Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Into Durban and Off to New Germany

[From President & Sister Zackrison of the Durban, South Africa Mission]:

We are delighted that Elders Hammon, Moline, Eveson, and Scrimsher have arrived safe and happy in the South Africa Durban Mission.  President Zackrison and I have enjoyed being with them at the mission home today.    We would love to have them here for their whole missions, but we understand visas are a factor.

I want to send this quick note so you hear something before their next Pday, Monday, November 4.  Today the office couples gave them a driving test and an orientation.  President Zackrison interviewed them.  And they met their new companions.

Elder Eveson is with Elder Rajaonarison in New Germany

Click here for link to Map of New Germany, SA

Here is the best address for letters and packages.

Elder Brandon Eveson
Church of Jesus Christ of LDS
PO Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
South Africa

We thank you for helping your sons prepare for their missions.  They will be strengthened and supported by your prayers.  President Zackrison and I are happy to be here to support and work with them.  Their purpose is to follow the prompting of the Spirit and invite people "to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel)   As they do this they will be blessed in joy, growth and wisdom during their mission years.


Sister Zackrison

This photo was taken today in the back yard of the mission home.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 2: The Only Constant is . . . Change ~ Durban, SA, Here I Come!

[From Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Guess what!  Things have changed.  Tomorrow, instead of going to Kenya....your missionary will be going on a temporary assignment to another mission.  This is due to a visa (temporary work permit) issue in Kenya. 

Following is their new assignment and where they will be flying tomorrow.

It has been a real shock to all of us!  However, we put our trust in God and His plan for us.

We sang as a group "I'll go where You want me to go Dear Lord"...and that was healing.

Tomorrow morning....they will all fly out.

Love from me and ALL of your children,

Sister Reber

Elder Brandon Eveson is heading with 3 other Elders to Durban, South Africa.  They are Elder Tyler Moline from Canada (5 hours north of Edmonton), Elder Travis Hammon from Utah, and Elder Jener Scrimsher from Utah. 

Elder Eveson's buddy, Elder Kash Ellingson from Canada is heading to Cape Town on the other side of South Africa, with Elder Kody Harvey from Utah.  [Hopefully Eveson and Ellingson will serve together at some point after they finally arrive in Kenya.]

Brandon's current companion, Elder Bakubamutwe, does have a permit for Kenya and is flying there tomorrow.  3 additional African Missionaries are heading to Zimbabwe temporarily, and 1 to Zambia.

It is unknown how long they will be in their temporary area.  The work permit visas can take time to process.

I also do not have an updated mailing address for his temporary assignment.  As soon as I receive one, I will forward and post it.  

Life is filled with change.  Looking forward to hearing from Brandon ~ guessing his P Day is still next Monday.

In the mean time, here is a news clip and article on the LDS Church in Africa:  http://www.ksl.com/?sid=24130150

A temple has been announced for Durban, but the exact location has not been determined.  Currently, their closest temple is 350 miles away in Johannesburg.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Before & After

Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC asked for a "Before" photo of Brandon.  Photo credit to Jamie Pearson, as she shot the "before" picture below while we were in Tahoe this summer.  Thank you Jamie!

Sister Reber surprised all of the missionaries with a Going Away presentation.  Here is the slide she created for Brandon:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Study Time . . .

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

This is a great photo of Elder Eveson studying in his room during personal study.  Note his new scritpure case.

Elder Eveson is a fine young man and we are so blessed to have him at the MTC.

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Service Time . . .

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

During the missionary's stay at the MTC, they have one opportunity to do service....for 30 minutes.  Here are the photos I took during this morning's service time.

If they look happy, it is because they are!

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Little Bit of R & R

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Seven times, while the missionaries are at the MTC, they are given one hour in which to go outside and play some type of sport.

Here are the missionaries who participated in soccer, ping pong and volleyball.  There are some very talented athletes in this group.

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Elder Scrimsher's Bday Party

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Tonight we celebrated Elder Scrimsher's 19th birthday.  It was really exciting.  He was sung to in: English, Shona, French, and a couple of languages I haven't heard before.  

The candle was neat and the cake and ice cream superb.  Everyone enjoyed the party and Elder Scrimsher said he will never forget it.  

Now, several Elders and one Sister came and told me that their birthday is tomorrow.  I have their passports, so I know better!

