Easter Morning

Some days are good for long posts…today is not one of those days. Today is a day where brevity of words is meant to emphasis the importance of the message.

On this Easter Sabbath, we can be sure that through the Resurrection, Jesus Christ lives; because He lives, we all will live again.

On this Easter Sabbath, we can be sure that He is Risen.

Never forget that the tomb is empty…death has no victory!

#Hallelujah

#FollowHim

#HallelujahChoir

#BecauseofHim
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Holy Week

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A new day dawns from the top of Kilimanjaro

I love this time of year when the Earth renews itself by sprouting forth flowers and grass.  A time when the animals reappear in abundance after a long winter rest, when a sunrise symbolizes new birth.  As we prepare for Easter Sunday, I would like to share some thoughts on Holy Week.  I have shared these thoughts before, but this is the first time I have compiled them into a single place.  I want my family to know that each day of the coming week is significant.  We shouldn’t celebrate Easter by itself, rather, we should recognize each day for what the Savior taught us.


SundayOn Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was welcomed by his followers who covered the path before him with palm fronds and cried “Hosanna, blessed is the King of Israel” (John 12:13). He was welcomed as a King..someone who would deliver the Israelites from the burdens of Roman rule.  The people were excited to see him!  I learned recently that the word “Hosanna” comes from the Hebrew words “hoshi” and “ahna”.  Literally translated “Hosanna” means “save us now”. The people were excited because they were welcoming their Deliverer from Roman rule.  Little did they understand that deliverance from Roman rule would come in the next life through the Atonement of Christ.

May we welcome Christ into our hearts and lives with excitement and honor.


MondayToday, the Savior went to the Temple and removed the money changes. Why were the money changers in the Temple in the first place?  There was a requirement to pay a Temple tax of 1/2 shekel per annum (Exodus 30:13, Matthew 17:24-27). Unfortunately, the Jewish shekel wasn’t in circulation, so people would bring their Roman coins to the Temple and exchange them for Jewish shekels in order to pay the Temple tax. Over time, this evolved into a full-fledged market…with all the noise, bustle, and filth associated with market places. His act of cleansing the Temple of the money changers (Matthew 21:12-13, John 2:13-16) inspires me because he was so deliberate, so calm, so controlled. Too often, when we see things that anger us, we fail to channel that anger into a righteous response.

It’s ok to be angry; however, it is not ok to lose control. 


TuesdayNow that the Savior has entered Jerusalem, the Scribes begin to get nervous and question his authority. Unfortunately for them, they are unable to answer his question regarding baptism and are therefore denied an answer to the source of his authority (Matthew 21:23-27). I can imagine how confused they must have been when the Savior began telling parables which, to the natural man, are just stories.

How often do we question the authority of Jesus Christ? How often do we feel that our problems, our situation, our lives are “more complicated” than others. How often do we feel that “it’s different with me”?

The Son of God knows us all. The Son of God is the Savior for all. There is none on Earth who are so different, so troubled, or so destitute, that he can’t redeem.


WednesdayIt isn’t clearly recorded in the Bible what the Savior did on Wednesday. I believe he continued teaching his disciples. One of my favorite parables is the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46). It reminds me that I can’t put off serving until I see the Savior, for when I serve (or fail to serve) those I interact with every day, it is the same as if I served (or didn’t serve) the Master himself (see Mosiah 2:17).

notre Dame3 25 Apr 01I remember being approached by a beggar in front of Notre Dame many years ago. She asked me if I spoke English…and to my shame, I said no and walked on. Every time I see a beggar, I see that woman’s face and regret my response so long ago. I think that motivates me today to try and serve those around me. I still am not perfect, there are (many) times I fall short, but I hope my efforts are acceptable.

Jesus Christ taught beautifully and simply. All we need to do is listen to the Spirit and we can understand the parables and see the pathway back to our Father’s house. As I study the words of Christ and apply the parables to my own life, I feel closer to the Savior. He loves us, he wants us to do good. Nothing is hidden, there are no secrets to Eternal Life.

