The Lds church don’t believe that Jesus Christ was born on 25th December but we do celebrate the day for a few reasons. One being that it’s an opportunity to share in the birth of Christ with other religions and non faith people, two being that we love to have a good time when it is good and uplifting and three because it’s an event that very often brings people together. Our church is all for unity; unity of people, of faiths and of hearts.
Today, in our Branch Council Meeting I was deeply touched by the vision our recently called leaders have for the coming year. We have been called the ‘happening branch’; we are well liked and respected by other wards/branches in our stake and I know from experience we give the warmest welcomes to visitors, members and non members. Our activities are driven by the spirit (I know cos I am the activities leader!), we are driven to include anyone that wishes to come along and take part. We do not ‘bible bash’ and preach. We are friendly, busy, happy and pro-active in our unity, fellowshipping and serving where possible.
Re-reading the activities committee (I have 4 committee members who are just awesome and passionate about what we do) vision for 2011 has left me feeling all excited and feeling rather proud to be in The Forest of Dean Branch. I am feeling very proud to be a member of this church and know that it is run by men and women of God, direction and inspiration given to them by the Lord himself. I love our Prophet, President Thomas S Monson, who is such an amazing man with humour that gets me laughing off my seat, experiences that get me choked up and wisdom that makes me want to learn, learn and learn. I love our Branch Presidency, I know by being friends with them as well as my own personal prayers about and for them they are indeed, called of God to do His will and my word, they are certainly doing that.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been part of my life for 11 years now. I have had periods when I lost my way, where I couldn’t quite get with it or get out of it but never, at any time did I ever think that I want out. I just got lost in the world. When times are hard for me I get on my knees, as painful as they are still and I talk it through with my Heavenly Father who stops and listens to me. No matter how I am feeling I feel a strong warm burning in my stomach, where I immediately feel the spirit confirming to me that I am being heard and that I am loved. This has happened so many times that I cannot deny it. I wouldn’t even dare!
Today I felt it again. Listening to testimonies, I love to hear other people share what strengthened them lately, how the Lord stepped in gently and guided them through a challenge or blessed them some other way they needed. Me, I learnt today that at no time in my life has Jesus Christ ever let me down, but time and again I have let Him down. This hurts even though I know He understand and allows me to make mistakes, get things wrong and the free agency to choose, it hurts because the kind of things I have seriously failed on are the things I should know better about.
Then there is repentance. Such a heavy, condemning word when we really don’t understand what exactly it means. I’m sorry can be a phrase or it can be a change of heart. We each choose for ourselves.
Today I also learnt just how much my Heavenly Father loves me. Debbie Willson. Mother, Nanna, Sister, Aunt, Daughter, Cousin, Friend, Niece. All of those titles are given to me for a reason, but I know I don’t utilise them as much as I should do. I fail, I fall, I get it wrong but then, after recognising it, repenting and asking forgiveness I can then go forward and put things right. If my offers of correction are not accepted then that’s ok, while I will continue to feel repentant I will also continue to forgive anything I feel they may have done also. Forgiveness is often the hardest thing in the world to do and sometimes it can take long time, sometimes its just a change in thoughts or influences around us. Once repentance has been processed then comes along forgiveness, but once that has been reached its then time to forget. I mean, really forget. If the Lord can forgive us and remember our sins no more then surely we owe that to others we feel hurt by?
Either way, a man/woman of God will understand the power of repentance and forgiveness and follow the Lords plan not their own, and yes, I do know exactly how hard that is.
I love my calling. Branch Activities Chairperson. Yep it’s easier to say leader sometimes cos that’s pretty much what I am. Anyhow, my calling puts me in the heart of the branch social life. It is my responsibility to put together activities that are fun and wholesome for a good number of people. I have a great committee who work with me and each of them are not only awesome but my friends. Friends who I can laugh with, hug, moan to and confide in. I think in return they feel that with me. We are a unit, a team and we all love the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ more than anything we can think of.
One day, the Lord will take us all in His arms and remind us who we are. Tell us of his love for us. Until that day I hope, with all my heart we can each find a way to be more like Him in all that we do.
Today is fast and testimony for us Lds people. I could go on and on about my testimony but I think I’ve said more than enough!! Whatever faith you are, whatever your life thoughts/theories are then I hope you have a truly wonderful Sabbath/Sunday.