Being More Different

We have had an amazing week. Chris and Lili Anderson have been with us this week. They are both mental health specialists. Chris works in the missionary department of the Church counseling with mission presidents and missionaries. He helped pioneer Critical Incident Stress Response services and training as a part of LDS Family Services. He led response teams to several incidents, including the Columbine High School shootings, the World Trade Center attack, several hurricanes, the Indonesia tsunami, and the Haiti earthquake.

After almost 20 years of being a full-time homemaker, Lili returned to school. She holds a Master's degree in Social Work and a PhD in Marriage, Family and Human Development at BYU. Lili has a private practice and is the president of The Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists. She also serves on two public affairs committees for the Church. When she has time, she writes books.

Chris and Lili Anderson

We met Lili and Chris about a year ago through a mutual friend. They spoke at a fireside in our stake. Lili has an incredible way of looking at the Gospel and applying it to our mortal experiences. She has authored a book entitled "Choosing Glory."  I have learned profound and remarkable things from her. She is a champion of what is right; she is a courageous warning-voice; she is a devoted disciple of the Savior.

When we visited with them a year ago after the fireside, we casually invited them to Samoa. After all, everyone wants to come to Samoa! Lili was invited to be the keynote speaker at a young single adult conference in Auckland, New Zealand. That at least put them in the same hemisphere. We were thrilled when they said they would be able to spend some time with us here in Samoa. 

They spoke to our senior missionaries, the Elders and Sisters serving in Upolu (see pictures on the Life with Missionaries page), and some of the young single adults in Apia. What a gift it was to listen to them. Chris took our young missionaries to Doctrine and Covenants 123: 16-17. "You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, and with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." Sometimes, it is hard to be cheerful on a mission. Sometimes, it feels like there is too much work to be done. Sometimes, it feels as though we will never become what He wants us to become. Chris helped us to see big things can happen by small changes. The Lord expects us to be cheerful. Do we need to change our expectations? Maybe we don't recognize His hand in our lives. There are many, many reasons to be cheerful in the service of the Lord. And then this very important piece--once we have done all that lies in our power or ability to do, let us STAND STILL, and the Lord will do the rest. 

Lili shared with us her insights regarding Doctrine and Covenants 88:22-24. Every kingdom in God's glory is governed by law. If we want to live in those realms, we must learn to live those laws. She taught our missionaries that we need to live a Terrestrial life now. This is a life where the natural man is harnessed, and we have self-control and delayed gratification. This kind of living brings external peace and presence of the Spirit. This includes doing the right thing at the right time. It means being diligent--getting up, falling down, and getting up again. If we obey basic commandments and live a terrestrial life, we live a safer life. When we live this kind of a life, we can seek God's sanctifying power and begin to live a Celestial life, which is a life of Christ-like being. Here we feel the right things; our hearts are completely aligned with God. 

She helped us understand that the world is becoming more and more Telestial. Our world is becoming increasingly dark and evil. If we want peace in our lives we have to be "more different" than the world. In times past, it was easy to help our children learn about goodness because most of the world was still Terrestrial. As the world deteriorates, it will become necessary to be more different. We surely will become a peculiar people. Lili quoted Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "There is nothing worth having that the Gospel will deny you."

There is so much more! We have been truly blessed by their visit. Learning from them has been a life-changing and mission-changing experience for us and our missionaries. Now, go get her book and learn for yourself!

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