Monday, July 14, 2014

A very short hello from GAM

Howdy y'all,

How are you today? Good? I sure hope so! Every day is a good day with the perspective of the gospel :) 
Super short hello today... we're busy, busy, busy!
I just wanted to share something that I learned this week... which is the importance of our desires (or in other words, our hearts).
Here is a simple diagram to illustrate my thoughts.

Desire --> belief (in the word of God) --> action (in faith) --> change (repent) --> receive (The Spirit) --> results (fruits of the spirit)

And the fruits, or those things that we feel as we act upon the word of God.... those will fuel our desires. 

Ok, so I have a lot less time than I thought! So let me ask you this... what do you treasure most in your life? My intent in asking is this: Where are treasures are, there our hearts (or desires) lay also. As we prioritize the gospel... the word of God... and we desire to follow the word of God each and every day... each and every moment of our lives... and as we choose to believe that they are true.... that the promised blessings (the fruit/results) really will come as we act upon them and make changes in our lives to live in greater accordance with those things... and then we do just that, we go and act upon them... there are just an endless amount of blessings that come from acting in accordance to the word of God. But it's all a choice! So my short invitation is this... read and ponder the words of God daily and then I invite you to act upon those things that you learn... and see if you don't find greater happiness and joy in your life as you do so. I promise miracles and blessings to come as you do! But it all starts with your heart and your desires... if your heart isn't in the right place, then pray and ask God to help you soften your heart so that you can be. He will bless you with that gift. I promise. I know these things are true for myself and testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Love y'all!
-Elder Wahlen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Elder Wahlen and other missionaries!

                                        Gotta love that smile!

                                                            Keep on keeping on!

Early Hello from GAM HD!

Hello everyone!

Happy late 4th of July! The 4th was great down here... nothing like serving the Lord and teaching families (and the YSA) about the restored gospel on the 4th in the middle of downtown ATL!

I'll keep it short today... the work is hastening after all! 
Something that has been pressing upon my mind and spirit is the topic of the Atonement. More specifically the ENABLING power of the Atonement. I pray that in relating some recent experiences that I've had to you today that you will be able to instructed by the Holy Ghost as to how you can more fully utilize, recognize and appreciate the power of the Atonement in your lives.

However, before relating these experiences, I feel that we should briefly discuss what exactly the "Atonement" is.... so what is it? Simply stated, the Atonement is a comprehensive term used to describe the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It's because of the Atonement that we can and will overcome the obstacles of physical death and spiritual death (sin) which are the obstacles that prevent us all from entering into the Kingdom of God once again. It's also the way and power in which we can overcome all obstacles, trials, afflictions, etc. in this life.... and the way in which we can all learn, grow and improve. More specifically, the word "Atonement" means and describes the atoning sacrifice that Christ paid in order for us so that He can remove the effects of sin (and suffering) from our lives as we follow His example and teachings. Think to make even or equal or to pay for....
Now, that is not all that can be said or described about the Atonement... but want I want to talk about now is how the ENABLING power of the Atonement has blessed me recently in my life and service. The enabling power of the Atonement being the ability that we have to overcome obstacles and to learn and grow as we rely on the Savior and His Atonement for us.

While I was serving in ATL on the 4th of July... I went on exchanges with an Elder who had been struggling with his confidence over the last several weeks... he felt overwhelmed being in the big city and with the new responsibilities as a district leader and trainer. We sat down for lunch and I was asking him how I could help him... and he responded with this question: "Elder Wahlen... how did you become so confident?". Initially, I internally laughed and scoffed at the question... me? Confident? NO WAY!!! But what I realized and the Lord helped me to see in that moment is just how much I've grown through the enabling power of the Atonement. I answered this Elder and relayed my feelings to him about this very thing by saying something along the lines of this.... I'm not confident at all! In fact, the more I learn and with the different things I'm asked to do, the less and less confident I feel! Less and less confident in myself, that is. But what I've learned is this... I've learned more and more to have faith in the Lord and trust in Him and His promises... and those promises are that as we act in faith and do our very best, that the Savior will be there to guide you... and that everything will be ok. Everything WILL work out... and if you make a mistake along the way, then that's ok! That's what the Atonement is there for... it's the light that leads you down the tunnel of uncertainty and over the stumbling blocks, turning those into stepping stones... but it's also the enabling power that helps us to overcome mistakes and to learn and grow from them. It's by receiving the strength of the Lord through our faithful actions that we are enabled to do more... to do things beyond our mortal capabilities and capacities... and to keep taking those steps, even if they seem impossible or even painful that will enable us to become more like Him... and we are always able to receive of that power... as long as we have faith and follow Him. I'm not sure if my answer helped this Elder or not... but it helped me.

So how do we receive of this strength? How do we become enabled by this power of the Atonement?

The next day, I went on another exchange with a different set of Elders. Before the exchange started, I felt sick! I felt so worn out and just bleh! I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to do much good and the exchange was going to be anything but a faith building and helpful experience for the missionaries we were with... but I knew that the Lord wanted us there and that we were on His errand. I decided to retreat into the bathroom and say a prayer. I prayed for the strength of the Lord and humbly submitted that I couldn't do this on my own... that I needed His strength and I needed help through the enabling power of the Atonement. I prayed and prayed and prayed with all my heart and finally after several minutes I concluded the prayer and walked out of the bathroom to begin the exchange. It only took a few short minutes... but the power came. My body received strength, the weariness in my legs was taken from me and I was filled with power that was not of mine own. The day went very well and we saw many miracles... and I've felt perfectly fine ever since. I received of the enabling power of the Atonement in my life as I humbled myself before the Lord, recognizing that I was and am too weak to do what was asked of me without His help... and then prayed and asked the Lord for His strength. Then, I went out and worked. I acted in faith and trusted the Lord and His promise that He would and will be with me. 

Now, I could've accredited this strength to the peanut-butter smoothie I had a few minutes early (which was amazing!)... I could've passed it off as coincidence, but I am here to testify that it was the power of the Atonement. I am not able to do the things that I'm able to do right now on my own strength or because of tasty smoothies or by any other way or means... it is only by the enabling power of the Atonement that I am able to do more.

I'm needing to wrap this up more quickly then I had planned... but brothers and sisters, my dearest friends and family... I can testify to you that the enabling power of the Atonement is there for you. Each and every day. Each and every moment. And we NEED that power in our lives. I've come to realize more and more just how weak and pathetic I am as a mortal man... but I've also grown that much more strong in my reliance upon the Lord and His strength. I promise that as we humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for His strength... and have faith that it will come as we ACT IN FAITH... I promise that it will come. It's real. The Savior lives and His power is real. You will be helped and you will overcome. I promise this power comes most as we reach out and help others... and invite others to receive of these blessings and power in their lives. We are enabled to do His work every single day if we are willing, worthy and act in faith... and ask Him for this guidance and help. I invite each of you to strive to access this power more each and every day of your lives... especially as you pray and seek for ways to help others come unto Christ. I testify of these things in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all so much! Have a blessed week.
-Elder Wahlen