Monday, April 15, 2013

One week of solid Miracles! - April 15, 2012

The only sure things in life are birth, death, and taxes!
Thought I would commemorate tax day with a quote from one of the founding fathers. :) It is tax day right? I know it has always been April 15th, up until last year at least, who knows what is going to happen in this crazy changing world we live in.
But anyway, Life is wonderful here in Des Moines! The Law of the Harvest is incredible! The Corn Row parable:
As you are going along a cornrow, there are seedling stalks, small stalks, tall green stalks, white stalks, and brown stalks. These stalks represent people. Seedling stalks have had a seed planted, but their progress is just beginning. Small stalks have been planted and are experiencing growth. Tall green stalks have experienced quite a lot of growth, but they are not quite ready to pluck. White stalks, the corn has arrived and is ready for picking! Brown stalks have died and have gone the way of the world.
As members of the church, we are the farmers planting and growing the corn. We plant seeds in the hearts of people and these people make progress and growth in the gospel (see Alma 32). There are two different roles that members of the Church take in this parable: The members cultivate the land and tend to the growing corn; The missionaries are the harvesters of the ready-to-harvest corn.
The members have a much wider reach than the guys-in-suits do. The members have friends that are not members of the church that they know from work, school, sports, and everyday life. The missionaries go around every day, all the time, talking about Jesus Christ. The members, if they are keeping the commandments of God, have the unique ability to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ into every aspect of their lives. As they meet others and cultivate friendships, their friends and acquaintances will naturally ask them what makes them different or what makes them do what they do. This is a natural entrance into sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They love their friends, watch them grow, and alert the missionaries when they are ripe for the picking. We have to be patient with this process, for we cannot force the seeds of faith to grow any faster than the person will let them.
Missionaries on the other hand, wear suits all the time, usually ride bikes or busses or walk, and they always have a Book of Mormon or a card to hand out. They are seasonal workers that don't stick around for extended periods of time. Therefore, the missionaries must focus their work on the elect (see D&C 29:7). These pairs of people are intimitading to the typical passerby. These passerby "are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12). They are not keen to talk to these people as they often think, "I am not ready for this," or "I am good where I'm at."
When missionaries and members are able to work together, the members are able to help the corn grow and watch after it, and the missionaries are able to spend their precious time in the gathering of souls. They have been specially called and set apart to gather. They have been special tools to be of an asset to the "marvelous work" of the Lord.
I hope you are all able to help cultivate those around whom you live and live a Christ-centered, Gospel-centered life, "be[ing ...] an example of the believers" (1 Tim 4:12). I love you all and know that you will and are doing these things!
This is the center of the work of Elder Hess and myself in the Des Moines area. We have been leaving record of those who weren't ready to bloom yet, and we have focused our efforts on gathering those whom the Lord has prepared by means (seeAlma 37:7).
We had a man by the name of Tayo, and his 5 children (one is not of baptismal age), come to church, attend a baptism, and accept an invitation to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized on April 27th. They were a referral from some missionaries on the west side of Des Moines. Tayo and his youngest child came to the closing session of General Conference last week. He enjoyed the words of the apostles and prophets and took notes to apply them in his life. His children love church and enjoy the teachings of Jesus Christ we have shared with them. It is truly a miracle from heaven that they are ready-to-harvest and that their hearts are true. In their desires to follow their Savior Jesus Christ.
A member from our ward told us on March 1st that he has some friends that were almost ready to harvest. He told us on April 6th, that they were ready to be taught, and he had invited them over to his home. They are very religious people and they "do what God tells us to do." We invited them to be baptized on May 18th and they said that they would if that was what God tells them to do. They were prepared by experiences in their life such as bad health, and that his father got cancer and that he passed away on April 1st.
Even with Elder Hess being sick through Wednesday of this week, the Lord blessed us with miracles as members in our area are preparing and cultivating the corn and as we are doing our best to live this Law. After all, the Laws of God are commandments we have to follow with divine obedience.
One quote that the Spirit blessed me with on Saturday was "the Gospel applied changes lives. I know it will change your life as it has changed mine." Since I was prompted to say that, I have thought a lot about it and have been thinking, 'has the gospel really changed my life?' I know it has made a huge difference in my life. I have been thinking though, has it changed me? Has my nature been changed through the merits of Christ and His Atonement? I feel I am letting it change me a little bit more each day and I am recognizing growth and recognizing specific places where I can do better, and where I am doing better. I have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost more in my day and felt impressions more as I have been doing my best to follow them. I truly enjoy the blessing in my life that this is!

By faith, diligence, humble prayers, and giving thanks unto God, we truly invite the Holy Spirit of Promise into our lives, to guide and direct us in all that we do (see 1 Ne 16:29, 32). To also receive confirming witnesses when we are doing the Will of God. Follow the example of Nephi; "thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey" (2 Nephi 33:15).
That is my invitation to you all.
Your Brother in the Lord,
Elder Zachary R McKenzie
Iowa Des Moines Mission
    D&C 6:34, 36
Doubt Not, Fear Not.
Nothing Less than 550

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