Monday, 3 June 2013

All That She Had

I have been thinking a bit about a famous story in the Bible: The Widows Mite. I think we are all somewhat familiar with the story. But just in case, here are the few verses that talk of it.

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

So let's think of it for a second. This widow gave all that she could, just two humble mites, or a farthing. That is all she could afford and that is all she gave. There is a scripture in Deuteronomy 16:17 that says:
17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.

We need to be giving what we are able to give, whether that is of our money to help the needy, our talents, or our time. We have been given all these things by a loving Heavenly Father. Let's show him how grateful we are by using those things he has given us. All of us are so blessed in a different and unique way. I know that when we give of our substance, whatever it may be, the Lord will bless us with even more abundance that we give.
Click on the image to watch a short video about the widows mite. It is super good!:)
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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Mormon Service

Mormon Infographic

With the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, it's nice to know that the Mormons help out and you can count on them. The local Church leaders are doing a lot of work to help out those that are in distress. Our hearts go out to those who have been struck with recent tragedy and they are always in our prayers. "..that ye may lean that when you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17) Let us always be looking for opportunities to serve God by serving our fellow beings. The world is a difficult place to live. There are people around us who need our help. Give a helping hand to those in need.

Elder Sparks

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Sunday, 19 May 2013


*Some names may have been changed
So, about a year ago, I had the opportunity to go skydiving in Southern Utah, near the Grand Canyon. Me, my brother Drew* and his wife Lindsay and some of their friends had found a great deal on a skydiving trip that we couldn't pass up. So leading up to the day, I didn't feel nervous at all. Actually, I was pretty excited. Now, for those who may know me, I am not much of a thrill seeker so this was kind of a big deal for me. I prepared all week mentally for this adventure.
 On Friday we (Me, Drew, Lindsay and Lindsay's sister, Michelle) drove down and stayed the night in a hotel. The next morning we woke up early and drove to the small airport where the we would take off. My brother and his wife decided that they would skydive first. We got into the hanger where the plane was kept. The skydiving leader uncovered a tiny little plane from the 60's that could only hold 4 people at a time. I stated to get a little bit nervous at this time. My brother and sister-in-law suited up in the colourful jumpsuits and prepared themselves for the jump. The crew started up the rickety plane and the plane was loaded up and began it's 20 minute flight to the 10,000 where Drew and Lindsay and the guides would jump out of the plane. I watched from below as the plane reached its peak and I watched as Drew jumped out first, followed by Lindsay. After about 10 minutes, they landed softly back onto solid ground.

So now the time had come for me to get ready. I was starting to get butterflies but not too nervous. I put on the silly, colourful jumpsuit on and crawled into the tiny plane with my guide and Michelle with her guide and began the ascent. About 10 minutes into the flight it hit me, "Why on earth am I doing this? I'm not an adrenaline junkie!! Why would I pay to jump out of plane with some guy strapped to my back??" So I started to panic a bit. Actually, I was pretty terrified. We finally got to the peak and my guide opened up the plane door and began yelling at me that we needed to jump soon. I looked down at the ground 10,000 feet below me and my heart stopped. I then started to feel the guy pushing me out of the plane. Pushing me! I had nothing to hold onto and before I knew it I was free falling towards the ground. I had to trust completely in the random guy that was strapped to my back, that he would pull the parachute. I had to trust that he wouldn't let me fall all the way to the ground. Needless to say, I made it down alive. Barely. Well now you are wondering, how on earth does this story about skydiving have to do with anything Gospel related? Well, once I was on solid ground I actually thought about how this applies perfectly with life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just like skydiving, sometimes in life we may feel like we are jumping out of a plane, afraid of what may happen to us. We may start to have doubts. Even for those who may have recently joined the church, they may feel as if they have jumped out of a plane and are having doubts or don't know what they have gotten themselves into. We may go through this in our lives with all sorts of things. But just like skydiving, we have to put our trust in somebody: that person we are strapped to who actually knows what they are doing. That person we are strapped to is Jesus Christ. He knows what He is doing. He knows what we are going through. He knows our feelings. So we need to completely trust in Him. He'll take care of us. When we feel as if we are jumping out of a plane and we are heading towards the ground, remember that we can trust that Christ will take care of us and pull the parachute.

