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Dearest family and friends,

Thanks for all of the letters! I appreciate all of you. I heard about the turkey that didn’t cook… how exactly did that happen? Did you check to see if the oven was on ;)? Thank goodness smiths was open. Thank you for all of your prayers. Surprisingly, I didn’t get homesick at all on Thanksgiving. It was actually quite wonderful. Kaela knows a little bit more about that… maybe she could tell all of you at Sunday dinner. Why does she know more than everyone else?? Because I SAW HER AT DR. BRADY’S OFFICE today!! It was the best thing in the world. Definitely a tender mercy. Kaela, I hope your aren’t as sore as I am tonight. Mom and Dad, he wants to see me every week before I go. Let me know if that is going to be a problem.
Mom:
Your pill story was funny but it kind of made me sad at the same time. Are you doing better now?

Ben: I am writing you a hand written letter tonight.

The story about Elder Cook made me think of that time that I ran into President Uchtdorf in the tunnel.
Thoughts:
Like Elder Cook, I was staring at the floor, worried that going on a mission was not the right thing for me and frankly, I was miserable. Elder Uchtdorf stared at me until I looked up. He then cheerfully waved his hand and said … “hello!” haha, I am sure if he could, he would tell me that it was better to look up. Cheerfulness is so important. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and he is blessing us with so many things. We just have to notice them. It also reminds me of a painting by Norman Rockwell that I wrote a paper on. It was titled “Lift Thine Eyes” I love that painting… it just reminds us that our lives should never be too busy to lift our eyes.

Something funny:
I have two funny stories. This past week, I was in the cafeteria and i just finished my food. There was something going on at the other table and an elder asked me a question. I don’t remember what he said, but I laughed with the sisters that were next to me, and then I ran into a pole. Yeah, one of the poles in the new part of the cafeteria. An elder then hollered, “don’t worry sister, no one saw that”! And if they didn’t see, it didn’t matter because now everyone knew and that whole section of the cafeteria was laughing.

funny #2
This happened a couple of weeks ago. When we were young, the boys always told me that there was a certain kind of packing peanuts that we could eat. They said that it was like popcorn or puffy Cheetos. So when the Korean missionaries were here, one of them got a package. They saw me in the hallway and said “Sister Hansen, Sister Hansen! We got a package!!” They showed me that package and what they got. They then started emptying the box of packing peanuts. I told them to stop and was trying to explain that my brothers used to tell me that they were edible and so I ate them when I was young. I think they only understood the edible part. So one of them put his hand in the box and grabbed a handful. or maybe it actually happened like this… I took a handful and said “They’re edible!” They gave me a really strange look and so I took a bite out of one. He got an even funnier look on his face and grabbed a handful and started eating. Then, I just felt really bad. Before he ate more than his handful I stopped him and told him that my brothers told me that when I was young.

Something I am grateful for:
I am grateful for the teachers and staff here at the MTC. I dont know that people really understand how amazing they are. They devote SO much time to their lesson plans and to coordinating between teachers. We are loosing one this week. I am sad about this because he was such a phenomenal teacher. He taught me to really latch on and do the best that I can in learining Korean, but more importantly in teaching through the spirit to touch the lives of others. After class with Brother Davis, I feel like I can teach with power and authority. I want to be a better disciple in all things. I hope God blesses me with the power to do so. I know that this work is true and essential for our return to Heavenly Father I know that they worry so much about us being good teachers for their people in Korea. Having them has made such an impact on my life. If any of you ever get an opportunity to teach here, it will change your life. He said that he has loved his time teaching here almost as much as he loved his mission.

I am out of time, but I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Hello Family and Friends!!

 

