Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4, 2016

There is no greater message I can share and no testimony more superior I can give than "the last of all" the Prophet Joseph Smith gave of Him; "That he lives" (D&C 76:22).

I would like to give my testimony of this Perfect Being who lived in power and great glory with the Father and then condescended to the very earth that He himself created. This Perfect Being who took upon Himself all existing imperfection that we might become one with Him and the Father, as eternal perfect beings as well. I would like to bear testimony of Him with a poem I wrote called, "My Brother."

My Brother, Oh Jehovah, God’s Begotten, The Prince of Peace
A spirit I was, with potential, but potential I could never reach.
But my Father had a plan, 
so merciful, 
so perfect, 
and so complete.
It was a plan that required sacrifice, which is why you said, 
“Here am I, send me.”

My Brother, Oh Son of Man, God’s Anointed, the Tabernacle of Clay
I marvel at thy condescension, for in a manger you did lay.
For me you were born, for me you did come, for me you were denied the Inn,
That I might be born, that I might come to earth, and that I might never be forsaken.

My Brother, Oh Holy One, God’s Beloved, Jesus the Christ
The blind you made see, the deaf you made hear, and to all you did offer your light.
You walked upon water, called fishers of men, for me you did show the way.
You lived so perfectly. You set the example, so that I might return one day.

My Brother, Oh Savior, God’s Lamb, the One who redeems
I often at times wonder; What made you enter Gethsemane?
Olives are pressed, oil is made, and bitterness turns to sweet.
Pressed you were too, 
under the universe,
as you suffered
and bled
on your

My Brother, Oh Man of Sorrows, God’s Mediator, the Crucified
“...for me a sinner, you suffered, you bled and died...”
Scourged you were, and smitten upon, unrecognizable, and forsaken,
That I might be forgiven, and that I might be succored, and be received in my Father’s arms, so everlasting and open.

My Brother, Oh Living Lord, God’s First Fruit, the One who rose from the dead.
A tomb you left empty, the napkin you left wrapped, and now your glory is without end.
Because of that morning, because of your prints, because of your ascension to Heaven,
I am given hope, and I can keep enduring, for I, and all those I love, will be risen.

My Brother, I love you.
My Brother, I have served you.
My Brother, the time has come,
To hang up my tie, to retire this worn down rubber,
My Brother,
It's time to go home.
But your name will I forever carry,
and your representative will I forever be,
Because I love you dear Lord, Oh how I love you.
Because a Brother
you are to me.

This Brother of mine is yours too. He is your Living Savior. My last words as one of His representatives is that He lives and loves perfectly. The last invitation I shall extend is that you come unto Him, learn of Him, and come to know through action, words, and faith that He is "the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and has been slain for the sins of the world."

This I believe and leave with you all in His sacred name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

