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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Become what God wants you to Become!


                                                           Training a Green Colt

     Today I want to talk about how I have learned about the way that God works in my life personally and how I can better respond to the way that He works in my life.

     Breaking Colts isn't the easiest thing that you'll ever do, but it is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done in my life. I feel like this is how God feels when He deals with us and tries to help us become what He wants us to become and what He sees that we can be.

     When you first get a young colt you begin to look at it and at it's pedigree to get a rough idea of what this young colt can become and then you will get an even better idea when you actually see this colt in person and start being around it. This will go right along with God saying in Jeremiah that He knew us before he formed us in the belly, and he knew what we could become. I know that you can tell a lot about a horse by the blood that runs through its veins and the ancestry that it has, but I know that when it comes down to it, it's when we are working with the horse that we truly begin to realize the potential it has.

     The first day you get the colt in a small pen and you try to calm him down enough so that you can even be able to touch him and possibly get a halter on him. This isn't easy, and all of them aren't the same. Some of them are brown nosers and try and run over you like that annoying pet no one wants and others are as far away from you as they can be at all times. This is a lot like the people on the earth today and the variations in our lives to how closely we are to living God's gospel. Either way, with time the colt begins to realize that you are there to be a friend and to try and help him out. Once in a while you have to rope them and they learn the hard way a couple of times that we are their friends and some other times they begin to respect your personal space and treat you how you need to be treated. This is one of my favorite things in the process of breaking a colt. I like to see them take that initial step to BECOMING what they can be. This is the same feeling that I get every day as I share the gospel with people and I see them begin to believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior and Redeemer.

     After a couple of days with this young colt out in a round pen you begin to build a bond and you come and give it some grain every day and you take some time to get close to him every day and build trust with him. Some of the things that built that ultimate trust are rubbing every single bit of their body until they flinch no more, flapping a plastic bag all around them until it effects them no more or little at that, one other thing that you can do is to run a rope around their legs and their body which will make them feel trapped. All three of these things closely relate to some things that God does with us in our lives. He begins to show himself in every part of our daily lives and we soon realize that He has meant everything that He has ever promised to us. Other times he allows us to have trials in our lives and get tangled up in a mess, so that we can learn that He is there to help us out of every situation that we get in. It's cool to see a horse the first time that you toss a rope around it's feet and how the buck and jump like crazy to when you can rope them and pull tight and they just stand there and stay calm. This is a lot like when we begin to learn that we can always trust in God no matter how tight or scary the situation begins to become.


     Now we have built a good trust with the colt and we are going to start expecting something of him. We are going to take our time and put a saddle on him little bit by little bit. First we might put the blanket on him and walk away and then come back and take it off and then rub him down. We then repeat in this process with the saddle on the blanket as well until the colt doesn't blow up and go hog wild when you begin to tighten the cinch up. I know that this is a lot like when we begin to gain responsibility in our lives to Do God's work. We get a calling and we are nervous, but just when we are about to not be able to handle it anymore we get released or get some extra help and God reassures us that things are ok. But for some reason, the expectation and responsibility level just continues to go up. These might be simple things in our lives like being examples to those around us or raising kids in a God loving and God fearing home. This also could be needing to stand up for what we believe in no matter who is around us and what the circumstances are.

     Not long after this process we put a bit in the colts mouth and run some long lines on him. This is like one lone set of reins. The one end clips to one side of the bit and then runs through the stirrup on the same side of the horse and runs around the back end of the horse. It then runs back around the other side of the horse and through the stirrups and clipped to the bit on the other side. The reason that we do this is so that the horse has a general knowledge of what is going to happen when you get on his back to that you are in control up there and not him. I believe that at this point in the training process is related to the point in our lives when we begin to have positions of leadership. We are called to leadership which is the bit in the mouth, we don't really like it at first but as we chomp on it a little while, we begin to like the feel of it in our mouths. Now when the reigns are put on we start having some specific roles that are just small to see if we will be able to handle something bigger. With time we start to learn how to bend our body and turn and stop and even when to go. This is an amazing process to watch happen and I love being a part of this particular step. This is when I think you can really tell if the colt is going to turn out great. Some of the colts fight you on every corner, and others react so fast that it is shocking. I love the fast reactors just as I'm sure God does.

     Now we have built some trust with the horse and give it some things to cope with and give it some things to adapt to. He has handled it well and so we are going to really put him to the test. Once we have done all of these things it is time to hop into the saddle and see what he can do. There are a couple of options here. One, you can just bail on and ride the buck out if it happens and two, you can get on and off until he is calm enough to not buck when you set on his back for a long time, and third, you can have another person on a well trained horse snub you which is just to tie you your colt to his horse so that yours can't get to out of control.