Something I have been thinking about…

Gratitude: This is something that wasn’t brought on by the Holiday coming around the corner, but something that my good friends named Nephi and President Thomas S. Monson said.  I was reading in Nephi 9 (?) and Nephi says something about what he was recording and why.  He said that he was writing to record Gods dealings or ministry to his people.  I hadn’t really thought of it this way before, but that is what the whole Book of Mormon is made up of. It is people recording Gods dealings with them or their family or their people. Because they recognized and recorded the hand of  God in their life, they were filled with gratitude at his mercy and his love for them.  I wonder if the prophets of the book of mormon picked up those plates they had to engrave on and thought… how did we see God’s hand in this battle or in this experience.  I also suspect that it became much easier for them to recall seeing the hand of God in their life.  Because they were quick to remember their God when they received blessings, they received more.  Writing down and pondering about the blessings we receive is one of the sincerest forms of gratitude.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and he wants us to know that he loves us.  If we aren’t noticing the blessings he is already giving us, who are we to ask for more? Any way there is a lot more where that came from.  I invite you to study the principle of gratitude this week.  If you need a place to start, start with Nephi and his experience and read President Monson’s talk from October 2010 conference on Gratitude.  But most importantly, ponder and write down what you are grateful for.  If you want to, send me an email back (or better yet, a dear elder) telling me what you are grateful for. That way, I can be reminded of blessings I may have forgotten.

 

Something that made me laugh…

Its hard to remember…. I should have written it down.  Well the first thing that comes to mind is the only thing I can think of so bear with me.  We had a sister in our room who was on Typhoid medication. So, when you’re on typhoid medication it does funny thing to your stomach.  With this sister, it gave her gas.  Me and another sister were having trouble sleeping and this other sister … farted… really loud.  I tried to keep my laughter in, but the other sister just burst out laughing.  Well, the noise and the rumble woke up the sister who (shall I say… ) delt it.  And then our cumulative laughing ensued.  Oh the joys of living in such close quarters.  Well then, a sister woke up and walked out of the room because of the laughing.  We thought she was mad but she was just confused and didn’t remember that she was here at the MTC so she woke up and walked around the residence hall.  It all ended well though because there was another sister from a different room who couldn’t sleep sitting out in the hall.  She was pretty discouraged because she wasnt able to go to her mission with the rest of her district. THe sister that woke up and wandered around was able to talk to her for a while and it was all good.  Sorry for the glimpse of sister hansens immaturity, but it was all I could think of.

 

Something I am grateful for…

I am so grateful for my family. I love that I have been raised by 3 boys,  a dad, and 2 moms.  I am so grateful for all of the wisdom that you have all shared with me.  I am grateful for the generations past that have instilled in us a way of living and a mindset of doing good.  I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to go to Korea.  I am getting so excited.

I am now out of time, but I love you all SO much.  Thank you for the emails!

Much love

Hansen 자매

Hello Family and friends!
How has you week been thus far?  I feel like I have had a pivotal week this week.  I have found myself wondering why I didn’t decide to go on a mission a year ago.  I love it here!  Sometimes it is challenging, but I think that overall, it will be worth it.
So, something I have been thinking about…
I have told a very select few about this angel thing going on here, so I realize that only a few will actually get this reference.  But, to put it short, when Koreans think someone is especially sweet or kind, I have noticed that they call them an angel. SO, I was thinking about Elder Hollands talk about angels being among us.  Also of the phrase in “As Sisters in Zion” that says “The errand of angels is given to women and this is a gift that as sisters we’ll… claim” (?) Anyway, I was just thinking about what it actually means to be an angel. I went to the bible dictionary and looked up the term angels and two things jumped out at me while thinking of the characteristics that an earthly angel might actually have.   The first was that an angel is messengers of the Lord.  The second was that Angels are spoken of in the epistle to the Hebrews as “ministering spirits”.  I thought of what it means to minister and the bible dictionary was able to supply my definition again.  It said “to do the Lords work on earth.  Also, to represent the Lord among the people.”  Right now  I have a badge that says Jesus Christ’s name under mine thereby saying that I am a representative of him among the people on the earth.  That is a huge responsibility.  I thought more of the term to minister by… I guess you might say by being motherly, nurturing, taking care.  I have decided that just might be a fairly correct definition.  If the Lord were on the earth, he would be nurturing, taking care of and preaching to the people on this earth.  I think its easier said than done and more easy to pretend than to truly think in that nurturing and caring way to preach to the people here on earth.  Something that a teacher said this week that made me think a lot was that when we go to Korea, we will meet our heavenly friends. I know this is true because of the people I have met here.  Our paths would not have crossed any other way and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has led me to wonderful people wherever I have been.
Something I am grateful for:
To continue from the above statement, I am grateful for Heavenly Fathers hand in my life.  I was talking to a good friend going to Taiwan this week.  We were talking about how we were SO unsure about going on a mission and then, we made the decision to go and here we are.  We were on our bikes in gym and just talking about how Heavenly Father is blessing us in SO MANY areas in our lives.  I was overwhelmed by how much he has given me.  We are learning languages that will be useful to us in our future, we are learning to teach even in this completely foreign language, we are learning to get along with our companions and essentially learning to love everyone no matter what their circumstance and position.  I LOVE it.  I have so many friends that have been so supportive and wonderful.
Something that made me laugh:
Haha, um Jacob, I heard about your bike.  I think that is hilarious….Did you finally buy a lock? Did you talk to the guy in your ward that took it?  I love you, but it would sure be nice to hear from ALL my brothers 🙂  You mean the world to me.  The elders here tease me a lot.  It reminds me of you and I miss you a lot.  But, yes that is something that made me laugh.
I am out of time,
Much love,
Sister Hansen

