President Murray posted a blog entry about Mike. It’s here.
Michael returns from his mission Saturday morning, August 15th. He speaks in Santa Susana II Ward on Sunday, 8/16, at 9:00 AM. The address is 5028 E Cochran St, SIMI VALLEY , CA 93063.
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them (Mosiah 4: 9-10).”
“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day (D&C 4:2).”
“Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed (D&C 11:9).”
I had a dream last night about these scriptures. I don’t know if that ever happens to you but I get it every once in awhile. I’ve been going over the past two years in my head and reading through my journal and remembering all the wonderful people that I have come into contact with and I’ve had the opportunity to teach. It’s amazing, as I added up all the numbers I found out that I have made contact with over 12,000 people in the past two years and I think I have taught over 2,000 lessons! It’s incredible!
As I have looked to God for everything in His work I have felt His guidance and my testimony has grown stronger because of it. I love that phrase “If you believe these things see that you do them”! That is how my testimony has come and that is how I’ve seen others come to know it is true as well. Faith is not just a passive belief but it is an action. See that ye do them!
To the next scripture: It is only when I have served with my heart, might, mind and strength that I have felt truly worthy to do God’s work and know that one day I will have to stand before Him and account for these two years. Charity, and giving all you have for others, is something that is completely foreign to most teenagers when they leave home and start serving a mission. Soon after you get into the field you realize that the only way to do this work is in His way, and that way is hard and very different from the way the most of us live our lives. Because of that though, the difficulty and pressures you feel put you in a humbling place that forces change (thank goodness). Which leads into the next scripture.
I’ve come into contact with over 12,000 people in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Have I said “nothing but repentance” to them? Have I encouraged faith in Jesus Christ and taught them to live the commandments that God has given us? I think I’ve done my best. I love this work and I really have seen all the blessings in my life, and in the lives of those that I have taught, that God has promised.
This Sunday was an amazing day. The pinnacle of all my work here in Rising Sun. Immediately after church we had the baptism of Nick Brown. It took a lot of work for him to get to this point and he still has a long, hard and wonderful road ahead of him. It was an amazing service, with great attendance from the branch. Even President and Sister Murray came to see Rising Sun’s first baptism in a long time. I had the wonderful blessing of being asked to baptize him and then in two Sunday’s Elder Chan will confirm him in Sacrament meeting.
Later on in the day, Erin Snyder was baptized by Mike Strange. Erin was pretty nervous before she was baptized but she was glowing afterwords. We only met her about a month ago through her best friend Taylor Strange. We met her at dinner with the Stranges on July 3rd and then with the encouragement and persistance of Taylor she met with us and had a lesson a couple days later. Ever since I met Erin I could tell there was something special about her. She really has a wonderful future ahead of her. I was blessed to be able to confirm her immediately after her baptism since she is heading to South Carolina for school this Saturday.
I don’t want to leave. I never want to stop doing this work. Seeing the lives of so many people change for the better has been the best blessing I could ever ask for. I am so glad I have had the opportunity to do this Full-time. I opened up the Ensign yesterday and and the talk I opened to was titled “Get On with Our Lives”. It is now time for me to get on with the next chapter of my life, but I can tell you, missionary work is going to be a big part of it.
-Elder Michael Oakford