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Week 1: First P-Day / Note to self: No Hippo Teeth

So - this email might be chopped up but I've written down a few things to share as the week went on. No crazy conversion stories yet - Kenya on Tuesday morning though! 

Sorry I can't send any pictures from here - will have to wait til I'm in Kenya to do that, but the wife of the Mission Training Center President has been emailing photos to my parents, and if I understand they are posted on the blog my mom is updating for me: http://brandoneveson.blogspot.com

Contrary to previously believed - I'm not learning any English, they speak it pretty close to us Americans but the main change is when saying the time they say 25 past if it was 3:25, half past for 3:30 or 10 til for 3:50. Oh and the date is written first then month- so I'm writing this on 24/10/2013

All the Missionaries from Zimbawbe want to shop here in South Africa because the huge port is here so they have all the good fashion things, but it is a very sketchy place. Where there is poverty, there is crime. 

I got asked if my Tiger Woods Nike pants were my pj's, haha. As we are eating breakfast the USA is going to bed. My evening class teacher refers to missionaries from Utah as from 'The Factory'. Hahaha. 

Elder Bednar comes here to speak the day after we leave.

A missionary was just locked up the other day here in Africa for having 4 Hippo teeth in his backpack and it cost him $4,000 to get out the next day. Man what a story that would be. 

Lambos are $350,000 US dollars here.  World cup tickets in 2010 were 5-20 US dollars for a decent seat- which is why the mission president here took all the missionaries here to a game.

Anyways gotta run. 

Love you all and I'll email next week with better content.

- Elder Eveson 

ps. My P-day will be on Mondays - which means [write me by] Sunday evening in the US

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Temple Trip to Johannesburg South Africa LDS Temple & What That is All About

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

We had a wonderful day at the Temple yesterday.  11 missionaries were able to receive their endowments.  They loved the Temple.  Comments I heard:  "I don't want to leave."  "I can't believe I am in God's House." "I feel such peace."  "I'm so happy, I can't explain it."

I'm blessed to be a part of it.

Sister Janet Reber

[Editor's note:  What is the Temple?  Endowment?  Why is it important?  Those answers below the photos.]

A quick overview about Temples:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x_-TQivCx8&list=PL424E0C7D7EC99531

What is an endowment?  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/endowment -- note that D&C references the book of scripture known as the Doctrine and Covenants.  It may be read and referenced here:  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament

The D&C is a collection of revelations received from God while the Church was being restored upon the earth.  It is answers to the questions asked throughout the process of the restoration, which is how the Prophet Joseph Smith knew how to re-establish the Lord's Church upon the earth after receiving the commandment to do so.

When Joseph Smith prayed at age 14 to know what Church was true, trying to determine which Church to join, as they all claimed to be the true Church, he took the words from James 1:5 to heart and decided to ask of God.  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/james/1.5  Initially he was overcome by darkness while attempting to pray, then received what is now referred to as the First Vision.  Here is a quick 2 1/2 minute video that explains this experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMQJG2qnXKY&noredirect=1 

The Church of Jesus Christ had been taken away from the earth during the Great Apostasy (after the death of Christ and then his apostles) due to the lack of faithfulness on the earth at the time.  More about that here:  http://www.lds.org/topics/apostasy?lang=eng

Through Joseph Smith's faithfulness in following the divine guidance he received from the Lord, he received many instructions over the next several years to restore The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the earth.  This included unearthing and translating the plates now known as the Book of Mormon, which were written in a foreign language and had been buried thousands of years prior in the Hill Cummorah.

Buried with the plates was the Urim and Thummim, special interpreter that he used while interpreting the Book of Mormon into the English language.  LDS reference for the Urim and Thummim:  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/urim-and-thummim  The use of a Urim and Thummim to receive revelation dates back to Israel, before the scattering of the 12 tribes.  Here is a Jewish reference for a Urim and Thummim:  http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0020_0_20235.html

The Urim and Thummin was only useful in translating and receiving revelation when commandments were being kept.  Also found buried with the Plates, was the Liahona, a compass which guided Nephi, his father Lehi, and their family from Jerusalem to the American continent in about 600 BC, part of the scattering of the tribes of Israel.

