Refuge from the Storm

I love this time of year when the early morning shadows fall heavy on the mountain in front of my home. Ever since I was young, I’d look across the desert at Gass Peak and the mountain that had become my “North.”

One year ago today, after a sleepless night, I took this photo as I left to go to church where a new stake was to be created, the Shadow Mountain stake. I may have taken that drive a bit slower than usual.

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about kindness, faith, study and work. With the help of Candace and 2,600 friends, we’ve built a “defense” for righteousness and a “refuge from the storm.”

As we continue to Light the World this Christmas season, I’m thankful to the members of the Shadow Mountain stake for the patience and sustaining effort you’ve shown for me as I learn. It’s been humbling to discover the goodness found in the homes and halls of this stake.


A guidance for happy living

The first time I went to Japan, my trip had a rough start. I flew across the Pacific ocean in seats too small and landed in Tokyo at about 4PM. I was eager to get to a comfortable hotel for a shower and a place to lay down.

In my usual “I’ll figure it out as I go” approach to travel, I made my way to a train station and saw this board. (pictured) It was confusing, overwhelming, and it didn’t direct me at all. I knew where i wanted to go, but didn’t know how to get there. There was nothing I could have done for myself at this point. I needed some help. 

With the help of some free station wifi, 4 Japanese school kids that spoke broken English, and shadowing some American businessmen who had a guide, I eventually made it to my hotel. (Also pictured.)

In a similar fashion, I know where I want to be in this life and after I pass away. Like many of you, I want to be considered a good and righteous person here on Earth and then return, with my family, to my Father in Heaven when I’ve left this earth. I believe these things are possible, but I need help in knowing how I can achieve these things.

My favorite scripture is Doctrine and Covenants 82:8-10 which reads:

8 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

This scripture reminds me to be thankful for the commandments and direction that we’ve received from scripture, prophets and promptings. I know what I want to become so the more direction I can receive, the better.

Some people see commandments as limiting or controlling, but I don’t. Like Elder M Russell Ballard , I believe “commandments are a guidance for happy living.”