#LDSConf – 3 Nephi 30

CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 30.

We must listen to “the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 1).

His message, at the very core, is this:

Turn… from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel (verse 2).

It’s that simple.

We have made poor choices, and fallen from the holiness that is our Father.

We can return to Him, through the Savior, and the words of the prophets show us the way.

We must turn away from what is not-of-God, and be made into the People of Holiness.

Ambulance Lunch

This day started out lovely, with a cuddly toddler and FaceTiming with Nathan and the kids.  Then Kyrie and I got ready for our day, and she had some cereal and banana while I had yogurt and granola.  Then we went on a walk!

There is a park near where we stay, and it is lovely.  We walked with Lisa and Kirsten and the puppy Gen, who definitely needs a photo op with Kyrie while we are here.  Kyrie slid down slides and climbed ladders and ran on sidewalks and played in sand and threw a football, and had a blast until her body quit on her and we had to head back to the house.

We were super excited about lunch, which was supposed to be a cancer date with one of my friends.  She is an interpreter in Salt Lake, and is the one who first showed me around when I got called to the church office buildings the first time, and who was so kind to once spend a whole day shuttling me and Sherrolyn all over town to see all the different temples.  I will never forget that kindness, and I really appreciate her service to me that trip.

But now she has cancer, too, except hers is a terminable brain tumor kind of cancer.  She is dying, as all of us are, but so short of what any of us would wish.  Our prayers for her are comfort, and her goal is to make it to see some life events with her children in the next several months.

While there are many I would want to see while in town, I really am here for chaplaincy training and the baby, so I don’t have a lot of free time.

But this friend was top of the list to see, as it may be our last time together.

I helped her put on her shoes before we left her house, as tenderly as I do with Kyrie, because her left side doesn’t cooperate anymore.

I voiced more than I usually would with a good terp because her hands aren’t able to sign the way they could before.

But her spirit was determined, and her smile the same as I remember, and she was so excited to see Kyrie – whom we had not been sure would live this long, either.

It was very emotional.

But before we could even get started eating, she passed out and we had to call the ambulance.

I don’t share this for the drama of it, but by her request because we need your prayers for her and her family.

And because cancer is awful.

And because we all need to live consciously and intentionally and aware that we must not take each other for granted.

And time is fleeting.

It seemed perfect that Lisa and Kirsten take me and Kyrie up to Brighton today, where the tops of mountains are within reach and the water tastes like the kind of freshness from centuries ago.  It was beautiful and peaceful, and I prayed for my friend.  We took a little walk, but didn’t have the stroller and Kyrie wasn’t able to go far.  But it was worth it, and my spirit was nourished.

We rested back at the house after, and ate dinner still worried about my friend.  We FaceTimed the kids back home, and got Kyrie into pajamas.  Home Teachers came, and my friend Kirsten blessed my friend with a prayer.

And then we finally got word, that my friend made it through today, but is on oxygen now

I hope she knows she is loved, and I am hope her husband knows how grateful We are for his good care of her.

I pray for them, and for Kirsten, and for Kyrie, my girls on oxygen.

I am grateful for moments with each of them, however short, and feel in my heart the miracle that these visit are and the courage we are inspired with as we connect others who have shares our experience in some way.

Toddler Flight for #LDSConf

I did get Mary’s hair braided again Tuesday night, before it was time to leave town again:

Yesterday morning went so well the children were in good moods for pictures as we sang and did our prayers and scripture study:

I love my family so much!

I went to work Wednesday morning for my CPE class, which is the intensive chaplain training class once a week.  It’s some brutal group therapy, as well as didactics and other lessons.  It was my turn in the hot seat, processing some questions about when I was little and when I ran away as a teenager.  

I also shared about my faith journey, from growing up Southern Baptist to attending Jewish synagogue to going through Catholic catechism to the silent Buddhist retreat in Switzerland, all before receiving a true witness experience of the Savior and testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the priesthood, and temples and prophets with it.  I shared about temple recommend interviews, answered briefly questions about garments, and reassured them my husband only has one wife.  My peers are amazing, and we are a good team.  They were very respectful and attentive, and it is a safe place for sharing things special to me as much as hard things that need healing.

