Friday, October 31, 2014

Arizona, Tucson Mission

Hey all!  

We usually don't get to E-mail on non P-day's, but I'm told this is an exception!  This is my reassignment letter, I will be serving in the Arizona, Tucson mission until my Visa comes through!  I'm so excited!!!  There are a pair of Sister Missionaries in my mission going to Cape Verde, and they leave on the 10th and arrive in Cape Verde on the 13th.  That's a lot of traveling!  My flights will probably be a bit shorter :)  My companion got his Visa as well, so he's going straight to Goiania!

My district has been through a bit of an emotional roller coaster today.  One of the Elders in our district went home today.  He said that there is something going on at home that he has to help with, and as soon as it is resolved he'll be back in the field.  I don't think we realized how close we had grown together over the past month.  It was so neat to see the district pull together to support him and one another.  After that, we all got our reassignments or itineraries, which was so exciting!  I think that as a whole our district is going to sleep pretty well tonight, it's been a long day!  I am loving my mission more with every day, and can't wait to serve the people in Tucson!

I'm so glad that your cut-overs are going well Dad!  I hope that you get a new contract secured soon, too.  Do you think H. F. will bring you on again?  

I have had some interesting insights lately too, but I'll write it up in a letter so I can give you some more details.   Watch the mailbox for my letter!

I love you all so much, and I hope that you can feel that.  The hour we get each week feels like hardly enough time to keep in touch with those we love, but it's what I have.  I do love you tremendously.  

Talk to you soon!
Elder Sweet

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Elder Bitter

Hey there my totally amazing family!
Left to right: Elder S. (My companion), Elder H. (My roommate), me, and Elder N. (My previous DL)
You guys rock, do you know that?  Thank you so much for all of the letters and packages, you've got no idea how cool it is to get one.  They definitely make my day!  So how's life on the home front?  How're the cut-overs coming, Dad?  How's my car doing?  When does Savannah get her permit?  What's Landon up to?  Have you guys gone fishing again lately?  Tell me what's up!  By the way, thank you so much for that care package and for sending me my totally awesome Brazil futebol jersey!  It's an awesome jersey and it's getting a lot of use.  I've had a couple elders try to buy it off of me actually, but I'm not selling it!  It's too cool...

Well, here's the news on my end.  On Sunday I was called to be the District Leader for the remainder of my time here at the MTC.  The Branch Presidency didn't have time to let us know beforehand, so all of the calls came from the pulpit just like in the olden days! 
It's Brother Sukow!  (a former member of our ward)
This picture is right outside my classroom 
It was fun.  

I also met a Senior missionary here named "Elder Bitter."  When he saw my name tag he couldn't help but come and introduce himself! 

Nothing new on my Visa, but a lot have come through lately.  One of the other districts decided to fast that their visas would come through, and half of theirs came through the next day!  Pretty cool!

So how'd Trevor's interview go? ... Anyhow, I hope that everything's going well and that Trevor gets the job he wants!  I've attached some more photos,
and a link to one of my favorite Mormon messages.  I like how Elder Christofferson talks about God cutting us down, so that he can build us up into something greater.  

Also, have you heard David Archuleta's song "Glorious?" It's for the church film "Meet the Mormons."  I'm amazed at the success that the film has had; after just 10 days it was the 37th most successful documentary ever, and it was in the nationwide top 10 highest grossing film list for the week it came out.  I'm sure the Red Cross is pretty happy, seeing as they get all of the profits!  

The church is doing some other really cool things in the near future, we got a sneak peak at a devotional a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not supposed to talk about it though,
so you guys can just keep guessing!
                             Thanks for pointing me to the "We lived with God" film,
                                                           It was awesome!
 I love you all so much!  I've got the best family ever!  Thank you for your prayers and letters, they mean a lot to me.  Talk to you soon!

Elder Logan Sweet

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014 1 Corinthians 15:10

Hello my amazing family!

