Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Believe

The world was full of magic.

It would begin after Thanksgiving, the Christmas carols, browsing my grandmother's fat newspaper, full of toy specials, picking just the right items to request to Santa Claus. I believed he would receive my letter. Elementary class Christmas projects, ornaments for the tree, Christmas parties, family parties, popcorn balls, smells of cinnamon, choir specials, nativity reenactments. The fervid devotion to the belief in Santa Claus.

I had to be good to get presents. I'm sure it was my parent's favorite holiday for that very reason. Lights adorning the rooftops of neighbors houses. No, we had no snow, but the excitement still resonated in my childish heart. Up until the final night we would set out a plate of cookies on Christmas Eve night, as an offering for this amazing man's cause. I hoped. I believed. It brought me joy, and it was magical. The feeling of joy knowing the following morning presents would appear from no where. I was with those I loved. I was safe.

And then you grow up,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What can I give Him?

"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, 
 earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; 
 snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, 
 in the bleak midwinter, long ago."
 "What can I give him, poor as I am? 
 If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; 
 if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; 
 yet what I can I give him:  

give my heart."

What a beautiful time of year it is.
A time of reflection,
gratitude,
family,
peace,
love,
hope,
resolution.

A time to believe.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I know He is real, and for me, this time of year is to celebrate his Birth.

In our chaotic world, and fast paced lives. 
We can choose to allow this message to work in our lives.

I am able to continually change my heart.
My hurt. My sorrows. My fears,
dissipate like the clouds parting as the sun breaks through.


Receiving divine strength to push through my challenges, and difficulties.

I testify, He is real.
Maybe you've always believed in Him.
Perhaps your faith is wavering,
or you are indifferent towards Him.


I invite you to learn of Him, and let Him in.
More than the beautiful lights, and perfectly wrapped presents,
is a message of this season.

That brings lasting joy, 

He. Lives.

Click HERE for a beautiful Christmas Hymn, and free download.

And watch this beautiful presentation.
Who do you know that would benefit from this message?
What role has the Savior played in your life?





Monday, November 25, 2013

Reaching Out

We had fifteen minutes until our four o'clock baptism
and it took ten minuets to be there.
I was determined to be there on time.

Pulling through our usual short cut behind the strip mall complex,
I noticed a figure approaching on the horizon.

In the shadow of the building sitting there, all to herself, a woman sat cross legged on the pavement
multicolored dreadlocks, an assortment of jewelry, and layered in what only I can describe as cloaks. She sat there. Minding her own business, looking very content.

The least I could do was wave, of course.

We honked and joyfully exchanged waves to each other

Her smile, was so nice, so pleasant and inviting. If only we had more time, we could have stopped...

Go back

It was more of a gentle feeling in the back of my mind,
but I quickly pushed it aside.
We were going to be late,

I pulled up to the stop light, waiting impatiently for the light to change.

Go back, and talk to her

I cruised through the green light

No, I told myself, there will be another opportunity,
 I'm sure she sits there often, we will visit her again.
I told myself every excuse not to talk to her.

The only person I was fighting was myself

We have to go back, I told my companion

Applying everything I learned in Drivers Ed, (Hi, Mom!) I turned the car around.

We went back and talked to the lady,
she lived quite the life,
she has traveled all around the world with a dance company
works at a health food store.

She had a passion for nature, and she was a very giving and open person.

I felt the goodness of her spirit, she had such a sweet nature about her.

 Her ride pulled up abruptly ending our conversation, she bowed to us, wished us a great day, and headed off to her next destination.

I know I was supposed to go back.
I wish I had listened sooner, to have more time with her.

After talking with her it reaffirmed me in my purpose.
Why I'm here, why I stop and talk to people,
Even when it seems awkward and outlandish.

When we take the time to notice those around us,
we can reach out to them

If we don't try, we'll never know what kind of a difference we can make in their life.

So often I hear prayers for, "please help the missionaries find the pure in heart"

I am touched when people think of us enough to ask those blessing from God.
But there is only two of us, and two thousand members of the church in our assigned proselyting area,

Imagine we all all rephrased our prayers, "please help me and my family, all of us, and Elder/Sister [so and so] to find someone to be taught.."

