Monday, June 6, 2016

The Names On My Chest

Hey everybody!

This last week has been a good one! We had a cool experience on Saturday! We heard from some other missionaries that an investigator that Elder Aitchison and I taught for several weeks and set with a baptismal date who moved to Vegas before that date got baptized this Saturday! We were able to skype into the baptism so that we could watch! It was really cool to be able to see him make that step and the spirit of the meeting was amazing, even through Skype.

I've been putting s lot of thought into a certain scripture this last week or two. Helaman 5:6-7.
  • 6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
  • 7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.
This is the prophet Helaman speaking to his sons Nephi and Lehi. He named them both after some of their ancestors who were great prophets. And like it says in the scripture, he did so in hopes that they would live up to their example. There's a story that's told by one of our modern day prophets, George Albert Smith that I like…

“One day … I lost consciousness of my surroundings and thought I had passed to the Other Side. I found myself standing with my back to a large and beautiful lake, facing a great forest of trees. …

“I began to explore, and soon I found a trail through the woods which seemed to have been used very little, and which was almost obscured by grass. I followed this trail, and after I had walked for some time and had traveled a considerable distance through the forest, I saw a man coming towards me. I became aware that he was a very large man, and I hurried my steps to reach him, because I recognized him as my grandfather. In mortality he weighed over three hundred pounds, so you may know he was a large man. I remember how happy I was to see him coming. I had been given his name and had always been proud of it.

“When Grandfather came within a few feet of me, he stopped. His stopping was an invitation for me to stop. Then--and this I would like the boys and girls and young people never to forget--he looked at me very earnestly and said:

“‘I would like to know what you have done with my name.’

“Everything I had ever done passed before me as though it were a flying picture on a screen--everything I had done. Quickly this vivid retrospect came down to the very time I was standing there. My whole life had passed before me. I smiled and looked at my grandfather and said:

“‘I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.’

“He stepped forward and took me in his arms, and as he did so, I became conscious again of my earthly surroundings. My pillow was as wet as though water had been poured on it--wet with tears of gratitude that I could answer unashamed.

“I have thought of this many times, and I want to tell you that I have been trying, more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. So I want to say to the boys and girls, to the young men and women, to the youth of the Church and of all the world: Honor your fathers and your mothers. Honor the names that you bear, because some day you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting to them (and to your Father in heaven) what you have done with their name” (“Your Good Name,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1947, 139).

A mission is a very unique opportunity. It's one of the few times in life where I'll have a chance to bear my family name on my chest every day, and I hope that I'll be able to answer like President Smith, that I can be proud of the things I've done with that name. And there's another name that I have a chance to wear on my chest every day on a mission. The name of Jesus Christ. And although the name on my chest might be a little more obvious than on some others, all Christians bear the name of Jesus Christ. I hope that I, and everyone else, can live worthy of the name of Jesus Christ that we bear and take upon ourselves at baptism, so that at the end of our lives, we can answer unashamed, "I have done nothing with your name of which you need be ashamed."

I love you all! Thanks for all of your support!
Elder Excell

Q&A - 6/6/2016
1.) We are starting to get down to the wire on upcoming transfers. Should I send your shirts and whatever else from this point to the mission home just to be safe? Or will your Dolan address still be a safe bet for awhile longer? --Probably better send stuff to the Mission Home address.

2.) Speaking of transfers, what is your gut telling you this time? Any guesses?  --I'm guessing that I'll leave, but that's what I though last time, and here I am, so who knows!

3.) Do many people from Dolan, that you'd like to stay in contact with in the future, have Facebook or will you need to find other options to stay in touch?  --Some have Facebook, some I'll have to get emails, some don't have emails, and some don't have cell phones, haha. It will be interesting to stay in touch with some of them!

4.) You've been serving as a missionary now for ten months! Does that seem crazy to you??  --It does!!

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