Sara and her companion Sister Abbott

Sara and her roommates at the MTC

Sara and her cousin, Kody Crockett

Sara and her zone

Sara and her district

 

Dear Family and Friends,
I have decided to enlighten you with a conference talk once a month.  Today, it is my favorite talk of all time.  It is called “Cast not Away Therefore Your Confidence” by Elder Holland. I know it is one that everyone has read at least once, but it has been a beacon of light for me in my darkest times.  Read it, (the link is in the previous post on this blog) after you read it you can read my commentary.
The first thing I want to comment on is under “The fight goes on” He says “Unfortunately we must not think Satan is defeated with that first strong breakthrough which so dramatically brought light and moved us forward”.  Before coming on my mission, I was convinced that God had not told me whether to go or not.  Frankly, I’m still not sure, but something moved me forward and now I am here :).  I continued moving forward unil, for me, I was between Pharoh and the Red Sea.  Only for me, it was my just my hip.  THis past week , I went to the Hip specialist and the Red Sea has parted!  He said I would be alright and that currently, I don’t need a hip replacement.  In fact, he was rather surprised that I had only lost 10% of my rotation in my right hip.  After 15 years of having this disease, that is absolutely incredible!  Whatever form the light may come in, take it for what it is and keep moving forward.  He continues to note that however right the decision, don’t assume that it will just be easy, that you won’t  experience doubt and fear and whatever else.
“Do not Draw Back”
Have you ever felt peace and assurance that you thought you would never lose?  Paul counsels those who received such an assurance to “Cast Not Away therefore your confidence which has great recompence for reward.” How do we receive that reward? Through patience, faith, and endurance.  Elder Holland says something that my good friend Bekah said “feel the fear and move forward”.  Elder Holland concludes that idea with “Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you”. Or, in the words of my companion and President Hinckley, ” Things work out in the end, they always do. If its not working out, then its not the end”.
Elder Holland then talks about asking questions.  I am learning as a missionary, that the single most important thing to your conversion is to ask God.  It worked for Joseph, Nephi, and countless others.  It works for us as well.  He will give us answers if we truly want to know.  We have to press forward even when we are trapped between a rock and a hard place or Pharoh and the Red Sea.  Trust Heavenly Father and He will provide a way.
THe final point is Fear.  He notes that Moses only saw the bitterness of hell when he began to fear.  Essentially, in these moments, we have to cling to our moments where we felt that assurance and call to our rememberance that peace we never thought would leave.   I think that’s when having a grateful heart can really save us.  If we are well practiced at seeing the hand of God guiding our lives and leading us through our most challenging obstacles, we will hold on to that assurance much better and much tighter.  This kind of light is light we can capture to illuminate our path later.  Let the light that propelled you forward then, propel you now.
So… that is what I have been thinking about.  This principle is as true in the small things as it is in the big things.  With happiness, gratitude and with whatever we struggle with.  There is something we can hold on to.  If we cling to that, we will be sufficiently comforted and led.
Something that made me grateful:
For our devotional on Sunday, we had a legal consultant (?) for the church come and speak to us.  His name was WIlliam Atkin.  He referenced Joseph Smith’s first vision and talked about how Satan seeks to “bind our tongues”  He said “The adversary and his allies in the world seek to silence the voice of truth”.  He then talked about several countries that had restrictions on religions.  He gave examples of how the Lord provieded a way for such doors to be opened.
One such door was in Peru.  Apparently, Brother Atkin went there with Elder Worthen to write a law for Peru.  this year, 12 years after the law was written, that law was passed.  It made me want to study law.  It would be amazing to help people throughout the world gain religious freedom.
Something that made me laugh…
So much has made me laugh this week.  However this might be the best one to share with a mass audience.  We taught at the TRC for the first time on Saturday.  My Companion and I taught a native Korean girl.  We were teaching her the things we prepared and at one point I felt like I needed to say something else.  In my broken Korean, I started to construct my imperfect sentances and teach. My companion started flipping out and mumbling to me under her breath pointing repeatedly at our pre-written prompt.  Saying something like “what are you doing”? It was really only a couple sentances, but it seemed like forever.  We got a response from her on our lesson.  SHe said 2 things.  The first was “um…. AWKWARD” and the second “I learned Jesus LOVES me!!” Haha someday we will get better at this.
That is all for now.
Love you much,
Hansen Chamae

