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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Elder Chase Jackson (departing missionary)

Elder Jackson & Elder Ram

As a young 19 year old boy, I set out on what was to become the greatest experience of my life. I entered the mission field not knowing before hand what lied ahead in my journey.  Many grand experiences were found that came with a lot of hard work and pain. If I was to know before hand all these experiences would take place, I could honestly look back and say with excitement and joy, "BRING IT ON!" I would do this all because of one man who changed the world.

In the premortal life, we each were able to hear and feel the testimony of our elder brother Jesus Christ. The Plan of Salvation was laid out with its principles and doctrines to ensure our success in the life that lie ahead. Agency is the key component to our Loving Father in Heaven's plan. We chose to come to this life not knowing exactly before hand the trials, hardships, joys, and experiences that lay ahead. We knew that we would experience trials, tribulations, and great joys, but would never really understand what that meant until we had gone through it. In our daily lives we are exposed to the opportunity of making choices that affect our eternal progression and others that don't really matter. This is agency, the ability to choose right from wrong. What a magnificent blessing our Father in Heaven has granted us. We get to choose what we want to do with our lives, and where we want to go. There, of course, are always consequences for each of the choices that we make, some that don't matter and many that do. So choose wisely!!!

So how do we begin to chart our course that we may receive salvation (or go home), and live with Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ? There are so many choices out there, but how do we know which is the right course to follow? The Savior lived a perfect life, so how am I suppose to pattern my life after His? Where do I begin? Throughout my life I have always been involved in swimming. Whether in a pool, lake, or the ocean, water was my life! As I look back at how I went from a beginning swimmer to one of the best swimmers on the team and in the state, I realized it all began with my desire and choice to become the best.

Swimming is one of the most strenuous and exhausting sports to be involved in. It takes hard work and dedication to become one of the elite. In a pool there are lane lines that divide the lanes. They are there for a couple reasons; one, so that those who struggle to swim straight will and two, so that the wake of the individual next to you is reduced. Each race you swim can only be done by you. No one else can swim for you and give you a race time. Only you can do that. As an individual, you get to choose how fast you go, how straight you swim, how well you dive in, if you use the right stroke, and if you take what you have learned from practice and apply it.
In life we have to live and make choices for ourselves. No one else can do it for us. We decide our outcome, but we have to start today to become what we want to be. We are blessed enough to have a loving Heavenly Father that has given us tools to guide us: a living prophet and scriptures. In swimming, you can't possibly see all the mistakes you are making while in the pool. That's where a coach comes in. They tell you what to change, how to improve your time, and how to reach your full potential. If you listen and apply what you learn, you will become what you desire to become. First, you have to trust that they will help you reach your full potential and fix those little mistakes you can't see without them.

This journey does not have to be done alone. We can do it alone or we can seek help through the prophet, Holy Ghost, scriptures, and prayer. All these things are found working together in a team effort to build upon each other to help us find answers and chart our course back to our Heavenly Father. Though swimming is an individual sport, you have a team that works together to obtain points and become strong. You are only as strong as your weakest link. So its our job to work together to make it back to our Father and His son, Jesus Christ. We can only obtain this through trial and error to improve and learn. In order to be with Christ we must follow the path He left us and trust him, through faith, by taking that first step into the dark, much like we did in our previous life. It won't ever be easy, much like swimming, but it will be well worth it. We must seek and desire faith, repent, and be baptized into the fold of God to enter His presence.

Now, after two years, and as a 21 year old missionary, I have had the privilege of seeing the restored gospel change so many lives indefinitely. He never quit on us or gave up on us. Let us prove faithful to Him, and apply what we learn and center the Gospel in our lives TODAY. These saving ordinances can only be found in His true and living church. Seek the evidence that there is a prophet today that leads us, just as in times of old. The Book of Mormon will change as many as will seek to know it's true with a sincere desire. What marvelous blessings come as we pray to know. The Lord promises us that He will answer and we will know that He still speaks to man through His servants the Prophets! I invite all that read this to obtain a Book of Mormon, read it, and pray about it. Know that we no longer have to be tossed by any wind of doctrine. We can swim an undauting course forward with a prophet of God. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Elder Brian Menasco said...

It was awesome serving with you, I really did learn alot from your example!

Sister Reshell Lewis said...

Great post! Thank you for your service and your great example:)

Sister Brittany Nestman said...

I am so grateful to have been able to serve around you and for this awesome post you wrote :)

Anonymous said...

You're awesome Elder Jackson!!! I love that we have the ability to choose. And when we choose right, we're happy. What choices have you made that have made you happy?

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