Fired-Up

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Aragorn:  “The beacons. The beacons of Minas Tirith have been lit! Gondor calls for aid.”

Theoden: “And Rohan will answer!”

 

So, my mission president summoned all of the veteran missionary leaders to Lyon this week for a special Leadership Council. Every single missionary I go home with has been a Leader at some point in their mission, which doesn’t happen often, apparently. And all of us were gathered at this grand meeting for the sole purpose of figuring out what we could do to fire-up the missionaries.

Finding the Fire
Fire was a big part of the conference. There is a rising number of missionaries who have lost their spark and are struggling.  And with a large batch of new missionaries coming in, well, the president’s charge to us was to inspire others to rise up, and ignite the work again.  We all sat down in council and discussed it.

How do you inspire someone out of a slump?  What does it take to get someone from the doldrums on to high ground? From snuffed-out to burning bright? Continue reading

Change, Oh Goodness!

Connor at the Airport

Connor at the Airport

 

“I need to let him go.”
Marie Lu, Prodigy

“When I leave, I won’t tell you goodbye—but only because I’m taking you with me.”
Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here for You

“Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye.”
Beyonce Knowles

 

You’d think that sending out your third kid on a mission would make one a seasoned, poised veteran of goodbyes.

Nope.

Bidding farewell to my son, Connor, was a compounded kind of difficult. I was a massive ball of nerves. Partly because he was younger (he was 18. Ashley was 22 when she left on her mission, Lauren 19), and a great deal to do with is he ready?

Oh, don’t get me wrong. He is beyond his years brilliant, responsible, highly social, and has a commanding knowledge of the gospel, but organized…weeell, somehow that gene did not latch on to his DNA.

So I fretted about things that mothers are good at fretting: I worried he would lose his wallet or forget his credit card at a store. I envisioned him leaving behind a suit when moving apartments or misplacing his head if it weren’t screwed on tight.  How do you imbue someone with more awareness?  I’ll tell you, you can’t. You just cross your fingers that when they know mom’s not around, the efficiency kicks in gear.

There were many sleepless nights before Connor left. Surprisingly too many. Why am I such a nervous-wreck boob?  To me, the fear seemed beyond worry-wart mom allowance. So I’d question.  Am I not trusting God? Do I not trust Connor? What’s really going on here?

Then the answer hit me:   Continue reading

Holy Week

Garden Tomb by J. Kirk Richards

Garden Tomb  by J. Kirk Richards

Happy Easter week everyone!

Most of the Christian world refers to the week preceding Easter Sunday as Holy Week.  I concur.  Scan back through time 1983 years, and you will find Jesus in his final week upon this earth. It is a solemn time.  A holy time in which he is spending his last days teaching his disciples everything they must know to lead His church. Their task of spreading the gospel message to all the world is just beginning.  Christ’s earthly mission, however, is coming to an end.  Continue reading

Hallelujah

by J. Kirk Richards

by J. Kirk Richards

Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

 

 

Happy Easter, Friends.

 

 

 

 

In Response to a Question

Morgoth

Sometimes evil is a little overwhelming

(I recently received a comment on my post Tuor, Gondolin, and Our Life Mission that said the following:)

Hi there!
An interesting application to our life..I am christian as well and I have been quite big fan of Tolkien earlier when I was younger..than I just thought..all these stories are really great and well written and catchy but somehow dark or tragic..dont you think? I mean the life of Tuor is an exception i guess but …

– Sam

(My reply got a little long…so here is my open response to Sam – )

Hey Sam, thanks for the comment! I have been thinking about the question you posed, and here are some of my thoughts:

It’s true that Tolkien wrote many stories that contain lots of tragedy. I mean, he really puts his characters through the ringer:

  • Frodo never really recovers
  • Theoden’s son dies (and then he dies)
  • Turin’s life is basically a study of how much one dude can suffer
  • And literally everything bad happens to Elrond (ask me about it sometime)

Grander events in Middle Earth are also tragic: the elves are in decline and leaving Middle Earth, the great stories of the past are being forgotten, grand cities and nations and peoples are destroyed. Evil empires wage war against peace-loving peoples.

Evil seems to win a lot.

tolkien.jpg

This guy…

I don’t think this was just Tolkien being ~dark~ and ~brooding~. I think he did this on purpose. Life is often very tragic, no matter how you look at it. Sam, you’re a Christian – just look at the lives of Christ and His Apostles! Bad things happen all the time to good and bad people. This is no secret. This is something humanity has been dealing with since before Day 1.

BUT (and this is a big but) – that’s not all that is going on. Evil is not the only force at work. Continue reading

Persevere

perseverance

Persevere:
Patient endurance of hardship:
Persisting in a state of enterprise in spite of difficulties and discouragement.

“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1

So a bunch of us missionaries were on our way to leadership training in Lyon (very cooly referred to as Jedi Council by my mission president) when I receive a phone call from my mission president.  We small-talk for a sec and then he asks me a question about a letter I shared with him a couple weeks back. It was a portion of my pep-talk letter to my brother, Connor, in which I shared my personal difficulties. Apparently he loved it and wanted me to read it at Jedi Council.

Even though I was slightly freaked out, I said yes cuz I didn’t want to decline and weird out his presentation. So I prayed about it that night and felt good, but that didn’t remove my nerves the next morning. This would open me up to huge vulnerability.

Yikes. Continue reading

This is Why We Practice

Training Wheels

 

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”
Sun Tzu

“Practice makes the master.”
Patrick Rothfuss

 

True story:  There was a gal who made a spiritual journey to India to meet the Dalai Lama. The timing of her visit was an interesting one because a week before she and her friends arrived, tragedy struck among the otherwise peaceful Buddhist community. Some monks had been brutally murdered – alarmingly, by fellow monks!

The disturbing news of course couldn’t help but undertone the trip, so when this gal and her small group found themselves in a private audience with The Dalai Lama, their first words to him were ones of sympathy. His response was stunning. Continue reading