Monday, June 9, 2008


by Vickey Pahnke , songwiter, author, CES speaker

Have you ever felt like life is an obstacle course? Is it sometimes tricky to figure out which way to go or how to avoid certain difficulties? Every person's situation is unique, but certain assistance is absolutely available to guide us through the tough stuff. As we allow the Savior to help us, we can rise above this murky, dimly lit world, Immersing ourselves in the scriptures can transport us, at least momentarily, out of our difficulties, our hurts. We can feel the protective influence of the Holy Ghost to safeguard against unrighteous, dangerous influences or situations. It is a sure way to be lifted to a higher place where we may feel more peaceful, more positively directed. Christ heals broken hearts and tends burdened souls. His love radiates from the words of the scriptures. The more familiar we become with his teachings, the more prepared we are to deal with the curves thrown at us. As We read, it's not that the obstacle course of life becomes easier; but -we become better at listening for divine direction, learning to steer clear of detours that would throw us off course. Our prayerftil relationship with Father becomes more rewarding. We get better at asking for what we need and listening for what He would have us know.

I know of a ward that maybe is much like your own. It has a large youth group. Jenni, a beautiful young woman, is a member of this ward. She loves the gospel, loves to get involved in activities with her friends, and is pretty much like you and me. Except that :fermi is blind. There are sometimes activities planned in which she cannot participate, and others that make her feel awkward or left out.

On one occasion the young women planned a special activity with their fathers. In preparation, an obstacle course was set tip in the cultural hall complete with tires, sawhorses, and so on. The object would be for the girls, beginning at one end of the hall, to make it to their fathers at the other end. One by one, each receiving instruction from ha dad, they would move through this course. The equalizing factor was that each girl would be blindfolded.. Semi needn't feel left out, and it would be fun for all participating.

It must have been a hilarious night. Fathers were getting frustrated in voicing their directions, daughters were getting agitated and falling all over the place. On the sidelines the others were shouting instructions and contradicting one another. Laughter filled the hall. Not one girl was getting through that course.

Jenni was last up. A quiet came over the hall as she stood ready for her turn The other girls had whipped off their blindfolds. Jenni would not have the luxury of seeing this room when the games were over. Her father quietiv said, " Jenni, listen to me. Don't pay attention. to what the others say; just listen to my voice. I will guide you through."

Jenni. began her trip. Among those watching, eyes widened in amazement as she carefully maneuvered. Once or twice she stopped to get her bearings or to have her dad repeat his instructions, before she moved forward. Jaws dropped as Jenni continued-never falling, never losing her composure. In time she made it to the finish line and into the arms of her father, who swung her around as the others clapped and encircled the "winners."

"No way!" "Incredible!" The girls crowded around Jenni, amazed at how easily she had gotten through the course that they had failed to navigate. "How did you do it?"

"It was easy, " Jenni said. "I just listened to my father's voice and did what he told me to do."

Jenni taught a powerful lesson that night. This life is a real obstacle course. There are unexpected turns and pitfalls everywhere. People on the sidelines often shout instructions, many times simultaneously giving different suggestions. It gets confusing. It is treacherous. And it is easy to fall.

Jenni gave us the advice we need. At the end of this life's course our Father in Heaven waits with outstretched arms. We must remember to listen to this voice and do what he tells us to do. Where are the words He would have us learn? Right there in the scriptures. The scriptures can give us "Needed rocklike steadiness, especially in this latter-day, topsy-turvy world in which 'all things are in commotion.'" (Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, That Ye May Believe, p. 185.) (See D&C 45:26, 88:91 for scriptural reference).

There are loved ones to assist us and reinforce gospel truths. There are loving and helpful leaders and friends. But listening to the voices around us-even the most helpful ones-cannot, by itself, ensure our safety, Turning to our Father and tuning in to His counsel is a very personal thing. Delving into the scriptures focuses us, illuminating our minds and strengthening our souls. It allows us to get closer to the Savior and to our Father in Heaven.

We notice that our prayers are more personal and meaningful. We are prepared to accept His will. We more easily hear and understand His directions. And following His loving instructions, we can make it back home.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stake Conference

Elders Kikuchi and Villarreal came to our stake these past two days for stake conference. What a wonderful time it was to hear these two great men. They have such a love for the church and our Saviour. They both gave incredible talks, the brunt of the talks was geared toward the men and marriage. They said over and over again, "Men love your wife and respect her." Then a funny side note, Elder Kikuchi made the comment, you might think that he, Villarreal, and I are too romantic. This may be, if you want to be too romantic eat more rice. The congregation just laughed and laughed. I love how the Lord knows just what to have his servants say when they come and visit.
Thanks be to God for these wonderful men.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sustaining President Monson

President Thomas S. Monson

In our Priesthood leadership meeting the other night President Schmitt, Stake President, went over the solemn assembly, he also mentioned that about half of the membership of the church currently can not remember any other prophet beside President Hinckley.
To this he had us turn to (Joshua 3:7) "And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee."

This is where the children of Israel are going into the promised land and Moses doesn't go with them. Just as we sustained President Hinckley, we shall sustain President Monson, he is the Lord's mouth piece here upon the earth.

