Friday, September 30, 2011

Man Overboard

Have you ever felt like this man?  I know I was scared that I was going to be this man.  I was right behind him on the rafting trip and a huge wave caught us.  I was able to withstand the wave and stay in the boat, but the guy in front of me was not so lucky.  These were huge waves and he wasn't much of a swimmer.  Thankfully he had his life jacket on, but I know he was still scared!  If he wasn't, his wife was scared enough for them both.  He was paniced for a minute, because the water was moving so fast and we couldn't just stop and get him.  We just left him behind it appeared to us and his wife.  What we didn't realize, but our guide did, was that there was a raft right behind us that was able to get him and pull him on board.  He was fine, a little shook-up, but fine.  How easily this can relate back to life-  Sometimes big waves come!  We may be able to hang onto the raft and be fine, but sometimes we fall out of the boat.  If we are wearing our life jacket it's much less tragic than if we are not.  What could a life jacket relate back to in real life?  How about the commandments, if we are following the commandments when the big wave knocks us out of the boat we will be much better off than if we are not following the commandments.  The beautiful thing about this analogy is that we each have a personal tour guide, well two of them, we have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to guide us.  We may not be able to see what's behind us as we struggle with the current of the fast moving water, but they do.  They know everything, Jesus Christ even understands everything we are feeling.  How wonderful it is to know that they will never leave us abandoned, but they will always make sure that we are taken care of.  Never fear for the Lord is with us.  We are not alone in the water!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Leaving our Mark

So, my first name is KaeLynn.  Most of the world knows me as this, but for the last year I've been known to everyone as Sister John!  What an interesting thing it is to be known by a name.  I often think of this name as our mark on the world.  We all know Michael Jordan for his basketball skills, or Rafael Nadal for his tennis skills.  And the list could go on and on.  We hear a name and most of the time it makes us think of a legacy, whether good or bad.  The things we do leave a mark on the world.  Now, the mark we leave may not be a literal mark like this picture, but it leaves a far greater mark than this.  Everything we do defines us and shapes the mark we leave on the world.  People look to you as an example!  Are you leaving the mark you want to be leaving on the world?  I like to think that for the last year or so I have left a different mark on the world than I was leaving when I was in college.  I am out sharing a message about Jesus Christ.  I pray that rather than leaving my name in the sand, or on the world, at this time that I am "scratching his name into the sand".  What mark are you leaving behind? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Clouded Mind?

As I have started reading the Book of Mormon again recently a lot has had a different meaning this time than any of the other times I've read the Book of Mormon.  I truly believe this is what makes the Book of Mormon the best book ever, you can read it repeatedly back-to-back and continue to get something else out of it.  The Book of Mormon definitely has the answers to our questions and concerns.  The Book of Mormon begins with a family.  The father's name is Lehi.  He has four sons (oldest to youngest):  Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi.  In chapter 8 of 1 Nephi (page 14 of the Book of Mormon) Lehi has a vision.  He sees many things, but he tells of a river of water in this chapter, 1 Nephi 8: 26.  Nephi (Lehi's youngest son) desires to know about the vision his father saw, so he prays about it.  The spirit comes and he has a vision about the things his father has seen.  After Nephi has his vision his older brothers complain that they don't understand.  Part of the reason they can't understand is because they didn't turn to the Lord for answers.  Nephi interprets some of the "dream" to them.  A particular verse caught my attention.  It is 1 Nephi 15:27,  It says:  And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water. As I have pondered on this scripture I have had some thoughts.  One of them was, "How could Lehi not have noticed the filth?"  It doesn't seem hard to notice if water is clean or filthy.  Maybe if it said dirty I wouldn't have thought that, but filth I would think he should notice.  After this thought came to my mind our lives today.  Sometimes we don't notice how "filthy" the things of the world are today.  We have so many things that society feels are okay, that just aren't.  These will not bring us into the purity of the atonement, but drag us down into the dredges of Satan.  Avoid all things that are filthy.  Notice the things we are doing and stay in the clear water.  No one wants to swim in the filthy water!  Sin can cloud our minds and we don't notice the filth of the water.  Evaluate the water (or choices) you are near and be wise.  Avoid the filthy water of Lehi's vision!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How 'Bout a Donut?

I received a copy of this story at church a few weeks ago and I felt like I should share it with you.  Here's the story:

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in Utah.  In Utah Seminary classes are held as release time during the school day.  Brother Christianson taught Seminary at a high school.  He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules.  Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period class and no other teacher wanted him, so he went to Brother Christianson's Seminary class.  

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room.  He was also the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Chriastianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.  After class, Brother Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?"

Steve's answer was, "Yeah, I do."

Then Brother Chriastianson asked, "How many push-ups can you do?"

Steve said, "I do about 200 every night."

"200?  That's pretty good, Steve, "Brother Christianson said.  "Do you think you could do 300?"

Steve replied, "I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time."

"Do you think you could?" Again asked Brother Christianson.

"Well, I can try." said Steve.

"Can you do 300 in sets of 10?  I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work.  Can you do it?  I need you to tell me you can do it."  Brother Christianson said.  Steve said, "Well.... I think I can... Yeah, I can do it."

Brother Christianson said, "Good!  I need you to do this on Friday."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.  When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts.  Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.  Everyone was pretty excited- it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Brother Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you wan a donut?"

Cynthia said, "Yes!"

Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so the Cynthia can have a donut?"

Steve said, "Sure," and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.  Then Steve again sat in his desk.  Brother Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Brother Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe do you want a donut?"

Joe said, "Yes."  Brother Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?"  Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.  And down the second aisle, until Brother Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team.  He was very popular.  Then Brother Christiansn asked, "Scott do you want a donut?"

Scott's reply was, "Can I do my own push-ups?"

Brother Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."

Brother Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?"

Steve started to do ten push-ups.  Scott said, "HEY!  I said I didn't want one!"
Brother Christianson said, "Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts.  Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it."  And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little bit.  He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down.  You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.  Brother Christianson started down the third row.  Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Brother Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Jenny said, "No."

Then Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"  Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now the students were beginning to say "No" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.  Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these push-ups done for each donut.  There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Brother Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts.  So, Robert began to watch Steve closely.  Brother Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the hearters along the sides of the room.  When Brother Christianson realized this, he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room.  He started to worry if Stever would be able to make it.

Brother Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next.  Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time.  He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Brother Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?"

Brother Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups.  You can do them any way that you want." And Brother Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, "NO!  Don't come in!  Stay out!"

Jason didn't know what was going on.  Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."

Brother Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason come in you will have to do ten push-ups for him."

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in."

Brother Christianson said, "Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now.  Jason, do you want a donut?"


"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"  Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort.  Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Brother Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters.  Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.  Sweat was dripping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular.  Brother Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a donut?"

Linda said very sadly, "No, thank you."

Brother Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.  Then Brother Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.  "Susan, do you want a donut?"

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, "Brother Christianson, can I help him?"

Brother Christianson with tears of his own, said, "No, he has to do it alone.  Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?"

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything taht was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died.  And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten."

When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything, Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.