See you soon, Brothers and Sisters.
I love you all.
Elder Noll

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016

As I reflect on these past 2 years of my life, I am left with a heart so full of gratitude, feeling, and love. Yet my heart feels empty at the same time because I feel like I need to wear this plaque for a life time and more to learn and become what the Lord would have me learn and become. I would find it very difficult to tell each of you what I have learned in my mission because I have learned something new each and every day. But I can express 6 things that that I have felt. They are 6 things that I believe every missionary to have ever served, is serving, or will serve in the future felt, feels, and will come to feel.
1- I have truly felt over these past two years that I have been more blessed that any other existing human being alive for simply being permitted to wear Jesus Christ's name on my heart. "And if they desire to take upon themselves my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature" (D&C 18:28). There is no greater calling that the calling to be a representative of the Savior of all mankind and put His name over your heart. I often feel like this white shirt is His white robe. Sometimes I think of my tie as His shepherd's staff and this plaque as if it were His very hand and His very own heart touching the lives of others. What a blessing it is to be permitted to be His hands and help others to feel His heart and His perfect love. WE ARE HIS REPRESENTATIVES.
2- I have come to feel an in-explainable joy. I cannot tell you why or how it occurs. All I know is that it is a promise from God that "if it so be that you should cry repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy..." (D&C 18:15). There is no greater joy I have felt in my entire life than the joy that comes from witnessing a lost child of God make it back to His loving arms. The joy that comes from seeing the Atonement change the life of someone is the greatest joy that exists in this universe. There may be things in this life that seem to bring joy but God has not promised "great joy" to them like He has to missionary work. GREAT WILL BE YOUR JOY.
3- Alma, as a missionary, "labored much" and "prayed mightily" but the people still "hardened their hearts". He was reviled, spit upon, and cast out. He was "weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul". Despite "laboring much" and "crying out in mighty prayer" my soul too has been tormented from time to time. The mocking is real. Being spitted upon and cast out really does happen. My being weighed down with sorrow has often times led me to my knees at night only to bathe my pillow with my tears. But despite the rejecting, the spitting, and the anguish..."behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Alma)". I promise that the tribulation will come as a missionary...but along with the tribulation will always come an angel. I have been blessed with so many miracles in my life over these past two years. Angels, or divine miracles from God's loving grace, have attended me since day one of this journey. WE WILL NEVER FAIL TO RECEIVE HEAVENLY HELP.

4- "Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle? And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
This group of "very young" men with "such great courage" teach us such a great message. They did not "think more upon the liberty of their fathers that their own lives" until they were to fight. They were also taught their entire lives by their mothers that "if they did not doubt, God would deliver them", but did not rehearse, believe, or love these words until they were tossed into battle. Every single missionary will come to "think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they do of their own lives" and will come to respect the sacrifices that were made by their father's. Each missionary will come to understand a little bit more of the love that their father's have towards them and will come to develop a love quite a bit more powerful towards their father's than they thought they had before. 
Every missionary will come to KNOW that "their mothers knew it". That their mothers know just about all of it! The teachings, hugs, succors, and love of a mother really come to impact the heart and soul of a missionary and the love of a missionary towards his mother will grow to a more passionate and powerful love that is un-explainably deep. I have been able to come to love my family more than I ever thought possible although I am thousands of miles away. WE WILL DEVELOP A MORE POWERFUL LOVE FOR OUR FAMILIES.
5- In the second book of Nephi and in the 1 chapter, father Lehi exhorts to all that they should repent, keep the commandments, and believe in the Redeemer who was to come. That is the role of a missionary, is it not? Invite others to come unto Christ through faith in Him and obedience to His gospel teachings. But I love what Lehi comes to feel through completing his missionary duty because it is something that every missionary will come to feel as they preach repentance and exhort all to come unto Christ. "I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love". 
I make a promise to all youth preparing to serve a mission and to those who are still of age...if you desire to feel the Lord's loving arms holding you, succoring you, and protecting will come to feel just that as you serve a mission. The Lord has never once failed to wipe my tears, hold my hand, hug me tight, or leave me forsaken. I have come to feel encircled about eternally in His arms. WE WILL FEEL HIS ETERNAL HUG.

6- "The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house" (Isaiah 44:13). There are quite a few verbs used in this verse that explain to us just what a carpenter does to a worthless block of wood. Stretching, ruling, marking, lining, fitting, planing, compassing, directioning, making, and figuring. All of this was done to a piece of wood so that it could be made into "the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man". 
I testify that the Lord is our Carpenter. He stretches, rules, marks, lines, fits, planes, compasses, directs, makes, and figures missionaries...blocks of wood...into "the figures of men or women" that He desires us to become. A full time mission is His shop and the experiences within that mission are His tools to help us reach our potential as His children. Not only does He make us and form us into the earthly men or women that He would have us become. But He builds us "according to the beauty of man". The beauty of man is the perfection and glory of God, the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The mission will not only form us into the earthly men and women that God hopes for us to become...but a mission will form us into the eventual God that we are able to, one day, become. WE WILL BECOME WHAT GOD WANTS US TO BECOME.

