First Trip Into Yesterday

We traveled to American Samoa this week to meet with the two zones that are there. What an amazing group of missionaries. We had a few minutes (just a few) to spend with them individually. Once again, we heard amazing stories of faith and devotion. We had hoped that we would have lots of time to visit because we thought we were staying for a night. The air service is difficult right now. There are usually two planes flying and one of them is currently not operational.

The international dateline splits the mission. Samoa (where the mission office is located) is a day ahead of the USA, so that means that American Samoa is a day behind us.  It was quite the experience to fly into yesterday. President Tolman has always wanted to time travel.  Well, he got his wish yesterday. It makes planning a bit crazy; I am pretty sure I won't ever really know what day of the week it is! Also, we drive on opposite sides of the road and it is a different currency. Our mission may be unique in that way. We are one mission although domestic and foreign with two different time zones. Makes your head spin, doesn't it?

We also have met each of the senior missionaries serving here. They are incredible people who have left home and family to serve the Lord. We are truly blessed by their service. The office and the mission simply could not operate without them. We got an email from the missionary department today informing us that there is a severe shortage of senior couples worldwide. The hastening of His work cannot go on without the incredible support of our senior missionaries. So, if you are a "senior," and have a desire to serve, please fan that flame and come to paradise and spend some time helping the kingdom grow!

We spent some time teaching and learning with the missionaries in our zone conferences. President Tolman's training was different every time. He has a great ability to teach to the immediate needs. I, on the other hand, like to have more of a plan. I am sure there will be times over the next three years that I will not have the normal preparation time that I like, but this time I enjoyed the journey as I thought about and pondered on the first verse of the Book of Mormon. Nephi declares that he is highly favored of the Lord. I wondered what it means to be highly favored. Doesn't God love all of us equally? I believe He does, but Nephi's statement gives insight into a different relationship with God. I came to understand that we determine whether or not we are favored. Elder Bednar talked about a companion term--chosen--in General Conference 2005.  He stated, "God does not have a list of favorites to which we must hope our names will someday be added. He does not limit "the chosen" to a restricted few. Rather, it is our hearts and our aspirations and our obedience which definitively determine whether we are counted as one of God's chosen."

Nephi tells us his life has been full of trial and affliction. We cannot expect that if we are favored we will have a life of ease. It seems quite the opposite is true if we look at others who have also been favored--Mary, Daniel, Paul, Lehi, and certainly Jesus Christ. To be made fit to be favored we must go through a refining process and that process is not without pain. "I have refined thee. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." And yet, Nephi states the miraculous blessings of being favored and there are many others throughout scripture. I invite you to search them out. Don't miss the ones listed in the very first verse of the Book of Mormon.

These missionaries are favored of the Lord. I know this because they have made and keep sacred covenants. They have sacrificed unspeakable things to be here and they have consecrated two years of their lives to the Lord doing His work. They serve as He served and love as He loved.

Consider how your life might be different if you started to see yourself as favored of God. What might you do differently? Would you be more dependent on God; more sensitive to His will? Would your influence be greater and wider?

May I invite you to look at the pattern of your life. Are you living a life that brings you closer to the Savior on a daily basis? Are you becoming more Christ-like? Are you allowing the love of the Savior to guide you through this mortal journey?

As we live a life favored of the Lord the blessings are never-ending--enjoying His mysteries, responding to His call, finding joy in His service, feeling of His love.

Being favored takes courage and a whole lot of faith. We witness it daily as we serve with God's favored.


  1. I so loved this post, especially your insight into being favored/chosen of the Lord. And it was just wonderful seeing you there with the Kroghs!

  2. May your strong testimony be felt by us all. You are special!!

  3. Wow thank you for this post. The questions and the scriptures referenced reminded me that the choice is mine.

  4. What a wonderful experience you are having. I miss Mapusaga. I spent three wonderful teenage years there and left a part of my heart in Samoa. What a blessing to be serving among God's chosen! Sandy Elcock