(quote by Patrick Overton)

Elder Sparks

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Friday, 17 May 2013

"Go, and do thou likewise"

Luke 10
vs. 25 "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him,...."
vs. 29 "But he...said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?"
At this point, Jesus begins his famous parable about the good Samaritan.
Here is a great video of  The Good Samaritan.
The parable ends with Jesus Christ telling this certain lawyer to "Go, and do thou likewise."
So how can we follow the Lords command to "Go, and do thou likewise."? Are there people like that man who fell victim to such harsh treatment? Are there people around us that have been wounded emotionally or spiritually that are in desperate need of a Good Samaritan to help them on their way?
Let's look at this parable in a different light and that instead of a man that "fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead," we see a friend or family member who has maybe lost their way; they may feel as if their spirit has been wounded or they have been left spiritually half dead. We need to go to the aid of those people. We need to be willing to sacrifice some of our time and effort to help those who may be in distress. We need to be as the Samaritan who "had compassion on him" and went to the aid of the man.
Many people passed by the harmed man, a Jew,  including a priest and a Levite. "Then came a man from Samaria. He was “despised and rejected” of the Jews. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and [they] hid as it were [their] faces from him; he was despised, and [they] esteemed him not.” The Jews considered the Samaritans “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (These quoted words were not originally intended to describe Samaritans but rather the promised Messiah. Yet the application fits remarkably well. See Isa. 53:3–4.) This Samaritan saw the wounded and fallen man and “bound up his wounds,” anointed him with oil and wine, paid a ransom for his healing, and indicated that whatever the caretaker spent in his task would be justly rewarded. Could the parable be seen as a picture of the Savior and his mission?" (Sept 1991 by Dan Hogan).
Jesus Christ gave us a perfect example. Though he was hated and despised by those who were around him, he still sought out those who were in desperate need of physical and spiritual healing. He didn't allow his social "status" get in the way of helping those who were in need. "The parable of the good Samaritan teaches us many things. It gives us a model of behavior to follow in being good to all mankind, regardless of their physical—or spiritual—condition. It teaches us that not all who profess goodness have the power to save. It tells us that those who assist in this work, as did the host at the inn, will be rewarded for what they do to help the less fortunate. But perhaps it also offers a powerful testimony of him who alone can show eternal mercy, who paid a dear ransom for us, and who offers life eternal." (Dan Hogan) Let us remember that there are people who are desperately looking for help and we need to come to their aid. Let us never forget the perfect example the Saviour set for all of us.
Elder Todd Sparks
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Lifting Burdens

Sometimes in our lives we are burdened and can feel like there is no relief in the world. But Jesus Christ tells us "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Christ also promises in the Book of Mormon that "I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs..." (Mosiah 24:14)

When we turn our lives to Christ, we will see a significant change in the way that we can handle our burdens. Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in a talk given in 2002 "I know that you can escape the controlling influence of the evil one, and the repressive chains that bind your life. That relief will require you to accept a solution that is likely foreign to your current personal experience. It will require you to exercise faith in a Father in Heaven who loves you. While you may not understand why now, you must trust that the Savior has given His life so that you can make the required changes in your life, changes that will bring peace and the illusive success that always seem beyond your reach. Believe that you can overcome the depressing environment in which you live by trusting that there is a better way. You must seek the help of others who understand and live that better way, even though you cannot see it now. This will require you to learn and obey the teachings of the Lord. Once you have fully committed yourself to that change, you will find that it is not as difficult as it now may seem."
Let us not carry around unneeded burdens in an already difficult world that is full of sorrow. The Saviour will help us overcome all things. Check out this great video. This is one of my personal favourites. It is only about 3 minutes.
Elder Todd Sparks
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First Post!

So, my name is Todd and I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) serving in the London area and my purpose for this blog is to help give inspiring Gospel messages to those in need of it. My ultimate goal would be for people to not only find comfort in this blog, but for people to share these messages with their friends and family. So we will see what happens. If you have any comments on how I could do this better, please let me know seeing as this is my first blog....Image
(Picture by Simon Dewey)
Elder Todd Sparks
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