His life is an Open Book…pick it up, read it, ponder it, then go and do something about it.


ThursdayToday is a great and terrible day in the life of the Savior. He gathered his disciples in a borrowed room (Matthew 26:17-18) and celebrated the Passover. Here he broke the bread, blessed it and told his disciples “Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). Likewise he took the cup of wine, blessed it and told his disciples “this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). I can imagine the furrowed brows and confused looks from his disciples as they ate and drank.

After the Passover meal, the scriptures tell us they sang a hymn (Matthew 26:30). I love this verse for music is a blessing in my life–it is the one thing that will almost always calm my son when he’s troubled. I like to think that the hymn Christ sang with his disciples calmed his soul and gave him encouragement for the next event of the night…the agony of Gethsemane.jesus-praying-in-gethsemane-39591-gallery

When they arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ left his disciples near the gate, then he went alone into the Garden and prayed. I cannot imagine what he felt and endured as he suffered for the sins of all mankind.  Not just our sins, but our sorrows and griefs as well. So great was his agony that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Then, when had finished the work in the Garden, he was betrayed by Judas to a band of soldiers.

The question is: how many drops of blood were shed for me?


jesus-christ-crown-thorns-827201-mobile.jpgFridayToday is a dark day. Having suffered through the Agony of Gethsemane just a few hours ago, the Savior is brought before Annas, Caiaphas, and finally to Pontius Pilate. This man had the power to free the Savior (and was even encouraged to do so by his wife), but he was weak and gave in to the cries of the crowd: “Crucify him!” (Luke 23:21). Through all this, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Savior of Mankind was questioned, scourged, spit upon, and mocked with a crown of thorns. The one line that really impacts me is “he held his peace” (Mark 14:61). Knowing he was right, knowing what his mission was, he could have called down legions of angels to defeat his antagonists (Matthew 26:53), but he didn’t. He Held His Peace.

After all this suffering, he was paraded through narrow, crowded streets to Golgotha and there was crucified.

It amazes me that even while hanging on the cross, Jesus Christ forgave his crucifiers. He comforted the thieves beside him. He lovingly ensured his mother would be taken care of. Am I as forgiving, comforting, and loving?

Then the Son of God died. His spirit left his body and his body was placed in a borrowed tomb. In life and in death, he had no place to call his own.

His disciples were told very clearly before his death that he would rise again, but I wonder if they knew what that really meant. Can you imagine the tears that were shed for this sinless man?

Even the heavens wept at his death. This is surely the darkest day in the history of mankind.


Saturday – Today saw the sun rise to a world in mourning. Jesus Christ died yesterday afternoon. Being the Sabbath, nothing is done with his body today…just weeping and mourning. So what of the Savior on this day? Peter tells us that Christ went to the spirits and taught his gospel (1 Peter 3:18-20).

There are many websites that discuss what this really means. I believe he went to the spirit world and taught those spirits who knew not his gospel. I believe he organized teachers in that realm to continue the work after he ascended to heaven (for certainly there are souls that continue to die not having tasted of the love of Christ).

This is a day to to remember the words of the psalmist: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10).


Sunday – Oh Glorious Day! When Mary went to the sepulcher this morning, she found the stone removed from the doorway and no body in the tomb! When asked who she was looking for, her reply brought the statement from the angels “why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6). As dark as was the night he died, how bright the morn’ when he arose. My heart is full of joy in knowing that the Son of God conquered all. The Savior of the World broke the shackles of death—death has no sting. Jesus Christ lives! He paid the awful price for our sins and now sits in glory ready to welcome us home to our Father’s mansion.

Christ the Lord is Risen today! Praise the Lord!

#Hallelujah

The Holy Sabbath

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
(Exodus 20:8-11)

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In the early church (beginning with the days of Adam and Moses), the Sabbath day fell on the last day of the week–Saturday (Exodus 31:12-17).  This changed to the first day after the Resurrection of the Savior (Mark 16:2Acts 20:7).

