Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Humanitarian Efforts Around the World

I appreciate my church's humanitarian efforts along with other churches such as the Catholics and other charitable organizations, such as the Red Cross working together to help our borthers and sisters around the world.

You can also see the above video by clicking here

You can watch many more videos that show a brief overview of the history, doctrine, organization and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told through unscripted interviews with members and others familiar with the Church by clicking here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elder Aidukaitis

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend with a visit from Elder Aidukaitis.  He is a member of the Quorum of the Seventy in our church.  His assignment as a Seventy is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and build up the Church. 

Scott, Sam and Elder Aidukaitis

Elder Aidukaitis attended our Arcadia Stake Conference Saturday and Sunday.  I learned a lot from him.  He has a delightful personality and is a very jovial person. 

On Saturday night I learned that I must choose what direction I want my life to go.  If I have celestial goals, it with help me with my everyday decisions.

On Sunday I learned that as a family, can have a happy  life as we live the gospel and are obedient Christ's teachings. 

I was introduced to Elder Aidukaitis when he gave a General Conference talk in October 2008 entitled Because My Father Read the Book of Mormon.  He has a delightful accent that you can hear as you listen to the video.  I think his accent is from his unusual background.   His father was the son of Lithuanians, but  was born in Scotland. He moved to Brazil when he was still young. His father also had the ability to speak English.  Elder Aidukaitis can speak Portuguese, English and Spanish. 

If you can't view the video, you can get to it 
by clicking here.

Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. I feel a profound joy and honor in speaking to you today. I pray that God may guide my words and that His Spirit may be with us so that “he that preacheth and he that receiveth, [may] understand one another, and both [may be] edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:22).

I consider June 2, 1940, to be a very important day in the history of my family. On this day my father was baptized into this Church.

Writing to his father, Elder Jack McDonald, one of the missionaries who baptized my father, described the day with these words:

“Last Sunday was an especially beautiful day. We missionaries went out to a secluded spot on the river’s edge, out in the country, and there Elder Jones and I [Elder McDonald] made our first baptism. Antony Aidukaitis entered into the icy waters and became a member of the Church. … Everything was perfect. The sky so blue, the countryside so still, so green, so lovely that none of us could help feeling the presence of some great influence.

“[As we walked] with our new member, he said that he just couldn’t explain how wonderful this day had been for him, how he actually felt like a new man. … That was our first baptism—no credit to me or anybody. He converted himself.”

This event changed the history of my life. I am not sure my father was able to foresee the wisdom of his act, but I love him for what he did that day. He passed away more than 30 years ago, but I will honor and bless his name forever.

My father was the son of Lithuanians, but he was born in Scotland. He moved to Brazil when he was still young. His ability to speak English facilitated his conversion since he could read the Book of Mormon in English, and there was not yet a reliable translation into Portuguese. This language barrier prevented my mother from joining the Church until a few years later, but when she did, she became a powerful example of dedication to others and love of God in our family. She is now 92 years old, and she is here today. It gives me great joy to say that I love her for her great faithfulness. I will also honor and bless her name forever.

I admire the courage my father had to be baptized into the Church in spite of the circumstances he faced at the time. It was not easy for him. His wife did not get baptized with him. The vices of drinking alcohol and smoking were strong temptations for him. He was poor. His mother was against his joining the Church, and she told him that if he were baptized, she would no longer consider him her son. With fewer than 300 members in Brazil, the Church did not have a single chapel there. I am truly astonished by my father’s determination and courage.

How could he make such a decision in the face of so many unfavorable circumstances? The answer is simple: it was because my father read the Book of Mormon. When he read it, he came to know of the truthfulness of the message of the Restoration. The Book of Mormon is a proof that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Preach My Gospel teaches that “the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is [the] most powerful resource in conversion” ([2004], 104).

President Gordon B. Hinckley declared: “Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. …

“… Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts … the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6; see also “The Book of Mormon,” Tambuli, Oct. 1988, 7).

These promises came true for my father and for my family. In accordance with what we have been taught, we read the scriptures as a family every day. We have done so for many years. We have read the Book of Mormon several times in our home, and we will continue to do so. As promised, the Spirit of the Lord has come into the heart of our family, and we have felt a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.

When you know that the Book of Mormon is true, you know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. You know that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son. You know that there is only one faith and one valid baptism. You know that a prophet of God lives on the earth today and that he has all the keys of the priesthood and the right to exercise them, as Peter did anciently. You know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only name whereby you can receive salvation. You know that God the Father lives and that He loves us. You know that His plan of salvation is perfect, and you have the desire to perform ordinances, live the commandments, and endure to the end.

I feel sad when someone who has been given the Book of Mormon and had these things explained to him still refuses to read it. I feel sad that some people allow themselves to be influenced by others, refuse to investigate the book, and set it aside as something without worth, never participating in the spiritual banquet it offers. To me, this is incomprehensible. It is as if a son or a daughter, separated from a loving father, refused to read a letter from him without even opening the envelope. Those who make such a choice are like spoiled children who refuse to even taste the meal tenderly prepared for them by their loving mother.