Sara wanted me to post this talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland before I posted her letter:

 

 

There is a lesson in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision that virtually everyone in this audience has had occasion to experience, or one day soon will. It is the plain and very sobering truth that before great moments, certainly before great spiritual moments, there can come adversity, opposition, and darkness. Life has some of those moments for us, and occasionally they come just as we are approaching an important decision or a significant step in our life.

In the marvelous account that we read too seldom, Joseph said he had scarcely begun his prayer when he felt a power of astonishing influence come over him. Thick darkness, as he described it, gathered around him and seemed bent on his utter destruction. But he exerted all his powers to call upon God to deliver him out of the power of this enemy, and as he did so a pillar of light brighter than the noonday sun descended gradually until it rested upon him. At the very moment of the light’s appearance, he found himself delivered from the destructive power that had held him bound. What then followed is the greatest epiphany since the events surrounding the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ in the meridian of time. The Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith, and the dispensation of the fulness of times had begun. (See JS–H 1:15–20.)

Most of us do not need any more reminders than we have already had that there is one who personifies “opposition in all things,” that “an angel of God” fell “from heaven” and in so doing became “miserable forever.” What a chilling destiny. Lehi teaches us that because this is Lucifer’s fate, “he sought also the misery of all mankind” (2 Nephi 2:11, 17–18). Surely this must be the original ecclesiastical source for the homely little adage that misery loves company.

A morning’s devotional could be devoted to this subject of the adversary’s strong, preliminary, anticipatory opposition to many of the good things that God has in store for us. But today I want to move past that observation to another truth we may not recognize so readily. This is a lesson in the parlance of the athletic contest that reminds us “it isn’t over until it’s over.” It is the reminder that the fight goes on. Unfortunately we must not think that Satan is defeated with that first, strong breakthrough that so dramatically brings the light and moves us forward.

To make my point a little more vividly, may I go to another passage of scripture, indeed to another vision. You will recall that the book of Moses begins with him being taken up to “an exceedingly high mountain” where, the scripture says, “he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses” (Moses 1:1–2). What then followed was what happens to prophets who are taken to high mountains. The Lord said to Moses,

 

Look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands. . . .

And . . . Moses . . . beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God.

And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not. [Moses 1:4, 27–28]

 

This experience is remarkable by every standard. It is one of the great revelations given in human history. It stands with the greatest accounts we have of any prophet’s experience with divinity.

But Moses’ message to you today is, “Don’t let your guard down.” Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous illuminating moment, or the opening of an inspired path is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over. What happened to Moses next, after his revelatory moment, would be ludicrous if it were not so dangerous and so absolutely true to form. In an effort to continue his opposition, in his unfailing effort to get his licks in later if not sooner, Lucifer appeared and shouted in equal portions of anger and petulance after God had revealed himself to the prophet, saying, “Moses, worship me.” But Moses was not having it. He had just seen the real thing, and by comparison this sort of performance was pretty dismal.

 

Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? . . . where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me. . . . But I can look upon thee in the natural man. . . .

. . . Where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God. . . .

Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not. [Moses 1:13–16]

 

The record then depicts a reaction that is both pathetic and frightening.

 

And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God [the very phrase used by Joseph Smith], he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook. . . .

And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence. [Moses 1:19–22]

 

So Satan left, always to come again, we can be sure, but always to be defeated by the God of Glory–always.

I wish to encourage every one of you today regarding opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and had received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that not only had their troubles not ended, but that some of them had only begun.

