthood in Elders Quorum so I left class to find Sunil to take him home so I could make it back in time for Davey's ordinance. (I don't even know if getting the priesthood is considered an ordinance??--I will look into that.)

As I was walking to get Sunil I found Mandi sitting on the couch. I asked them what was up. Mandi did not feel good, so skipped class and was wanting to leave. She told me she was hungry. I smiled and told her I had just put a few bars in my bag that morning. She opened one and took a bite and made the comment that it was "healthy" (this being a kind way of saying it wasn't very tasty. ha ha) I then asked her if she liked cereal. She said she loved it. I told her that I had felt to put cereal in my bag. I reached out and gave her the container that had been sitting so awkwardly in my bag and asked if she liked "Life"- Cinnamon Life. Before Mandi could answer Davey shot out that that was her favorite type of cereal. ??! ! That is amazing. God is so good. (For the record, I NEVER have cinnamon life at my place, but just happened to have some... I know.. nothing just happens. :))

Well when I got back from dropping off Sunil, I checked on the couple. They were both alert and happy. The container of cereal was empty. :)

Davey receiving the priesthood was really, really good. And Mandi even stayed and went with me to RS for the first time!! Oh Yea for God wanting me to put some cereal in my church bag. It was perfect. His plans are always perfectly perfect!! (The catch for me is to follow through.)

I did a few things after church and then picked up Sam to go and meet Samuel. I felt that we need to go that evening. Samuel sounded a little annoyed that I was back. His mother went downstairs to get him and although it was in Spanish Sam translated to me that she was a "Latan Woman". I am sure Sam had to be wondering if it was such a good idea for us to be there--especially hearing the resistance, but by the end of the conversation with Samual and his 20 year-old cousin, Sam had built up a start of a friendship. They spoke in spanish and I just smiled and tried to pay attention. It was so good for Sam to meet them. God uses Sam to reach people. I really believe I will be seeing Samual this next Sunday. (It helps that he committed/okay with me picking him up for church too.)

And the rest of the evening was perfect. So perfect that Since then all I have wanted to do in my prayers is pray and praise Heavenly Father. Oh how I love Sundays!!

It is way to late to be up right now, and anyone who knows my schedule knows that I do not have time right now to blog let alone a lengthy one. But again tonight I felt I needed to post this. (I honestly can't picture someone other than my mom and dad reading through all of this. :)

OH I love God! I love his Son, Jesus Christ. I love the gospel.

I know that God communicates with us. Whether through a thought or an idea, a feeling or whispering--whatever it is... following whatever is given, I have found, is the best way to do what is given. And even if we don't know why we are doing something, if one feels to--just do it. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


For whatever reason on Saturday I listened to this song over and over. I had many things I needed to get done. My morning was basking in the spirit of the scriptures. (Mostly I think because Brother Murray called me and asked me to give a talk the next day.) But then I felt a stirring that I needed to put this video together. I love the story click here to read the full article. It is amazing!! I also love the song.

When I went through the article, I found that I had lots of things to put into the movie. And as I looked at the amount of text--I became a little overwhelmed with how in the world it was all going to work out... especially on my ghetto imovie application. After most of my day and a good chunk into the late evening this is the result. I found some mistakes-- of course, but I do feel the movie is not from me, but just a good reminder from God. If you would like to watch the larger version on YouTube click here.

Yesterday was pretty sacred. From the moment I woke up, it was a day that filled my soul.

Gavi for the first time came to RS! Or rather we stayed long enough for her to go. Danny had to sit on my lap the whole time and Jose was a sticky mess because we were trying to keep him chill with suckers and toostie rolls. But she was there! It was the first time she had ever been to RS. Very cool. The sacrament in her ward was sacred and brother Carter shared some choice miraculous blessings he had received in his life. He did not want to share because of the sacred nature of the healing, but felt impressed he must share. It was beautiful.

Then off to my ward. Sam stopped me in the hall and told me I must meet his sister and family. Sunday was a big day for he and Kristi as they delivered a powerful lesson on virtue, modesty, overcoming pornography... the spirit was present and there were a lot of people there that day. And I was privileged to meet his family. How is it that his family can show such quick love for someone they don't even know? I told Sam that I thought he was one of a kind, but after meeting his sisters--the same greatness which is in him, flows in them as well. I was deeply touched by their wanting to meet me. Good, choice family.