God reveals His truth when people follow Moroni’s exhortation in Moroni 10:3–5. Preach My Gospel summarizes Moroni’s instructions as follows:

One, “read the Book of Mormon and ponder its message concerning Jesus Christ.”
Two, “pray to God with faith in Jesus Christ to receive a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.”
Three, “pray sincerely and have real intent, which means that they intend to act on the answer they receive from God” (111).

To those who may argue that we cannot know these things, I testify that we can, when we are humble enough to do as God has instructed us through His prophets on this earth. To believe otherwise would be to accept the absurd notion that God also does not know where truth can be found or does not have the power to show it to us. Just because someone has not acted on the promise of this book does not mean that others have not done so.

Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because my father read and acted on the promise of the Book of Mormon. Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because he did not recoil from the answer he received, even while facing great challenges. Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because he blessed my life, even before I was born, by having the courage to do what God expected him to do.

I invite all who hear me today to read the Book of Mormon and to apply the promise it contains. Those who do will know that the book is true.

I bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Because of this, I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that he did not write the Book of Mormon but translated it by the power of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God on the earth today, the only man on the earth who holds all the keys of the priesthood and has the right to exercise them. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. I know that God lives and loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Aidukaitis also wrote an article for the New Era magazine entitled:  Caught in a Cumbuca.   He talks about how not to fall into Satan's traps and uses the analogy of being caught in a monkey trap  .   You can click onto the pictures below to read the article or click here to go the the link where the article is found.

 I feel blessed for the opportunity to have Elder Aidukaitis touch my life.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Eight Words to Change Your Mary Hunt

Amen to Mary Hunt's words about financial responsibility.  I really liked what she said about building your strength against the temptation to spend beyond your ability to pay.  She suggests that you ask yourself these questions:  
  • Do I need this?
  • Don't I have something already that will do just as well? 
  • Am I sure this is a good value?
  • Do I have the cash to pay for It?
  • Could I delay the purchase for a few weeks? 
  • Am I willing to sit on my decision for 24 hours before acting?

Eight words to change your Mary Hunt

You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? Have you figured out how to do that? To live below your means is to choose a lifestyle you can pay for with the money you have and still have some money left over.

Living below your means in this high-pressure, credit-based, gotta-have-it-all-right-now society is not exactly easy. It takes skill and determination to go against the tide and buck a system that encourages spending all we have now plus what we hope we’ll get in the future. It takes strength of character to protest against the message that insists that as long as you can get away with it, it’s okay to have what you want now and pay for it later.

Here’s the secret for living below your means in just eight little words: Buy what you need, want what you have. That’s it. Simple, profound and lifechanging once that truth worms its way into your mind and soul.

So how can we truly embrace those eight words and live well in a culture where everywhere we turn we’re tempted to live beyond our incomes? The principle has to become part of the fabric of your belief system. That is the way to choose contentment—to choose joy regardless your situation right this moment. You choose to want what you have. Here are three ways to make that that attitude a reality:

Insulate. Choosing to be grateful for what you have is the way to build a layer of insulation around your life that will protect you from focusing on what you don’t have.  Taking the time to add up the real cost of that new car you have your eye on, for example, can make your older, albeit paid for, vehicle look a lot better.

Isolate. If you are easily dissatisfied or prone to impulsive behaviors, identify your weak spots then remove yourself from them. Turn off the television. Skip past the magazine ads. Limit your exposure to websites like Pinterest. Isolate yourself from mindless shopping. Toss mail order catalogs in the trash unopened. Put distance between you and temptation. Avoid places you are most likely to slip back into your old ways of spending beyond your means.

Self talk. Confronting yourself is a great way to build your strength against the strong current of temptation to spend beyond your ability to pay. Ask yourself these kinds of questions and then expect honest answers:

- Do I need this?
- Don’t I have something already that will do just as well?
- Am I sure this is a good value?
- Do I have the cash to pay for it?
- Could I delay the purchase for a few weeks?

- Am I willing to sit on my decision for 24 hours before acting?

Never feel you must apologize for choosing the high road when it comes to managing well the money that flows into your life. If you’re embarrassed to say, “I can’t afford it,” don’t say it. Instead respond, “I just don’t choose to spend my money that way.”

Living below your means creates margin between you and the financial edge. It is the way to build wealth, reduce stress and improve your options and that leads to peace of mind.

Living below your means is an honorable way to conduct your life.

Question: Do you see spending less than you earn as a way of life? Can you do it?

I got these words from Mary Hunts’ web page.  I suggest you go on her link and look around at her words of wisdom:

I WANT an iPhone.  I have a flip phone.  I think I'll read her Self talk section  again.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Missionary Service

We are getting excited as Kristine prepares to  leave for her mission to Portland, Oregon  soon.

We are happy that Lisa has returned from her missionary service in Argentina.   Lisa reminded me that she left for her mission exactly 2 years ago this month.

As you watch the following video, you'll learn about the life of a Mormon Missionary.  

You can also see the video by clicking here