Date

September 30, 2016

Area

Antietam, Maryland

Companion

Elder Stafford

Building our Castles

Hey everyone, I feel inspired this week to share with you something that I wrote down a couple nights ago. But before I do I want everyone to know how much I love them! I'm not to sure how many people read this, or who exactly reads this each week but I want you to know i love you very much and pray for you daily. Living in a different place for a while now, has helped me to understand that no matter where you are in the world everyone struggles. Whatever it may be, it is specific to that individual and they have been given that challenge for a reason.

The Life of a Castle~
If we see our lives as a castle we see a beautiful building towering high for all to see. With height and beauty comes a price, not only do others see this magnificent work of art but so does the adversary. All he desires is the destruction of our Castle. Day by day Satan comes with his army waging war at our gate. For many days maybe even years, we build up our walls believing that they will never be knocked down. And so we man the walls with less of our forces, and less ways of defending ourselves. There have been days, we all remember those days, when Satan came with the strongest of his forces and kicked in our gate and laid waste to all and whatever was inside. He leaves and we are left in the ashes, so we feel. And the once great castle is in ruins, and you look at the scene wishing you would have been prepared to battle against his forces. Now we have two options: rebuild or sit and do nothing. These are and were the only two options. To continue to build up or lay idle. Whatever stage we are at in life whether we are admiring our magnificent castle or looking at the rubble and ruins, we must build. We must repent and prepare, that is to build. It is when we are idle and sit in our ruins or we are not manning our gate when the adversary comes with all he has. We cannot defend the integrity of our Castle with no walls. Nor can we defend our Castle when we have nothing watching the walls to tell us we are being attacked. In any case to build is to progress and grow, and when we do decide to rebuild Christ is alongside us helping us brick by brick, till the rubble is turned back into the once magnificent castle.

Now we've all heard these types of analogies before, but what is going to make it hit home? What is going to help us change?

I'll share with you an experience Elder Stafford and I had last night. We were tracking had we had knocked a bunch of doors and we were going to try and go to another area where we thought more people would open the door to us. We had a few more houses until the end of the street and so we were going to finish up here and get in the car and go somewhere else. The next door we knocked a man came out and began to laugh a little (not sure why he laughed haha), then he started to tell us his life story. After he finished we felt we needed to share with him the First Vision, but he continued to interrupt us as we were sharing this with him. This went on for about a half hour, and finally we said we had to leave. This type of conversation has happened many times to me while on my mission, but it didn't click til this morning, what I think Heavenly Father was trying to help me understand. One thing I did realize about this man was that his castle had been kicked down so many times throughout his life time and time again. From what he described, he sat in the rubble susceptible to the adversary's forces. But just like this man last night, is that, we are so distracted by our problems or the things that are going on around us that we do not stop to listen to the spirit. The key to all of this is to listen to the spirit, he will tell us what to do. First we need to we worthy of his presence, then once we are doing all that we can to have him as our constant companion, then a whole new adventure takes place and we must then be able to recognize the spirit when he is talking to us. The man last night did not recognize the spirit and was not ready to hear the things that Heavenly father wanted him to hear.

Do we sometimes do this? Let our worries, and the things all around us bombard and distract us from the important things? In turn we get so distracted that our Castle gets over run and there we are in the ruins, in the rubble again.

Friends and family, we are meant to have magnificent castles forever stretching upward. As we listen to the Lord, and his direction of how we should build and defend our castle he will tell us through the whisperings of the spirit! Life was meant to be this way, HARD so that we could prove ourselves, if we are faithful, and listen to the spirit we will overcome the challenges of this life.

Ill leave you with this: My mission president's wife said something that I loved last week in her talk to all the missionaries. In reference to the gospel and the church she said "It's true isn't it?...Then what else matters."

Love you all!
Always, Elder Shouse





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