Brothers and Sisters, my mission has been the best two years for my life. It will be the best 2 years or 1 1/2 for you as well.
I look forward to writing you all one last time next week. I love each and every one of you so much!
Elder Noll

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016

Hello all!
There is not much time today... but just enough time to do something that I have not done near enough in my mission.

“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me” is one of my favorite lines in all of music and art. I truly do stand all amazed at the love that my perfect Savior offers me every second of every day. But Christ’s love comes in so many ways, shapes, and forms. This day, and every day, “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me” through each and every one of you.

I have stood in need of succor over these past two years... and I have pulled strength from your begs to heaven on my behalf.

I have been in darkness at times... and I have been brought to light through your candles.

I have been sick and afflicted... and I have been administered to because you chose to right my name on a little slip of paper to be presented in the heights of the Holy Temples.

The love and support I have felt through and from you, my brothers and my sisters, has been truly remarkable. I have been touched by your examples, your love, your faithfulness, and your love towards the Savior and me.

It would take an eternity to say “thank you” to all of you. But we have a Savior. We have a Lord. We have a Brother. We have a King. And through this Perfect Being eternity exists. Eternity is what we have.

Eternity is what I have to hopefully show all of you a small portion of the love that you have shown me.
I hope all of you have been able to feel of my love and appreciation for you. I have knelt for you all and cried out for your well being. And I know that you have knelt unceasingly and cried out for my well being ever so diligently and I thank you for that.

It will be my continual prayer that you all continue to be blessed by our Father’s hand. That you all continue to be lifted by our Savior who was lifted first. And that you can all come feel of the Father’s forever loving and eternal arms around you to protect you and your families.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

I love you all. Love is a powerful word and I hope you can feel of its power through words. Endure on, my siblings of the same Father. Thank you for the love that you have shown me during my mission, before my mission, and the love that you will continue to show me after.

With so much love,
Elder Noll  

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016

I stand all amazed...

That is basically all I can say about my life at this moment. I don't know exactly how to express how incredible this past week was. On Saturday our loving Heavenly Father blessed me with the opportunity to look a prophet, seer, and revelator in the eyes and shake his hand. Elder Ronald Rasband came to our mission and we had the chance to hear him speak. We were together with two other missions from Guayaquil so there was quite a bit of power in the room. I have no doubt in my mind or in my heart that God is a God who loves us. That is exactly why He calls worthy men to represent Him and the Church of His Son. He is a God of love because if it were not for these elect men we would have no light. Never in my life have I seen or felt more light from a human being. He walks with Christ. That I know. How blessed we are to have servants of the Lord in our lives.

It was also Elder Johnson's birthday! So that was cool! Not that we could really celebrate...haha! We do have enough cake to last us all through the millennium though. But I think the true celebration was preaching what we love and representing who we want to become.

I just want to skip to the spiritual message...I think the stories and funny occurrences will have to be put on hold for now! Hah!