How are you all doing?  Congrats on your successful cut-overs Dad, that's so awesome!  So Savannah, tell me about Star Wars rebels!  Don't spoil it, but how was it?  What are the storylines and characters like?  Has Ahsoka come up in the series yet?  No spoilers, but let me know!  What's the status on Paraguay, Landon?  Is it a go?  How's school going for you both?  Well, the language is coming along really well.  My companion and I are trying to gain a decent facility with the past-tenses right now, and it's coming a long.  While we were on our Sunday walk at the temple a guy came up to us and started speaking in Portuguese.  We able to understand and talk back!  It was so cool!  We've still got a ways to go, but it's coming along quite well.

I have gotten some news on my Visa.  I know that the Brazilian Government has received the application.  The next phases, or 'landmarks," if you will, are processing, granted, and ready for pickup if I remember right.  One of the guys in our Zone got his Visa yesterday and shipped out to Brazil this morning.  They don't waste time here!  Our Zone leaders also shipped out today.  Elder N.... and Elder B..... were re-assigned to Virginia as Visa wait-ers, and Elder G..... was reassigned to Indianapolis waiting for his Visa.  Several of the guys in our Zone did a haka for them last night.  One of our Elders from New Zealand, Elder P...... taught and led the haka.  I've never seen another person who can do a haka like that, the only word I can think of to describe it is terrifying.  He did it so well. If I can get my hands on a recording of it I'll let you know!

Elder N...., the guy we met in Capitol Reef, and I are talking about meeting up in Capitol Reef after the mish.  It would be so cool to do that, so we should make it happen!  Capitol Reef has an ability to permanently capture people's hearts like no other place I've ever heard of.  Elder N.... and I were talking about how beautiful the storms there are, and he mentioned how stunning it is to see the water start running over the cliffs.  You've got to be careful in that situation, but I would love to see the park like that someday.  There's nothing quite like storms in Southern Utah!

I'd be at a bit of a loss to give you my favorite scripture, there are just so many that I love.  There is, however, one that definitely stands out as the one that I want on my plaque.  It is 
1 Corinthians 15:10 - "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which  was with me."
I love the phrase "but by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain."  Isn't that just beautiful?  One of the things that I've thought about a lot is what does it mean for Christ's grace, which was bestowed upon us, to be in vain?  This is the best I've been able to come up with, so feel free to share your insights as well!  Christ has paid the debt for our sins, regardless of whether or not we accept the fullness of the blessings of the Atonement so that we won't have to satisfy justice ourselves.  All of us receive the blessings of resurrection; every man, woman, and child that will ever live gained that blessing when they accepted God's plan in our pre-mortal lives.  In this life we must be baptized, and repent when we sin for "He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them [our sins] no more." D&C 58:42
Finally, we can all have access to the transforming power of the atonement.  We must never lose sight of the purpose of everything in the restored gospel: helping us become Christ-like people, or making the character of Christ manifest in the way we live our lives.  If we keep this end in mind always, then every commandment, ordinance, and covenant will fulfill its purpose in us.  There is a very real transforming power in the atonement, and we can feel it in our lives as we keep our covenants with God and repent when we, inevitably, fall short.  I know that as we do this, we will feel Christ lifting us up to be more than we ever could be on our own, and we "shall know that it is by me [Christ] that [we] are led." 1 Nephi 17:13
I love you all so much, and I know that I am were God needs me, feeding his sheep.  Have a wonderful week, and I'll see you all soon!
Elder Logan Sweet

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 14, 2014 "It's going to be a short two years".