There have a been a lot of talks and discussions on how to properly observe the Sabbath day.  People have created lists of things to do and not to do on the Sabbath day. It is not my intent to create or proliferate these lists.  Rather, I want to share some of my thoughts on the Sabbath day.  Particularly, why we should observe a day of Sabbath.

Of all the scriptures I read associated with the Sabbath day, I came across two that particularly spoke to me.  The first is Leviticus 26:2-12:

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.

And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.

The other great scripture on the Sabbath day is D&C 59:9-20:

And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.

And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—

Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

What I get from these two scriptures is this: If I keep the Sabbath day holy, I can be unspotted from the world and will be blessed with the fulness of the earth.  All other blessings mentioned in association with Sabbath Day observance can be wrapped up in this single sentence: If I keep the Sabbath day holy, I can be unspotted from the world and will be blessed with the fulness of the earth.

The fulness of the earth means more than simply having food, water, and shelter.  It references the promises given to Abraham, commonly called the Abrahamic Covenant.  There Abraham was promised an innumerable descendency.  We can also be recipients of that promise through the blessings of marriage in the Temple.  Families can be together forever–marriage doesn’t end at death.

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image courtesy of Small and Simple Truths

As I was researching this topic, I came across an interesting similarity.  James teaches us about charity in these words: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27, emphasis added).  In order to have charity (or pure religion as James calls it), we are to visit the fatherless and widows…and observe the Sabbath (because the Lord teaches in D&C 59 that Sabbath day observance will keep you unspotted from the world).

But I digress a bit…back to the Sabbath day.  I said previously I wouldn’t go into lists of things to do and not to do, but I think it worth sharing a few quotes on the matter.

The Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house or puttering around in the garden, but is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song.

The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it.

There is no criticism of legitimate recreation—sports, picnics, plays, and motion pictures. All have potential for revitalizing life, and the Church as an organization actively sponsors such activities. But there is a proper time and place for all worthwhile things—a time for work, a time for play, a time for worship.

“The Sabbath–A Delight”

We should not do things on the Sabbath day that distract us from honoring and worshiping our Father in Heaven.  We should not do things on the Sabbath day that cause others to be distracted from worshiping our Father in Heaven.

We should do things on the Sabbath day that bring honor to the sacrifice our Savior made for each of us (namely the Atonement). We should do things that bring us, our family, and those around us closer to our Father in Heaven.

It is a personal choice to honor the Sabbath day (and how to honor the Sabbath day).  We each must decide what sign we want to give to Heavenly Father on the Sabbath day.  I’ve said before that every time I read the scriptures, I get a blessing. Sometimes I only have time to read 1 verse…that’s fine. In return for my effort, I will get a 1-verse-blessing.  Other times I have time to ponder the scriptures deeply.  On those days, I also get a blessing…a pondering blessing.  I have to decide each day what type of blessing I want from the Lord.  So it is with the Sabbath day.  I believe we will be blessed for our efforts to honor the Sabbath day.  We just have to decide what type of blessing we want from the Lord.

Now, sometimes we may have an ox in the mire…there may be some circumstance when we feel compelled to violate the Sabbath day.  I do not believe there is anything wrong with pulling your ox from the mire on the Sabbath day.  The danger is to ensure that don’t put the ox in the mire ourselves!

Last week, I was sorely tempted to go to Wal-Mart on the Sabbath day.  My prescription for Zyrtec was waiting on me at the pharmacy and I had no chance to pick it up on Saturday.  I justified my action by saying I needed that prescription. I even got in the car with my son to pick it up.  While I was driving there, I had a strong impression that I didn’t need to pick up that prescription on Sunday.  I could take Allegra instead of Zyrtec and be just fine.  I ended up driving to a nature park and taking my son on a walk through the fields and trees.  It was a much better choice.

