Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Elder Baird's Last Letter

Hello family! 

It has been a great week! Conference was as amazing as it always is. The brethren made it very clear my purpose after I get home. We went to President's house for the Saturday morning session. President was the second witness to the purpose by telling us what we need to do when we get home. The brethren really want us to go get married! We had a wonderful week full of exchanges and lessons. 

The last thing I have learned most from my mission is allowing the will of God to be your will. I look back on my mission and think how did this happen. Like yesterday I can remember going through security at the airport. As I waved one last time to my family I saw that my parents were crying. On the other hand I was excited, I basically skipped to the terminal where I was to board my plane to Dallas. I knew that serving a mission was what the Lord expected and needed from me. That me serving was His will for me. It was easy to accept what I knew was a duty of mine. Now for some serving a mission in the way I have is not His will. I know this from one of my best friends. Being a full-time 24/7 missionary was not what the Lord intended for him. He was to serve in a different capacity but he served a mission.  Sometimes the will of the Lord is easy to know and to spot. Us obeying His commandments is always His will. Why would the Lord will us to not keep His commandments? We need to be determined to follow His will in our obedience. 

As I went through the MTC, all I could think was how excited I was to go to a foreign country and speak a different language (I still think I end up in a foreign land with a different language. Red neck can be hard to understand at times). Then our reassignments came. I was so excited to serve in the United States for what I thought would be a little while. I was excited cause I knew I could learn the lessons and scriptures as a missionary in English. Then when I got sent to Brazil I would be able to just focus on the language not so much the how to's of being a missionary. As I started to approach my third transfer in Ohio, the Lord started to whisper to my heart. Daily I was fighting within my self what was the will of the Lord when it came to where I needed to serve. One day I felt I need to stay in Ohio and the next day I felt I need to go to Brazil. It was a huge matter of prayer and fasting for me. I was tirelessly seeking the will of the Lord in my life. Yet for at least a month I felt as heavens windows were closed.  I felt like I was not receiving an answer. One day I sat pondering and the thought came to me, "Why would I want you to think about staying in Ohio and pray about this if it was not my will for you?" I knew that the desire to stay was from the Spirit. I felt the Spirit confirm to me that I was to stay. But I knew this was not my decision to make. Randomly one day I ran into President Nilsen at a Chinese restaurant in Columbus. I mentioned to him my feelings about staying and he made mention of those same feelings. Then he began trying to see about my reassignment. The mission department kept saying no. This waiting after I received my confirmation that I was to stay lasted for a few months. Each month I was waiting for a phone call from President telling me of my reassignment. Then there was a day in December in which I got the news. It was right after the mission wide Christmas devotional. We had just arrived to the apartment and I saw that President Nilsen was calling. He said, "Elder Baird! I have an email to read to you." I was super confused! What email would my mission president have to read to me? Then he told me that an Apostle of the Lord has decide that I was to stay in the Ohio Columbus Mission. I was excited! In life we may be confused on what the Lord's will is for us. But when we don't know what to do keep doing what you are doing if it is in line with His commandments. Sometimes we just have to wait and press forward with faith. Lack of knowledge on His will does not mean we have a lack of commitment to our covenants. 