                                                         "Until he's done..."
Hey,   (mailed)
I'm so excited to write you!  I miss you so much!  I just got the brownies that you sent me, they're sooo good.  It's so nice getting your letters too, you have no idea how special it is hearing from home.  Thank you so much : )   Well let me tell you about my companion His name is Elder William A.  S.....  He's from Spanish Fork, Utah.  He reminds me a lot of Jonah.  He played football, baseball, and wrestling in High School.  He's 6'2" and hence much taller than me.  He and I get along super well.  The MTC is a lot of work and having a companion that I get along with & can joke around with is so helpful.  I don't know how boring people make it through here! :)  Well, I can't believe that this week is almost over!   The first several days crawled, but these ones have flown.  I'm starting to get the feeling that it's going to be a short two years.  Portuguese is coming well!  Meu Profesor novo tamben.  Sen nive e' de Brasil, e pode dezir Portuguese como os Brasileiros (porque e' de Brasil!)  Ele e' muito ben!  Translation;  "My Professor Brother S......, is super.  I have a new professor as well, his name is Brother  He was our first investigator. When we finished teaching him he began being our professor.  Brother M..... is from Brazil & he can speak Portuguese like the Brazilians (because he's from Brazil!)  He is really awesome!"  End Translation.  He's also super, super funny.  I'm constantly amazed at the quality & caliber of the professors they have here.  Brother is only 22 years old.  He's married has a child due in December!  I'm not sure how old Brother S...... is but I'd guess between 21 & 25.  Both of them are such great teachers, have an excellent command of the language & have wisdom beyond their years in matters of the gospel.  On top of this, they're both students at BYU & have families to take care of & provide for.  I'm consistently amazed at these men & women that are working here.  I'm really growing to love the MTC.  My testimony is growing daily and my desire to serve the Lord grows daily.  Apparently I'm pretty funny too.  Several people that are in my zone have bumped into me in the cafeteria, looked at my name tag, & said "hey, you're that guy who's hilarious & laughs a lot, right?"  I think, I'm kind of weird, personally but if they want to say I'm funny then that's just fine. : ) 
I love you! Love, 
Elder Logan Sweet

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 7, 2014 First Companion and District

HI,   (Mailed)                                                                                                              October 7, 2014
Here’s the letter I promised!  I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to write a better e-mail.  The hour we get to write e-mails flew by so fast!  I’ve heard that they only get 25 minutes a week at the Sao Paulo MTC though, so I have a lot to be grateful for.  It really helps me to realize how much I cherish these relationships.  When you only have 60 minutes a week to communicate with your loved ones, you grow grateful for time together.
This is a picture of my companion and I outside the Provo temple earlier today!  
 Anyhow, let me tell you about the MTC.  It’s really hard work.  I’ve never wasted so little time each day in my life.  My companion (Elder S…l) and I get up at 6:00am each morning and go for a run, and then come back to do push-ups, sit-ups, etc.  After that we shower, put on our slacks, shirts, and tie and then we go to breakfast.  The food here lives up to its reputation, it is really good.  At each meal there are several different meal options.  I’ve decided to limit myself to one entrĂ©e and occasionally a side, because otherwise it’s so easy to over eat.  (Last night for dinner I had Swedish meatballs, and there was cheesecake for dessert but I disciplined myself.  Both my companion and I have asked each other to help us to not get fat while we’re here.  Anyhow, after breakfast we go to our class and Irmao Staples teaches us Portuguese.  I really enjoy how we learn the language within the context of the gospel.  Every now and then Irmao Staples gives us a gospel lesson in the middle of our language lesson.  It’s pretty cool!  We’re in class from 9:30 – 12:30 and then we go get lunch.  After lunch we have class from 1:15 – 4:15, during which we practice teaching with the mock – investigators and study the language.
And here's my District
 At 4:15 we go change for gym time, which usually starts at 4:30.  We get gym time for 60 minutes, and then we come back to our residence, shower and go to dinner.  Dinner’s usually at 5:45 and then we go back to class at 6:30.  From 6:30 – 7:30 we have personal study, 7:30 – 8:30 is companion study and 8:30 – 9:30 is language study.  After that we go back to our residence and have personal time.  We can write letters, write in our journals, and have various companion study things, we usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00.  It’s a long day.  And very little time for ourselves.  You really have to work hard to keep things fun.  But, we’re doing it! 

