Sunday, July 31, 2016

Lost & Found

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

First Email from Ben @ 1:07 pm (Note:  he was dropped off at the MTC at 12:30 pm):

They told me to write so you know all is well! Love all of you

Second email @ 8:59 pm:

The email is still coming!! My p-day is on Wed. The MTC is crazy but amazing! All is well love you all. I will write more on my p-day.

On Saturday, July 30th, I received a phone call from Ben asking if his wallet was left in the truck because he could not find it and President Gilbert gave him permission to call and see if it was in the truck.  After searching for the wallet, which was not there, we hung up and he was going to call the Provo Temple to see if he had left it there. I told him I would pray that the wallet would be found.  After hanging up with him, I called CafĂ© Rio to see if it had been lost there, but it had not.

Many prayers were asked and as I came home this was the email he sent today at 12:27 pm:

I found my wallet. President Gilbert told me to write you and say that.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ben's Farewell

Photo credit: Aaron Jenkins

April 5th, 2016
Dear Elder Call:
You are hereby called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the Nevada Las Vegas West mission.  It still gives me chills every time I read it.  I am extremely excited to serve the people in Las Vegas.  Everyone that I have talked to about serving in Las Vegas has a different reaction, but the most common reactions were:  (1) 'oh cool, I know someone that lives in Las Vegas; (2) Wow. . . You are going to be plenty warm!;  (3) I am so sorry, I HATE Las Vegas; and lastly the fourth reaction has something to do with not getting to serve in a foreign country.  Here are a few statistics about Las Vegas.  Las Vegas, including its surrounding areas has a population just over 2 million.  That is almost 4 times the population of the entire state of Wyoming and only 1000 times the size of Afton.  Las Vegas sees a mind-boggling 39 million tourists a year, 10 times the visitors that Yellowstone National Park sees.  I assure everyone that I am serving in a foreign country.

Today I was asked to "speak" on the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints."  Be Thankful that I was not asked to sing the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints."  Singing is definitely not a talent I have.  Come, Come Ye Saints is a very fitting topic because as many of you know, today is Pioneer Day.  As I read over and listen to Come, Come Ye Saints three things stick out to me about the early day saints.  First, the Saints found ways to be happy even amidst their trials.  The second things is that they had trut in God, and the third thing is that they were obedient.

"Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell--
All is well! All is well!"

In the first verse of Come, Come, Ye Saints the word joy is mentioned twice.  The saints were extremely joyful people even though they had a lot of trials.  They looked for the best even when times were hard for them.  They knew that through righteous living came blessings and joy.  I know that as I serve the Lord and come closer to the Lord, I will experience a joy I have never felt.  Not only will I discover my own happiness on my mission, I will be able to help others discover their own happiness.  I am grateful and excited for that opportunity to teach people that true happiness comes when you are following God's commandments and trying to be like Jesus Christ.  I quote Richard G. Scott "your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His Holy Son." My Young Men's leaders have been great examples of being righteous and joyful.  Earlier this summer Sam and I had our last high adventure.  Over the years of scouting a few of our favorite activities included fishing, boating, riding off-road vehicles, and eating.  We decided to put all of those activities into one big trip.  On the Wednesday after high school we headed out for Flaming Gorge.  Wednesday came and went and Thursday's activity included riding dirt bikes, four wheelers, and razors. For this we went to the Badlands just outside of Mountain View, WY.  We rode all morning and had a grand time.  Brother Cody Hyde met up with the rest of the quorum later that day due to his work schedule.  We were all excited to have Cody join us because he is really fun to have around.  We continued to ride for a short while until I stopped next to Cody's razor and said something along the line of "Hey Cody, I have never ridden in a razor and I want to know what they are all about."  Before we knew it we went over a washout and ended up rolled over and dangling by our seat belts in a cloud of dust.  As Cody got out of the razor he said "I think I broke my hand" and then started laughing.  Sam, Spencer, Keenen, and I did not think it was as funny as he did.  We told Cody that it was not funny, it wasn't even the slightest bit funny.  We felt bad for him, his trip was over, he would be in lots of pain, and he would have months of recover.  At that point in time Cody taught us an extremely important lesson.  His reply was "You have to laugh about it.  There is nothing else you can do about it.  Life is so much better when you are happy."  I was amazed by his response in that point of time.  The lesson I learned that day has stuck with me.  Since then I have tried to laugh things off and not get down.  That lesson will help me on my mission when the trials of being and everyday missionary come.

