Sunday, December 1, 2013

President's Weekly Letters #64

We live on our ranch, the Keyhole Ranch, in a small, unincorporated community called Flowell, 5 miles west of Fillmore, Utah in Millard County.  Flowell sits in a large valley located adjacent and west of the mountain ranges that are the beginning of the great Rocky Mountains.  Flowell is a farming area with scattered farms and homes where our friends and neighbors live.  Our ranch is a beef operation with 160 mother cows plus bulls which graze on the mountains in the National Forest during the summer.  In the spring the cows graze on our own pasture lands in the valley and during the winter on our crop land.  The crop land, which is under pivot and some surface water irrigation, grows alfalfa hay, corn and barley. These crops are not only the feed for the cows in the winter and used to feed the weaned calves, but we sell ample surplus feed to other dairy and beef operations in the region. Each year we sell our calves to commercial feed-lots where they are fattened before going to slaughter.  We also keep a couple dozen calves in our own feed yard to fatten for local buyers of locker beef. 

A number of years ago in the spring I was hauling some calves to the scales to be weighted.  My daughter was with me as we drove past the house of a neighbor, a single women getting on in years. We noticed that her sister and probably other family members had been doing spring cleanup and had burned dead weeds around the yard and house. Nobody was around but smoke was still coming up and the yard looked good from the spring face-lift.  I remember something looked odd but I drove on.  As we pulled onto the scales, my daughter said, “Dad, why do you think they are burning down Ruth Mary’s house?”  I said, “What do you mean?”  She said, “The roof on Ruth Mary’s house was on fire.”  I immediately realized what had looked odd and drove back to the house.  Sure enough the roof was on fire.  Apparently sparks had drifted up and settled on the cedar shake roof. I immediately called the fire department on 911 and then did what any would-be hero would do; get people to safety.  I casually walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the front door.  Ruth Mary came to the door.  She had been peacefully sitting and resting in her living room.  She had no idea that her house was on fire and she was in grave danger.

I have often thought about this experience and wondered if my figurative house is on fire, putting my life in danger and I don’t know it.  Most people can become so caught up in their lives that they fail to see the small and sometimes large behavior and thoughts that hold them back from being the best that they can be.  Their spiritual or personal house is on fire which will burn a hole in their lives unless someone knocks on their door and points out the danger.

Several transfers ago Elder van Komen and Elder Taylor were companions in Den Haag.  They decided to implement a project in their companionship.  The project was simple:  they were each to prayerfully identify 10 things that held each of them back from being their best as a missionary and then fast from those 10 things for 40 days.  Since it was the end of the month and they had nothing in the apartment to eat except stroopwafels, they called it Project Stroop Wafel. They endeavored to become new missionaries as they followed the admonition of Paul:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)  

All missionaries in the Mission are currently engaged in Project Stroop Wafel.  Your intent should be to become more consecrated and in tune with the Spirit as you strive for the Total Mind Shift.  The spirit is the Silver Bullet and is essential in conversion.  Asking your Father in Heaven in prayer to show you your distractions and then confirm with Him the distractions you choose to be put on the altar is a critical first step.  You thereby know that you are getting the best value in the effort.  PMG and the scriptures state:

“In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day’s activities.  Then review with Him your plan for the next day.  Listen for the promptings of the Spirit.” (PMG p. 95)

“…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:8)

I think this project is outstanding because it not only gets your Father in Heaven involved but also gives each of you the ability to quietly go about your work while privately you are improving and denying yourself the distractions that hold you back.  You become more sanctified.  Chapter 13 of 3 Nephi really emphasizes these principles by talking about the eye. 

First Jesus spoke of what others see.  Regarding prayer Jesus taught not to do your alms before men to be seen of them otherwise ye have no reward. Pray not as the hypocrites do to be seen of men but pray in secret and the Father will reward ye openly.  When you fast appear before others not to fast and the Father will reward ye openly.  Project Stroop Wafel is not for others to see. 

Second Jesus spoke of what you see.  Regarding the distractions you choose to give up, Jesus taught the light of the body is the eye.  The eye sees or looks to what you really want.  No man can serve two masters.  Your distractions are your master if you do not sacrifice them.  He then concluded with,

“33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (3 Nephi 13:33)

By participating in Project Stroop Wafel you can rest assured in the future your house is not on fire. The Lord will knock on your door and assist you to discard what holds you back from excellence in missionary work and excellence in your life.
President Robinson

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