Here's a picture with all my roommates
This is Calvin and Hobbes!  They're our Zone leaders, and they actually look a lot like the comic characters lol!  Dad, the guy on the right is Elder N...s.  He's the guy that we met at Capitol Reef National Park.  He and I swapped stories about the park, and of course all the ones I had were yours.  It was a lot of fun though.  He really loves the area, and wants to meet up there after the mission!  He leaves the MTC on Monday. Now for a quick spiritual thought.  To redeem us from the fall we were given 2 things; the law of sacrifice and a redeemer.  We commonly talk about Christ’s role in redeeming us from the effects of the fall and it is of infinite importance.  We commonly overlook the role of sacrifice though.  In order to understand this better, I found that fasting is a powerful example.  I found as I studied that fasting is a “type” of the law of sacrifice.  To better understand this I recommend reading Isaiah 58 then re-read it but replace the word “fast with “sacrifice”.  The first time I read Isaiah 58 it seemed to scream that fasting is a type of the law of sacrifice.  I hope you enjoy that, please share your insights! 

I haven’t told you today how much I love you have I?  I love you so much.  I miss the time we spent together, but I’m really looking forward to spending more time in 2016!  I think of you a ton J  Keep in touch! 
Love,  Elder Logan Sweet

 Abide With Me (2:00)
Abide With Me  (at 2:03)  (Logan sings in the April conference 2014)
Dear Mom and Dad,  (E-mail)

didn't sing in the MTC choir this conference (October 2014), they put it together the week before I arrived.

 Keep the "dearelders" coming, they make my day every time I get one!   The MTC is a lot of work, and you have to try to make it fun.  Luckily my companion, Elder S...l, is way cool.  He and I come up with a bunch of creative ways to keep life interesting!  We get up and go for a run each morning, and that really helps too.  I'm finding that the better the friendship with your companion is, the better the MTC is.

I also got to watch a recording of a devotional that Elder Bednar gave about hearing the voice of the spirit.  It's called "Recognizing the

voice of the spirit." .  He said that people frequently ask him the question "how do I know if it's the spirit or if it's me?"  His answer was pretty simple: quit worrying about it!  He told us to "  Remember your covenants.  Keep the commandments.  Your steps will be guided, your utterances directed.  You will be put in the right place, at the right time.  'Ye cannot go amiss.'"  He said that the vast majority of the times that we are guided by the spirit, we are completely unaware that it is going on.  He shared several examples from his own life of this.  It was an incredible talk.  If you can access it, it's called "Recognizing the Voice of the Spirit" by David A. Bednar, I would highly recommend it.  It was one of the most incredible messages I've ever heard.

I miss you so much, I love you so much and miss you, I'll write often.  My time's up now, I've got to go :(  I'm looking forward to hearing from you again!
Logan Sweet
P.S. Keep being awesome!
I'll tell you more about it in my letter, but if you can access it than read it!  It's incredible!
I love you sooooooo much!!!
Elder Logan Sweet :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Dear Mom, Dad, Landon, & Savannah,                                                          Thursday October 2, 2014

      Hey guys! It’s Thursday the 2nd today, but it feels like I’ve been gone so much longer.  The MTC is definitely a lot of work.  You basically start working at 6:30 am & keep doing so until 10:30 pm when we go to bed.  The only gusi-free time is when we eat, because we can’t study then (we aren’t allowed to bring anything but necessities into the cafeteria) & we get to sit by who we want.  Other than that, it’s pretty hard-core!  It’s a lot of fun seeing people I know around here though.  I saw Bethany (a girl from my seminary class) on Wednesday, & I saw Emily (one of my FHE (Family Home Evening) sisters from school) today in the cafeteria.   Little treats like that make being here much easier.  
     My companion is awesome! His name is Elder S...l & he’s from Spanish Fork.  He & I get along really well, we’re constantly joking with each other.  We practice the language a lot too.  They don’t give us much time for studying outside the classroom, so we try to squeeze it in wherever we can.  The spirit is really strong here, & that’s what makes all of the work bearable.  They bring in real investigators to the MTC for us to teach (& some role – players) some of them have the neatest stories.  I’ll be honest; sometimes it’s really hard not to cry at some of their stories.  
 Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah

The MTC is difficult, but it is growing on me.  I really can’t wait to get to the field though.  That’s what we’re all here for.  By the way, do you remember the guy we met at your old house in Capital Reef, Dad?  He’s the one that was going to Brasilia for his mission.  We exchanged E-mails, remember?  He just so happens to be my Zone Leader!  Small world, huh?
     Well, I love & miss you guys!  Landon & Savannah, keep trying hard in school.  It’s tough but if you endure to the end you WILL see the benefits.  Dad, good luck on your cutover this Sunday!  Mom, I want you to know that you’re a 100% super hero.  You do so much for all of us, you really are amazing.
This is my MTC mailing address:

Elder Sweet  Nov. 11 BRA-GOI
2009 N.  900 E.  Unit #132                                                                 Provo, UT  84602

     Also, if you find my camera cord please send it.  One more thing, could you look up the S.  Zip-Code?  Their address is ..... Newbury Park, CA.  I get to email people on Tuesday, so I’ll look forward to e-mailing you guys!

Love, Elder Logan Sweet
Click Below to watch a short video about the MTC (4 1/2 min)
The MTC Celebrates 50th Anniversary 

October 1, 2014 Leaving for the MTC

Brothers and Sister
Elder Logan
Elder Logan Sweet Leaving for the Provo MTC Early Tuesday Morning from the Los Angeles Airport

September 30, 2014 Set apart

Tuesday September 30

Elder Logan Sweet is Set Apart as a Missionary by President Lythgoe

We met with President Lythgoe Tuesday evening and after a discussion with advice from each family member President Lythgoe gave Logan his council and advice, then assisted by Dad he set Elder Logan Sweet was set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day 

We especially enjoyed this talk from the October 2014 General conference.

September 14, 2014 Sacrament Meeting Talk.