When I was a 9 year old boy I remember receiving devastating news that my father was to be deployed to Kuwait for military service. For as young as I was I do not recall much before his departure or even during his deployment but the little that I do remember has taught me so much about a father's love towards his children. The night before my father left we gathered in the living room as a family and, one by one, received blessings from the hands of my father. I remember two things only from this blessing: First, I felt his tears falling upon my head as he blessed me. And second, he expressed his unfailing love for each one of us in his blessing but finished by saying that his love, being so great and so unfailing, being powerful beyond comprehension, was nothing compared to the love that our Father in Heaven has for us. Later that night we decided as siblings that we wanted to spend our last night with dad in the basement and sleep together, since he was leaving very early the next morning and we were not going to see him again for a long time. I remember falling asleep scared...heartbroken...lost...unable to breathe...knowing that I would not wake up to having a dad for quite some time...but something happened that I do not recall telling anyone about ever in my life. I was awoken to something early that morning. When I opened my eyes it was still dark due to the hour, but I could see just enough that my father was no longer in between my little brother and sister on the ground where he had fallen asleep. I then looked to the stairs where I saw the silhouette of a figure dressed in military turnouts. My father, though I could not see the details of his face, looking over and at his children for the last time before he would be separated from them. That is the last memory of my father that I have before he left. I now ask myself...what was it that woke me up at such an hour? I do not know with certainty...nor have I asked my father before if these events truly took place...but I believe something with all of my heart and feel like I have come to a conclusion. I believe that my dad got himself up, went upstairs to get himself ready, and seconds before leaving with my mother to the airport, came down to the basement one last time. I believe he observed my older brother Ryan...and kissed him ever so gently on the head. I believe that he went to the side of my sister and looked upon the perfection of his little princess and kissed her every so gently on her cheek. I believe that he beheld his youngest baby, who was almost two and kissed him ever so tenderly on his little head. Then I believe he made it to me...and woke me up from the touch of his unfailing and forever loving kiss to my forehead...causing me to wake up just in time to see him that one last time at the staircase. How grateful I am for an earthly father who bathed me in his tears that last night. How humbled I am to have a loving father who kissed me ever so softly and loved me so gently to leave me and to fight for me. How grateful I am for a father who comforts me and loves me...who provides for me and who teaches me...who saves me and gives me life...and who teaches me that I have an Eternal Father...whose love, tears, kisses, teachings, and comfort is much better. Much deeper. Much more compassionate. Much more perfect. What a sacred calling being a father is. Being a father, I am sure, is nothing easy. But it is something that perfects us as sons of God. God the Father is perfect and wants us to be like Him...and we will come to be like Him by doing what He does. The call of a father is the call to be more like our Father. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day. And a Happy Father's day to all!!! 

I would like to give the most special of Father's Day wishes to my Eternal Father. To Him that loves me perfectly. To my first Dad. I have no doubt, brothers and sisters, that we all have an Eternal Father who bathed our heads in His very tears as He blessed us the night before we were to come to earth. I have no doubt that our Father descends from His thrown ever so often to kiss us. His kiss awakens us...perhaps we will not see the details of His face just as I could not see those of my father's...but His kiss will let us know that He is there at our staircase...that He is present in our lives...that He is there...watching over us. His kisses are real...I have felt them through His mercy and His miracles. His kisses are possible through the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Look to your Father...pray to Him...remember the tears fell over your head that last night...tears that sealed you with the promise of eternal life. Feel and look for His kisses. Know of His love. Call Him Dad.
For He is your Father.
Elder Noll

Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 2016

Hello Crew!
How are we? Hopefully everyone is doing great! I am sure all is a bit crazy with end of school/beginning of summer changes but it is okay...change is good. 
Elder Johnson and I were talking about how there is NO WAY that 2 years has already passed by since we graduated. We are convinced that it was 2 DAYS ago. But a special congrats to all that graduated and are moving on with their lives! What a special opportunity now that these recent grad students have to prepare themselves for missions, studies, and life! May our Father guide each and one of you down the path, not that you would choose, but that He has already chosen for you.
These past couple of weeks have been great! We got to go to Guayaquil for an INCREDIBLE conference, we did a couple of amazing service projects, and are still preaching the only true, divine, and complete  gospel that exists in all of the universe and galaxies...and we are doing it as best friends. So that is just kinda cool I guess ;)

What is new back home? Any mission calls? Any recent returned missionaries? Spiritual experiences? Tender mercies? Where did you see God's hand yesterday? This morning? Where do you see it now?

