Monday, March 31, 2014

The Song of Redeeming Love

Life is short. It feels like we are in a dream a lot of the times. I think thats why Book of Mormon prophets always use the term 'awake'. When we are awake, we have a purpose and where there is a purpose, there is the opportunity for fulfillment and joy. The purpose of this life is to gain eternal life or to gain a fulness of joy. We are here to learn the way of eternal happiness and we know that the life of this mortal body is one breath away from being done. If we follow Christ and do the things He does though, we will have life that lasts forever. As we follow Christ, we are redeemed or changed in the process and there is no better feeling than knowing that you were worth redeeming to Someone. I love Him and I am so happy to know that so many of you back home are experiencing the 'song of redeeming love'. Keep singing it. :)

Much is going on out here. I had a couple of really cool experiences this week that I can share right quick. 

I had a thought come to my mind Monday night that we needed to go see an elder, but then I forgot about it and slept on it. Well tuesday morning came around and this elders name kept coming to me subtly and so I stopped in the middle of companion study and told e. Gardner that we needed to go visit this companionship in the city and I didn't know why. We called them and told them we would be coming. When we got there, everything seemed to be normal. We had some good times and we gave a short training on what we expected this transfer from the zone. Then all of a sudden a super random question came out of my mouth. I asked the missionary "Do you feel powerful?". Tears welled up in his eyes and he explained what he had been feeling the past weeks. He said "it's funny that you guys took the time to come see us today, because I have really been struggling". Long story short, he asked us to give him a blessing and as I gave him one, it was a powerful experience for me and him. He stood up and we both had tears in our eyes because we had learned something special that day. I would have never guessed that this missionary needed something but God knew. God is aware of our rough times and He knows our needs. Even though we had to cancel a lot of our plans and use up a lot of miles, we sought the one and learned very quickly again, that God knows who we are. He hasn't forgotten us and never will. God knows His children and if we will listen to Him we will be able to accomplish things over and beyond our own abilities. 

Second. I was in church this Sunday and we had a training in 3rd hour about temples. It wasn't the training that hit me hard, it was a bible video that we watched. We watched the bible video "Jesus Teaching in the Temple". I sat and watched this 12 year old Jesus teaching the doctors and professors. I imagined myself sitting at the feet of the 12 year old Savior of the world. What a truly humbling experience that would have been. How soon in His early child-hood did He realize that He was being raised like a lamb by His Father to be "slain for the sins of the world". Do you think He was overly excited about that thought? What do you think He thought about that? Can you imagine what kind of love He must have had for His Father and for us to keep His head up? Then I thought what kind of person He was at the age of 20. How do i compare to 20 year old Jesus? What would a 20 year old Jesus do in these situations? I invite you all, however old you are, to imagine what Christ was like at your age. Imagine the child-like Christ. Imagine how He must have felt growing up knowing that the world was literally on His shoulders. When you feel like you aren't important, when you feel like everyone criticizes you, when you feel like no one knows how much effort you really are putting into it, imagine the Savior world. Try and imagine how He must have felt. He felt it all, and He can comfort you. Go to Him by going to others in need. He will fill you with His infinite and healing love.

Hope you all are happy. I certainly am. I love you and am so proud of so may of you that the changes you are making in your lives.

Elder Dallin Cutler

Monday, March 24, 2014

Like a Child

This week was awesome. It was pretty stressful at first because when you get a new companion and he is new to everything, you kind of have to run the whole zone and area by yourself until they can get a grip of things. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it was a great learning experience in the end. Me and Elder Gardner are getting along great. He's a very skilled communicator and he is able to express his thoughts very well. I can't believe how young missionaries are getting out here though...or I am just getting old (relative to missionaries ;)!! Anyways, this ward and area is on fire right now, we are teaching the gospel to so many families. We had 9 people that we invited show up to church on sunday and the Stake Presidency was there for ward conference. Needless to say, it was a legit meeting. 

We also had a baptism this past thursday and a confirmation on Sunday for Rosa Wagner. She is SO COOL!! I love that family, it was such an exciting time. It was an amazing spiritual experience. That family is set to get to the temple in a year now to be sealed forever by Gods power and authority.

We are set to have a baptism this week with a girl named Amber, but there has been some opposition so pray for her!! Then we have another one for sure the week after that. We have baptisms scheduled for every weekend of April so we have a lot of work to do to make sure people are ready to make those covenants. The easy part is the commitment, the hard part is consistency. 

Here is a very special experience to me from this week that I felt I needed to share...

