Monday, February 9, 2015


Let me tell you a story about a young man named Ethan Valentine. He is 18 years old from Ohio, but moved to Grand Rapids in September to attend school at Calvin College. He had been datubg a Mormon, and was taking the discussions pretty intensely, though his parents didn't approve. He had been challenged to be baptized, but was unsure of what to do. He had been seeking inspiration from the Lord, when on one sleepless night, he felt an overwhelming impression to go downstairs to read his Book of Mormon. He opened it to a random page in 3 Nephi, and as he read the Savior instruct the people of Nephi to be baptized, he realized what he needed to do. Soon after, he moved to Grand Rapids, where I got to teach him twice before I was transferred. He set a baptismal date a few weeks later, but missed it, because his parents were threatening to cut him off. He continued attending and just 2 weeks ago I got a call that he was being baptized in February 7 and he invited me to come. His parents were going to stop paying for school, his dad was writing him out of the will, and basically disowned him, but in his own words "I finally have a foundation that is built on God and I will not be shaken." 

If heaven is anything like how I felt at that baptism, it will be a good place. Getting to see so many members and missionaries I had previously served with and especially seeing him make that covenant was such a special experience! I also learned that Fred was back on for baptism on... (guess when) the 21st. The same day that all our investigators here and 5 of my investigators in Houghton Lake are getting baptized. I am really sad I wont be able to see all of them, but of all the problems to have, I actually like this one. It is so incredible to me what is happening!

I have been thinking a lot lately about Jesus Christ and what makes him so special, when the other day in studies, I feel like I got a glimpse into the Pre Mortal Life. Before we came to this earth we lived with God as spirits in one big family unit. Together we lived, learned, and progress like a child in there parents house. But here came a time that we had progressed as far as we could in his presence, so our Father told us about a wonderful plan in which we could become and receive all that he has. This plan included coming to Earth, receiving a body, and learning how to use it. It would be a time for us to lean his attributes and prepare ourselves so we could be prepared to receive all that he had in store for us. However as a part of our progression, that we would experience hardship and trials, and that all of us would fall short of his glory. His plan required a Savior would redeem this family from there falls. Perhaps he described what this savior would have to go through. He would have to be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3)" He would suffer "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind Alma 7:11)" and would suffer "even more than man could suffer except it be unto death (Mosiah 3:7)" in order to ransom us from sin and death so that we could all be together forever. After describing all of this he asked, "Whom shall I send? (Abraham 3:27)" 

I can imagine us nervously looking at each other in disbelief saying "Who on earth would want to go through something like that? Especially for those who would "esteem him to be a thing of naught (1 Nephi 19:9" and would scourge, smite and spit upon him?" But there was one who as our eldest brother, who loved us perfectly, and could not bear the thought of this family being separated who spoke up saying, "Father send me, and the glory be thine (Moses 4:2)" Jesus, our perfect example had volunteered to take upon him MY burdens, and the punishment for MY sins, so that I did not have to if I followed this plan. 

I cannot imagine what I must have felt in that moment for one I knew as my big brother. What awe must have filled my heart. How I must have wanted to be just like him, and what joy I must have felt knowing that because of what he had volunteered to do for me, I could be. I testify that THIS is the love that Jesus offers us. He offers us new beginnings and clean slates. He promises us joy that is eternal, and that never runs out. He "has called after you and is still calling after you" to come unto him and be changed. He did it because he knows you and loves you as family, and wants more than anything to be with you forever, coupled with eternal glory that we cannot comprehend. It is my prayer that we all heed his call, so that we might all experience that joyous reunion together, and drink of that love which is endless.

With Love and Joy
Elder Wheat

All the missionaries that came to support!!

Ethan and his member family

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