It reminds me of President Hugh B. Brown’s statement about marriage. He said he had always been told that when he got married he would come to the end of his troubles. So he got married, only to discover they were speaking about the front end. Now, you returned missionaries who are still sitting around single, don’t chuckle too loudly at that. I am not through with you this morning!

Paul pled with those new members about the way President Hinckley is pleading with new members today. The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a moment of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight–a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul said to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, or a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Hebrews 10:32; emphasis added).

Then came this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you and the title of my remarks this morning:

 

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
. . .

. . . If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. . . .

. . . We are not of them who draw back unto perdition. [Hebrews 10:35–36, 38–39; emphasis added]

 

In LDS talk that is to say, “Sure it is tough–before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined.” That is the way it has always been, Paul said, but don’t “draw back,” he warned. Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. That tenacity is what saved Moses when the adversary confronted him, and it is what will save you.

I suppose every returned missionary and probably every convert within the sound of my voice knows exactly what I am talking about: appointments for discussions canceled, the Book of Mormon in a plastic bag hanging from a front-door knob, baptismal dates not met. And so it goes through the teaching period, through the commitments, through the baptism, through the first weeks and months in the Church, and more or less forever. At least the adversary would pursue it forever, if he thought he could see any weakening of your resolve or any chink in your armor–even if it is after the fact.

This opposition turns up almost anyplace something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage. (Now I am back to those returned missionaries.) I would like to have a dollar for every person in a courtship who knew he or she had felt the guidance of the Lord in that relationship, had prayed about the experience enough to know it was the will of the Lord, knew they loved each other and enjoyed each other’s company, and saw a lifetime of wonderful compatibility ahead–only to panic, to get a brain cramp, to have total catatonic fear sweep over them. They “draw back,” as Paul said, if not into perdition at least into marital paralysis.

I am not saying you shouldn’t be very careful about something as significant and serious as marriage. And I certainly am not saying that a young man can get a revelation that he is to marry a certain person without that young woman getting the same confirmation. I have seen a lot of those one-way revelations in young people’s lives. Yes, there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win over your mother-in-law. You can sell your harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It’s been done before. Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.

To help us make our way through these experiences, these important junctures in our lives, let me draw from another scriptural reference to Moses. It was given in the early days of this dispensation when revelation was needed, when a true course was being set and had to be continued.

Virtually everyone in the room knows the formula for revelation given in section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants–you know, the verses about studying it out in your mind and the Lord promising to confirm or deny. What most of us don’t read in conjunction with this is the section that precedes it–section 8. In that revelation the Lord defined revelation:

 

I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. [I love the combination there of both mind and heart. God will teach us in a reasonable way and in a revelatory way–mind and heart combined, by the Holy Ghost.]

Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. [D&C 8:2–3; emphasis added]

Question: Why would the Lord use the example of crossing the Red Sea as the classic example of “the spirit of revelation”? Why didn’t he use the First Vision? Or the example from the book of Moses we just used? Or the vision of the brother of Jared? Well, he could have used any of these, but he didn’t. Here he had another purpose in mind.

Usually we think of revelation as information. Just open the books to us, Lord, like: What was the political significance of the Louisiana Purchase or the essence of the second law of thermodynamics? It is obvious that when you see those kinds of questions on a test paper, you need revelation. Someone said prayer will never be eliminated from the schools so long as there are final examinations. But aside from the fact that you probably aren’t going to get that kind of revelation–because in this Church we do not believe in ex nihilo creation, especially in exams–this is too narrow a concept of revelation. May I suggest how section 8 broadens our understanding of section 9, particularly in light of these “fights of affliction” that Paul spoke of and that I have been discussing.

First of all, revelation almost always comes in response to a question, usually an urgent question–not always, but usually. In that sense it does provide information, but it is urgently needed information, special information. Moses’ challenge was how to get himself and the children of Israel out of this horrible predicament they were in. There were chariots behind them, sand dunes on every side, and just a lot of water immediately ahead. He needed information all right–what to do–but it wasn’t a casual thing he was asking. In this case it was literally a matter of life and death.