Lehi is a descendant of Jacob who was sold as a slave in Egypt.  Lehi is a Hebrew Prophet.  As wickedness spread throughout the land, Lehi was commanded to take his family and leave everything they had behind, fleeing into the wilderness and go to a promised land, which we know as America.  Lehi's family was wealthy and left all they had to follow the commandment of God.  A little more about Lehi is found here:  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/lehi-father-of-nephi  

Their experience is recorded in the 1st book of Nephi: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne?lang=eng

The Book of Mormon is the record of the descendants of Jacob on the American continent, and the Bible is the record of the happenings in the Old World.  After Christ was resurrected, he appeared to the descendants on the American continent.  http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-12-43-chapter-43-jesus-christ-appears-to-the-nephites?lang=eng

This is why the Mormons read the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, to have a full understanding of Christ and what was happening throughout the world rather than just the record from one continent.

Alma, a Prophet that follows Lehi, testifies that Christ will come to the earth.  Korihor, an anti-Christ who asks for a sign from God is struck dumb and left a beggar: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/30

Christ comes to the Americas: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne

At the end of the 3rd Nephi, we are commanded to repent and come unto Christ and be numbered with the house of Israel:  https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/30?lang=eng

Through further revelation received in D&C, during the restoration of the Lord's Church and after keys of the Priesthood were restored to the earth, we learn the importance of building and visiting Temples to receive the endowment (for ourselves and for those that died without the opportunity to do so).  This is where the person going through the endowment learns further light and knowledge for returning to God's presence through Jesus Christ: http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/mormon/endowment/

Many people wait a very long time to receive their endowment after becoming a member of the Church, because temples are far away from them and it is difficult to travel or have money to visit.  This is why the Church is building Temples as quickly as possible throughout the world, to make it possible for those that want to attend to be able to do so. http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/temples/

Members are encouraged to visit often to remember the covenants they have made and the blessings that are promised to them.  By visiting often, they also bless the lives of others who have died, as they go through in proxy each time for someone that passed away without receiving their own ordinances for salvation.

The ordinances received at the Temple, and through the Temple sealing to their companion, one can gain exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom and be with their faithful companion or family forever after we die.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the LDS Church, fill in the form located here: http://mormon.org/missionaries and you will be visited by missionaries serving in your area, just like Brandon is doing in Africa.

President & Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC

[Editor's Note:  I asked Sister Reber, who has been so thoughtful in updating us and sending photos, to send a photo of Brandon with her and President Reber.  I really appreciate their love in his transition to Africa!  Here it is]:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Miracles Happen!

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Miracles happen all the time at the MTC.  I just saw one yesterday.  EVERY missionary room passed a "room check".  As a reward, they received a South African candy bar.

Love, Sister Janet Reber

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cultural Exchange . . . "pap"

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

Today at dinner we were served "pap" which is the African staple food.  It is made from ground-up white corn. 

The African missionaries showed the American and Canadian Elders how to eat it with their fingers.  It was a lot of fun and a good cultural exchange.

Love, Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Missionaries Have Companions!

[From Sister Reber of the South Africa MTC]:

The missionaries all have companions and are divided into two Districts.  Aren't they a good looking group?!!!  Love, Sister Janet Reber, South Africa MTC

Elder Scrimsher and Elder Muropa

Elder Bakubamutwe, Elder Mbalume and Elder Gobvu

Elder Makaya and Elder Ellingson [Brandon's Buddy]

Elder Kanjanda and [our Favorite] Elder Eveson

Sister Fokoto and Sister Kumunda

Elder Chatitayi and Elder Hammon

Elder Chabooka and Elder Moline

Sister Komiha and Sister Rakotonindriana

Elder Mabundu and Elder Harvey

Friday, October 18, 2013

Your Missionary Has Arrived . . .

[From Sister Janet Reber of the South Africa MTC]

The missionaries have all arrived safely at the MTC. This group has 19 missionaries. There are 4 Sisters and 15 Elders coming from 7 different countries. They are looking forward to a great experience at the MTC in South Africa.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Landed in Africa after a long flight from London. It was a bummer that the two elders I was with (from Utah) didn't want to explore and said that if we left the airport we wouldn't be able to get back into the airport or to Kenya. Uh ok? So 9 hours was fun in the airport.

We said bye to the 7 we came from Dallas to London with to catch their connecting flight (to the Milan mission Tyler was in), and met up with 2 more [both from Alberta, Canada]. Turns out one is from Raymond, and the other is from 5 hours north of Edmonton. The one from Raymond's name is Kash Ellingson (I think that's how you spell the last name) and we are so alike it's awesome.