I was ready to give my talk, until I saw the Stake President walk in. Oh that man lifts you to another level of life. And when I saw him walk in I thought it would be good if I was "sick". ha, no I am just kidding, but really the man is of God.

After the movie was finished early Sunday morning, I fell to sleep with thoughts and impressions with what I needed to share. In the morning with only 20 mins, I typed out the scriptures and headed to my first ward. So by the time it was for me to talk, I had not officially "talked" through my talk. I did have deep impressions with what God would have me say.

How touched I was to sit next to the high council member. I whispered to him that since they asked me to speak the day before, I had been praying deeply for he and I and that our tongues would be loosed. He smiled and said he had been doing the same but then also added he had been praying for the hearts in the congregation. I smiled and told him I had been doing that too. (NOTE: How cool to get to speak with a high council member that prays like that! it was humbling and encouraging...I was filled with great faith and peace.)

The day before as I was praying, I had a strong impression I must go to see Jinger the next night. Well after the course of that prayer I found out that my mom and Nyk were coming to my place Sunday night. So Sunday morning I knelt down and asked God what I should do--just leave them at my house because I knew I would be with Jinger for some time. I felt if I needed to, to just bring them along, but that I needed to be at Jinger's house around 9:30 pm.

Nyk called me in the day and she felt not to come down, and mom decided she would not come down too. I had not told either one of them that I would not be there to entertain/hang out with them, but in faith knew that God would make it all right. I truly had no attachments and could follow through and go to Jinger's house... for whatever reason I was to.

I got home from some church things. I had a little dinner and then started to study the scriptures. By 8 pm I was very sleepy. (Partly from the intensity of the night before.) I had the thought that I could take a quick nap. BUT OH NO-- I thought, there was no way, I know myself, and so strong was the impression to go to Jinger's place that I dared not sleep through it. But sweetly, as the spirit often does, I was reassured that God would wake me up. The impression was so clear that I closed my scriptures and went to sleep.

9:25 my phone rings and I am "drunk" with sleep. It was Kristi. We talked, but I am pretty sure I did not make lots of sense. But we were on the phone long enough to wake me up so I could jump in my car and go to Jinger's place. I am so grateful for her phone call and God truly (as he always does) kept his promise of waking me up. (Which anyone who knows me, knows that it is only God or the spirit that can do this great task! I am a great sleeper. I know I know, eat it up now, because when I am a mother, there is no such luxury. ;))

No one was home at Jinger's place, but I knew God wanted me there. Jinger has some heavy drug activity going on next store and a neighbor that through some un appropriate actions has caused her to not be outside with her kids when he is around. I saw the neighbors in their garage and I had the impression that I was there just to help Jinger get in the house. (Brytt has been gone with Dad and the boys to Alaska.)

I finally called Jinger. She was on her way home from Salt Lake. She had had the impression to go and see her sister. But she reminded the Lord if she did that, she would have to come home when it was dark, and leave children in the car because she could only take 2 in at a time if they were asleep. She does not like to come home in the dark because of her neighbors. But she followed and had faith God would protect her and her family. I told her I was sitting outside her house to which the just praised heavenly Father. She did not have to leave her children in the car un attended that night.


God really knows us. He knows what we need and he knows how to bless us. He provides for his children.

I was reminded of this again as dad gave me a sweet blessing this morning.

How I long to be who He wants me to be. And my desires are not true unless they match His desires. I know that God can change us.. he can change me and make me better than I am right now.

"Rejoice the Lord is King"! (That is what I am doing!)

How can I keep--from singing?!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Therefore, whoso hearth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
3 Nephi 14:24-27 Hearth and doeth. One thing to listen, next and greater- to obey whatever we heard in our heart to do!

Last night, well now that I am typing this so late, Thursday night--we had an amazing RS meeting. We had a great presentation on pornography and what to do when you are dating and married. 53 girls end up being there for the presentation--it was great valuable information.

Thomas (a great guy in my ward that did the presentation) was answering a question on how does a girl know the guy is off of pornography and won't go back to the habit... Thomas then shared a PROFOUND thought on the verses above.

