Missions are Fun

Preston Temple photo taken 21 Nov. 2010

A missionary is someone who leaves his or her home for a little while so others can have their families forever.

Curious about Mormons? Go to the source and find real people at mormon.org--read what they believe and have live chats if you wish! (an official Church website)

Or, go to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, official web site: lds.org.

Note: The Blain's England Manchester Mission blog is a personal blog that is not endorsed, approved, or sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our Mission Scriptures

Our Mission Scriptures:

"Oh, that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart . . . Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." Alma 29:1-2 (Book of Mormon)

" . . . be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (Bible)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tragedy in Japan & Questions of the Soul

For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.  And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightenings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.  Doctrine and Covenants 88:89-90

Heavenly Father, please watch over the people in Japan and comfort those with tears, heartbreak and anxiety.

Before any of us heard the news of the disaster in Japan, we were in our happy little missionary cocoon for half of the day at our last district meeting before transfers.
Blackburn District with our zone and district leaders.  The U.S., Philippines, England, and Czech Republic are represented here.
It is an odd coincidence that I was thinking just a couple days ago that I would begin posting mini observations (ha, ha, I know you are thinking I don't post anything "mini") about the questions of the soul that we missionaries are constantly studying so we are able to answer them when someone asks--and people always ask sooner or later.  The questions of the soul pertain to things people normally are concerned about when discussing God and what He wants us to do while on the earth. 

The question of the soul being asked today by millions is:
 "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?"  

Have you noticed what happens whenever there is wide-spread devastation in an area of the world?  With hurricane Katrina, everyone commented how people, whom may never have attended church, thought of God, or prayed to God, were suddenly very religious.  News clips showed people mentioning God more than we'd ever heard on TV.  The same thing happened with the tsunami in Thailand.  People were turning to a higher being in anger, or were asking why, expressing thanks for being spared, or for comfort in their losses and suffering.  Each devastation that has come over the past few years in various parts of the world has caused many people throughout the world to reach out with compassion and caring for those they do not know personally.  People seem more globally concerned about their neighboring countries, realizing what affects one does indeed eventually affect us all.  Now there is Japan's terrible earthquake.  It didn't just happen to them.  It has happened to us--our human family.

Universally, humans first concern is for family or friends in the area where the natural disaster has taken place. Each country is concerned for citizens that may have been harmed.  Members of all denominations think of their missionaries' safety and members of their churches throughout the world, and then people begin to turn their hearts in prayer for all people in that area.  We can relate to the horror and heartbreak of losing loved ones and homes because it is our greatest fear in life.  No one wants to have to face a terrifying event that takes the lives of humans and even animals.  Thus, we are able to have compassion and empathy for the suffering of others.

As I searched a few hours ago on the Internet for news of our missionaries, a news item popped up announcing missionaries for the Lutheran Church in Japan are safe.  A group picture of those missionaries was posted, putting real faces to this tragedy and making me realize there are thousands of people searching for loved ones at the moment.  That pulled me out of a myopic concern for our LDS missionaries for whom we had begun to pray for immediately.  The latest report tells us all LDS missions have reported the missionaries are safe, except no word has come in about those in Sendai due to lack of communication.  Our mission president's son is in Japan . . . I fell to my knee with tears and prayed for everyone affected by this awful event.  People need help and comfort.  I pray they will get it quickly in the form of news of their loved ones, or comfort from Heavenly Father that everything will be okay in the long run, not matter what has happened.

God has a plan and purpose in everything that happens.
 (good and bad)

The Savior tells us that we will have tribulation in the world (John 16:33) and we are told to turn to Him in hard times (Deut. 4:30).  Tragedy does cause us to pull together and to rely on God.  It opens our hearts to other people's pain and suffering.  It fills us with gratitude for the miracles that come out of the devastation--that many are saved and more haven't been taken.
Why do bad things happen to good people?   
This is life on earth.  They just do.
Someone once wrote a book trying to answer that question.

Victorian viaduct in Accrington as seen through the rain today.  When this was being built, several of the arches collapsed and a number of the workers lost their lives.  I have a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made to erect this useful and beautiful structure for others to enjoy.
Cat in a window wisdom:  Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.
Spencer W. Kimball said concerning human suffering and its part in the development of eternal character: 

"If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be a calamity.  But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death further, than all happenings may be put in proper perspective.

Is there not wisdom in God giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls?  Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?

If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protectedfaith.

If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doers of good, there could be no evil--all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good.  There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls . . .

Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continued ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors.  

Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.  The sufferings of our Savior were part of his education."

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