[Editor's Note: Brandon's Grandpa, James Grove Eveson, is a native of Raymond, Alberta, Canada, and Brandon has oodles of Eveson and Adams relatives in Raymond. He has grown up heading to Canada often for Canada Day on the 1st of July, and even ridden in their parade and been to many Stampedes. Raymond is an extension of life and family for Brandon. It is a small town near Lethbridge. Brandon's Grandpa was the youngest of 10 children. His mom died while he was young and he came to the States to live in La Grande with his older sister, who was married with a family. He was then enlisted in World War II, as an American Soldier although he was Canadian. When he had advanced as far as possible in the US Army without being an American, he decided to become an American citizen while stationed in Biak - now known as Papua New Guinea. He served in Biak and Australia. He was very grateful for the bombing that ended the war, as his troop was starving to death and they had no provisions on which to continue sustaining life. We're glad he made it too! After the war he returned to La Grande, OR, then met and eventually married Colleen Martin from Huntington and had 3 sons, Ross, Ray (Brandon's Dad) and David. Visiting family in Raymond has always been a big part of their lives. Now you know the rest of the story. :)

Editor's note continued: A little more about Kash Ellingson, his companion. He is an Avid Wake Surfer like Brandon and they have about a million other things in common. Kash had already looked Brandon up on Facebook, thanks to a comment Brandon's mom posted on a Kenya Mission video on Youtube a while back, and was hoping to run into him. Brandon was surprised Kash knew who he was, and a lot about him, when they met. Quite happy he did, though. Amazing how the Lord works . . . ]

We got into South Africa (Yes, 3 continents in 2 days) and met up with a super cool elder from Uganda, then got picked up and headed off to the MTC. 6 of us elders total in 2 cars. It took a while to get here but all is well. A shower sounds so nice after traveling forrrrever.

We got in and got our rooms, and bam guess who's in my room. Elder Ellingson. We both have companions from Zimbabwe that are super cool.

We ate, got some shots, interviews, filled forms out and here we are. MTC tour is in 10 minutes then dinner then orientation.

There are 19 missionaries that all got in today from Africa, US, and Canada. Oh in London we met up with a missionary from the Tri Cities, Washington (Yes, small world, and yes he has been to La Grande).

We are going to the temple on the 24th and we are only here 12 days including today which previously I was told 6 weeks. SUPER COOL I'M IN AFRICA. And with my buddy Kash, who it seems like I've known forever.

Flights went quick and it's nice to finally be here. Not much has happened though, just excited to get on and hit it hard tomorrow. Right now it's almost 3:30pm so I'm not sure how the time converts but I hope all is well and I love you all. Sorry the email is so random and spread out but there is not much else to report on.

As far as the lunch goes it was some South African plate and I dove in and ate it just as John Englund taught me.

Well, not sure of the weeks schedule or if I'll get to email before next week, but take care.

-Elder Eveson

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Decision to Serve Came Early in Life

Brandon Eveson
Farewell Talk
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Brandon Eveson and I was called on May 21, 2013 to serve in the Kenya Nairobi Mission, speaking English. My brother Tyler informed me before the meeting that this is my last time attending church in America for 2 years. I hadn’t really thought about it that way, wow. 

The mission is combined of both Kenya and Tanzania. I report to the South Africa Missionary Training Center this Thursday Oct 17th. 

With 5 months between my call date, and MTC date, it truly was an unforgettable, busy summer, deemed by Sister Englund as ‘The summer of 100 trips’.  

With my mission upon me and summer in the rearview mirror, here are some things about the area I’ll be in for the next 2 years.

If you catch me saying ‘the mission’ just know I am referring to Kenya and Tanzania combined.

So 43 million people live in Kenya, 48 million live in Tanzania
They speak both English and Swahili
The equator lies through the country of Kenya 
The forecast for over in Nairobi, Kenya today is 87 degrees and sun.
Talking square miles, Kenya and Tanzania together are the same size as the following combined: Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. 
Kenya is famous for its wildlife. As you may know, the country is home to animals such as elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, rhinoceros, warthogs, and other wild game.  There are also over 1,000 different kinds of birds in Kenya.  Safari (a Swahili word meaning journey) tours are a staple to Kenya's tourism industry.  Thousands of visitors travel to Kenya each year just to see the animals.
The currency is the Kenyan shilling 
And the mission is home to Mt Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro, which I plan to climb before I return.