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LDSmag.com

President James E. Faust outlined three reasons why we have been asked to observe the Sabbath:

 The first has to do with the physical need for rest and renewing. Obviously God, who created us, would know more than we do of the limits of our physical and nervous energy and strength.

The second reason is, in my opinion, of far greater significance. It has to do with the need for regeneration and the strengthening of our spiritual being. God knows that, left completely to our own devices without regular reminders of our spiritual needs, many would degenerate into the preoccupation of satisfying earthly desires and appetites. This need for physical, mental, and spiritual regeneration is met in large measure by faithful observance of the Sabbath day.

The third reason may be the most important of the three. It has to do with obedience to commandments as an expression of our love for God. Blessed are those who need no reasons other than their love for the Savior to keep his commandments. The response of Adam to the angel who asked Adam why he made a sacrifice unto the Lord is a model for all. Responded Adam, “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” (Moses 5:6.)

The Lord’s Dayemphasis added

I am so grateful each Sabbath day that I have the opportunity to lay aside the tools of my trade and rest.  I can let the lawn rest for a day, the chainsaw and mower sit idle.  I can go to church with a focus on the Savior and not on my to-do list.  Honoring the Sabbath day allows me to strengthen my relationship with the Savior by studying the scriptures and partaking of the Sacrament. It also allows me time to provide meaningful service to those for whom I have stewardship (see Ezekiel 34). It allows me the opportunity to strengthen family relationships through meaningful activities and conversations. I admit that as a younger man, I didn’t feel this way about the Sabbath day.  Back then, it was often drudgery.  All I can say is that I have matured.

Allow me to close with a quote John Bytheway shared in one of his motivational speeches:

“Our great-grandfathers called it the Holy Sabbath day. Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Our fathers called it Sunday, and now we just call it the weekend.

I ask myself often where I am on that spectrum…
is it the Holy Sabbath day?
or the weekend?

 

Other good reads on the Sabbath Day:

Being one of “the least”

In the summer of 2007, I returned to my family after living in Korea for a year. One of the tasks I had to do as I returned home was to go to Dallas, pick up the vehicle I had shipped from Korea, and then drive it to Colorado Springs. This wasn’t a particularly pretty vehicle, but it was a minivan and it was cheap (I bought it for $500). I flew down in the morning and planned on driving back the same day.

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Old Blue

Everything went great—my flight was on-time and the van was ready for me. As soon as I picked it up, I stopped at Sears and got an oil change. I knew it had been a long time since the oil was changed and I wanted to have an uneventful drive back home. I started the drive home around lunchtime and in no time at all, was watching the miles roll by.

About an hour outside of Dallas, I stopped at Wal-Mart in Vernon, Texas and bought a big bag of Dorito’s and a bottle of Gatorade, then I jumped right back on the Interstate and kept driving. About 5 minutes later, for some reason, I glanced down at the gauges and saw that my temperature gauge was pegged on hot! I quickly swerved over to the exit and stopped on the side of the road. As I stopped, steam started pouring out from under the hood. Great!

I popped the hood and looked at the engine. [Perhaps this is a good time time to interject that I really have no idea how to fix cars, I know very little about the mechanics of a motor.] In my mind, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I had no cell phone, I was 5 miles from the closest town, and I was in the middle of Texas!

As I was standing there, a truck pulling a trailer full of brush pulled up in front of me and stopped. Two guys got out of the truck and I thought, “Oh no, they’re here to kill me!” As they walked up to me one of them said, with a thick accent, “You broke down, man?” to which I replied that I was.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“I don’t know, my temperature gauge is pegged on hot and there’s steam everywhere.”

They poked their heads under the hood and started speaking Spanish really fast. I can speak some Spanish, but I don’t think I caught a single word they were saying.

“Eh man, it looks like your head gasket is blown.”