I felt that with my change in reassignment I had a greater purpose in being in Ohio. Yes there were days where I would ask, "But what if I was supposed to go to Brazil"... or "Maybe I stayed just because I asked and that was really not the Lord's will for me.." and many other doubtful, faithless thoughts. But every time these occurred I could hear in my mind the words President Nilsen had read to me, "an Apostle of the Lord has decided." I knew that this was not some random decision. I knew that some secretary to the mission department did not make the decision. My name was brought to an Apostle and he approved of the reassignment since that was the Lord's will. As I continued though I began to see the hidden reasons I was hear in the Ohio. People, places, and opportunities were small witnesses to me of the Lord's will for me to be in Ohio. The one that came to me as a shock was my call as Branch President in a stake. I honestly hate talking about it cause I don't want it to sound boastful or prideful. I think back many times to the day that President Nilsen told me. I was serving as an assistant to President Nilsen at the time with Elder Pike and Elder Housari. That week we had mini-missionaries with us. Elder Housri, our mini missionary Kyle, and I went to Lancaster to a zone meeting while Elder Pike and our other mini missionary Ryan stayed in Powell for a zone meeting. After the meetings Elder Pike called us and said President needs us at the mission home as soon as possible. As soon as possible for us was an hour and an hour is never soon. So Elder Housari, Kyle and I quickly made our way to the mission home. We arrived and saw Elder Pike was already there. We walked in and President told us to sit down in the living room. I saw that a few sisters were meeting with him and I thought we are here to help with an emergency transfer. Then the sister left. He came into the living room and said, "Elder Baird I need to talk to you in my office." I began to try to think of what I could have done to get in trouble, luckily I could think of nothing. Then I was just confused. As we sat down and began he cut straight to the reason we were meeting. He said, "You will need to be in Coshocton by Saturday." I think he could tell the look of confusion on my face as I timidly replied okay. He then asked, "Have you talked to President Birch lately?" I replied with just as much confusion no. He then told me the reason I was going to be moved to Coshocton and then told me to call President Birch as soon as I could. I left his office just as confused as when I walked in. Me a Branch President? But I have never been married, I have never been in a branch, and much more reasons. The hardest part is I could not tell anybody. As I prepared to leave to go to Coshocton I spent many nights praying, and many hours pondering. I received confirmation prior to leaving Powell that this was the will of the Lord for me. Was I scared? Absolutely. But I allowed my faith to overcome my fear. The will of the Lord can come abruptly without notice. This can come in many ways in which we may view good or bad. A calling, a death of a loved one, losing a job, a change in health, and much more can all be abrupt decision of the Lord. His will may come without notice but that does not me that it is not meant to be. 

Our goal in this life is to a line our will with His. When we do this our life becomes extraordinary. When we give up the only thing that is ours, our will, we gain all that the Father has. We best can do this when we understand that we our accountable to the Lord for all that we have done. Understanding our accountability helps us know the will of God. We continually say as the Savior did, "Not my will but thine be done." then we will become more like Christ. And then we will become who we not only need to be but what we want to be. 

The Lord has a plan for all of us. It is up to us whether we allow His will to take place in our life. If we allow the will of the Lord to occur we truly become instruments in His hands. When we are in His service and doing His will is when we learn and grow the most. Christ is the Law. His Atonement is how we become perfected, preserved and sanctified. It is through His law that we receive Him, and when we receive Him we can become to know him. We can know the Lord in a real personal way. Knowing Him should be our goal because to know Him and the Father is eternal life. I know that Christ's church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is true! I have read it many times and each time the Spirit testifies to me of its truthfulness. Jesus is the Christ. Without Him all mankind would be lost. The Atonement is the law and only through that law can we be saved. God lives. He is our Eternal Father. All these things I have come to know not by any marvelous manifestation. But by humility and faithful obedience to the laws and commandments of God, I have come to know through the Holy Ghost. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Zachary Samuel Baird 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Joy in Seeing Others Join - Feb 9

Hey family! 

So it has been a pretty uneventful week really! We did have one ER trip where we missed all of church yesterday. Don't worry it was not me it was my companion. And no I did not cause the ER trip. We also threw a party for our Ward Mission Leader. He is about to be released. He just got called into the High Priest Group Leadership. Well that means he can not be Ward Mission Leader any more. So we know that the release is coming soon. So we threw him a coordination party! It was so much fun! I wrote him a goodbye song on the ukulele (blessings from serving a mission is you can pick up talents). 

So as we all know, in a non-trunkie way, I have been on a mission for quite sometime. With many different areas and having traveled a part of the mission, I have come to meet people and teach people all over the mission. One of the highlights of going to mission functions is hearing from missionaries about people I know. Sometimes they remember me and I don't remember them. One great blessing I saw  was this week I went on exchanges to OSU. If you remember I was a Zone Leader over OSU this time last year! Well I went into the institute and began to see faces I recognized and that I taught. There was 2 in particular that surprised me. One was a guy that I had taught over a year ago on exchanges. He was determined to justify spiritual knowledge with physical evidence. We had a very powerful lesson. It was one lesson I can remember well cause of how bold we were. I was afraid I was going to offend him. But now a year later he is one of the most solid converts at OSU. Another guy I had met as well on exchanges. He had dropped the elders at one point and the lost contact for a while. Well some missionaries started talking to him again and now he is an active convert to the church. All who have come from different backgrounds with different beliefs have come to know of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the joy I feel as I see these great people come to this knowledge. It wonderful to see those that were struggling overcome there issues to be a member of Christ's church! 