This past weekend actually was not TOO exciting. Poor Elder Johnson came down with a throat infection which locked us up in the house the majority of Saturday and Sunday. We were going crazy...haha...being sick is a lot different without your mom...I tried to put the "Sherry Johnson" or "Tracy Noll" wig on, but we all know that that is just humanly impossible. But don't worry Sherry...I did cook your son meals! ;) The good part was that I got to read the Book of Mormon quite a bit. So I can't complain on that one. But with that said...shoot some prayers in the way of Elder Johnson.
We are loving life. That is the most important part. This work truly is a marvelous work and a wonder.
I am gonna jump towards real business...
The 100m dash is one of the most highly anticipated sporting events that there is today. Hours and hours of anxious excitement are put into waiting for a race that only last about 11 seconds in HS, 10 seconds in college, and 9.5 seconds on the Olympic level. All to find out who is "the fastest runner". But is that really what we discover? Yes, speed is completely necessary to be a successful 100m dash competitor, but those who win races are those who are able to maintain their top speed the longest. Not necessarily him who is "fastest" will always win the race...but him who is fastest for the longest period of time. 
It has been shown that after 30-40 meters of 100% exertion and effort to run as fast as possible, it is humanly impossible to gain more speed and run at a faster rate. Hence, the 100m dash, the race that weeds out the quickest, the event that finds speed, and the way the world uses to find the "fastest man alive", has a lot more to it than just speed. There are still 70 meters left after reaching top speed to maintain speed and overcome the race triumphantly.
Brothers and Sisters, to live a life so similar to a 100m dash, we must refrain from dwelling on our first 30 meters or trying to "relive" what we have already ran. Common "30 meter thoughts" are: If I could only be baptized again. Oh how I wish I could have one more day in my mission. Why can't I feel the spirit as strong now as I did the first time in the temple? Why is reading my scriptures and doing my prayers so much harder now than it was then? If I could only go back. Indeed, these first 30 meters are crucial. But they are ONLY used to gain speed. They are not used to help you finish the race. 
We are able to develop speed with baptism, missions, spiritual experiments, temple attendance, and other "spiritual highs"...but after this requires endurance and maintaining the developed speed. "He that is faithful and enduring shall overcome the world." Overcoming the world is hard. Enduring is rigorous. Like enduring a 100m dash, physical and mental pain are felt. We will lose our breath at times. Our legs will get heavy. Many times, others are enduring better than we are which causes doubt, insecurity, and fear. All of these come from an adversary who wants us to stay within the "30 meters", hence, limiting us from ever finishing our race and making it to the finish line where God resides. 
What I believe will help us is knowing that we overcame this adversary before. We felt the same pain we sometimes feel today. We felt the same fatigue we perhaps feel now. We felt the same desire to stay within 30 meters in the premortal life. 
But John the beloved teaches us how we did it. How we overcame Satan then and how we can do it now. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimonies; and they loved not their lives unto death" (Revelations 12:11).
1. It is only possible through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can and will overcome this race. He is the only reason that we were capable of and still the only reason that we are capable of maintaining the speed we have gathered to finish the last 70 meters. We must use His atonement to endure as we did in the premortal life. We must trust in His wings. He will carry us. His blood will give us energy and light. He is the only way. By Him, through Him, and of Him, we will finish this race.
2. We must cling to our testimonies. Let us remember that we overcame Satan as spirit children of God...IMPERFECT spirit children. We do not need to be perfect to overcome Satan here just as we did not need to be perfect to overcome him then. Nor is a perfect knowledge of all things required. Fatigue is inevitable in this race. It will come...but our testimonies and our beliefs will keep us moving and pull us to that finish line.
3. In Spanish it says that "they loved  not their own lives, even if they had to suffer until death". Do not fear suffering. Understand that, again, it is part of this race. Accept the fatigue and the exhaustion. Accept the opposition. It is not the fatigue that wins or loses the race...but what we decide to DO with the fatigue and opposition that comes our way.
There have been times in my life and even to this very day in my mission where I have felt weak. Sometimes I get the tunnel vision just as I did in those last few meters. Sometimes my legs are weak just as they always were at the end of all of my races. Sometimes Satan lures me to look to my left and to my right to see who is "better" than me or who is "faster for longer". Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I hurt. Physically and spiritually. Sometimes I feel like a race of 30 meter spiritual highs would be nice but that is not how it works. The blood of the Lamb is blood that was shed for me and you. The blood of the Lamb is blood that flows through the living body of the Savior, Jesus Christ, that will help us overcome this race. I have tried to focus on what I testimony...instead of what I don't know. I am not perfect. But perfection is not a requisite to overcome Satan. Let us not fear suffering...for it is what pulls me to my the finish line. I often hear His voice..."DIG DEEP" and "GET YOUR KNEES UP" just as my dad yelled to me each race when enduring got hard. I can feel His cheer through His blood that was shed for me just as my mom cheered. These 3 things help me to continue on in this 100m race and  maintain the speed that the Lord has blessed me with.
Endure and overcome just as you did before. The finish line will be forever worth it.
Elder Noll
"this is why we don't drink the water!"

