Saturday, July 19, 2014

Champion For the Cause: Come Hear the Story!

In the church an even like this is called a "fireside". Our objective in this fireside is to strengthen the testimonies, of those who come, in the Savior Jesus Christ. We will do this by asking three main questions:

  1. Why do I believe in Jesus Christ?
  2. What is the purpose of my life?
  3. How can I be a better Christian?
We are not going to answer these questions for you. These are all personal questions that only you can answer. We will give our answer by sharing three stories.
  1. Elder McKay Gregson's Senior Night Basketball Game
  2. Elder McKay Gregson's Mission
  3. What we have learned from our mission
As you come we know you will feel God's love. I feel it every day with my brother. I am not perfect and just like brothers do we have disagreements. However, when I look at him and see how much God loves him, it helps me to want to be better. I know if you come you will start to develop answers to these questions. Those answers will sink deep into your heart. They will be answers that will last and you can always draw back on when times get tough. Bring a pen/pencil and some paper. You'll want to write down the thoughts that come to your mind and heart. 

AUGUST 10 6:30 PM 
1701 N Hickory Ave, Broken Arrow, OK

Come hear the story of my little brother, Elder McKay Gregson. You won't be disappointed. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Champion for the Cause: Finding Faith in a Living Christ

We went to the park with this family in our ward tonight after dinner. Dad was running around with the little one and we sat on the bench by mom watching them have fun while sitting next to the baby. As we were talking she brought up Joanne. I told her how our visit went. When she asked it struck me, especially because she was the third or fourth person at church to come up to us and specifically ask about Joanne. My response has been the same, not as excited. We had a good meeting filled with the spirit, but she just pushed it away. It was sad and disappointing.

I will be honest I was a little down when we left, however I have a tug on my sleeve that feels like someone is pulling me onward.  I can hear the voice, "Don’t give up." I read in the scriptures this evening Alma 7:17-“And now my beloved brethren, do you believe these things? Behold, I say unto you, yea, I know that ye believe them; and the way that I know that ye believe them is by the manifestation of the spirit which is in me.” The words of this inspired mother and this verse have stuck with me and this is what I feel like I need to do.

Dear Joanne,

I am so grateful for the time that you gave us the other day. It was a very special day for us to be able to teach you. I know that you were a little nervous, but you gave us a chance and I know it was a good experience. I’m glad you felt the love we have for you, because we really do.

But I am not settled with our meeting. As soon as we left I was asking questions in my mind. I was repeating scenes from our meeting trying to figure out what had just taken place and why things never progressed. I have taught the gospel as a missionary for over two years now, and I know when the spirit is present in a room. I know what it feels like. I know when opportunities for commitment and change arise and when they come and go in those settings. The spirit came but the window of opportunity never came. Why?

I know it was because you were afraid. Joanne, where does fear come from? I know that good things come from God. I know that faith inspires us to come unto Christ. Jesus appeared unto the apostles. He was walking on the water when he said unto them, “Be not afraid. It is I.”

Joanne, we are literally representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the apostles were called by Christ to go and preach repentance and baptism so it is with us. We have been sent unto all that they may hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

In times before Christ, God spoke to prophets. They prophesied of his coming to save the world from sin. He came. He died. He was resurrected. Now he lives. God still speaks to prophets. He is preparing us for the second coming of his Son just like in times before.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He kneeled to ask God in prayer which church he was to join. God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. I know that it is true. They told him to establish their church on the earth again. They later sent angels to help him to establish it in the Lords way. God has done that before. They restored power. They restored truth. God was the contractor for this restoration. He made the calls and Joseph did the work he was told to do.

God restored his power and authority to preach repentance and to baptize. God made clear his gospel: faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. He restored his plan of salvation.

We now know that we lived with God before we came to earth and he has prepared a way to live with him after. Joanne Cox, I know that you are a wonderful woman. I know that you have a familiarity of these things. I know you have heard of these things from family and other missionaries. Do you believe these things are true? Yes! I know you do. How do I know? By the manifestation of the Spirit which is in me. 

Joanne, we really love you and your kind gentle heart. Remember this story?

We know you believe in Jesus Christ. We know you love him. Will you exercise the faith not in just the Christ that lived in the scriptures, but the one who lives today?

Pray that Joanne can receive this in the spirit it is written, love. Our message is not to put anyone who believes in God down. We believe that men have the right to worship how or what they may. However, I am a disciple of Christ and know what I have felt. I know what I have experienced. I know what I have read. I know what I have seen. I cannot deny the testimony which is in me. We simply invite those to believe in a living God who speaks today. We don’t ask to do so blindly but to take the message we share and to ask God in prayer if it is true. Then watch him speak.  I would also ask before one makes a decision to move on after hearing our message: Has God lead or spoken to you before? What was it like? What helped you to recognize that before? Can you recognize it now? What does the spirit feel like? Are you familiar with how God speaks to you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Champion for the Cause: The Art of the Master

Sorry for not having a post last week. We were working on a video with our members that you can watch right here if you'd like before you read this weeks update. I think you will giggle a little bit. 