We have to work together.

“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together … 
[and] labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. 
He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, 
and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work”
 - President Monson

"You don’t have to be an outgoing person or an eloquent, persuasive teacher. If you have an abiding love and hope within you, the Lord has promised if you “lift up your voices unto this people [and] speak the thoughts that [He] shall put into your hearts, … you shall not be confounded before men...
- Elder Ballard, read the rest (click here)

I know this work I do is not about me. 
This about rescuing people, 
this is about bringing families closer together because of Jesus Christ.

I invite you to share this post, and to pray for the missionaries in your assigned area by name.
I know as we ask the Lord, He will help us, and reach out to people, that we can help people receive happiness and the strength to endure in this world

-Elder Ellsworth

On June 23rd 2013, the world changed forever, be a part of this amazing movement (here)


Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Frontier

It was in the smallest of moments, I saw the bigger picture.

As I became aware of the following details:

I took notice of the sunlight that rested on the great salt lake.
The kid on my bike. His skateboard He asked me to carry. 
The helmet on my head. A few beads of rain, landing all around us.
The illumination of the storm clouds, that hovered over me, 
threatening to drench us.

It was cold.
I was warm on the inside.

We arrived at our destination, and walked inside to share our message.




As missionaries, we're entering a new frontier:


We are now to share missionary messages via Skype! If you've ever had a question about the church, or you're seeking for guidance, go ahead and friend me on Facebook, and we can set an appointment.

Seven reasons we should be friends and video conference:
1. Let's admit it, you have unanswered questions about Mormonism, who better to ask, than a missionary!

2. I will sing to you.

3. More than sharing knowledge. I will share how I've come to know, and live these teachings.

4. See reason number two. Serious as a heartbeat here. Have you been sung to by a missionary before?

5. If you already sit pleasantly in your Sunday School seat every Sabbath, and you are reading this, then I invite you to step it up, set up a conference with a friend, and I will happily attend too.

6. You may be thinking, "I believe in Jesus already, thank you very much, have a nice day."
Let me be clear. I'm not here to take away, or push you into the perceived cookie cutter Mormon. I am here to enrich and add to your faith in Jesus Christ.

7. You may say, "I believe in Jesus just as much as I believe in Unicorns and that the moon is made out of cheese."

I invite you to take a chance.
That's like going to a five star restaurant and ordering an American Hamburger every time.
Or walking into the Library, and checking out the the same book.
You can rely on your own knowledge all you want.
Or you can try something different.

Come with me to this new frontier.

I invite you to come and experience a faith, that's made of different cultures, dreams, hopes,
with the same hope and joy of knowing there is a purpose in this life, that we will live again,
all because of someone incredibly divine.

I testify that this life is more than to live, and then to die.
I'm not rotting in the ground.
There is a hope and a peace we can find,
in that we will live again, with those we love,
forever.

I don't know where this post will reach.
You don't have to do anything because of this post.
But I know I have to do something, because of what I feel.
More than what I feel. Is what I
More than passion or emotions, is truth.

The difference between me and the Vacuum salesman on your doorstep is that
this is your opportunity to knock on my door.

What will you choose?

Will you walk by what could be the most important message of your existence?
Or will you give it a chance?

Sincerely, your friend,
Elder Steven Ellsworth
Utah Ogden Mission




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not Another Mormon Sales Pitch

Sometimes you have every reason not to get out of bed, and you still do. Not because it's ideal.

Because it's your purpose.

Today I can fulfill something.

Even if i'm an inconvenience or politically incorrect.

My message is more important than that.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Power of One



Today we went to a care center
to provide some songs and uplifting messages to the residents there.

My companion even tap danced for them.

A lady rolled in a little later, and parked her wheel chair next to me.
She was dressed in purple, her hair braided in cornrows, back to a purple bow in the back of her hair.

A large plastic traech secured in her throat,
               she couldn't speak.


Friday, October 11, 2013

We have a choice

"We have a choice. 

We can seek for the bad in others. 

Or we can make peace and work to extend to others 
the understanding, fairness, and forgiveness 

we so desperately desire for ourselves. 

It is our choice; 

for whatever we seek, that we will certainly find."

