Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Week Thirty-Seven - Comfort

To me, Elder Lovgren's messages just get better and better. Here are a few things he said this week:

Fear, doubt, and confusion doesn't come from God and it's so easy to tell when Satan is trying to lie. Any fear or doubt in my heart makes me think it's just not true - especially in the house of the Lord. Satan's always trying to lie to us - he doesn't want us to be in the house of the Lord - he doesn't want us to feel good - he doesn't want us to have peace - he doesn't want us to be happy - he doesn't want us to progress. But being in the temple is the closest place I can get to God and Satan cannot be where God is.

It doesn't matter what other people think - it just between you and Heavenly Father. The whole time when people think they're failing Heavenly Father's right there with His arms open. He's full of love and peace and comfort. 

This world is filled with amazing people. The Plan of Salvation is real. God has a plan for each and every one of us - it's unique to us. Everyone has something to contribute and to share, and it lifts others. The true and everlasting happiness that comes is from radiating the light of the Savior.

Elder Gough and Elder Lovgren

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week Thirty-Six - And The Work Goes On

Is there a better place for Elder Lovgren to be than on a mission?! Would eternal progression, a strengthened testimony, and an everlasting focus have come had he not served a mission? I don't think so. Here are some things Elder Lovgren said this week:

The gospel changes people, it makes them their best selves. I'm a testimony of that and can see it in myself - I am changed. I can just see it in myself, that I wasn't a very good person. I know it's a process in our lives and that it takes time, and I can see the change that's happened in me. Before my mission I didn't like people, and now all I want to do is surround myself with others and build relationships with my brothers and sisters. I want to help them and I don't care about me. Any chance I get to stop thinking about myself is nice. Like I said, it's a process and it's not something I'm perfect at. But line upon line and precept upon precept - I grow a little bit at a time. I'm growing so much! 

The other day, our investigator asked us, "How do I know that a 14 year old boy saw Jesus Christ?" That's a very valid question! Everyone needs to ask that question. We shared scriptures with him - Alma 32 talks about exercising a particle of faith and when you let the seed of faith grow in your heart you'll feel swelling motions and your soul will begin to enlarge and you'll know it comes from a good place. Ether 12 verse 6 says that faith is things that are hoped for but not seen, and that a witness will come after your faith is tried - God will reveal himself spiritually to us. Many things are manifest to us through the spirit after we have the desire - the hope - that they will be manifest. We desire God to really be there and we hope for it. If we dispute not and dare to have faith He will witness to us. 

People inherently have spirituality in them, and they want to talk about it! People want a church to come to and they want to talk about spiritual things. The reality of the calling I have for two years is to be able to tell people, "It exists, it's here right now, come and be a part of it. We'll love ya, and you'll find so much peace and happiness here. It's changed my life. You just have to know for yourself, don't take my word for it." Reality tells me there is no greater calling. Missionary work is a miracle, and I couldn't be more happy in my life - I couldn't be in a better place. 

Contact Lenses
A friend of ours said the gospel is like contacts. I love that comparison. Before I had contacts I could see beautiful things - I could go - I could live my life - life was good. But that day when I put contacts in my eyes, all of a sudden I saw detail - I saw even more beauty. That's entirely what this gospel is: We can live our lives happy and content, but when we put the contacts of the gospel on we see things way different - we see the details and see the things that matter.

Elder Cedeno, Elder Lovgren's trainer, is going home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Week Thirty Five - Learning

Elder Lovgren inspires me. (Just to clarify, this blog is maintained by me and I insert some of his words from his weekly messages to us.) Here are some things he said this week:

The Lord's Words
The scripture I want to share (in Mosiah chapter 7) is one that sort of haunted me at times when I knew I needed to be a better person, but at the same time it just rings so much truth. It's in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah chapter seven. It says:"For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again, he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison. And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction. And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." (Mosiah 7:27-33)

Lesson Learned
When I lost my wallet it was at a time when I was sitting around the apartment a little more than I should have, I was sitting in the car, and maybe going shopping during the week. I was not doing missionary work at those times and that's just the honest truth. I don't believe the Lord inflicted pain on me but rather he invited an experience for me to learn from and grow, so I could become a better person. What a better person I've become with my wallet being gone! It sucks! But at the same time it's okay, I'm learning. It's like do what I need to be doing, obey the Lord, obey every prompting, follow the commandments, do everything that I can! How is me losing my wallet not how the Lord hedged up a way for me to not prosper? It's been hard! It was not a punishment for me to lose my wallet - even though I thought it was - but, really, it was an opportunity for me to grow. I think it's more of a blessing than a punishment.