At the baptism on thursday, there was a special musical number performed by one of the young men in the ward on the Ukelele. He sang and played "Oh Lord, My Redeemer". Well during the song, I watched Iran Wagner, Rosa's son, who was baptized 1 month ago out of a pure desire on his own to follow Christ. I watched him as he reacted to the song that was being sung. Sure, the Spirit was very strong in the room, but this boy, Iran, seemed to be having a much different experience then most people in the room. This 10 year old kid had tears streaming down his face with the most calm and peaceful look I had seen in a long time. I could tell that he already had a deep love for this Redeemer that the song was about, but how? As I watched Iran I wondered how it was possible that he already had such a deep love for this "Christ" in the short 10 years of his life? His family had not been active in the church or any church his whole life. He had not been taught about Christ growing up. What was causing these feelings then? They were very real feelings that no one could deny. This 10 year old boy had not yet had any unusual experiences in his life with the Atonement that might have caused these feelings. He had not yet felt on this earth the peace, love and joy that comes because of repentance and forgiveness through Christ's Atonement. He did not yet have a profound knowledge of the scriptures that teach about Christ and what He did for us. He had never seen Christ...How was it possible that he was having such a spiritual experience? Then my answer came to me in a very powerful way by the Spirit. The reason Iran felt the way he did was because this 10 year old boy did know Christ from somewhere. He had already once loved Him from somewhere. He had already felt the Atonement's power from somewhere. Before the "foundations of the earth" Iran had already developed a very deep and trusting relationship with His Redeemer. They had known each other. They didn't just know OF each other. They once had a relationship and Iran had already developed a deep and abiding love for this Jesus Christ before he ever came to earth. He just doesn't remember it always because of some sort of veil, and so it is with us. Deep down inside of Iran, there was an undeniable light, a love in his soul, a yearning for this Jesus Christ who he once lived with. This yearning, or this light that is within all of us, was awakened by the Spirit in the room and it came alive in Iran. For that short moment, Iran's soul/spirit "remembered" what it was like to live in the presence of God and Christ. The Spirit was able to awaken that light because of Iran's humility and his "CHILD-LIKE" state. I'll leave you with this scripture to think about in 3 Nephi 9:22...

Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will receive, for of such is the kingdom of God.Behold, for such have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

I know that within each of us there is a yearning for this Christ. It can only be awakened if we become "as a little child, humble, submissive, meek, lowly in heart, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon His Children". The Spirit of God will awaken this "previous impression" in our "souls/spirits" if we will be like a child.  We will then begin to yearn for and remember that Christ who we once knew and loved. "then, is not this real? say unto you, Yea, because it is lightand whatsoever is light, is goodbecause it is discernible,therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? Behold say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good..." (Alma 32:35-36).

I love you all.

Elder Dallin Cutler

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another transfer

This was much slower than our last week, but we had some crazy miracles happen. We will be having an "unexpected" baptism this thursday. I try not to use the word unexpected because "unexpected" is a dumb word, in missionary work. Nothing really is unexpected. The unexpected is always expected out here when God is in control of things. He has different plans sometimes and we just need to have the sensitivity to hear and the courage to execute them.
So we got transfer calls this week. Not much changed in the mission but we did. I will be staying in Midwest City and training a new zone leader again. His name is Elder Dallin Gardner. I know, cool first name....thanks. ;) He is a spanish missionary, so my wishes are coming a way. Elder Apedaile will be trucking off to Pauls Valley to be with Elder Bender. I am gonna miss Elder Apedaile alot, we got alot of work done out here and had some crazy things happen. He did so much amazing work in Midwest City and now I have the privelege to reap the fruits of his labors. He is the man. We are planning on golfing when I get home, he's taught me the ways of the "tiger". Sikeeee.
So transfers are wednesday morning and then the next day, is the baptism for Rosa Wagner. Her family is way awesome. Dad grew up in the church his whole life, but kinda fell away for a time. Their son, Iran (10), was baptized recently right before I came into MWC and is simply a stud. He has come to church with his grandma for years and decided that he wanted to be baptized. Ever since then, we have been meeting with his whole family. His mom, Rosa, is an amazing lady with such strong faith. She was having difficulty moving away from her Catholic faith because so much of it had become family "culture". She felt like she would be rejecting her past if she were to be baptized. Two weeks ago we set a tentative baptismal date for a month in advance hoping that she would feel comfortable with it, but our lesson last monday was "unexpected" yet expected. The whole lesson was guuided by the spirit and we ended up teaching something completely different then what we had planned. Finally we asked her if she was ready to be baptized and she smiled confidently and said yes. This thursday, she will be baptized. In a year from that date, her family will be able to be sealed in God's temple by His authorized servant, who holds the power to bind in heaven what is bound on earth. What a beautiful thing. All because one 14 year old boy in 1820 decided to ask God.
If you want, take some time to read 2 Nephi 25-28. What an amazing set of chapters. Truly the prophets of old saw our day. Alot of people question why we need the Book of Mormon if we have a Bible. That question pains my soul!!! The Book of Mormon was written for our day. Not only does it invite all to come unto Christ, but it also exposes the enemies of Christ in this day and age. If we know what the enemy is using, we can properly prepare our defense. The enemies of Christ are outlined perfectly in those chapters above. Read them and ponder what they mean. You will be surprised to see that everything Nephi prophesies has happened or is happening already. I am so eternally grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sees the end from the beginning and has provided the Book of Mormon to us in this day so that we can properly prepare to defend ourselves from the adversary.
Alot of people ask us what they should have their kids do to prepare for missionary work. Read the Book of Mormon. Pick it apart. Learn to love it. Put down the iPhones, put down the iPads, turn off the t.v and go get a paper copy of the Book of Mormon and a pen and read. Then read it again. If you do that, the Spirit will come into your life, your knowledge of the Gospel will grow exponentially, and your love and gratitude of Jesus Christ will overflow. But first, you have to leave the world behind. Leave your "nets" and go and study. Then go serve. Do not let a day go by without having first opened a copy of the Book of Mormon. I am a witness of all these things. If I weren't I wouldn't have said it. I am very passionate about it, and you can be too if you want it (yes it is a cool thing to be passionate about).
Hope you all have a good week!! Keep on smiling and serving happily. Always remember who you are and act accordingly.
Elder Dallin Cutler