This would normally mean nothing to me…but it awoke a memory from nearly a year earlier. When I bought the van, Jack Stokes gave me a box and said something about the head gasket was probably going to need replaced. In that box was a new head gasket. It was sitting at home in Colorado Springs. I had thought of taking it with me on the trip, but I decided not to. The regret was settling in.

“Great.”

“What’s you gonna do, man?”

“I guess I’ll go back to town and get it fixed.”

“We got a cousin in town that has a shop, man. He can fix it for you if you want.”

“Ok, sounds good to me.”

“We got to go dump this brush. You start walking to town and we’ll pick you up on our way back to town.”

“Ok, thanks.” Those were the words that left my mouth, but the thought in my head was telling me this wasn’t going to end well. The trailer they were using for brush would easily haul a broken down van. As I crossed the bridge over the highway and headed back to town, I looked back at the van and said good bye. I was sure I would never see that van again.

About 30 minutes later, the same truck pulled over in front of me on the highway and the guys yelled, “Eh, hop in man!” What choice did I have? So I got into the truck with two perfect strangers. One of whom spoke no English at all. He was nice enough to sit in the back seat of the truck…right behind me. I just knew that he was going to knock me over the head or stick me with something. I kind of sat sideways so I could see both of the guys.

We drove back into town and all through the streets and ended up at a little auto shop. They both hopped out and started talking Spanish to someone. He came over and said, “So, you’re head gasket’s blown? I can fix that for you, man.”

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TranStay (image from google.com)

“Sounds good” I said. “How much will it cost?”

“$500.”

Remember that I bought the van for $500. I was going to double my investment in this vehicle. I didn’t even know if that was a fair price or not…but what choice did I have?

“Alright, I’ll do it.”

“How you gonna get it here?”

“I guess I’ll call a tow truck.”

“That’ll be expensive. I’ve got a friend who’ll tow it here for you.”

“How much will he charge?”

“How much will you pay?”

“I’ve got $50 in my pocket.”

“Let me ask him.” He ambled to another guy and they talked. “He says he’ll do it.”

Now the tow driver came over and said “I’ve got my truck back at my house, hop in my car and we’ll go pick it up.”

So I got into a car with another perfect stranger and we started driving through town. He pulled up in front of a house in the middle of the not-so-nice neighborhood. Talk about a fish out of water—I felt so out of place! I’m not sure I could have spoken to or understood anyone around me.

He went up to the front door, started pounding on the door and yelling.

I was standing like a fool in his front yard.

He came back and said “My front door’s locked. I’ve got to go around back and get the keys to the truck. You stay here.”

What a stupid thing to say. Like I was going to go anywhere! Most of the houses had boards in the windows, there’s graffiti everywhere, broken down cars everywhere. The place looked like the ghetto. I didn’t want to be there, but I didn’t want to start walking off by myself even more. And so I stood there in his front yard while he disappeared.

“Great,” I thought to myself, “I’m going to die in the middle of Texas. I’m going to get beat up, robbed, and left for dead.”

In less than 5 minutes, the guy came out and said “Ok, let’s go” and walked to a 1990’s Ford Explorer! I was expecting a tow truck, or at least a truck! Not a little 2-door Ford Explorer that was almost 20 years old! What was I going to do? So I got in his truck.

Explorer
This isn’t the actual car, but it looks just like it.

We drove back out to my van and the fun started.  He pulled out a chain and wrapped it around the ball of his truck.  He tied it in a knot.  No hooks, no clips…a knot.  Then we went to my van.  Guess what a 1994 Grand Caravan doesn’t have? Towing hooks.  After we dorked around for a minute, we ended up wrapping the chain through the plastic grill and around the bumper.

He looked at me and asked “You know how to drive a car being towed?”

“Yes” I replied. “You’re the gas, I’m the brake.”

“Good, let’s go.”

“Keep is slow for me, ok?”

“No problem, man!”

We hit 60 on the highway.

We quickly returned to the shop and I turned over the keys to my van. I asked them when it would be ready and they told me tomorrow. About that time, another guy asked me, “Where you gonna sleep tonight?”