Blessings and Happiness
The other day some people were in our face, and saying and doing mean things to us. It bummed me out, but I asked myself how can I learn from this? How can I be a better person? I reflected over that experience and feel like I was led to that scripture yesterday. I decided to put my trust in the Lord knowing he's not gonna hedge up my way to be blocked but rather he's gonna enable us to be blessed. If we want to be happy people we have to choose. What I think that means is to choose to have God's will, choose to love God, choose to do what God wants us to do. I think choosing God brings happiness because true happiness comes from Him. If we want to be happy people we have to choose to follow Heavenly Father.

Elder Lovgren and the Dover District

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fast-forward: Week Thirty-Four - Dedication

Now that the holidays have come and gone and the craziness has gone, too, it's back to routine and consistently updating Elder Lovgren's mission blog. Here's some of what Elder Lovgren said this week:

Missionary Work is Where It's At
To be honest, I've noticed this week that the only time missionary work sucks is when I'm not doing missionary work. That's when being on a mission sucks! (I've said that a billion times in my past messages, but it's really true!) It's the same principle as working out.

It Takes Dedication
If you really want to get fit and cut it takes pain. (I haven't ever experienced the physical pain of getting cut because I've never been fully committed to it.) But, as far as being spiritually cut it also takes pain in the form of endurance, willpower, and patience. Being dedicated to becoming spiritually cut starts out being uncomfortable. A lot of the times it's not the first thing I want to do. I want to just chill, I want to just relax, but the thing is, being dedicated to being spiritually cut has shown me results. (Theoretically, it's easy to say how it is, but saying and doing it are two different things.)

The End Result is Worth It
I've seen in myself that I'm imperfect. (I don't dedicate myself all the time, you know?) I know exactly how to truly be happy and I've felt pure happiness. Sometimes I've felt pure joy and bliss on my mission. (To maintain pure bliss and joy takes a lot of reliance on the Lord.) Relying on the Lord gives me the strength to spiritually endure, but at first it's uncomfortable and spiritually painful. is the complete opposite of pain and discomfort.

Scriptures Help Me
The scripture in 2 Nephi chapter 2 (where it says, "There is an opposition in all things") really stands out to me, and has stood out to me several times on my mission. I've pondered and relied on that scripture a lot because many times I feel I'm not reaching my full potential. Sometimes as a missionary I think okay, I only have two years to do this, what am I doing? Am I piling out? You know? That really sucks for me because it destroys my peace to think I'm not good enough. (We all know where that comes from!) Reading that scripture really helps me to realize that when I do have a bad day, or when I'm not reaching out as much as I could, I'm learning what it's like to see the opposite of complete joy. 

Opposites Teach Me
Feeling sad and hard times prepares me to feel excited joy. (The only reason why I have really blissful days is because I also have hard days.) I see the fuller picture of everything, and it's really sweet! 

Knowing Both Sides
I want to read you the scripture in 2 Nephi because it's epic! (Let me pull it out real quick.) It says, "11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. 12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God." Then it talks about the laws of heaven and how if there's no law there's no happiness, and if there's no law basically, everything is vanished away and has no purpose. 

Doing What It Takes
I think about that scripture a lot. I've felt pure happiness and it's very refreshing and nice. This upcoming week I want to feel that same happiness again and I'm gonna do what it takes to feel it. (Wanting to feel pure happiness is not selfish - that I will do the work for me to be happy - because I will do the work to reach out and help others.)

Elders Lovgren and Gough at Christmastime