Monday, March 10, 2014

Faith: To all those "atheists" out there...

This week has been unbelievably powerful. I have a strong testimony of fasting and prayer and would encourage all of you to experiment on it, especially you missionaries. Towards the beginning of my mission in Mustang (about 6 months out), I was reading a passage in the Book of Mormon about missionaries that "taught with power...because they had the Spirit of Prophecy and of Revelation" and it was because they "gave themselves to much fasting and prayer". Ever since then I have fasted every week starting Saturday night before we partake of the sacrament. It changed my mission and my life forever and I have a deep testimony that it will bring the "power of the Spirit" into your lives. My companion has been doing it with me and we have seen unbelievable things in Midwest City. I wish we could say it was something special that we were doing, but we really aren't. If you are struggling, fast and pray. If you aren't struggling, fast and pray and you will receive a greater portion or a greater endowment of that "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". 

So we are teaching a bunch of people that are very intelligent when it comes to the "philosophies of men". It has been a whole new experience. It feels a little like edmond. The Book of Mormon covers that though, its chill. We are visiting a man who is such a cool guy. He thinks deep and he asks questions. I have learned so much in our visits. However, he wants evidence to believe in a God and to believe that the Book of Mormon is other words, like most people, he wants a sign. Sounds a lot like Korihor. Well I learned this week that those who choose not to believe in a God are actually walking by faith. It takes more faith to believe there is no God then to believe there is one...heres why. It blew my mind. (forgive me if i get intense, this is a big deal in the world today and has been on my mind)

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the question of "What is real, or what is true?" There are many different ways that people judge whether something is real or true. Authoritarianism states that we can believe something because someone with "authority" and "experience" has stated so. Rationalism looks at whether something is rational or logical (truth is always logical, but logic isn't always true... I have come to realize that out here). There are so many different vehicles that we can use to find truth, but I want to focus on empiricism. Empirical evidence is one of the more popular methods that people use today to believe something is true or real. We gather empirical evidence through the senses...that is to say, in order to "know" there is a God we would have to experience it with our senses (Seeing, feeling, touching etc.). In the Book of Mormon we read of an "anti-Christ" named Korihor. This story is in the Book of Mormon because there are so many "Korihors" out there today. I believe that is one rising challenge that our generation will face that might be different from the past and I believe that God knew it too, thats why its in the Book of Mormon. In chapter 30 of Alma, Korihor comes to Alma and states that "it is impossible to know of things to come" because you cannot see them and thus, you cannot "know" there will be a Christ. In other words, he is saying that you cannot "know" there is a God because you cannot see it (Alma 30:15). Korihor says that in order to know that something is true, you must have evidence based on empiricism (experience with senses, seeing touching feeling...etc). Alma knows that Korihor is a liar and in turn asks a question and confounds all the "atheists" to ever live. "What evidence have ye that there is no God?" (Alma 30:40). Korihor is asking for evidences that prove the existence of a God, yet he cannot provide any evidence that there is "no God", in other words, he is basing his entire argument on faith. (What he also doesn't understand is that Faith is the evidence of things not seen Heb. 11:1) In order for Korihor to prove there is no God, he needs the same evidence he is asking from Alma. He needs to come up with a "sign" that will prove that there is no God. In order to do that he would have to search every cubic centimeter of the entire universe searching for this God (because this "God" is not of this earth). That is to say that God doesn't move (which we believe He does), because what if after Korihor searches point A and doesn't find God, and then goes to search point B and God moves back to point A? This creates a paradox in itself that makes me laugh at all atheists. Essentially, in order to prove that there is no God, Korihor would have to be a "god" himself. 