"Giving thanks"

the longest broom handle we've ever seen!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016

Hello my dearest American friends and family!
This week was so so great! It was so awesome to talk to my beautiful mother last week on Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day again to all! :)
Elder Johnson and I are still getting after it! We truly had an amazing week. Are any of you sick of hearing that?? Haha. Hopefully not because I am sure you will keep on hearing the same exact thing until the end. Actually I am sure of it! ;)
Two great experiences we had that I would love to share!
Yesterday in church a recent convert who I love with all of my heart came up to us and asked us, ever so hesitantly, if we could possibly help him. He asked us what that thing is called where if you gain 10 dollars you have to give 1 dollar to the church. We told him that it was tithing. As soon as he heard those words from our mouth he practically leaped with joy..."TITHING! Where can I do that?!" I was so touched by this man's intent and joy to pay the Lord with the little that he has. How happy are we to give the Lord 10%? Do we leap with joy as we sacrifice the little that we have?
There was another really cool moment when a sweet Hermana in the branch who has a tough husband and a tough life told us that she really wanted us to visit her. We had the chance to enter her humble home and share the gospel with her...but she was the one who actually shared the gospel with me! She bore her testimony on Family History and how it has totally changed her life. The way she explained how she feels when she does temple work and when she works on her Family History really impacted me. She explained that it is really the only thing she has to maintain the peace and her patience in her home with the hard life that she lives. She did not always do it either...she recently had the impression that she should be doing better with it. As soon as she took that counsel from the spirit she got a call that day which gave this struggling daughter of God, this struggling wife, this suffering mother, a job that will provide for the needs of her and her family. If the Lord asked us how important our Family History is to us, what would we say? If the Lord rated us on our efforts to go to the temple would He be pleased?
Elder Johnson and I continue to love each and every second of our time together! We have had so many great experiences together. I can not seem to chose which ones to share!
We were walking through the wilderness... but I did not have the best feeling about I made Elder Johnson lead the way. After a little while he ended up stepping in a hidden pond thingy...drenching his shoe and pant leg. I got a good laugh out of that one! But he got revenge on me when we went to lend service and there were only two instruments. He got the rake that was in perfect condition and I got the shovel...but it was broken. So I ONLY got the shovel did not have the stick part to hold on to. Let's just say that my back took quite the toll. I guess we are even now ;)
I will save the better stories for when I can tell them in person!! :)
A trip to Lake Powell was taken by our family and a couple of others years ago. One of my great friends and I decided to take the jet ski out together after we had set up our spot as a group on the beach. What a great time we had on that jet ski. We cruised on the lake for quite some time which felt as only seconds. As we were having a great time a little light with great meaning came on. The gas-light. But we were having too much fun to let a little light interfere with our joy. We actually ended up seeing an amazing slot canyon that looked like a blast. Not thinking twice about the light, we went all in...and kept going for quite a while. Until eventually the motor to the jet ski stopped, we came to a halt and were unable to move or start the jet ski again, and we were stranded deep into a slot canyon without eyes to see us, ears to hear us, or hands to help us. There was no way out but to swim. We swam, and swam, and swam. We had to pull and push this jet ski along with us which was quite the physical test of endurance and strength for the both of us. Probably close to an hour past as we fought the current, swam, struggled, and suffered. The torment from knowing that a little light would have saved us from our state of grief was afflicting and tormenting as well.
This life is a lake. A lake that was given to us "that we might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). And just as a little light comes on to warn us and reprove us from being stranded, the Holy Ghost "will be sent to reprove the world of sin" so that we can always make it back to the beach of our Heavenly Father. We can not afford to play with sin. We can not touch it, we can not think of it, nor can we justify it. The only proper way to deal with sin is to hate it. It is what is keeping you and I from an eternal paradise. The ONLY thing. This spiritual light leads us to repentance and, if neglected, we will be stranded just as my friend and I were.