(The assigned Topic Was Obedience)
Brothers and sisters, it is such a pleasure to be here today!  I love seeing all of the familiar faces of family and friends (the weather’s nice too.)  But now, into the talk.  It can sometimes be difficult to fathom a God that is so full of love and mercy that he would sacrifice his only begotten son so that we might return to live with him, but one who also cannot rob justice for if he were to do so he “would cease to be God” (Alma 42:25).  Justifying all of the rules that seem to be imposed upon us can be difficult, and many people see the commandments as nothing more than that: rules.  I've heard of some people who said “it’s too hard,” or “the burden that is placed upon me by the commandments is just too heavy, I cannot bear it.”  All of us at some point or another have probably wondered why we have the commandments, and why strict obedience to them is so important.  As I pondered just that, it became clearer and clearer to me that there is so much more to the commandments than simple “do’s,” “do not’s,” and rules.  Rather, they go far beyond that.  Obedience to the commandments of God is how we gain access to the fullness of God’s grace, and through his grace become all that we can become.  It is this point that I wish to establish in my message.  To do so, I would like to consider a few different scriptural accounts of obedience, and see what we can learn about the connection between obedience and grace.
One of the archetypal examples of obedience is that of Abraham and his son Isaac.  In Genesis 22 we read the following instruction given by God to Abraham:
“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2)
Before we dive into this, let’s try to wrap our minds around just what God had asked Abraham to do.  Isaac was Abraham’s first born son of his most beloved wife, and indeed he did love Isaac very much.  In spite of all this, the years of waiting for Sarah to bear a child, the countless prayers that I’m sure were said, in spite of all that, God wanted Abraham to offer up his son.  This comes into even starker relief when we recall that it was on the altar of the Egyptians that Abraham himself was nearly sacrificed by his father. 
Despite all this, Abraham submitted and went about keeping the commandment of the Lord.  He “rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.”  After three days of travel, Abraham saw the place where they were to perform the offering a ways off.  Instructing the young men that were with them to stay behind, Abraham and Isaac continued to the place of sacrifice.  The perceptive Isaac noticed that a crucial part of the sacrifice was missing, and said “My father: Here am I, thy son. Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  To this Abraham responded “God will provide himself a lamb.”  Continuing with the account: “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.  And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.”  The angel that appeared told Abraham to stay his blade, and informed him that God now knew that Abraham truly feared him and would not withhold anything from him.  “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”  Abraham’s example of strict obedience is certainly one that we all can strive for, but there are also some key doctrines that we should learn from this.  God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac, his only son, to him as a burnt offering.  The ram caught in the thicket truly was Isaac’s deliverance; it took his place as the sacrifice that God required.  I would like to draw special attention to the fact that simply laying Isaac on the altar is not enough to procure the delivering ram.  God did not ask Abraham to go out and find himself a ram, and bring it to the altar.  Rather, upon complete submission by both Abraham the father and Isaac the son, God provided the means of deliverance.
Now let us consider another incredible example of obedience: that of the widow of zarephath.  Here I will give an “extended quotation” if you will, from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s message in the April 1996 general conference, entitled “A handful of meal and a little oil:”
"As the prophet [Elijah] prepared for a final confrontation with Ahab, God commanded Elijah to go to the village of Zarephath where, he said, he had commanded a widow woman to sustain him.
"As he entered the city in his weary condition he met his benefactress, who was undoubtedly as weak and wasted as he. Perhaps almost apologetically the thirsty traveler importuned, “Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” As she turned to meet his request, Elijah added even more strain to the supplication. “Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand [also].”
"Elijah’s pitiful circumstances were obvious. Furthermore, the widow had been prepared by the Lord for this request. But in her own weakened and dispirited condition, the prophet’s last entreaty was more than this faithful little woman could bear. In her hunger and fatigue and motherly anguish she cried out to the stranger, “As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks [which tells us how small her fire needed to be], that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
"But Elijah was on the Lord’s errand. Israel’s future—including the future of this very widow and her son—was at stake. His prophetic duty made him more bold than he might normally have wanted to be.