“I don’t know, I guess I’ll find a hotel.”

“We got two hotels in town. One’s kinda nice with a pool, and the other one’s not as nice.”

“I’ll take the nicer one.”

“Hop in my car and I’ll take you there. The manager’s a friend of mine, I’ll get you a good deal.”

So I got in a car (the 3rd time today) with another complete stranger and we drove off to some hotel. He went in and talked with the clerk in Spanish and told he’d gotten me a room. I checked in, went to my room and called Evonne.  Then I tired to relax.

The next morning, I got up and called the shop and they said it wasn’t ready yet. Around noon, I got bored, so I started walking back to the shop. I don’t really recall how I knew where the shop was, but somehow I knew where to go. I’ll never forget as I was walking, I looked down a side street and saw a cowboy riding a horse down the street.

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Cowboy in Vernon, Texas

When I got to the shop, they told me they just finished. “$500” the man said. I handed him my credit card and he replied “Oh, no cards. Cash only.”

“Where am I supposed to get $500 cash?”

“There’s a bank just down the street.”

So I walked to the bank and maxed out my government travel card and my personal credit card and walked back to the shop. I handed over the cash, he gave me the key and I was back on the road. The van drove, but it drove terrible–the motor was rough. I was actually a bit afraid to even stop. It was about 3:00 pm by the time I start driving and I made it to the Colorado border before I had to stop.  I was so tired, I curled up in the back seat of the van and slept for a few hours.

I finally pulled in my drive the next morning.

We kept that van for about six months, then it started having big issues. It seemed like one thing after another kept breaking, so I sold it for $250 to the Ford dealer.

What’s the lessons to be learned?

First, listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. There are two examples of listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  1) Had I followed the prompting I had to take the new head gasket with me, I wouldn’t have had to buy one.  I still would have broken down.  I still would have had to get the van repaired, but it would have been cheaper had I listened to the Spirit and brought the head gasket with me.  2) When I started walking from my hotel to the repair shop, I had a vague idea where to go, but had no directions, GPS, or map.  I walked across town trusting I would find the shop. 

If you want to receive promptings from the Holy Ghost then you need to live your life so that the Holy Ghost can be your Constant Companion.  I didn’t consciously pray while I was stuck (although that would have been a very intelligent thing to do), but I was still prompted by the Holy Ghost. Each time I thought “what was I going to do?” I was being led by the Holy Ghost. 

I am reminded of a scripture in John: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).  This is a wonderful promise, but it comes with a warning.  If we ignore the promptings of the Holy Ghost, the time will come when we longer feel those promptings.  Nephi describes such a condition as being “past feeling” (1 Nephi 17:45).  

Second, be prepared. I planned my trip to take one day: fly down, drive home.  Easy peasey.  I wasn’t ready to spend the night on the road.  I didn’t have a phone. I had a single $50 bill in cash. I was naive in expecting everything to go smoothly. One of my favorite scriptures on being prepared is D&C 38:30, “…if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” I think it is sufficiently obvious from the story that when things started to go wrong, I was afraid. My fear had it’s root in a lack of preparedness.

Third, people are good. I met five guys (two on the road, the tow driver, the mechanic, and the hotel-finder) who had nothing but good intentions. Sure, they wanted to make some money, but they weren’t out to cause me harm.  I don’t recommend getting into cars with strangers, but in this case it worked out. I go back to the first lesson (listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost). Even through my fear, something told me it was going to work out.

A parable comes to mind “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? [or when saw we thee broken down on the road, and picked thee up]? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:37-40).

In this situation, I was the one who needed the help and these people helped. I was “one of the least” and these men didn’t hesitate to go out of their way to help me.

I must admit that I’m a bit ashamed by the thoughts I had at the time. I had pegged these people as thieves and robbers who wanted nothing more than to separate me from my possessions so they could steal them.

How wrong I was.