On a personal note, I have a great respect for President Monson, thanks to one of his magnificent talks in conference back in 1999 on Priesthood Power, I went on a mission and am now converted to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I wish you could tell how excited I am to have this great man follow after President Hinckley.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quick Thought

I was sitting in lecture today talking with a friend named Jason, he's a minister of sorts. He is always doing some kind of out reach whether it is at a prison or in the ghetto at 2 in the morning. We had a great little discussion today about the need that we all have to have our own ministry in this world.
I related to him that in our church we have a program that we call every member a missionary. He lit up and loved the idea. We talked about the different ways of accomplishing this, it was amazing to feel of the spirit of truth when we were talking true principles.
Remember you never know what will become of the seeds you sow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

General Priesthood Meeting

This last Sunday, 24 February, we had general priesthood mtg with the stake. We learned many things but the lesson that hit me last night was that we need to call upon Christ for help when we are tempted.

Short sweet and to the point, when you stumble, trip, fall, or have fallen we need to call to out our Saviour, who will succor (see definition below) us and help us immediately, trust in him and he will come to your aid.

From Websters Dictionary we find that the word succor means, "from Latin succurrere to run to the rescue, bring aid." We find this in the scriptures many times.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


1. Does the Bible contain all of God's word?
(2 Nephi 29 [pp. 109-111].)
2. Who were the "other sheep" referred to by Jesus as recorded in John 10:16?
(3 Nephi 15:13-24 [pp. 437-38].)
3. How can a person know that the Book of Mormon is true?
(Moroni 10:3-5 [p. 529].)
4. How can a desire to believe develop into strong faith?
(Alma 32 [pp. 288-91].)
5. What is the purpose of man's existence?
(2 Nephi 2:25 [p. 59].)
6. How can God be both just and merciful?
(Alma 42 [pp. 311-13].)
7. What happens to our spirits at death?
(Alma 40:11-14 [p. 308].)
8. How can a person turn his personal weaknesses into strengths?
(Ether 12:27 [p. 510].)
9. What happened in America when Jesus was born in Bethlehem?
(3 Nephi 1:15-21 [p. 408].)
10. What happened in America when Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem?
(3 Nephi 8:5-23 [pp. 422-23].)
11. What do we witness "unto the Father" by being baptized?
(2 Nephi 31:10-14 [pp. 113-114].)
12. Why was Jesus Christ baptized?
(2 Nephi 31:4-9 [p. 113J.)
13. Just what is the gospel of Jesus Christ? How did the Savior explain what it is?
(3 Nephi 27:13-21 [p. 459] -)
14. Why was the atonement of Jesus Christ necessary?
(2 Nephi 9:4-14 [pp. 72-74]; Alma 34:8-17 [pp. 293-941.)
15. To what extent are men accountable for their choices and their actions?
(2 Nephi 9:25-27 [p. 75]; 2 Nephi 2:27 [p. 59]; Helaman 14:30-31 [p. 403].)
16. Do little children need repentance and baptism?
(Moroni 8:1-24 [pp. 525-26].)
17. Does the Lord always* protect the righteous from the unrighteous?
(Alma 60:12-13 [p. 359].)
18. How did a prophet who lived 600 B.c. describe our day?
(2 Nephi 28 [pp. 106-109].)
19. What should we pray about?
(Alma 34:17-28 [pp. 294-95].)
20. Why should we not procrastinate our repentance?
(Alma 34:30-41 [pp. 295-96] .)
21. What will our bodies be like in the resurrection?
(Alma 40:23 [p. 309].)
22. Are we saved by grace, by works, or both?
(2 Nephi 25:23 [pp. 99-100].)
23. In a world with so many conflicting voices, how can a person judge what is good and what is evil?
(Moroni 7:14-19 [p. 522].)

The Sanctity of Womanhood

"Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign
to undermine the sanctity of womanhood, to
deceive the daughters of God and divert
them from their divine destiny. He well
knows women are the compassionate, self-
sacrificing, loving power that binds together
the human family. He would focus their
interests solely on their physical attributes
and rob them of their exalting roles as wives
and mothers.
"...Will you begin a private crusade to
help young women understand how precious
they are to God and attractive to you as they
magnify their feminine traits and divinely
given attributes of womanhood? You might
even help mold the character and devotion
of your own future eternal companion."
{Elder Richard G. Scott, "The Sanctity of Womanhood,"
Ensign, May 2000, pg. 36, 37.}

Bear Your Testimony

Some tips for you when it come to bearing your testimony:
1. Always testify
2. Be simple and direct
3. Use the Savior's name
4. Be humble, dignified,
and powerful in testimony
5. Be sincere

Butt prints in the Sand

(A parody of Footprints in the Sand)
One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Enjoy this courtesy of my friend Jason Nelson from the
Great Kentucky Louisville Mission. (GKLM)

Did It "Please" Father in Heaven to "Bruise" His Son?

Isaiah 53:10. Did It "Please" Father in Heaven to "Bruise" His Son?

Obviously God was not pleased with the way men treated Jesus, but he was pleased with His son's "offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10). The Atonement met the strictest demands of God's innate justice and made forgiveness and mercy possible on certain terms.
Elder Melvin J. Ballard explained why it pleased God not to interfere: "In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles until even he could not endure it any longer; and like the mother who bids farewell to her dying child, has to be taken out of the room, so as not to look upon the last struggles, so He bowed his head, and hid in some part of His universe, his great heart almost breaking for the love that he had for his Son, Oh, in that moment when he might have saved his Son, I thank him and praise him that he did not fail us, for he had not only the love of his Son in mind, but he also had love for us. I rejoice that he did not interfere, and that his love for us made it possible for him to endure to look upon the sufferings of His Son and give him finally to us, our Savior and our Redeemer. Without him, without his sacrifice, we would have remained, and we would never have come glorified into His presence. And so this is what it cost, in part, for our Father In Heaven to give the gift of his Son unto men."
(Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services, Melvin Joseph Ballard, pp. 154-55.)