“Fear not,” he said to her, “but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
“For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”
"Then this understated expression of faith—as great, under these circumstances, as any I know in the scriptures. The record says simply, “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah.” Perhaps uncertain what the cost of her faith would be not only to herself but to her son as well, she first took her small loaf to Elijah, obviously trusting that if there were not enough bread left over, at least she and her son would have died in an act of pure charity. The story goes on, of course, to a very happy ending for her and for her son."  (end of extended quote)
Now, as we all know, the cruse of oil did not fail, nor did the barrel of meal waste, until the famine had ended.  But let’s examine this a little bit closer.  Where else have we heard of a loving parent being called upon by God to offer up their son, and only upon the exact keeping of God’s commandments, and at the moment of complete submission, did deliverance arrive?  This widowed mother was indeed asked to make a sacrifice very similar to the one that was required of Abraham many years before.  By agreeing to feed Elijah the prophet first, the widow of Zarephath had effectively signed the death sentence for both herself and her son.  However, once the sacrifice was made God provided by keeping oil in the cruse and meal in the barrel for as long as was necessary to sustain them.  Once again, I would like to draw your attention to this fact: The act of preparing the cake for Elijah would not have put oil in the cruse and meal in the barrel.  Rather, it would have done quite the opposite.  We will return to this as well.
In order to illustrate the doctrine that I am attempting to share, I would like to share an allegory on the topic in addition to the two shared previously. 
 Imagine that you are stuck at the bottom of a deep pit, or      well.  You cannot climb out.  It seems that your fate is to remain at the bottom of this well until you whither.  As the realization finally sets in that there is nothing within your power that will allow you to exit the well, you might find yourself sitting in the bottom pondering upon what your life has been, and what it could have become.  At this point, in the very pit of your despair,
a rope falls in front of you and a voice calls out “Grab on!”  Hope suddenly rushes back as you realize that rescue finally may have come!  You grab hold of the rope, and do all that you can to maintain your grip as your unknown benefactor, a true good Samaritan, pulls you up out of this well.  Once on the surface again, your possibilities seem endless, your life once again has purpose and potential.  Now, let’s take a few steps back in time when you were at the bottom of the well.  Imagine that the rope had simply been dropped in your lap, and the passerby above once again yelled “Grab on!” but then simply walked off.  You follow the instructions perfectly and squeeze the limp rope laying in your lap with all your might.  Will this get you anywhere?  Squeezing the rope is exactly what you did in our first scenario, and you ended up on the surface!  Why wouldn’t squeezing the rope now put you on the surface too?  It is because it is not the act of squeezing the rope that moves you to the surface.  Rather, squeezing the rope serves to cause something that is normally beyond our abilities to come within their realms.  Likewise, it was not the act of placing Isaac on the altar that caused the Ram to appear, and it was not the act of using the last oil and meal to feed Elijah that placed more in their possession.  Rather, these actions served to help them achieve something that was beyond their abilities, and it was the grace of God that procured the ram for Abraham and the meal and oil for the widow.  Likewise, the commandments and obedience to them serves to put within our grasp that which we could not attain by our own strength: salvation and exaltation.  The commandments are the rope that was cast to us in the well, squeezing it tight is our strict obedience to them, and the atonement is the difference between the two scenarios we discussed.  Thus, we see the true freedom that accompanies obedience.  Without grasping the rope (keeping the commandments) one can enjoy free reign over the bottom of the well.  But by holding on we can experience the freedom and joy that accompanies the being on the surface of the earth rather than in the well.  The mountains, valleys, sights, and sounds that simply cannot be enjoyed from the bottom of the pit are available to those who grasp the rope.  So let us choose which of the 2 freedoms that we desire.  By keeping the commandments we choose the greater of the 2 freedoms, and avail ourselves to the full grace of God.  That we will do just that is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sunday September 28

Open House

Logan and Sheela, Note the shoe trade.
It was Tuesday when we were told Logan would be entering the Provo MTC the next week on Wednesday,  What we thought was six weeks to prepare became six days.  I lamented not having an open house for family and friends to say good bye before Logan left .  Sheela Logan's Girl Friend, jumped right in and said there was still time and we should have one and offered to help.

A song Logan liked

Some Things To Know About Brazil

  • Brazil is the largest country in South America.
  • The name Brazil comes from a tree named brazilwood.
  • It is called Brasil in Portuguese, the official language spoken in Brazil.
  • Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese.
  • Portugal claimed the land of Brazil in the year 1500. Independence was declared in 1822.
  • Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world by both land area and population.
  • The population in 2012 was around 194 million people.
  • The capital city is Brasilia, while the largest city is Sao Paulo.
  • Other major cities include Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza.
  • In Brazil they drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Brazil has a large coastline on the eastern side of South America, stretching 7491 kilometres (4655 miles) in length.
  • Brazil shares a border with all South American countries except for Chile and Ecuador.
  • Brazil covers 3 time zones.
  • Brazil has one of the largest economies in the world.
  • The Amazon River flows through Brazil, it is the 2nd longest river in the world (after the Nile).
  • Around 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil.
  • The climate in the majority of Brazil is tropical.
  • Brazil is home to a wide range of animals, including armadillo, tapirs, jaguars and monkeys.
  • logging, mining fishing and agriculture are important to the Brazilian economy 
  • Millions of tourists visit Brazil every year.
  • There are around 2500 airports in Brazil.
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Brazil with the national team consistently among the best in the world, winning the World Cup a record 5 times.