I left class at lunchtime, had lunch with Nathan, loaded the van with luggage, and then picked up all my babies.

They escorted me to the airport, to get a tour.  They loved seeing airplanes!  They also all got weighed!  It was so funny!

Mary met a cleaning lady in the bathroom who was “brown and not in jail” and who could sign to her!  Mary shared about being adopted from foster care, and was so excited for a new friend.

We got all checked in, finally, and it was time to say goodbye:

I am going to Salt Lake for annual chaplain training.  Kyrie came with me for some appointments at Primary Children’s, and for us to spend some time together since I was gone from her last week and she can still fly for free.  Once we got through security, she was set!

It didn’t take her long to get comfortable for her walk the way she always does in the strolle, with her feet up relaxed the way Mama sits in her chair! It’s so funny!  It actually also helps with her blood pressure and breathing, and she has just naturally done it since she was a baby.

As we started to walk from security to our gate, we heard the kids shout, WE LOVE YOU, Mama!  the same way I always have them shout goodbye to people as we leave in the van.  It was amazing, and made me cry!

The airline let us load first, as oxygen on a flight is a tricksy thing.  As I watched her check out the airplane, I wondered if she remembered our flight home from Cincinnati children’s last summer, or our life flight before that, or her helicopter flight the day she was born.  I do remember, vividly, and reared up again at it – maybe especially because of just having recorded the audiobook for Keeping Kyrie.

Once people started getting on the plane, though, she was delighted.  I am pretty sure she thought it was a parade just for her.  She said, “Hi!” to every single person, and I am pretty sure most of them shook her little hand or patted her on the head.

I did the same thing as when she was a baby, and waited to give her dinner until it was time for takeoff.  This made dinner messier in confined quarters, but kept her quiet and busy for the flight.  She was so good!  Once she was finished eating, we did this for four hours: open, close, open, close.

We landed in Salt Lake about 830, and she was so tired!  Me, too.  Our friend Lisa, who also has a (grown) child with PRS, picked us up from the airport and is very kindly letting us stay with them.  We appreciate their hospitality, and transportation in the next week.  Kyrie is especially excited about their puppy – who actually is a rescue puppy with trachea problems!  We settled in quickly, and Kyrie took inventory of the favorite toys brought from home.  She slept all night in a pack n play next to my bed in a home that understands pulse ox and color changes and oxygen concentrators.  This is a blessing, indeed.

#LDSConf – 3 Nephi 29

CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 29.

Mormon then writes that when all these things began to happen, even the Gentiles receiving these records (which we now call the Book of Mormon), we can know that the Father is keeping His covenant to gather His people and restore them to their lands of inheritance (verse 1).

All the words of all the holy prophets shall be fulfilled (verse 2).

He will keep His promises!

He will remember us!

He will remember us, and the covenants He has made with us (verse 3).

We ought not spurn these things, or reject these words, or ignore prophets in the latter-days, for He is the same God, our same Father, now completing the work He begun so long ago (verse 4).

Those who deny the Christ or His works are warned (verse 5), as are those who deny the prophets, who deny revelation, and who deny other works and powers of the Holy Spirit – including gifts and healing and tongues (verse 6).

Yea, who unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ!  Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn (verses 7-8).

We cannot change God, nor limit who He is.

We cannot stop the power of the Savior by not believing in it.

He will keep His covenants, and we must keep ours (verse 9).

#LDSConf – 3 Nephi 28

CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 28.