You will need information, too, but in matters of great consequence it is not likely to come unless you want it urgently, faithfully, humbly. Moroni calls it seeking “with real intent” (Moroni 10:4). If you can seek that way, and stay in that mode, not much that the adversary can counter with will dissuade you from a righteous path. You can hang on, whatever the assault and affliction, because you have paid the price to–figuratively, at least–see the face of God and live.

Like Moses in his vision, there may come after the fact some competing doubts and some confusion, but they will pale when you measure them against the real thing. Remember the real thing. Remember how urgently you have needed help in earlier times and that you got it. The Red Sea will open to the honest seeker of revelation. The adversary does have power to hedge up the way, to marshal Pharaoh’s forces and dog our escape right to the water’s edge, but he can’t produce the real thing. He cannot conquer if we will it otherwise. “Exerting all [our] powers to call upon God,” the light will again come, the darkness will again retreat, the safety will again be sure. That is lesson number one about crossing the Red Sea, your Red Seas, by the spirit of revelation.

Lesson number two is closely related to it. It is that in the process of revelation and in making important decisions, fear almost always plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role. To Oliver Cowdery, who missed the opportunity of a lifetime because he didn’t seize it in the lifetime of the opportunity, the Lord said, “You did not continue as you commenced.” Does that sound familiar to those who have been illuminated and then knuckled under to second thoughts and returning doubts? “It is not expedient that you should translate now,” the Lord said in language that must have been very hard for Oliver to hear. “Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now” (D&C 9:5, 10–11; emphasis added).

Every one of us runs the risk of fear. You do, and I do. Did you catch the line I tried to emphasize as I read the account from the Pearl of Great Price? For a moment in that confrontation, “Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell” (Moses 1:20). That’s when you see it–when you are afraid.

That is exactly the problem that beset the children of Israel at the edge of the Red Sea. That is lesson number two. It has everything to do with holding fast to earlier illumination. The record says, “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid.”

Some, just like those Paul had described earlier, said, “Let’s go back. This isn’t worth it. We must have been wrong. That probably wasn’t the right spirit telling us to leave Egypt.” What they actually said to Moses was, “Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? . . . It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:10–12).

And I have to say, “What about that which has already happened? What about the miracles that got you here? What about the frogs and the lice? What about the rod and the serpent, the river and the blood? What about the hail, the locusts, the fire, and the firstborn sons?”

How soon we forget. It would not have been better to stay and serve the Egyptians, and it is not better to remain outside the Church nor to reject a mission call nor to put off marriage and so on and so on forever. Of course our faith will be tested as we fight through these self-doubts and second thoughts. Some days we will be miraculously led out of Egypt–seemingly free, seemingly on our way–only to come to yet another confrontation, like all that water lying before us. At those times we must resist the temptation to panic and to give up. At those times fear will be the strongest of the adversary’s weapons against us.

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. . . . The Lord shall fight for you.”

In confirmation the great Jehovah said to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward” (Exodus 14:13–15; emphasis added).

That is the second lesson of the spirit of revelation. After you have gotten the message, after you have paid the price to feel his love and hear the word of the Lord, “go forward.” Don’t fear, don’t vacillate, don’t quibble, don’t whine. You may, like Alma going to Ammonihah, have to find a route that leads an unusual way, but that is exactly what the Lord was doing here for the children of Israel. Nobody had ever crossed the Red Sea this way, but so what? There’s always a first time. With the spirit of revelation, dismiss your fears and wade in with both feet. In the words of Joseph Smith, “Brethren [and, I would add, sisters], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!” (D&C 128:22).

The third lesson from the Lord’s spirit of revelation in the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea is that, along with the illuminating revelation that points us toward a righteous purpose or duty, God will also provide the means and power to achieve that purpose. Trust in that eternal truth. If God has told you something is right, if something is indeed true for you, he will provide the way for you to accomplish it. That is true of joining the Church. It is true of getting an education, of going on a mission or of getting married or of any of a hundred worthy tasks in your young lives. Remember what the Savior said to the Prophet Joseph in the Sacred Grove. What was the problem in 1820? Why was Joseph not to join any other Church? It was at least in part because “they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof”
(JS–H 1:19; emphasis added).

God’s grace is sufficient! The Lord would tell Joseph again and again through those early difficult days that, just as in the days of old, these modern children of Israel would

be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. . . .

Therefore, let not your hearts faint . . . : Mine angel shall go up before you. . . .

