Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Another great and inspiring week here in Poquoson! We are working hard and having fun doing it...
Rather than give an overview of my week this time, I wanted to share some studies I've had recently! As a missionary, I've really come to love that hour of personal study where, as one missionary stated, 'we get to be the investigators' - they are opportunities we have to recieve revelation and I hope that, by sharing some of the things Heavenly Father has taught me that you may recieve the guidance and answer you seek! God talks, I promise...
Each morning, I study a Christlike attribute as part of my personal study. One of my favourite ones so far has been hope - hope is an 'abaiding trust that the Lord will fuflill His promises to you'. Hope is the power by which the door is opened after we knock (see D&C 4:7) because, if we do not trust God to keep His promise, He simply won't. Moroni teaches that 'hope is the anchor to our souls' - as I studied this, I tried to understand that statement more and this is what I came to...
'Hope requires us to look forward and establish a vision (or desire). In the same way that an anchor holds a ship in place even if tumultuous waves conspire to bring it down, having a vision of the promised blessings will hold us in the right place and will prevent us from being lost at sea. Consistent hope works as the catalyst of change - we have faith that we can change and trust that, through our actions, God will honour this promise and enable us to achieve our righteous desires.'
I also studied the attribute of temperance or self mastery today. We are taught in the Bible that we must be temperate in 'all things' (1 Corinthians 9:25) and that temperance is 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1-2). We are also taught in ancient AND modern revelation (1 Peter 1:4-6 and D&C 4:6) that temperance is a step in the process to become 'partakers of divine nature' or, in other words, fuflill the potential God has set aside for us! As we learn to control the 'natural man' (ie. our laziness, our selfishness, our desire to sin), then and only then can we begin to control our surroundings and bless the lives of others! For me, this is what God was saying... 'Marcus, before you can really begin to change others, you have to become more disciplined with yourself!'.... that's a pretty straightfoward statement huh?!
It is really summed up in Proverbs 25:28 which reads 'he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls'. Temperance enables us to sustain our relationship with the Holy Ghost and build up standards of defense that will help us avoid and reject temptation. Those that are temperate are those who have lost all desire to sin, understanding that immediate gratification, although pleasing now, will rob them of a fulness of joy.
I am grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission... they are fun ha (maybe one day I will share some of our stories)! But, most importantly, they are designed to convert one person to the Gospel of Jesus Christ... yourself! I feel blessed to be a part of other's conversions but, right now, my most important person to convert is me! Then, and only then, can I truly fulfill my missionary purpose and 'invite others to come unto Christ'. This Church is the vehicle in which the priesthood authority was restored and this was done through Joseph Smith,
Love Elder Pelham :)
ps. I needed to share this quote by Elder Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - 'It is not without a recognition of life's tempests but full and directly because of them that I testify of God's love and the Saviour's power to calm the storm. Always remember in the biblical story that He was out there on the water also, thet He faced the worst of it right alon with the newest and youngest and most fearful' <3

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Well, I'm back ha - I feel restored, renewed and refined this week! I have a wonderful new companion called Elder Jensen who, with no exaggeration at all, is simply amazing! He is one of the most outstanding missionaries I have ever met/worked with and I feel incredibly blessed to work with him for his last five weeks - he's had a lot of experience, especially in leadership roles, and President has asked him to train me to be a leader soon :) He's got an incredible sense of humour and he makes missionary work fun again! Prayer works - thank you!
The area is doing fantastic - we've got four people who should be baptized soon, including Brendan on the 23rd of November (although that may be delayed due to church attendance issues) and Seth (Barbara's son) on the 24th! We're also finding a lot of people somehow and helping to reactivate a few less-active families! In other words, missionary work is going well right now!
We just received transfer calls on Sunday and our district is getting moved all over the place - Sister Banner (she was in my MTC district) is training after just three months and we've got Elder Whitehead training as well! It's going to be an exciting time - you'll have Elder Jensen and Elder Whitehead who have served for a while, Sister Banner and I who have just finished training and the two new missionaries! It'll be great :) I've also had the opportunity to speak to a lot of my MTC district for a multitude of reasons - wow, I love them! It is amazing to me just how close we all are... even now, after three months, we ask President about eachother every week! There is truly a bond that exists between people with the same aspirations!
The highlight of my week (in addition to Elder Jensen!) is my studies... I've been working hard to make the hour from 8am-9am a revelatory experience each morning! And man, have I felt myself repenting and growing?! I would like to share one of those studies:
It's called the 'cycle of discipleship' or 'cycle of refinement' and basically it is the way that we prepare ourselves to meet God through constant improvement. Just for examples sake, we'll take bad language...
It starts with faith or a belief in that which is true but cannot be proven. So, I can improve my faith in the blessings that come from uplifting language by studying it in the scriptures, praying to know if God actually requires that and listening to others testimonies at church.
This increased and strengthened faith leads to repentance or a change of heart, mind and vision. Because I have faith that God will bless me as I change, I can put into place ways to 'turn away from sin and turn towards God'. For example, I might pray every morning for help to overcome this habit. If I slip up in the day, I might review the sentence, repeat it in a better way and try again.
This repentance is then sealed or confirmed as we partake of the ordinances, such as baptism or the sacrament. Ordinances are 'manifestations of the power of the priesthood' - in other words, after working our hardest to repent, we offer up our efforts to Heavenly Father and ask Him to help us. The consistent (even weekly) renewal of these ordinances sustain and enable us to continue to repent.
After we have repented, we can feel the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost comforts us and enables us to improve but it also guides us to understand our next weakness to overcome. This leads to a need to increase our faith, thus starting the cycle again!
I know this pattern is true - I'm having to use it daily out here right now and I love it! I feel God's hand moulding me and, every now and then, I catch a glimpse of what He's helping me become! I love missionary work because I get to invite others to change!
Love Elder Pelham