Sunday, December 25, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

It’s been a whirlwind of a year, I’d say. For those of you who haven’t heard (which I guess would be anyone who chanced upon my blog and doesn’t know me personally), I’m home again as of the beginning of November. I’ve been meaning to write a post about my feelings on coming home, but I’ll save that for another day. Today, being Christmas, I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had today.

Today, I didn’t get to be with family. I didn’t get to go home and the majority of my day has been spent sitting in my apartment by myself. But you know what? That’s okay. Earlier today, I had the chance to work a lunch shift. Now, working at the MTC cafeteria has been a challenge for me in the past. Last summer, I was so jealous of the missionaries there that I almost wanted to quit. Even since being back in Provo, I’ve wondered how smart it was for me to start working at the MTC again. Today, none of that mattered though. I got to spend Christmas Day serving Christmas dinner to ordained servants of God. I’m so grateful for the missionaries today (and there was many of them) that thanked me and my coworkers for working Christmas Day (and even more so since it was Sunday too) so that they could have a Christmas dinner. Many times throughout the shift, I thought to myself “How lucky am I to get to spend Christmas serving God’s army?” Every “Thank you” and “Merry Christmas” that those Elders and Sisters said made my day.

It’s been an interesting change being back from my mission again. A year ago, I remember thinking (and probably telling a couple people, like my parents) that all I wanted for Christmas was to go back on my mission. Today, I’m just grateful to be in Provo with a job and to be in my old ward (despite how much turnover the ward had since I left). I honestly don’t know what I’d ask for a Christmas present. Maybe it’s the fact that my parents gave me my one Christmas surprise the night I came home (I get to spend this coming week in California with my entire family… it’ll be the first time in over seven years that all of us will be together) and I knew that that was my Christmas present. I guess if I had to choose one thing that I want for Christmas it would be just friends… to be able to spend time with the people I care about, to be able to make new friends in an essentially new ward, and to find a group of friends to have more good times with. This part, I guess, just comes back to trusting that my Heavenly Father will put people in my path to become friends with… that’s what happened with Garrett… that’s what happened with Eric… that’s what happened with Justin… it’s happened every time since I’ve come to BYU.

I know that He loves me. I know that He watches out for me. I know that He gives me the people I need to become who I need to be. I’m grateful for this time of year that the entire world is turned toward the birth of the Savior. Yesterday, I posted a scripture on Facebook in honor of Christmas Eve with a little note. I want to share that scripture and that note here too:

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." (3 Nephi 1:13)

The sign of the Savior’s birth saved the Nephites from physical death. His death and Atonement saves each of us from spiritual death if we will come unto Him.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Called to Serve... Again

Setting: June 29, 2011—Apartment 101

The plan was to watch all three Narnia movies in a row (I’ve wanted to do that for a while). For “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, I was joined by Joey, Justin, and John (3 of my roommates). After the first movie, Joey and Justin had to go and it was left to just me and John. About half-way through “Prince Caspian”, I was watching by myself (I can’t remember where John had disappeared to) and my phone starts ringing. I look at it and realize that President Mullen (my BYU stake president) is calling me. Immediately, I shut off the TV and answer the phone.

He tells me that the mission department is sending me back to the mission field. They’re sending me to the Canada Calgary Mission for two or three transfers to make sure that I’ll be okay, but as long as that goes well, I’m going back to Toronto.

After I got off the phone with President Mullen, I called home to tell my parents, but as luck would have it, Tyler told me that Dad was taking Mom dinner at work. So for the next twenty minutes, I waited for Dad to get home, as Joey and John watched me go crazy, because I couldn’t tell them yet. Finally, I got ahold of Dad and I was finally able to tell people.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity He has given me to share the gospel again. What I know about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation means so much to me and I’m excited to share it with others.