"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked."

Procrastinating repentance as my friend and I procrastinated our return to the beach only leads to darkness, affliction, and to one tough swim. It is the devil himself that leads us into these slot canyons to strand us in misery and hopelessness. He tells us that the gas light does not mean much and that our return can be delayed until we our finished up with our will and what seems pleasing to us in that moment.
As I meditated on this experience I had, I was able to come to a conclusion of 2 teachings early on. 

1: We MUST give heed to the spirit and repent and return when we are told. We cannot continue to play on sinful waters.
2: Repentance is a swim...a tough one. As humans we will make mistakes. Our jet ski's will run out of gas due to our failure to act and repent and return. All of us sin. As a result...all must repent. Repentance is among the greatest gifts that God has offered us through His Son. But it is a draining, exhausting, and challenging process that requires effort, help, and endurance.

But the 3rd lesson that I was able to learn is my favorite.
My friend and I FINALLY managed to make our way out of the slot canyon. But we were still miles away from the beach. How many of you have felt like you have repented but you still feel miles away from your Heavenly Father? How many of you have finished a tough swim of struggle and affliction and feel like you still cannot make it to the beach of the Kingdom of God. My friend and I sure felt this way. In fact, we would still be swimming today if it were not for a boat that stopped by our side, threw us a rope that we tied to the jet ski, and towed us back to our beach and sound with our families. This boat saved us from an impossible swim of an eternity.

I can testify that the King of Kings, the Savior, the Christ...your Christ...has a boat. He has a rope. And through Him, by Him, in Him, and of Him, He will tow us back to the shore of our Heavenly Father. His rope is eternal. No matter how tired you are, how far you have swam, how many times you have neglected your gas light, how strong the current, or how heavy the jet, like my friend and I, can and will be brought to safety and paradise through the Lord, Jesus Christ, though His mercy, His atonement, and through your repentance.
"...if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you."

 I make the same promise to each of you today. IMMEDIATELY will our forever reachable, eternally accessible and merciful reliever tow us home.

I am evidence of the Lord, Jesus Christ's rope. I am evidence that he tows. And I know He will make you evidence too.
In His sacred name. Amen.
Elder Noll


Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016

The love of a mother is truly impossible to comprehend. That really came to life as I asked questions of my Heavenly Father this past week. I asked...
1- Who was my mother in the premortal life?
2- What was our relationship like in the premortal life?
3- What thanks do I have for my mother?

1- As I thought of my mother all I could think of was “noble and great.” I know that through divine revelation my mother truly was a noble and great daughter of God. She was one of the faithful daughters of Eve. This goes for all mothers! All were prepared before the foundation of the world so they could carry out such an important role and such a sacred calling in the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father.
2- Track took quite the toll on my body growing up. The preparation was tough work and required rigorous effort. Physical and mental struggle accompanied me each and every preparation period, practice, and work out. Had it not been for the daily massages from my mother I would not have made it... that is a fact! During these times I would not have been able to endure the sore and tight muscles that I lugged around each and every day if it had not been for the constant care and attention from my mother. But as a track runner, the preparation, practice, and work outs are only part of the sport. The meets come. The time to let the hard work pay off and use my loose muscles… thanks to my mom. But what’s interesting is the massages NEVER STOPPED. In between each event, even at the meet, my mother was always there. Ready and willing, to rub my sore muscles to help me get through the meet, finish each and every race, and perform to the best of my ability. Race after race, she attended to my needs. And eventually... the meets would come to an end. The time to go home and rest would arrive. But low and behold... the care STILL did not cease. After each track meet the massage always came. And the encouragement, love, and compassion of my mother always filled me.