Hope you all have a great week! Sorry for the short email! It has been a busy week and mostly a very busy day! 


Elder Baird 

The Blessings of Obedience - Feb 2

Hello Family,

It was another great week full of all sorts of fun stuff. We did many exchanges and had lots of great experiences. But I want to talk about what has been on my mind for months know as I have been studying the scriptures. 

In John 17:3 we read, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." The mortal Messiah teaches us exactly what exaltation is or eternal life is. Exaltation is knowing our Father in Heaven and Jesus the Christ. We learn more about this scripture in the Joseph's revelation concerning the sealing of a husband and wife. The Lord in this section (Section 132) states,
" 22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also." 
We learn here that exaltation is to receive Christ. It is by receiving Christ that we meet the requirements for exaltation. But how do we receive the Savior of all mankind? The next verse tells in a wonderful way in which Christ tells us almost word for word what he told his apostles in Jerusalem. 
24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore,my law.
How beautiful those last 5 words are. "receive ye, therefore, my law." That is the key to receiving Christ and our Father. Not only is it the key but it is what is missing from the words found in John. We need to receive the law. Now the law can mean many different things throughout the scriptures. Here is can be specifically talking about the law of the sealing covenant. In other sections of scripture we can see it relating to the Law of Moses. But I feel that we can take this and make it broader. So what is the difference between just knowing or hearing the law and receiving the law? Receiving comes with application. It is only by applying the law can we come to receive the law. Or in other words we need to be obedient to receive Christ. When we Receive Christ we know him and God. And when we know them we have eternal life. Well here is where it gets fun. What are some of the blessings of receiving or obeying the law. We read in an early section of the Doctrine and Covenants regarding this principle,
 "34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same." 
We see that as we are obedient and loyal to the law we can and will receive the great blessings of preservation, sanctification, and perfection. What glorious blessings! And how wonderful are those blessings when we can receive them in this life. By being obedient we will always be preserved! Now when the preservation comes is up to the Lord, but it will come. When we obey were a sanctified or made holy. Part of receiving a remission of sins is being obedient. 
Found within that section is one of my favorite phrases found with in all scriptures, 
D&C 88: 21 "And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ"
Again we see this concept obedience brings forth the powers of sanctification (that power of sanctifying  comes form the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can only abide in us when we are being obedient. Then He sanctifies us.) But the phrase I love is the law of Christ. 
We learn that one of the main reason Christ came to this earth was to fulfill the Law of Moses. The law that pointed to the great and last sacrifice. Christ himself says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."(Matt. 5:17). I believe in fulfilling that law Christ and His Atonement become the law. The law by which we must abide. In Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read, "20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." I find it interesting that it does not say there are laws but that there is a law. We know that before the foundations of this world the Grand Council was held and there we made our stand to have a Savior and Redeemer of our souls. At the Council the necessity of the Atonement was explained to us. We understood that our salvation and the success of the plan of our Father in Heaven hinged upon the completion of the Atonement. Everything we do in the church points the the Atonement of Christ. Every covenant and ordinance that we participate in points to that sacrifice. Is it not through the Atonement that we receive blessings? Is it not through the Atonement and the Lamb of God that we are sanctified, preserved, and perfected?  Is it not through daily receiving the Atonement in our lives that we receive Christ and God the Father? Is it not through His Atonement that makes our exaltation a reality? Christ not only fulfill a law but by his great and eternal sacrifice He became the Law. He said it himself to the Nephites, "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."


Elder Baird 

Hearing from an Apostle of the Lord - Jan 26

Hello my wonderful family! 

This week has been full of ups and downs. It has been a rather emotional week! 

First off, I got transferred. Did I know it was coming? Pretty much! But man it was hard. The emotions of being released as a branch president and being transferred from Coshocton I think was a small trial run for in 10 weeks when I am released from being a missionary and when I leave Ohio. In other words I will be pretty emotional. So make sure there is lots of food in the house so I can eat my sorrows away. But we are not going to talk about that anymore because that is a very long time away (at least I wish it was!)
I am still in leadership. I am a zone leader again. The better news on transfers is I am still in the same zone and stake as Coshocton. That means I get to go back "home" to Coshocton on exchanges and I still get to work with President Birch. I love President Birch! He is an incredible man! 