We love going to see our members. They have been such a blessing to us. They have been giving Elder Mac good opportunities to share the gospel in an environment where he feels comfortable. It’s been special to watch the spirit come in and touch the members.

One of the biggest parts of a missionary experience, however, is watching someone who is seeking truth and being blessed to give that truth to them. Then watching them grow closer to God because of it. I was feeling a little down, because we haven’t hit that point yet and we are halfway done. I really wanted Elder Mac to have one of those experiences. I got on my knees. I pleaded with the Lord. I asked him for ONE person. That’s it. One person that Elder Mac could teach and watch come to Christ through baptism. I prayed that we would have ONE special soul that really needed the gospel.

Fourth of July a little after one o’clock we get a call from the Assistants. They said Joanne wanted to meet us today. Joanne is a sweet 90-year-old lady that has known missionaries for the past 30 years. She loves her “boys”. She calls the missionaries in the Tulsa area EVERY morning, minus Sunday, to give them a weather report.  She also gives them anything they need! She has even given them her garage door code to come in and get snacks out of her freezer in the garage if they are passing by. For Christmas the mission President gave missionaries permission to go and visit her whenever. She was SOOOO happy for that gift. Now missionaries literally come in and out of her home as they please.

We arrived and she lit up when she found out we were “the brothers”. She has been dying to meet us since we got here. Finally after a month of being here that day came for her. She fed us some homemade apple pie. We sat around the table as she joked with the other missionaries and was just the sweetest. 

She wanted to go into the living room. So she got up and grabbed the leg of her chair to turn her fragile body and waddled over to her chair in the living room. It really was the cutest thing. We talked a little bit more then I asked if we could share a message with her. She said, “Well sure”.  I asked her if I could ask her three question and then share a scripture. She told me I could, but that she might not answer all the questions.

Me: “How old are you?”
Joanne: “90”

Me: “Why has God kept you alive this long?”

She told me about some of her ailments and the blessing it has been to recover from those and still have good health.

Me: “Why haven’t you joined the church yet?”

Joanne then told me that I needed to know that she didn’t talk about religion with her “boys”. She said she was always afraid that there might be an argument. She respected our religion and asked that we would respect hers. I was ok with that answer, however I wasn’t done.

I then opened the scriptures and read Jeremiah 1:5-“Before I formed thee in the belly I knee thee; and before thou camest forth out fo the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained the a prophet unto the nations. ”

Me: “Joanne, before we were all born we lived with God. He was our Father. He loved us and knew us. We also knew him and loved him. There my little brother…(chocked up) was told of the challenges he would face and he gladly accepted. You were also there. You promised God you would do everything to find his gospel and return back to him.”

I saw tears swell in her eyes and followed up by asking her, “Will you let us come and teach you the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I have never looked more directly into someone’s eyes then in that moment. She looked right back at me and responded.

Joanne: “No.”

I was very surprised at her response. I was disappointed, but not taken out. I was ready to be a little persistent. As I was finishing up my remarks I saw in the corner of my eye Elder Holyoak lean forward in his chair and turn his body toward our conversation. I could tell he had something to say. He did. So I sat back and listened.

Elder Holyoak: “Joanne, hold on. Don’t you realize that God is answering their prayers? They asked for someone to teach last night and this morning you called us and told us to invite them for pie. Joanne they aren’t even going to be here very long. They will be leaving pretty soon. I think you should give them a chance. “

There was a little pause then Joanne spoke up.

Joanne: “Alright, I’ll consider. What would I have to do?”

Me: “Will you give us 5 times to come and teach for 20-30 minutes?”

Joanne: “NO! NO! NO! You get 1 chance for 30 minutes. That’s it.”

That was it, 1 chance to share the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ in 30 minutes. Are we up for the challenge? You bet. We know God has come before our face and will lead us as we sound his trumpet of truth. He has been preparing and softening this lady’s heart for this special time. There is something she needs to hear and we will bring the message the Lord would have her hear.

She needs your fasting and prayers. We will be fasting and praying that for her as well, but also that we will know what she needs to hear. We have an appointment set up for Thursday. Please raise your voices with us to the Almighty God that she will be able to hear with her heart the message of the restored gospel.

God knows each of us. He listens to our prayers. That I am sure of.  I have been on my knees however and got up and received no response for months and even years. Does that mean he didn’t care then? Absolutely not. Did it mean I needed to grow more and learn to rely on him on a daily basis. Yes. No matter what we pray for He listens and teaches us through His timing. This time it happened to be quick. There was more answers to my prayer than just Joanne.

Our members have also been doing some great missionary work. There are at least 8 members that have someone by name that they have told us that they have contacted about the gospel. We received our first referral that we taught on Sunday and we have a dinner with a member and their friend this week. It’s truly a miracle. This is the work of the salvation. What a beautiful thing it is to see the art of the Masters hand.