     This last one isn't one that I have done a ton, but I tend to think that it is the best way to do it. So lets relate this to when we really get a calling that has a big load and some real responsibility to it. First We can be given a calling and mess up a ton along the way especially right at the beginning and then finally with time we begin to get the hang of it. Second, we can get one calling at a time but for short periods of time so we don't get over stressed. This one typically takes a longer amount of time. Third is we can be given a calling of great responsibility, but also be given a mentor that has been in our shoes before and can be there with us to encourage us and calm us along the way until we can do it by ourselves.

     This is when it really gets exciting! Now you truly get to see what the horse can do and how you can best use the horse to do the different jobs that you have to do on the ranch. We begin by taking the horse out and moving cows with him and then another day we try and put a pack saddle on him and shoot a gun by him. You also might put a bunch of fencing material on him and see if he can handle it, or try and rope a big old range bull on him. Or you might one day trust him enough to put your 5 year old little kid on his back to ride him around all by himself. Just like our callings in life, none of these jobs for a horse on the ranch are more important than the other one. They all are of great importance and are needed for the ranch to run smoothly. Each and every calling that we have in our lives is important for the operation of God's Kingdom on the earth today. Some seem to have more importance than others and some seem to not be important at all. Coming from a background of breaking horses and working with many ranches, I know that each job a horse can perform is important. Some of the horses get the glory as they are taken to ropings and the ranchers win money with them and others are the hard workers in the background like the six teams that sit in the coral and wait to pull the sled to feed the cows at 4:00 in the morning when it is - 40 below outside.

     From these experiences in my life and from memorizing a chunk of scripture about leadership and callings of responsibility, I have come to learn that everyone is pulling on the same yoke and working at the same job and that the level you seem to be on never matters. Only how hard you pull where you are matters! I love working with horses, although at times it is frustrating and can be painful as well. I enjoy working with a good horse that wants to work right there hand in hand with me! So I want to encourage each of us to look at the job we have to do and realize that in God's eyes what we are doing is important and that we just need to continue on in faith so that at the end of the day we can get to live with Him again just as at the end of a long days work for the colt we just broke they get turned in to a pasture with belly deep grass and a slow moving mountain stream to rest for the night. I know that all of the trials in our lives can be faced with God at our back. He loves us! And we better all love him! Please Look ahead and Believe!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Faith to move the Herd

(Sorry the picture doesn't match well with the story today)                                                           

                                                              One Cold December Day

     It's hard to relate the gospel to our lives sometimes, so today I want to relate an experience that I had while moving cows in the desert on a cold day in December in Southern Utah. 