. . . and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land. [D&C 103:17–20]

 

What goodly land? Your goodly land. Your promised land. Your New Jerusalem. Your own little acre flowing with milk and honey. Your future. Your dreams. Your destiny. I believe that in our own individual ways, God takes us to the grove or the mountain or the temple and there shows us the wonder of what his plan is for us. We may not see it as fully as Moses or Nephi or the brother of Jared did, but we see as much as we need to see in order to know the Lord’s will for us and to know that he loves us beyond mortal comprehension. I also believe that the adversary and his pinched, calculating little minions try to oppose such experiences and then try to darken them after the fact. But that is not the way of the gospel. That is not the way of a Latter-day Saint who claims as the fundamental fact of the Restoration the spirit of revelation.

Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going. With Paul, I say to all of you:

 

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [Hebrews 10:35–36]

 

I acknowledge the reality of opposition and adversity, but I bear witness of the God of Glory, of the redeeming Son of God, of light and hope and a bright future. I promise you that God lives and loves you, each one of you, and that he has set bounds and limits to the opposing powers of darkness. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the victor over death and hell and the fallen one who schemes there. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and it has been restored, just as we have sung and testified this morning.

“Fear ye not.” And when the second and the third and the fourth blows come, “fear ye not. . . . The Lord shall fight for you.” “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” I say this in the sacred and holy name of our Protector and Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear Family,
A couple nights ago, I wasn’t able to sleep and I wrote you a little exerpt in my journal… it is about oppositon.  Heavenly Father knows you.  He loves you and He has promised you many things.  I had been struggling a little and I felt like I wasn’t receiving answers to my questions.  We did a role play in which I was an investigator.  I played an investigator who had been taking lessons from missionaries but wouldn’t committ to baptism because I didn’t feel like I had received answers to my prayers.  As I was being that investigator, I had a rush of answers I had received come flowing through my mind.  I HAD received many answers in my life.  Many of those answers, I have not seen come into fruition, but I knew that I had received answers.  I thought about Nephi and his testimony that the Lord will not give any commandment or answer “Save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”  I know that this is true and I know that the answers and blessings we have been promised by God WILL come.  It is real and it will come. I promise.  Now about opposition… I went to the health clinic to schedule an appointment to go visit Dr. Brady.  They had me see another doctor to clear me to go see a Chiropractor.  I told the doctor about my hip problem and why I was going to see Dr. Brady.  He decided that I needed to go and get more x-rays and decide if I am really up to serving a mission.  I am worried, but at the same time I am not.  I know that Dr. Brady didn’t like the look of my hip the last time he saw the x-ray, but I have learned to trust in my leg.  I know this is a weird thing to say in a family email but I know that some oppositions, especially those ones that we have no power over, guide our lives for the better.  In the past, I have felt like my leg kept me away from many of my dreams and limited what I could do.  Because of this, it has taken me down roads and led me to people that I would not have met otherwise.  All in all, it has put me in a better situation than I could have made for myself.  This is one thing has died my hand (and my will) behind my back.  I think Heavenly Father knows that when we have to fight for something, we learn to love it much more.  I am grateful for this opposition.  It has made me appreciate my call to serve as an ambassador for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I have come as far as I possibly can and I know that God will take care of the rest.  This experience has opened by eyes and my heart to loving every moment that I have.  I love my mission already.  It has allowed me to put 100% of my trust in Heavenly Father and I do not fear.
That said, I love it here.  I am where I need to be.  Our Zone is amazing.  We have 12 sisters and 4 elders.  Everyone is a little bit older and a little bit more mature and I love it.  I feel like every single person in our zone needs to be here. Everyone gets along and loves each other.  I have laughed more, and harder than I  have in a very very long time. I feel like I am finally myself again and I am loving it.  I guess because we don’t have any trouble getting along, we have an abundance of health trials.  My companion has surgury today, we had a sister have surgery last week, I have to have x-rays, another sister tore her rotator cuff, another has trouble eating and I am sure there are a couple more that I am just not thinking of at the moment.  I love it though.  Everyone is so strong.  I hope that all goes well for you this week!  I love you much!  Micah, Jacob, and Ben, you need to write to me.
Love,
Hansen Chamaenim

Sister Sara Hansen and Sister Kayla Hansen

Sister Sara Hansen and Sister Jessica Farnsworth