When Jesus taught the people all these things, He called the disciples one at a time to ask what they wanted of Him after He goes back to the Father (verse 1).  Nine of them asked to quickly enter His kingdom when the work on earth was completed (verse 2).    The Savior blessed them, saying it was a good thing to ask and that it would happen (verse 3).  The other three were also asked (verse 4), but they were hesitant to ask for what they really wanted (verse 5).  The Savior knew their thoughts, and knew they wanted the same thing John had asked him (verse 6): to never die, but to live to guide the unfolding of all things according to the Father (verse 7) and then be changed from mortal to immortal when the Savior returns (verse 8).  The Savior grants them this, saying they would have no physical pain, though they would grieve the sins of the world as they desired to bring souls unto Him (verse 9).  Their bodies were changed for this, so that they would not die (even spiritually – verse 39), though not as much as will happen to us when the Savior returns again (verses 36-38).  Their joy would come as they bring souls to God (verse 10), and then they will return to the presence of God (verse 40).  They would be able to bring souls to God by the Holy Spirit, who bears record of the Father and of the Son unto those who do not yet believe (and those who do) (verse 11).

When he told the disciples all these things, he touched each one, except the three who would not die, and then he left (verse 12).  The heavens opened, and they were caught up, “and saw and heard unspeakable things” (verse 13).  These things were so sacred it was forbidden they write them, even so sacred they could not even talk about them (verse 14).  They were transfigured so that they “could behold the things of God” (verse 15).

After this, they ministered on the earth and continued teaching (verse 16), “uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching, baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost” (verse 18).  Those who did not believe tried to put them in prison, but prisons could not hold them (verse 19) – nor could pits (verse 20), and furnaces did not burn them (verse 21), and they were not harmed in dens of wild beasts (verse 22).   They continued preaching among all the people of Nephi, and many were converted and the church was united, and so the people of that generation were blessed (verse 23).

Mormon testifies that these things are true, and that he has seen these disciples, and that they have ministered unto him (verse 26).  He says these disciples will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles will not recognize them (verse 27).  He says they will minister among the Jews, and the Jews will not recognize them (verse 28).  Mormon says that they will minister among all the scattered tribes, and “bring out of them unto Jesus many souls… because of the convincing power of God which is in them” (verse 29).

And they are as angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus, they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good.  Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all the people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.  Yea, even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day (verses 30-32).

These things we know are true because they are in the scriptures (verse 33), so Mormon warns those who will not listen or respond to the words of Jesus or rejects the words of His prophets (verse 34).

#LDSConf – 3 Nephi 27

CLICK HERE to read 3 Nephi 27.

As the disciples were traveling and testifying of what they had heard and seen, and baptizing those who responded, they gathered together “united in mighty prayer and fasting” (verse 1).  The Savior showed himself to them again (verse 2), and they asked what to call the church (verse 3).

The Savior corrected the people for murmuring about this (verse 4), saying that if they read their Scriptures they would know that we take upon ourselves the name of Christ (verse 5).  It is by Christ we are saved, and by Christ we endure (verse 6).  So we should also call the church by His name (verse 7) because it is built upon His words (verse 8).  When we pray, we pray in His name, and our Father hears us (verse 9), and so if we call our church by His name, the Father will manifest His Spirit in the church (verse 10).  We should remember this (verse 12), knowing that if we do not build the church on His words, or try to build it upon our own works, nothing will come of it (verse 11).  We must do everything according to the will of our Father, because it is His plan we are choosing (verse 13).

And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up on the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil – and for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.  And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at the day when I shall stand to judge the world (verses 14-16).

This is our Father’s plan, to provide a way for justice to be met (verse 17), that He might also provide mercy for us.  The evidence that we are living according to His plan is in the choices we make everyday.  As we rely on the atonement, our Father’s plan is fulfilled (verse 18).

And no unclean thing can enter in his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.  Now this is my commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day (verses 19-20).

This is the gospel of Christ, and the message of our Savior.  We must do for others as He has done for us (verse 21), and we are blessed by following His example (verse 22).

The Savior commanded Mormon – and us – to write the things we have seen and heard, to testify of these things, except for those things so sacred they should not be written (verse 23).

Mormon is also told to write the “works of the people”, so that others will know what they did and the consequences that followed (good and bad) (verse 25).  This is how we learn from their experiences (verse 26), and do not have to repeat the same bondage and sufferings those people endured if we learn our lessons from them and strive to be like the Savior and do what He says (verse 27).