Two "men" built houses. They could be identical houses. But it is not until the storm and the rain comes that we find the character of that man. It is not before, but when the storms come whether we see if he built on a foundation in the sand or on a rock. Our character is not truly tested or shown until we see how we stand through a storm.

Beautiful truth Thomas! Thank you!

I love the picture above. Believe it or not, Dad is the 4th one over starting from the left. We all went to lavender days and Dad with Young Living, help narrate this cute little western show.

Character--the stuff we are made up of. When others are watching, but more importantly who we are in the quite chambers of our soul when only we see/know and of course God sees/knows.

Mom and Nyk have challenge me to a Book of Mormon read in 30 days. I must admit, I am someone that will pick apart one chapter in three or four days. So reading eight or nine chapters in one day is a bit different ;) But I have felt that I needed to take the challenge.

The past few weeks I have been deeply impressed/pondering over murmuring. More clear than ever--murmuring is a faith killer and a fear builder. Murmuring causes worry and doubt. Murmuring demonstrates our lack of understanding, our pride in the fact that our humility is low and murmuring just makes you grumpy--and effects those around you.

Certainly a test of my character would be to see if I handle the storms of my life without murmuring or complaint.

Recently I had some pretty profound revelation over a close friend and I have pondered how it is possible to come to pass-- my weakness temps to control me in the fact when I get a revelation that I don't understand or see possible, I follow through, yes, but sometimes with a stink attitude. Often I am a murmurer.

I have not mentioned the specific details of the revelation to anyone for I am bound and determined to not murmur on this particular insight. God will make away, and this I put my faith in the bank with.

(I hope to not murmur anymore-EVER. This is amazingly easier said than done.)

As I was studying 1 Nephi 17 before this 30 day challenge and now again with the start of the challange, I had a thought. Lamen and Lemual are just laying bad into Nephi. They were mad about being in the wilderness and leaving all the things behind in Jerusalem.

My impression--at the beginning of their complaining session they mention "...and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions." This comment is towards the start of their complaining. No offense to guys, but I just don't see them being that sensitive to their wife's conditions without a little prompting. Sure in a complaint list maybe the wife's hardships take up the 10th or 11th slot on the list--but with Lamen and Lemual, they bring up their wives issue early in their murmuring session. The thought came to me that their wives must have been complaining to them (their husbands) quite a bit--and perhaps it was the wives complaining that triggered/influenced the husbands to to go and get grumpy with Nephi. !! I have seen this happen with couples many times. Take a chill man, and put a constantly complaining wife behind him and your guy now has negative things come out of his mouth.

The rest of their complaints I am sure were part of their own personal complaints, but the impression for me was that they were being partly the way their were because of of the influence of their wives over them.

When this impression came I immediately did not want to EVER be caught influencing my husband to be grumpy because of my "murmurings" at home. The scriptures say why Lamen and Lemual murdered? "...they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them." (1 Nephi 2:12).

Well there you have it. Your Character of what you are built on (sand or rock) won't be fully tested and I should say exposed until a storm hits you. (And the scripture says, the rains descended on the wise and the foolish). That is when you can choose to murmur or trust. To submit or rebel. To rejoice instead of curse and sing instead of complain.

I was moved by these words from Elder Richard G. Scott in the April 2009 conference--
Fourteen years ago the Lord took my wife beyond the veil. I love her with all my heart, but I have never complained because I know it was His will. I have never asked why but rather what is it that He wants me to learn from this experience. I believe that is a good way to face the unpleasant things in our lives, not complaining but thanking the Lord for the trust He places in us when He gives us the opportunity to overcome difficulties.

We had the blessing of having children. A daughter, the first child, continues to be an enormous blessing in our lives. A couple of years later a son we named Richard was born. A few years later a daughter was born. She died after living only a few minutes.

Our son, Richard, was born with a heart defect. We were told that unless that could be cured, there was little probability that he would live more than two or three years. This was so long ago that techniques now used to repair such defects were unknown. We had the blessing of having a place where doctors agreed to attempt to perform the needed surgery. The surgery had to be done while his little heart was beating.

The surgery was performed just six weeks after the birth and death of our baby daughter. When the operation finished, the principal surgeon came in and said it was a success. And we thought, “How wonderful! Our son will have a strong body, be able to run and walk and grow!” We expressed deep gratitude to the Lord. Then about 10 minutes later, the same doctor came in with an ashen face and told us, “Your son has died.” Apparently the shock of the operation was more than his little body could endure.