-Dieter Uchtdorf

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Source

This world is full of questions.
And there are many willing to answer.
When we face a question
it's important we go to the source.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mi familia



I remember my Father, would sometimes take our suburban to gas late at night.  
would purposely stay up past my bed time, and attempt to accompany him,
more or less I knew his usual route passed a MacDonald's,
and I secretly hoped we would detour for ice cream upon our return.
And most of the time my desire was fulfilled.
As I reflect on those times, I just wanted to be near Him. 

Family is so essential to life.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I am the bread of life

We stood on the doorstep.

I observed the lines of worry, shadows below her eyes.


At first, she put on a strong front, as we listened, and continued, her demeanor softened

and she explained to us her struggles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Parable of the Popsicle Sticks

On a quiet spring evening in Logan, Utah we departed from an appointment, and headed to our car, My companion and I noticed, a neighbor, an elderly woman, moving potted plants to the side of her driveway. We quickly went over to help her, and as we finished we asked her if we could help with anything else.

She quickly exclaimed yes, and proceeded to tell us, in dismay, that she had lost a package of colored Popsicle sticks, that she had planned on using to label and mark her small backyard garden.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Things not seen

Hebrews 11:1 - Now afaith is the bsubstance of things choped for, the devidence of 
things not seen.

“Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).

Over a year ago, we taught an amazing man about Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, He was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and thrown in jail, I thought I would never see Him again, I was able to write Him a few postcards while He was incarcerated. but we eventually lost contact. I hoped and prayed that I would be able to see Him again, and that He would be able to find peace in His life.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Way Back Home

I didn't know Him.
But I sat at His funeral.
Something pushed us forward, to go in there, and so we did.
There were empty seats in the back of the gymnasium, that was opened for extra seating, so we reverently made our way and sat down for the remainder of the program.
Elder Wiberg's obituary here

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday thoughts

We step out side our apartment door,
the mixed aroma of tobacco and dog urine greets my unsuspecting nose glands.
I pleasantly reply,

Today is going to be a great day.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Morning Time

6:30am
Wake up. Roll out of bed onto my knees.
Pray.
Try not to fall back asleep.
"In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Exercise.
Shower.
Pray.
Eat.
Pray.
One hour of personal study
Pray.
Study with my missionary companion, one hour,
One last prayer for the road and
Out the door we go...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Post on Prayer

When I was a young child, every night, before they tucked me into bed, my parents would kneel with me and help me say a nightly prayer. Kindly whispering gentle words in my ear they helped me to thank God for everything. My dinner, for the day I had, good health, my family, clothes and many blessings. To ask blessings upon others, and for myself.

In my innocence and naivety, I relied on my parents faith that there was someone on the receiving end of those prayers. Someone far away, someone very kind, and dear, who loved me, who was the source of all things good in my life and wanted me to be happy. I was nourished by their honest faith for most of my youth.

Eventually, as I grew older they stopped kneeling with me and allowed me to pray on my own. Most of the time, I repeated the same words, which probably sounded more like a sincere grocery list with few variations, ended with an "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen", and hopped into bed. 

I still felt good, and I know it helped me.

The teenage years were a conflicted time for me. I was dealt with adversity that I had never faced before. I still had a good life, I had parents who loved me, but I realized I was lacking something, there was a void in my life.

Prayer then became more than words said and wishful thinking. It became a resource of strength, healing, peace, guidance, encouragement, enlightenment. I asked questions, I asked for forgiveness, I didn't just pray at night, but I tried praying always. 

Prayer has been a learning experience with me.
I still make a lot of mistakes.
I'm still twenty, and highly ignorant.
I am constantly developing a personal relationship with God.
And he has answered me,
It hasn't always been instant. 
Not with a pillar of light,
Not with a yes or no,

He answered me through the guidance of other people, through my thoughts and my feelings, if I felt peace and warmth after I prayed, I knew I was heading in the right direction.

There were times when I struggled, and prayer was the last thing on my mind. I made choices that conflicted with everything good I had learned, I felt like God would never listen to me, because of the choices I had made. I eventually learned of his love and constant forgiveness.