The first Kenyans baptized into the LDS Church in Kenya were two members of the Osaka family, baptized in 1979.  There were 2 members total in 1979, 300 total in 1989.  Today, there are 12,989 total Church Members in the Mission, with only 1,200 of those being from Tanzania.

A few more stats . . .

1 Mission for the 2 Countries (Kenya + Tanzania)
47 Congregations Total
3 Family History Centers

Compared to the United States:

6,321,416 Total Church Members
103 Missions
13,742 Congregations
68 Temples
1,833 Family History Centers

So 91 million people live within the Mission.  13,000 total are Members, so there is room for work to be done.


Before I dive in, I’m a pretty big sports fan if you ask me, and with it being college football season, I’ll just say it was very nice to be sent off by Utah’s huge upset last night over #5 ranked, undefeated Stanford - after all the adversity they've been through.

With that out of the way, I am thrilled to be one of the new 18 year old missionaries headed into the field, and will be among more than 80,000 other missionaries that are currently serving The Lord throughout the world today, and being a representative of the Church of 15 million members.

As I was writing this talk, I was listening to the Children’s Songbook on shuffle on lds.org, and it made me realize how many of those songs I still remember word for word, and how recent it all seems that I was belting out those tunes, surrounded with people who are now on missions, in college and finishing up high school.

One of my favorite Primary songs growing up was ‘I Hope They Call Me on a Mission’. The lyrics read as follows:

"I hope they call me on a mission - When I have grown a foot or two. - I hope by then I will be ready - To teach and preach and work as missionaries do.

I hope that I can share the gospel - With those who want to know the truth. - I want to be a missionary - And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth."

Growing up singing this song in primary seems like just a few months ago. But it really was a lot of months ago. Although, since then, I have grown a foot, or two, that I used to sing my heart out about doing. I was called on a mission, so it looks like something I had hoped for - came true. I am excited about the fact I will be able to share the gospel with those who want to know the truth.

The idea or thought of going on a mission was always something in the back of my head. All while growing up I saw it as something I was just going to get out and do. I have heard people testify of them, and tell stories about them and that’s something I always wanted to be able to do. I have seen how missionaries change lives of people, and how the mission changes the life of the person. My life has been so blessed over these years that I feel like it would've almost been selfish of me to not go out and serve those, and bless the people at a location the Lord thought would be best.

You may be able to quote it, but 1st Nephi 3:7 reads: And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father:  I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.  

Let me re-read what Nephi just said.  "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."  The Lord won't give you a problem or a trial without a way prepared for you to accomplish it, even though the path may not be easy, and the trial may not be enjoyable.

As we ponder the events that can transpire unto all of us—sickness, accidents, death, and a wide variety of lesser challenges, we know that man is born unto trouble. When the pathway of life takes an atrocious turn, there is the temptation to think or speak the phrase, “Why me?” Remorse is a common thing, even when we may have had no control over our problem or situation and it just doesn’t seem fair. Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome. Know there are good things to come and there will be brighter days.

We may not, and probably will not, receive a personal visit from the Lord, but the answers do come—from prayer, the scriptures, the words of the prophet, the still, small voice of inspiration. I would like to reassure you that we truly can find courage to face our challenges and also give service to those whose needs are even greater than our own.

Today there are many members and nonmembers in many places living in poverty, with hunger and disease, with infant mortality high and life expectancy low. There are those who have no pure water, those who have to carry it on their heads— and some who have no water at all. There are some who live in the shadow of war. What gives these people the courage to endure? As with the pioneers, it is their faith that their Father will come, their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  D&C 59:22-23 reads “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”

The hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints” was first written to comfort the pioneer Saints and encourage them to strive to accomplish their seemingly far-fetched goals. Those pioneers were facing new, extremely difficult challenges every day. Yet they had to keep their spirits high and strong and their heads up.

Many changes come as we make our way through our journey on earth. Our lives change as we progress from childhood through youth, into adulthood, and finally old age. Schooling, missions, marriage, employment, and retirement are all examples of milestones of change.

Too often we are hesitant to enter the next stage, and begin the next challenge. It could be from being in a comfortable spot, fearful of what’s next, or lacking in faith. I remember my Mom’s lap being more comfortable than the trials of kindergarten, and elementary school in general.

