Saturday, March 29, 2014

Last week at MTC

Saturday March 29, 2014   1:20 pm

Your reading assignment: (cue drumroll)

1 Nephi 17 - and let me tell you why:

Nephi and his family have spent 8 long and toilsome years in the wilderness; although Nephi is always full of gratitude to God ("so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us"), it doesn't negate the fact that this has been a very big trial ("we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness"). They then reach the land Bountiful - specifically prepared for them by the hand of the Lord with fruit, wild beasts and honey; a seaside oasis of sorts. Their journeying through the wilderness of affliction had ceased through the Lord's blessings.

But Bountiful was not where God intended for Nephi and his family to stay; it was not the final destination God prepared for them. He had a land far greater in store for them; a covenanted land; a Promised Land. The catch? The only way for them to get to the Promised Land was to construct a ship and sail according the the Lord's guidance and direction. But they were not ship builders and certainly not sailors. 

To face the unknown of the sea on a ship their little brother would build is a scary prospect, and it becomes far too easy to start regretting even coming to Bountiful in the first place ("we might have been happy"). Why leave? Life was so good in Bountiful! It was a respite prepared for them after their toils in the wilderness! God wanted them to enjoy the land Bountiful! Why would they leave and face uncertainty and hardship again when the present was comfortable, and a blessing even? They spent years in the wilderness and had only been in Bountiful for "many days" before the Lord asked them to build a ship and leave. Why can't we just stay in our own personal land Bountiful?

Because God has far greater things prepared for all of us than we can currently imagine. 

Going to the Promised Land meant leaving behind Bountiful and facing the trials of wilderness again, this time on a ship; something that was currently unfathomable, and completely out of their element. It meant going out into the unknown. It meant having to walk by faith and trust that the Lord will direct and deliver as promised. 

The key to this isn't just that God has our own Promised Land prepared for us if we choose to listen and obey, but that how we approach leaving our own land Bountiful will make all the difference in getting there (or in us choosing to even leave Bountiful at all).

Nephi didn't ask why, but how. How can I do what you have asked of me Lord? You've asked me to build a ship and bring my family across the water, so direct me where I can find ore to make tools to construct this ship you will help me build.
Nephi recognized that God's plans for him were more than just to be saved from the destruction of Jerusalem. More than reaching a land Bountiful. The Lord keeps His promises to His children.
Nephi understood that the why will come in the Lord's own time, but we can break tasks down and ask our own how questions to accomplish what the Lord asks of us.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

What is your wilderness?
What is your Bountiful?
What is your Promised Land?
How can you get there?
What ship is God asking you to build?

These questions will change over time and with circumstance, but the lesson remains that it all comes down to trust, obedience and faith.

I love you all, more than you know.

- Sister Elizabeth Bishop

P.S.  The MTC makes me sad when it posts signs like this would think that an institution known for it's language skills would use foreign spellcheck. (#frenchproblems)

Sometimes we make blanket forts on P-days. (P-nights?) We also don't use flash apparently. #missionaryshenanigans 

Watch out world. These sisters are coming for ya

In short, life is so good. Hard. Mundane. Heavily scheduled. Mindblowing. But always good.

No really, EVERYWHERE. (p.s. me and all my friends are so photogenic

Our 10 minute study break ended up becoming assigning spirit animals to the district and teachers. Productivity at it's finest.

The sisters in Branch 1

Running into old friends everywhere

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