On the other side (the logical side), proving that there is a God is so much easier then proving there is no God. All it would take is for one person to see or have an "experience" with God and we would have "a witness" or evidence to base our argument on. What Korihor doesn't understand is that by stating there is no God, he is walking by faith because there is absolutely no evidence to base that "belief" on. But when we say we believe in God because we have the witnesses of prophets ever since the world began, testimonies from our own "empirical" experiences, and the holy scriptures...people mock us. This can be applied to anything I think. What evidence do you have that the Book of Mormon is not true? And what is your evidence based upon? Is it logical, does it have authority to back it up? We have so many witnesses today that witness to us that there is a God, that He loves us and that we MUST obey His commandments and "forsake the things of this world" in order to follow Him. It is so much more "pleasing to the carnal mind" (Alma 30:53) to say "there is no God and there are no commandments" and to trust in the things of the world, then it is to say there is a God. It takes a lot more trust and hope to say there is no God, because if there is a God, (and there is a lot more evidence to prove there is then not) then according to Gods word, you will be held very accountable for rejecting His counsels because you chose to believe the precepts of men and put your trust in the the things of the world instead, which eventually will die and corrupt and rot away, just like us. Its our choice. I would strongly invite you to be more believing and trusting. If you want to know if something is true...ACT!! Pray to God, you can have a witness and evidence for yourself if you will only experiment and awake to the reality of these things!!

I leave you my witness and this I do know, and this I do believe, that God is real. He is true. He loves us and always will. His hand is yet reached out to all of His children if we will but humbly repent and have faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Through Christ, we can have life that is everlasting and happiness that last forever. This is His great work and we will all be accountable. Take it seriously, stay humble and go to Him in prayer often. 

I love you all. 

Elder Dallin Cutler

p.s please pray for sun :)

Funny sign thingy. Made me laugh

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow and finalization

Mornin' mornin' everyone!!

This week has been COLD. I didn't think it could get colder in Oklahoma then Boston. It was the coldest i have ever been. The wind chill and humidity cuts you to the core. Its all good though, we just pretend like its Canada, and go out with a smile in the snow and talk to everyone.....#WifePoints holla. Church was cancelled so that was a bummer, but we found so many people this week to teach. We found 3 families and a couple others. We are teaching about 45 people right now in Midwest City. Its been crazy. 

So I will be quick just for times sakes but everything is finalized for when I get back. I will be home July 18th and my homecoming will be the 20th. I got accepted into the University of San Diego this past week so it is now official. The season will start in the Fall and I will be heading back to San Diego for summer training late july or early august. It is unbelievable how quickly time has gone on the mission. It feels like home. I feel right now the way I felt when I was about to go out on a mission. I get so annoyed when missionary's use the term 'trunky' and pretend like they are not excited to go home. Whatever....if you work hard on your mission and endure to the end and leave it all on the field, then you will know that it is time for another phase of life. We aren't changing for our mission, we are changing for the rest of our lives. So yes, I am excited to go home, but yes, I am very nervous, and yes I am excited to work my tail off for the next 4 months. This work is legit. Aint nobody got time to waste around!!

So we had a lot of really cool experiences like usual. The mission is full of them. Something that I have been thinking about is intent of heart. Where are our desires focused? What is it that we truly desire when we get to the bottom of it. Are we fooling ourselves and wasting time in the world in things that will eventually end, or are we truly doing the things in life that will matter and do matter the most? I can't think of a better thing to be doing right now than following the example of the Son of the living God in our thoughts, words and deeds. There is no better feeling than knowing that you were an answer to someones prayer, no matter how trivial or small it may seem. That is true happiness, that is fulfilling the measure of our creation. 

I love you all. Ask God to lead you to those He needs you to make a difference for. He will if you sincerely ask. Go find the one. 

Elder Dallin Cutler