--Spencer… Elder Ficiur JJJ

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'll Make a Man Out of You

This blog post has been coming for a long time. It’s just been hard to put it into words. Many of my friends from Hill Cumorah Pageant will remember belting out “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” during karaoke on Hobart Day. There is also a Youtube video that Garrett showed me of him belting out this song (big mistake, buddy, haha). I also have memories of my friend, Michele Smith (who is now on her mission in Japan), playing this song whenever we (me, her, Melissa, and Eric) were going somewhere in Eric’s car. I absolutely love this song. It is such a goofy, weird, and strangely spiritually inspirational song.

The day my district left the MTC for Toronto, we were walking across the MTC campus in the early morning, this song was going through my head. Maybe it was because we were up so early… maybe it was because we’d spent three weeks straight trying to train ourselves to think spiritually… maybe it’s just because I’m weird… I started to analyze this song spiritually, in regards to a mission, so here we go:

The biggest point of this song, spiritually, that I saw came from a conversation I’d once had with Juliana about guys and missions. The point of the conversation had been that missions turn boys into men. In other words, the mission will “make a man out of you.” Get it? ;) A mission (hopefully) will teach a young man to follow the Spirit, to learn the gospel, and what is most important. Even after only the three and a half months I was out, people could see this in me.

I’m sure I could break down most of the lines of this song to have some spiritual meaning, but there’s one part that means something to me particularly right now as I come closer to finding out about returning to my mission (even if I don’t know exactly when I will find out): “You’re unsuited for the rage of war. So, pack up, go home. You’re through. How could I make a man out of you?” I mentioned the spiritual application of this part to Garrett in one of my letters. Oddly enough (or not oddly, for anyone who knows me and him) he had been thinking of a spiritual application to this song too and he’d gotten stuck on this line. My spiritual application that I told him was this: the line is Satan telling us we’re no good, we can’t make it the rest of the way, and we can’t do it. If you remember from the movie, though, this line in the song is said and Mulan is about to leave. She turns around, sees the pole, arrow, and medals from the original challenge that Shang had given them. She goes back and makes it up the pole.

Life seems to get hard just before something good happens (so I’m expecting something good pretty quick). Satan tells us we’re not good enough or strong enough to make it through the trial. If we give up when he tells us to though, we’ll miss out on the prize that our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  He will never ask us to do more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Nephi 3:7). When Joseph Smith was in the Sacred Grove, the adversary attacked him. By his own account, Joseph Smith was just about to give up, when the light of Heaven began to appear (JS-H 1:16). He will rescue us in our darkest hour. That I know for certain.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

What About

The world gives us every reason to be sad. The gospel, however, gives us every reason so rejoice. That's what this song is about, to me. The pictures are just anything that makes me happy. :) The song is "What About" by Peter Breinholt from the EFY 2000 CD. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Light on the Horizon

Hey! Just a small post for today. I was looking at my blog and I felt like I wanted a new banner for my blog. I absolutely love the picture of me and President Brower that I'd used for my banner for a while after I got back (it's been my Facebook profile picture pretty much the whole time I've been back and it will stay that way until I'm cleared to return). Instead of that, I decided to use this sunset picture. I took this picture as I was coming out of the Provo Temple one evening. I don't know how, but last semester, I had a habit of coming out of the temple at the PERFECT moments to see the PERFECT sunsets.

I chose this for my new banner because I can now see the light on the horizon. For those of you who are wondering if this means I'm now officially going back, the answer is NO. Trust me, it'll be VERY obvious when I post about that. I'm planning on titling that post as "Called to Serve... Again". Anyway, it's time to get back on topic.

Last week, I had an appointment with LDS Family Services (the 5th I've had... I think) and amongst other topics my counselor (Brother Gibbons) told me that once March rolls around, he wants to start working on me applying to return to my mission after this semester is over.

But no matter what's going on in our lives, we can always see the light if we try. Though we may be in a dark tunnel of trials, if we focus on our Savior and His atoning sacrifice and move forward with faith (as I mentioned in my last post), we can always have hope (see Ether 12:4). Even as I write this, I feel very hypocritical because this is something I need to work on, but in my heart I know this is true.