The highlight of the week was last night. Last night we had our Quad Stake Missionary Fireside. President Daines wants to make the firesides different then they have been! So we are doing Musical Missionary Firesides. Well Elder Pike and I with Sister Myers are basically the musical fireside council with President Meldrum (a counselor in the mission presidency). Well we had it all planned out. Then came the best call ever. We were told that Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be presiding and speaking. So that meant that we had to change it. up. It was amazing last night. We had two choir numbers and 2 special musical numbers. We heard from President Daines and a recent convert. 

Elder Christofferson was amazing! He taught plain and simple doctrines. I was hoping for a discourse on how we can be translated or where really Kolob. Well once he started to speak the Lord rebuked me. He let me know very clearly that the Apostle was not hear for me or us as missionaries. He was here for those that were new members and most importantly for those that are not members yet. Well with that back drop can you guess what he spoke on? Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and repenting. The highlight thing that I learned was this. That the ordinance of baptism covers all sins past and future. That it covers prospectively and retrospectively. The way that is possible is if we repent and partaking of the sacrament. I just love that concept that proper baptism with the right authority has a cleansing effect and take effects on all sins if we but access the Atonement through repentance and the sacrament. The other awesome highlight of yesterday was the way how the choral songs worked out. At the end of December Elder Pike and I had not heard back from Pres. Meldrum. So we decide to plan it out and see what Pres. Meldrum thought. Well the two that both Elder Pike and I felt strongly about was the songs, "Come Follow Me" and "Come Thou Fount". When we called Presidnet Meldrum about our idea for choral songs he said, "You would not believe it but those were the two I was looking at doing. I found music for them today." Now if you know anything about those two songs you will see that they were perfect for the topic Elder Chirstofferson spoke on. Coincidence? I think not! The last highlight of last night was that I got to shake hands with every key holder on the stand. I actually got to shake Elder Christofferson's hand twice. It was a wonderful night! 

Hope you all have a great week! My new address is 1570 Crystal Court Apt A Newark Ohio 43055. 


Elder Baird  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Blessings of the Temple - Jan 19

Hello family!

It has been another wonderful week! The has been mainly wonderful because of the temple. 

I think I have told many of you, possibly even in a group email, that we are allowed to do 3 hours of family history a week! Oh how I have loved doing it. Mainly what I have been working on is the unknown parts of the family. I decide and felt impressed to work on one name, a man named William Moore. He is on the Roberts side of the family. Well for the first 3 weeks I was looking census after census. I could not find anymore info on him. It was pretty discouraging but I was determined to find him. I think the Lord was testing me, seeing if I was really dedicated to the work of family history. Since then I have found 2 more sons, 2 more daughters, 2 of the son's wives, and one of the daughters husbands. It has been incredible to see how after the trial came the miracle! It has not only blessed my life but we have been able to get our investigators and members addicted as well! 

The great blessing came on Saturday. Saturday was a glorious day! Darin and Shirley went and received their endowments. Then they were sealed. Here are some highlights from that experience. 
1. In connection with Williams family I was able to do the work for his son John L Moore. There is an incredible feeling when you do the work for YOUR ancestors. We have been taught by many prophets and apostles that going to the temple is half the blessings and doing your family history is the other half. To receive all the blessings of temple in family history work we need to take our ancestors to the temple.
2. I was the witness at their sealing! That was probably one of the coolest things I have done. 
3. I gained new insights on the ordinances and covenants of the temple. A lot of that came as the sealer was talking before their sealing. He was one of the past temple presidents. So he had incredible insights. Also some of the questions of my soul were answered! 
4. Like I have said in past emails. Coshocton is family away from family! The Pierces (friends of Grandma and Grandpa Roberts) came back out for it. Also many of the branch members were there. It was a wonderful experience to all be together in the temple as a branch family. 

The temple is incredible! The blessings received there are beyond this world, literally. We need to make sure that we are worthy of recommend. Not only should we have the recommend we should use it often!! 

Elder Baird