My track experiment helped me come to know what my relationship was like with my mother in the premortal life, what it is like now, and what it will be like in the future. In Ephesians 3, Paul explains that through our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten, “the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” This testifies to me that my family was named and formed in the heavens above, before we came to earth. As was you, our Father named me as the child of my mother and you as the child of yours. But what took place after this naming? Why would God have formed our families and what is it I learned as I was with my mother in the premortal life? In verse 16 it says, “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” My mother taught me through the spirit. She strengthened me and showed me how to listen to the spirit so that I could have might on this earth. She strengthened me and helped me overcome difficulties in the premortal life so I could perform to my best ability here on earth, just as she massaged me and helped me overcome sore muscles to help me be ready for a track meet on the earth.

In verse 17 it says, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” In premortal life my mother showed me what faith really is. Before even coming to this earth I knew who Christ was, and is, thanks to my mother and her pre-life teachings to me. I also came to be “rooted and grounded” in her love. There is no doubt that my mother prepared me, cradled me, held me, loved me, and kissed me in the premortal life just as she loved me, prepared me, and massaged my legs in pre-meet preparation to help me perform to my best ability… here in this track meet called life.

Finally, in verse 19 it says, “and to know the love of Christ...” My mother truly showed me what the love of God is and was. What the love of our Savior feels like and how to know it. She helped me be ready to run my race in this earth just as she helped me be ready to run each race at each and every meet. And the race came! The meet arrived! My mom went a little earlier than I did… ONLY A LITTLE... but eventually we both found ourselves here on this earth and entered in this track meet.

My life, like the life of you all, consists of race after race, trial after trial, and affliction after affliction. But just as my mother massaged my legs during the preseason and practices (premortal life) she never stopped during the meets (this life). If it were not for my mother and her massages it would be impossible for me to make it through my daily races. I would not be capable of overcoming the difficulties and challenges that this track meet throws at us. But just as every track meet came to an end, this track meet called life will too. But I can testify that the love my mother had for me in the premortal life and the love she has for me in this track meet of life will continue on in the heavens just as her love continued on after each and every meet by giving me a massage when all was said and done.

The love of a mother never dies. How blessed I am to have gotten these massages that prepared me for this track meet in the premortal life. For the massages that I get in the track meet and in this life that help me overcome and perform to my best ability in my races. And for the massages that I will receive in the heavens and the love I will feel from my mother when we are eternally together in a state of perfection and joy when this meet comes to an end.

3- In English we say that a mother “gives birth.” But in Spanish, mothers “give light.” I love this so much more! In D&C 93:32 we learn that if a “spirit receiveth not the light it is under condemnation.” If it were not for my mother I would be under condemnation. She gave my spirit light. “Spirit and element connected, receive a fulness of joy: and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.” If it were not for my mother I would have NO joy. If she had not humbled herself and given light to me, it would be impossible for me to have happiness. Finally, “light and truth forsake that evil one.” If it were not for my mother and the light she gave to me, the massages and preparation she gave me in the premortal life, and that she continues to give me today, I would be incapable of overcoming Satan.

Dear mothers, you are important! Never forget the sacredness of your calling! I wish all of you faithful daughters of Eve a Happy Mothers Day and I wish the best for you all!

To my very own mother. I love you, I adore you, I live for you, and I am who I am because of you. I thank my Father in Heaven for having named me and formed me in a family with such a faithful daughter of Eve who prepared me and taught me. Loved me and cared for me. Who continues to give me her love and attention. I love you, Mom. Thank you for the light you gave me. Thank you for the light you give me each day of my existence. I look forward to the moment when we are in the heavens together, surrounded by concourses of angels, holding hands with Dad, Ryan, McKenna, Alec, and those we love, in the presence of Him who formed us. In the presence of Him who will give us all that He has and is. But this time, I promise, I will be the one giving you the massage ;)
Happy Mothers Day!
Elder Noll