Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Days of Pondering....

Elder Pope recently read a talk by Elder J. R. Holland in which he included a story about Mark Twain and the Mississippi River that made a tremendous impact on Elder Pope.   A few days later, Elder Pope found himself walking along the locks and dams on the banks of the Mississippi, and as he watched boats go by on the river, he found his thoughts returning to the talk recently read.

In his words
"I pondered very deep as I watched the boats go by; longing to know what it would be like."

Here is a link to Elder Holland's talk:  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=868 

Elder Pope went on to say:

I know the Gospel is true.  I believe there are lessons we can learn from the great experiences of a man (Mark Twain) who literally rebelled against his time; who refused to take the morbid view that had been place before him.  He turned his life into a never ending adventure!  I believe he was on a journey of trying to find the true meaning of life and where we can truly have an everlasting joy.
We watched the power of the Mississippi go by the other night, with pilots working to control the boats up and down the river.  I was struck by the thought of how many boats may someday run out of gas, or will wear out and fall apart, or be lost to the power of the river.  However, if properly maintained and taken care of right, and not allowed to become run down or over weighted with useless things, these same boats will continue to float and will arrive at their predetermined destination.
 We don't have to adventure across the world anymore to seek a truth of why we are here.   Be the pilot in your life, and learn to listen to your Best Mate.   The Spirit of God will always guide us through trial and tribulation.   It is up to us to prepare ourselves and open our hearts with the intent to listen and act.  Pilot your life with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and trust that as you press forward and enter the locks of life, you will not be helplessly thrown downstream.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Missionary Service: A Right Choice

Recently James' sister, Anne, entered the missionary training center.  She will serve a mission in Montreal, Canada starting in December (Brrr!).  Both Anne and James' emails home this week shared messages of love for their mission work and positive changes within themselves as a result.  They both echo what many missionaries before have shared:  they chose right when they chose to serve a mission.  

Posting a few tidbits from Elder Pope's last message.  It was tough paring it down, it was chock full of good stuff!  From Elder Pope:

…more and more I am thankful for all that I have and have been blessed with.  This life is so funny.  You just don't get it until you're thrown into it.  Life here is great though!  My comp and I have grown so much; we just finished a transfer and have realized that we have changed so much for the better.  
I can see I have come a long ways since I first got here.  I look at how much I went through to get to where I am today and I can now say I made a very good choice.  Probably the best one I could have made at this point in my life.  A mission is a must.  Thank you so much for helping me to be out here.  I couldn't do it without all of you.   
My companion said a few things to me.  He thinks I'll be an architect of some kind and that I'll be a leader throughout the mission.  That I'll meet my wife while I'm hiking in Glacier National Park, haha, oh brother!  Funny guy, man I love him.  Reflecting on all the missionaries who taught me I feel wayyyyy bad for them!  I must have felt sooo close, but I just took foreverrrrr.  They all shaped me in different ways!  So thankful for being able to meet them!…  
With Love, Elder Pope