The Savior bid the people farewell, saying that it was time for Him to return to the Father (verse 28).

Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened (verse 29).

The Savior told the people that He felt great joy “even unto fulness” because of the people doing what He says (verse 30).  By their faith and obedience, they are able to receive all the Father has to offer.  This brings the Savior, and even our Father, “fulness of joy” (verse 31).

But He also warns the people of the future, that they can be “led away captive”, selling their faith and surrendering their obedience for money until they are corrupted and lose this great inheritance (verse 32).  He warns them to follow His path, and to choose life (verse 33).

#LDSConf – Mary’s Talk on #HisDay

Mary gave a talk at church today in her primary program:

When we get baptized we learn about the word of God.

The word of God includes the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Book of Mormon.

We can also hear the word of God at General Conference.

President Monson will speak to us, and he is a true prophet of God.

He tells us to obey Heavenly Father, and that we must repent.

He teaches us to be kind.

At General Conference, we learn about the gospel, and the Holy Ghost carries that message to your heart.

General Conference can be watched all over the world. In Africa, or Japan, or Jerusalem or anywhere.

General Conference is one important way that the gospel is preached all over the world.

I know that the prophet teaches the word of God and that he teaches the Bible.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

By getting baptized and getting the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we can learn to understand the gospel.

The gospel helps us to learn what God wants us to do.

If we follow the gospel, then at the end of this life we will get to see our grandpas and grandmas, and will get to live with Heavenly Father again.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sabbath Homecoming

Last night my plane landed just in time for me to listen to Women’s Conference.  It was so good!  If you missed it, you can watch it HERE.

I got home just as Nathan was turning off Fantasia for the children to sleep, and I loved surprising them!  They were so shocked to see me, and so sleepy, that they couldn’t even rouse almost.  It was like walking into their dreams.  I was glad to hug them, and to tuck in the baby, who got in one whispered “Mama” with a smile before falling back asleep.

This morning was back to the normal chaos, with suit pieces and why-are-you-still-wearing-Spring-dresses-but-whatever and ties and lace socks and now-it’s-time-to-go-because-I-preach-today.

It’s my turn for the 24 hour shift at the hospital, which runs from 745 Sunday morning to 830 Monday morning – a ministry which is intensified by it being Fast Sunday.  I cover the whole hospital, and hold two chapels. It makes for a long day, but means I will have tomorrow off to sleep and do laundry before leaving town again.

Nathan brought the children to eat dinner with me in the cafeteria tonight. They loved seeing where I work, as much as what they can, and they love singing in the chapel.  I was glad to spend some time with them, and to give Nathan a little break.

Mary wrote me 2 emails:

All about how “Emily” and “email” are almost the same.

They are so funny, and I adore them – even that toddler who is a punk. Kirk was extra cuddley, and Barrett seemed back to himself, Anber was having a happy day, and Alex and I talked about being a gentleman in Sunday School.  We sang and danced in the rain, and hopefully wore them out for Papa to get them into bed easily.

Families are everything!  Even when we aren’t very good at it, and all of us learning together.  Watch out YouTube channel as we start putting up short videos about marriage and parenting in response to questions we are getting since the book came out!

Coming Home!

I had a very scary shuttle ride!

But I did get to the airport safely, and I did get my suitcase checked.  This is exciting because my clothes are in it this time, so my backpack only has my purse in it.  I mailed home the tube of posters.  So it’s an easy day!

I even had time to sit down by the escalators and eat a lunch able I bought at the corner store while waiting on my shuttle, so that I wouldn’t spend money at the airport.  It’s so fun to talk with the kids and relax for an easier day of travel with less stress now!

I will say, despite so many drunk people and despite so many naked people, most of whom were tourists, every single person I ever asked for help from this week was extraordinarily kind.  I really enjoyed my visit here, even if I was somewhat selective of some activities.

But I am excited to go home, even if for a few nights!