So how can we then best prepare for the changes we must inescapably face as we progress through life?
First, follow the prophets. Listen to and abide by the counsel of the Brethren. Prophets often raise a voice of warning but also provide steady counsel to help us weather the storms of life. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 1, the Lord reminds us, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). Prophets can help us confront the changes and challenges we constantly face. Back to my Primary song references, “Follow the Prophet” reminds us of this: “We can get direction all along our way, if we heed the prophets—follow what they say”.

Second, keep an eternal perspective. Understand that change and challenges are part of God’s plan. By design, this mortal existence is a time of testing. In order to test our use of our God-given agency, we as mortals undergo a series of changes, challenges, trials, and temptations as we proceed through life. Only then are we properly tested. Life’s challenges and changes provide opportunities for us to grow as we exercise our agency in making righteous decisions.

Third, we may learn the need for humility and patience. Our dependence upon the Lord becomes a means of developing teachableness, an important aspect of humility. We learn patience because sometimes adversity requires more time than we anticipate.

Fourth, have faith. President Gordon B. Hinckley encouraged members of the Church to move forward with faith. As we confront a world full of negativity, the feelings of doubt, fear, and even dread can creep into our hearts. We can learn to trust the Lord and overcome fear.  D&C 38:30 states “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” President Thomas S. Monson has counseled us that “faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other”. Moroni 7:42 reads “without faith there cannot be any hope”. We must exercise faith to take on life’s challenges and changes. It is how we learn and progress.

Perhaps in these situations our faith and testimony can be strengthened. Sometimes it takes a big trial, but it is
learned that in times of stress the Lord helps those who have sought him early. 

D&C 54:10 reads:  And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. 

Have faith in the Lord to ask him not necessarily to take the trial away, but to help you get through it.

Fifth, just be of good cheer. Many members across the globe are facing challenges big and small. At such times it may be easy to feel lonely and forgotten. In a recent conference talk, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught how to respond to adversity. Part of his counsel included: quote “The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”End quote. Laughter and a good sense of humor may help be able to soften the bumps along life’s journey.

You know, it would be nice if we could anticipate all the changes that would occur in a lifetime. Some changes we see coming. Certainly all Latter-day Saint young men are taught to prepare for a full-time mission, as I am doing, which is a life-changing experience. We know changes like these are coming, and we can plan for them. But what about the changes which are forced upon us unexpectedly? These are changes over which we pretty much have no control. Serious sickness or injury, unemployment, even things like divorce, and death are examples of change we do not expect, desire, anticipate, or welcome.

How do we deal with such unexpected setbacks in life’s journey?

The answer is the same. By listening to the prophets, keeping an eternal perspective, having faith, and being of good cheer, we can face life’s unexpected challenges and “get on with our lives."  When the trials are our own, may be look up with a "perfect brightness of hope" as it says in 2 Ne 31:20.  

Mosiah 23: 21-22 Reads: Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.

Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

So your patience and faith will be tested over and over, but if you put your trust in Him, you will be lifted up at the last day.

Sometimes we must accept less than we hope for. A speaker once stated, quote “I passed a small church displaying a large sign. It read: ‘Annual Strawberry Festival,’ and below in small letters-- ‘On account of depression, prunes will be served.’” End quote.

One of the first songs we learn as Primary children are I am a Child of God. Verse 3 goes as follows.

"I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more."

There is a lot of power in knowing who we are and who we ultimately have the ability to become like - which is something that can help us overcome challenges that come every single day of our lives no matter the size. If we seek to him and strive to be like Him, rich blessings are in store and we will return to live with him once more.

In closing, Death and adversity come to us all, but so does life everlasting!  God knows exactly how much you can handle, so trust your struggle, and then seek him for help. Letting go, and letting God is a plan. Don’t let negative past experiences hinder your progress, remember only a fool trips on what’s behind them. Everybody carries some kind of burden; it’s how you carry it that counts. 

Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything. And no problem ahead of you is greater than the God behind you.

Well, I am excited to be called to serve, and I know East Africa is where the Lord needs me at this time. I want to thank my family and the ward family for being so supportive of me- and all our current missionaries that are out in the field this day, and everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I know the church is true and I know if we can seek The Lord in times of hardship, he will help us through the plan he has for us.

I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.