Later, during the night, I embraced my wife and said to her, “We do not need to worry, because our children were born in the covenant. We have the assurance that we will have them with us in the future. Now we have a reason to live extremely well. We have a son and a daughter who have qualified to go to the celestial kingdom because they died before the age of eight.” That knowledge has given us great comfort. We rejoice in the knowledge that all seven of our children are sealed to us for time and all eternity.

That trial has not been a problem for either of us because, when we live righteously and have received the ordinances of the temple, everything else is in the hands of the Lord. We can do the best we can, but the final outcome is up to Him. We should never complain, when we are living worthily, about what happens in our lives.

Fourteen years ago the Lord decided it was not necessary for my wife to live any longer on the earth, and He took her to the other side of the veil. I confess that there are times when it is difficult not to be able to turn and talk to her, but I do not complain. The Lord has allowed me, at important moments in my life, to feel her influence through the veil.
So what is in my character? What makes me up--most importantly when no one is watching or seeing. What am I doing with my time. Am I a complainer/murmurer. Am I choosing to know God's dealings with me. My stance/actions when a storm hits is the best way to view who I really am.

For whoever this is for--may God bless you to overcome whatever storm you are facing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Five years ago today, I was nervously waiting in the airport with 3 or 4 other elders to fly back to Utah.

Shortly after my mission had started, Elder Christensen came out to a zone conference and talked about setting a date of faith. He talked about the only time he was going to meet someone new was to pray and ask the Lord to prepare whoever would sit next to him on the plane as he flew to Hawaii. He and his wife both fasted every week for months, pleading with the Lord to prepare the person on the airplane. Finally the day of his trip came. He sat in his plane seat anticipating who would sit next to him. Down the isle came this man... Hawaiian shirt, chains, very "open" with his shirt. Elder Christensen somewhat rolled his eyes and thought there was no way this man would be up for a gospel conversation. The other man sat down next to him and proceeded to tell Elder Christensen about all the women he was going to see and what he was going to do with them. Elder Christensen went back to reading his paper, but the spirit prompted.

Soon, they were deep in conversation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that God had a plan for this man. The man had never heard these truths before, but admitted to Elder Christensen that for several months his soul had been stirring for truth, and he had no idea where it was coming from.

The two men exchanged information and Elder Christensen told the man he would like to have him over with his family and the missionaries when the business trip was over. To which the man replied--well don't you have missionaries in Hawaii?


I heard the talk, and my heart was overwhelmed by the truths of praying and fasting for a time when the Lord will prepare someone to hear the gospel. From that point in my mission, I decided that I could start fasting and praying for the day I would fly home and for whom ever would sit next to me on the plane. I did this for nearly 7 or 8 months, never missing a week. But about 4 to 5 months before finishing the mission it dawned on me, I would be going home with elders and they would be the ones I would be sitting by--so after a good chuck of my mission of fasting and praying for the flight home, I stopped, thinking I wasn't about to be testifying to the elders.

July 14th 2005 found me in the Newark Airport. And as we waited to board the plane to come home--I asked the Elders what their seat numbers were. I think now, there were three of them and one of me. One by one they read off their seat number. All three of them were sitting by each other. When I looked at my number I was randomly several rows away and on the other side of plane. I thought that was odd--but then all at once my mind was flooded with all the praying and fasting I had offered up for whom I would sit next to on the plane. !! My heart started to race and my hands became sweaty. I had honestly thought I would be sitting by elders and that is why I stopped praying.

Well, the first flight, the sweet man next to me asked question after question about the church. He was a truck driver and loved his wife dearly. Missionaries later came to his house and for a time he investigated. I do not know what has happened to him since. The elders on the plane kept looking back and saw my napkin drawing of the plan of salvation. The next plane, because we were headed to Utah I figured there would be a lot of smiles with people knowing who we were.

I was one of the very last people to board. And as I walked down the isle pondering if the person (yes I was not linked by the elders again) would be a member. I saw a younger in his early 30's man sitting next to the only open spot on the plane, my seat. He smiled as he looked at my name tag.