Along with being joyful, the Saints had trust in God and the plan that God has for each of us.
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

There is a story in the book "Our Heritage" that displays the saints trust in God as they were put through extreme trials during their trek to Utah.  A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years.  One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided.  The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:
"I was in that company and my wife was in it . . . We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? . . . [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
"I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other.  I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. . . I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me.  I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one.  I knew then that the angels of God were there.
"Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since.  The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company."

In our lives we need to learn to trust God.  We need to know that God lets things happen for a reason, that we do not always understand why trials happen, but I know without a doubt that one day we will see the whole picture.

The final thing that touches me in "Come, Come, Ye Saints" is that the pioneers were extremely obedient.

We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell--
All is well! All is well!

They left everything behind and trekked across the plains to go to Zion because the prophet told them to go.  As I thought about a story I could tell for this section of my talk I could only remember stories of disobedience but sometimes the greatest lessons are learned from our mistakes.  About two years ago, right before Dallin went on his mission my family wanted to go camping at Green River Lakes.  Dallin and I decided that we wanted to go a day early so we could spend some time just me and him.  My dad was nervous sending us with his recently purchased Lund fishing boat, but decided to let us go if we followed three rules.
Rule Number 1: I was not to drive the truck and trailer at any point.  That rule was easy to follow.
Rule Number 2: We were not to put the boat in the lake Thursday night.  We were to wait until Friday morning to launch the boat.
Rule Number 3: We were not to leave the boat in the lake over night.  Rule three would have been kept no matter what if rule number two was followed.
It did not take much time at the lakes campground to decide to override my dad's second rule.  We launched the boat and had a wonderful evening fishing.  As night was coming upon us we decided to head back to camp, at the boat ramp we once again overrode one of dad's rules.  The third rule was broken and we tied the boat up to a log along the shore line for the night.  Dallin and I went back to our campsite and crawled in bed.  A storm moved in and the weather got really bad.  Both Dallin and I were awoken several times during the night and were prompted by the Holy Ghost to check the boat.  As sad as it is to say we were disobedient to those promptings as well.  The next morning brought bad news.  An aluminum boat had parked right next to us later that evening and it was not tied up very well.  During the waves of the storm, the corner of this other boat smashed my dad's boat time and time again.  We were sick.  We knew we had been disobedient to our earthly father and our Heavenly Father.  Dallin and I had a really hard time trying to have fun fishing that day knowing we would have to front Dad that night and tell him we were disobedient to his rules and his boat had lots of dents in it.  As you can imagine, he was mad at us and we had thinner wallets.  That expensive lesson taught me to become better and listen when my dad gives me rules and to listen and to act upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Both of these lessons are important for me as I serve my mission.  I will need to obey the mission rules and I will need to be ready to head the promptings of the Spirit.  As Sam and I have been preparing for missions we have had the opportunity to have many Priesthood lessons talking about the ins and outs of serving a mission.  Bodie Draney told us during one lesson that his mission president always said to him "obedience is the key."  I like that saying because it is the key.  It is the key to be in tune with the Spirit.  It is the key to have happiness and it is the key to have a successful mission.

As we think of the pioneers this Pioneer Day, let's try to be more like them. Be happy, trust God, and be obedient.  The pioneers are wonderful examples for us.

L-R: Brady Fullmer, Alex Howell, Ben, Seth Schwab
Justin, Sam, Evan, Grandpa Call, Ben, Hannah & Dallin

Called to Serve

For 18 years I have sung the words to the song "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission" diligently and happily.  But, there is a point in a teenage boy's life where he has to decide whether or not to serve a mission.  As probably most of the young men thinking about serving missions do, I too had some concerns and/or doubts about serving a mission. Two years is a long time, I would miss my family, and all the other little things that at that point in time we think are a big deal.  But over the last few years I have had life-changing experiences that have been extremely hard, yet so amazing all at the same time.  Each trial I faced, I came out with a stronger testimony that God loves me and knows me.  I have realized that we have been given so much and we do so little.  I have realized that two years is nothing compared to eternity.  I have realized that a mission is paying off a small part of a large debt.  I have realized that if Christ could give His life for me I could give him two years of my life.  When I made the final decision to serve a mission I instantly felt more happy.  I was excited.  I had no more doubts about serving and knew that everything was going to be just fine.

April 5th, 2016

Dear Elder Call:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  you are assigned to labor in the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

All of my siblings have gone on missions and I have seen the change that it has on their life and I want that change in my life.  There are things that I know that I will not be able to learn anywhere else besides the mission.  As I have felt the spirit in my life, I often feel bad for the people who will not accept the Spirit.  I am so glad that I will be able to go teach the people in Las Vegas the gospel and help them feel the Spirit and partake in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  For I know that there is only one way to have eternal life and to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.