I stepped away from my clouded judgement, and got back on my knees.
Like a wanderer traveling in the hot desert, it was like a pool of cool water that quenched my thirst, replenished my soul, and gave me the strength to continue my journey.

To pray, we admit there's something greater than us.

I have met many people where prayer has played an essential role in their life. And I have many people who do not view the same way. I don't know your life and I won't pretend too. Maybe the only person you have ever been able to rely on is yourself.

You may feel the concept of religion, and God, and prayer is a crutch, or a psychological ploy.

I ask you, to try something beyond your own strength and experience for yourself. I know there is greater peace you can find in your life.

I believe in a loving supreme being, who is our Father. He hears the things of our hearts that no one else can understand. I have felt an unseen power work in my life and I know it can work in yours as well.

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weaknesses. It is better in prayer to have a heart with out words than words without a heart."
-Mahatma Gandhi

“Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.”
 -Victor Hugo

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.” 
-C.S. Lewis

I invite you to leave a comment or ask a question!
Would your life benefit from prayer or would it be worse?
What have your experiences been when you have prayed?
In what ways do you pray?
Who do you pray to and why?

I said a prayer before I started to write this post.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Adjustment

One year ago, I lived at the bottom of this mountain.


I stayed there for over seven months of my mission, when I first arrived to 
North Ogden it was a time of major adjustment, 

I was a new missionary, I did not know a lot and I was completely unsure of myself.

Month after month, I expected to be whisked away and taken somewhere else, 
and then it ended up being the longest area of my mission. 

I walked through snippets of cut summer grass, crunched across fall leaves, and waded through the snow. I found out a lot about everyone, I was familiar with the main roads, and the shortcuts. People's histories and heritages, some shared their secrets. 

Many of my neighbors were not members of the church, I learned to love them and befriend them even if they were not interested in my invitation to learn about Jesus Christ.

I thought I was destined to serve there for the remainder of my mission.
And before I knew it, it was all over.

God taught me something by keeping me there.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Learning How to Walk

I don't like it when I make mistakes.

I could be wrong but I'm sure you don't enjoy making mistakes either.
For the longest time, I would feel bad about the mistakes that I would make.
And then I heard this quote, and it helped me not feel so bad anymore.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When life changes

I received an unexpected call a few nights ago, and I was informed that I was moving from Syracuse, to Riverdale. I was shocked, but some how I felt okay about it, I do not know why.
But I do know that it will be okay. It's hard leaving a place you put your heart and soul into.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Because of Christ

Today I participated in three different services of Church.
 There were three separate congregations, two different buildings, and three different time periods.
I was able to speak about Jesus Christ, and why I'm a missionary for Him.
In another congregation, I sat in the audience as someone presented a talk 
(Mormon lingo for sermon)and expressed exactly what I needed to hear, 
words that encouraged me, answered my prayers and filled my heart with happiness.
And more importantly, I was able to reflect on the blessings on my life,
and what Jesus has done for me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Learning to Listen

Everybody has a story inside of them. You just have to take the time to read it. I have met many people, and have read many of their stories. My mind is a pool of these collected experiences, swirling around inside my head. Stories of happily ever afters, adventures, quests, and triumphs over challenges. Others tell of abuse and oppression, some only knowing misery. I have rejoiced with many as they have rejoiced. And at other times I have wanted to cry along side with these people as they cried. There is once instance in particular on my mission that surfaces the pool occasionally. And I will be forever for that experience, let me share it with you.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Families Are Forever

Finding the strength to leave the environment I had lived in for my nineteen years of life came from a heavenly source. At first, I really did not know what to expect before I stepped on the plane. As I hugged each member of my family, and walked over to board, the reality of a two year separation sunk in. But somehow, it felt natural, I would be okay. Adrenaline pumped through my body, a twinge of uncertainty poked at me, but a reassuring stillness filled my heart, and guided me gently on the plane, with the security that I was heading in the right direction.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Purpose

To the world, the most common image of a Mormon Missionary is a young man, draped in business apparel, skipping door to door to preach to you. My purpose as a missionary, goes beyond preaching, it is an invitation to learn, to bring your family closer together, and bring  peace into your life. Peace that comes by following the teachings of Jesus Christ. I carry this message, not only from door to door, but from my heart to your heart.