     I was down visiting my sister and her family for a week and I wanted to have some work during the day while their family was busy. So I had previously asked her to speak with the people she had told me about that own a local ranch. She did and they said it would be a possibility for me to help them out. So I called them up to see if I could have some work while I was down there. They were glad to have some extra help and said that they would put me to work for the week.
     One of my more memorable days there started at around 5:30 in the morning. It was cool and the ground was covered in frost. The air was fresh and the day was young. I showed up early to the ranch yard and began to feed the steers and the weanling colts their hay for the day. Not long after I arrived another young man showed up that worked for the family and had worked for them for a couple of years now. The boss man told us that there were some cows out on a pasture way out in the middle of no where it sounded like to me! ( You know how it is when people are talking in terms that you don't understand or using words and names to places that you don't know. It can get very confusing very fast! ) I was ready to get out and get some riding though and see the country around. What I couldn't foresee was the size of the project that we would be getting into that day. 
     We caught the horses and saddled them up, loaded the horses in the trailer and headed south. At first I was thinking that the range we were going to was pretty close by. After driving for about 30 minutes I thought that I would ask Leo, the kid I was working with that day how far we had to go. He replied pretty simply that it would be about another hour or so. Once I realized this we took the chance to talk about the area and what it would be like when we got there and the boss and how much he knew about the place. We both knew that we had a big job for the day, but we knew we would get it done. 
     We drove the highway for a while, and with time we turned off the road onto a well graded gravel road and drove for another 30 minutes, winding through the beginning of the badlands. This all seemed like a great new experience to me, and my hopes were high that today was going to be a great day! A while later, and after unloading salt in the pasture as we drove we finally got to a valley where the hole in the fence was that the cows had been getting out of, or at least one of the many holes along the miles of fence on the vast range. To give you an idea of the size of the range, from the center point of the range they say it was about 25 miles in every direction without leaving the same piece of range. So our job was to get whatever cows were outside of the pasture and bring them all back to that hole in the fence to get them where they needed to be. The good thing was though that they said the cows had only been out for a couple of days, so they should be relatively close by.
     We figured we would start by driving a ways in the truck to see where some of the cows were. We drove for 8 miles to the next water hole and we saw only 5 cows. The boss said that there was nearly 100 that were out of the pasture. We looked a little bit more, and decided that we had better just get started on moving them since it was already about 11:00 so that we could get them all in and get back to the ranch at a decent time. 
        We drove back until we were where we saw the couple of cows and I got out to start them in the right direction. Now I knew that if I followed the road the whole way that I would make it back just fine, but I also knew that the cows had been in this pasture many times and they knew where to go. Half of them didn't want to go back and some did. The problem was, that I knew the range worse than any of them and Leo had left me behind saying that he was going to drive a ways and park the truck and then ride back, looking for cows along the way. The first mile or so I was feeling nice and perky, but as time went on and the cows began to trail far ahead I realized that I wasn't in control and I had more than I had started with. I then began to see some cows up in the little draws and ravines, and I started gathering them up as well. Not long later I was really hoping that I was going to see Leo on the ridge somewhere and he would be able to tell me that I was headed in the right direction and that things were going well ahead of me also. Thank goodness, Leo appeared about 3 minutes later on a ridge a ways away, but from what I could tell from his hand gestures, I had them headed in the right direction for the most part and things were still alright. 
     The herd and I were coming up on an open area and I was seeing two different valleys and I wasn't sure which one was going to be the best one to take. They both looked pretty good and I figured that we could make it work either way. Plus, they were all on a high trot for the one and I was thinking that they knew a bit about where they were headed. As the lead cow was about to get to the head of the canyon, I saw Leo appear again on the horizon, this time though, he was to the side of me and I could very obviously tell that the cows were headed to the wrong canyon and I put my horse on a quick lope to get around them and point them in the right direction. It was a dead run chase to the head of the canyon, but I finally got them turned and headed back towards the right canyon. I was beginning to feel good again and things were going smoothly. Leo began appearing on the horizon more, and I could tell that he was working near me with another little heard.
     With time, we both joined our herds together and had them headed down the right canyon. This was the right canyon and we soon were funneling down into the canyon not far from the hole in the fence that we were going to.
     Now that we had everything in our sight for the most part we decided that I would keep them moving along and that Leo would run up and open up the gate just yards down the fence from where the hole was that they went through. The next 30 minutes were filled with running everywhere and turning cows back in the right direction. We then got them back in and pushed them away from the fence and into the pasture on the other side of the fence a ways.
     Leo and I went back and got the truck so that we could grab some fence fixing materials. We each grabbed some wire and staples and head out from the hole in opposite directions. I went about two miles and I came across very few holes in the fence, but I then came up on a huge drop down canyon of a national park. It was a big drop and a deep canyon. It was then that I realized if I had let the cows go down the draw that they were headed for they would have wound up down in that valley and it would have been a fight beyond belief to get them back out.
     I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to learn about the Holy Ghost in my life through the example of Leo and him appearing on the horizon to help guide me and the cows in the right direction. I know that I had to have the faith that I was headed in the right direction most of the time, because if I had doubted that the cows or my life would have quickly lead down the wrong path and been hard to correct. But since I was able to move forward in faith and have some occasional help from Leo we were able to get all of the cows back through the fence and into the right pasture. This experience and not getting lost in the Badlands of southern Utah will always be a time of impression in my life. I look back on this experience on a regularly and I realize how grateful I am to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost in my life so that when I need help I can look to God and receive answers that will guide me to where I need to be.
     Through this experience I have also been able to learn more about the love that our Father in heaven has for us and how he always remembers us in our times of need so that we can return to live with him again. I know that Faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer, and His Atonement is the first step to living with Him again! This is one of the glad messages that I share as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.     

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

                                                                     Wyoming Missionary

     A lot of times when people see a mormon missionary they instantly think of a 19 year old boy who grew up in Salt Lake and never had a chance to experience life. I am here to share with you, my experiences as a Mormon from a small town in Wyoming and what my faith and religion means to me. 
     I have got the question many times on my mission about where I am from and what is my life story and why I am out here on a mission. I am proud to say, that I am from one of the greatest small towns in western Wyoming that you have ever been to! And I have had the blessed privilege to grow up with a fantastic family and amazing friends. 
     I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have enjoyed learning and growing, and coming closer to my Father in Heaven. It's not an easy road, and no one ever said that it would be, but God has said that it will be worth it! I know that it will be, and that is why I am on my mission at this very moment in life. I know that I can live with my family all together in Heaven when this life is over. I could be home working and going to school, doing what kids my age typically are doing at this point in life. But, I am not. I am blessed with the opportunity to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for two years of my life, every minute of every day to show my appreciation for the love that he has shown for me and the ultimate sacrifice that he has made in my behalf. I love Jesus Christ, my brother and I want everyone to have the ability to show Him that they love him by using the Atonement in their lives.
     This is Christ's Gospel restored to the Earth today with a living prophet and 12 apostles who hold his authority, and I am here to share that glad message with all the people that I can!
     Next time you see a Mormon Missionary I invite you to sit and talk with them and hear their message! See how our message can bless your life!