He was not a member but his wife was--although not practicing. They had just had a conversation that week that it was either his parents faith or his wife's parents faith of "Mormons". He had always been apposed by going, but he and his wife just discussed that they needed to find what was best and true for their future family. We talked all the way back to Utah and 4 lessons were taught. The spirit was sweet.

We got off the plane and before the elders and I went to go find our waiting families, two elders ran to find someone sitting waiting for their flight to give one last pass along card. ;) I smiled.

I have no idea whatever came of these two men, but this I do know, that their hearts had been prepared by God.

So sweet and tender are the feelings of the mission. Choice companions, Sr. Missionary couples that became literal family, choice people I met committed to keeping the commandments of God, lessons learned from a mission president and wife that have shaped my life, and then probably the biggest miracle of all... my heart.

5 Years ago today, I came home to a family prepared for ME. A family whom I love with all my heart.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church on the earth. With apostles, prophets, revelation, priesthood and authority from God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees and because of confusion, had faith enough to ask God our father which church to join. In answer to his prayer God the Father and Jesus Christ, God's son, appeared to Joseph Smith. Called him by name and reveled that at that time, there was no true and living church of God on the earth. But God loves his children, all of us, and he prepared a way for us to not walk in darkness, but to know about Him and His plan for us.

I know surely as I know I am able to breath and walk and talk--that God and Jesus Christ live! And one of my favorite truths is that God allows anyone to know for them selves--the truth. We never need take someone at their word alone, but can, through sincere prayer to God our father, ask to find the truth, ending our prayer with Jesus Christs name--I KNOW God answers prayers.

There is joy to be had in this life. Not just the life to come. And God, who knows every sparrow, certainly knows our lives and what to do to send us peace and happiness. His plan of happiness involved sacrificing his only begotten son, Jesus Christ (whom I love) to show us the way, to know our burdens, that He might make them light. He lived, died and lives again for us! Because of Love. He is Love. “Come unto Me” By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
In the 11th chapter of Matthew, verses 28–30, the Savior says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matt. 11:28–30]

This is my basic message to each of you, wherever you live, whatever your joys or sorrows, however young or old you may be, at whatever point you may find yourself in this mortal journey of ours. Some of you are where you want to be or you know where you want to go with your lives, and some of you don’t. Some of you seem to have so many blessings and so many wonderful choices ahead of you. Others of you feel, for a time and for whatever reason, less fortunate and with fewer attractive paths lying immediately ahead.

But whoever you are and wherever you find yourself as you seek your way in life, I offer you “the way … and the life” (John 14:6). Wherever else you think you may be going, I ask you to “come unto him” as the imperative first step in getting there, in finding your individual happiness and strength and success.

When two of Christ’s disciples first heard him speak, they were so moved, so spellbound, that they followed him as he left the crowd. Sensing that he was being pursued, Christ turned and asked the two men, “What seek ye?” (John 1:38). Other translations render that simply, “What do you want?”

They answered, “Where dwellest thou?” or “Where do you live?”

And Christ said, “Come and see” (John 1:39). Just a short time later he formally called Peter and others of the new Apostles with the same spirit of invitation, “Come ye after me” (Mark 1:17).

It seems to me that the essence of our lives is distilled down to these two brief elements in these opening scenes of the Savior’s mortal ministry. One element is the question to every one of us, “What seek ye? What do you want?” The second is his answer as to how to get that. Whoever we are and whatever our problems, his response is always the same, forever: “Come unto me.” Come see what I do and how I spend my time. Learn of me, follow me, and in the process I will give you answers to your prayers and rest to your souls.

Beloved friends, I know of no other way for you to succeed or to be happy or to be safe. I know of no other way for you to be able to carry your burdens or find what Jacob called “that happiness which is prepared for the saints” (2 Ne. 9:43). That is why we make solemn covenants based on Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and that is why we take upon us his name. In as many ways as possible, both figuratively and literally, we try to take upon us his identity. We seek out his teachings and retell his miracles. We send latter-day witnesses, including prophets, apostles, and missionaries, around the world to declare his message. We call ourselves his children, and we testify that he is the only source of eternal life. We plead for him to swing open the gates of heaven in our behalf, and we trust everlastingly that he will, based upon our faithfulness.

My heart is full today.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true! I know it, for I have prayed myself and asked.