Friday, May 30, 2014

President's Reflections

Lately I’ve been reflecting on my time as institute president and I have realized that there were a lot of good times, spiritual times, and hard times. Sometimes all of these were all mixed together at the same time.

Thanks to this calling, I was able to be even more involved in the institute. Institute basically became my second home. I would go there to not only go for classes, but to study, warm up my meals, or leave my things in a secure place. There were days that I would be at the institute from 7:30 AM for institute committees until about 10 PM when we finished cleaning up from one of our activities. The institute became a part of me.  Despite having these long days, it was worth it.

Institute committees at 7:30 AM sounds crazy, but this is where I met some of the most amazing people. People that really helped the institute run. Without them things would have been a lot harder. I have had such amazing Friday mornings just sitting around chatting with friends and just having a good time laughing and enjoying each other’s company. This is where I met people that have impacted my life in the most positive way.

I have taken all sorts of institute classes like “Dating and relationships,” “Physics of Heaven,” “Book of Mormon,” etc. I needed these classes. I wasn’t always able to spiritually nourish myself as much as I needed or wanted to, but coming to these classes got me by. I thought of it as if I was spiritually hungry and wanted a spiritual feast, but at the time that wasn’t possible so the next best thing was a spiritual snack. The institute was like my granola bar, which sustained me until I could have that spiritual feast. It was something that I really needed. It is so easy to get caught up in our busy schedules and let institute and our spiritual needs fall by the wayside. To be honest everyone is busy. That is just a fact about our lives at this time in our adulthood, but we need to take the time to learn about the Lord and His gospel.

There were times as president when things felt overwhelming when I was trying to prepare for tests, make it to meetings, and fulfill my duties as officer of another club, but the Lord helped me through these times. He didn’t take my burden away, but made me stronger to handle it. I think that one of the hardest things I had to deal with as president was having people leave because of graduation, marriages, etc. I had worked closely with these people and they had impacted my life in a big way and I deeply valued my relationships with them.

My time as president was very fulfilling and rewarding and I have a lot of good memories from it. The Lord definitely had a plan for me when I was called and now I have reached the point in those plans where I have to move on to other things.  I am grateful for all those that have helped me in this calling.


Friday, May 23, 2014

"Bear Up Their Burdens"

One talk from general conference that has had a spiritual impact on my life was Elder Bednar's talk titled "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease." In the talk, Elder Bednar talked about how his friend and he were trapped in the snow in his pick up truck and could not get out until he acted and filled the back of his truck with wood that he cut. The wood provided weight that allowed his friend's truck to gain traction in the snow and release him from the trap of the snow. Elder Bednar compared this to our lives and how without any weight or "load" in our lives we are not progressing forward and are spiritually stuck. A point that has come to my knowledge is also that we don't overfill our truck beds. Later, Elder Bednar talked about how we need to be spiritually yoked with Christ in order for Him to help us with our burdens but we need to have the proper amount of traction that helps us to gain traction but not too much that strains our ability to feel Christ in our lives. Enough to test and stretch our faith but not too much that constricts us and does not allow us time to follow our highest priorities, God and serving others.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why do I come to Institute?

            Institute is a great blessing in my life and I love coming each and every week. But when it comes down to it, why am I here? Why do I keep coming back every week?
            I came to Institute for the first time in the fall quarter of my freshman year. I came because I wanted to learn more about the scriptures and meet other LDS students. I was eager to learn the more about the scriptures; I was a convert to the church and only had a year and a half of seminary. I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do. I came in expecting Institute to be a classroom I came to twice a week for 50 minutes and that would be it, but it turned out to be so much more than that.
            The Institute turned in to my home away from home, a safe haven. The Institute welcomed me with open arms, the teachers and students alike. Coming to college and moving away from home is a big transition for everyone, and through this difficult time Institute was a consistent strength for me. I was able to feel peace during a stressful time in my life. It seemed like everyone at the Institute was specifically there to help and strengthen me. This truly strengthened my testimony and I knew that I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be. The Institute gave me a place to be me, a place to serve, and a place to learn.
            So why am I here? Why am I at the Institute? I am here for the people and the love that I have for them, I am here to learn about the gospel that I love with all of my heart, I am here because it strengthens me, and I am here because it is home.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Because of Him

As we approach Easter Sunday, let us remember all that He did for us.  Because of Him, we can start again and again.  Because of Him, death has no sting.  Because of Him, you and me and all will live again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Institute is. . .

Inspirational - Social
Welcoming - Spiritual - Educational
Friendship - Home-y
Fulfilling - Spontaneous - Belonging
Spring Olympics - Flag making
Synchronized Doughnut Eating
Speed Skating
Congrats to our winning team!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Institute is for Everyone

Institute has been an amazing experience! For a returned missionary to continue to be able to learn the scriptures in more depth as I loved to study on my mission, it definitely gives the entire package. The teachers are fantastic and they do a great job at preparing the lessons for each member of the class. It’s important each day to feast upon the words of Christ so that the Spirit will dwell within us. We are all children of God. Embarking on the service of Christ will keep us on the straight and narrow path to lead us back to Heavenly Father again. We need to stay strong and avoid temptation at all cost. Of course we’ll make mistakes and we’ll need to go through the course of repentance. But by reading the scriptures and understanding our purpose here on Earth, it will make the repentance process clearer and so much more meaningful for each of us. Going to Institute has not only increased my faith, but has set the foundation for how I want to continue to live my life righteously. Whether you have only gone to Institute once, or even not at all, I promise you the experience you will have just by attending will uplift you for the rest of your life. The blessings of the Gospel are endless. The more we strive to stay diligent to be the best we can be, Heavenly Father will provide ways to enrich our lives with endless happiness. I know this Church is true, and I know Jesus Christ died on the cross for each of us so we may repent and live with Him again. Institute is fantastic! Come and see for yourself!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

We live at a time when there is much opportunity to refine our judgement due to the expanse of information at our fingertips. Everyone we communicate with has been educated by a variety of philosophies, and acquaint themselves with all types of people. In this situation, we are ask ourselves many questions about where we have been, where we ought to be, and where we plan to go. In fact, I would not hesitate to parallel our plight with that of Joseph Smith’s, where he found himself amidst a “war of words and tumult of opinions” (Joseph Smith History 1:10). Though the work of the adversary has never changed, and his mission to confuse and distort the truth has not stopped, there seems to be an increasing boldness in his work.

An increased boldness from the adversary has not come without response form the Lord. The Lord has instigated through his servants in these last days an incredible training program for his youth and single adults. Without even mentioning the missionary program, the CES program and the young men’s and young women’s programs are unparalleled in all of the history of the world. With this in mind we realize that we are in a much different station than Joseph Smith. The truth has been restored and access to the Holy Ghost or the “record of heaven” (Moses 6:61) is with us. We need only keep the commandments of the Lord and we will walk in his Spirit and be prepared to “kindle fire” and create “sparks” of light for ourselves and for others (2 Nephi 7:11).

As we learn and teach each other at institute, we equip ourselves with the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17), a most necessary tool for learning the “peaceable things of the kingdom” that we may grow in wisdom and judgment (Moses 6:62). We can see the kingdom of God, and we acquaint ourselves with God that he may pour his power upon us and our posterity, for we live in a day when the powers from heaven (our ancestors) and the powers upon the earth (us) will combine to fulfill God’s covenant to Adam, Noah, and Abraham. We are being trained as earthly sentinels to stand before magistrates and declare with the boldness of a lion that we are acquainted with God and his people, and that He offers all women and men a mansion in his city. 

If God were to speak to us today, I would not be surprised if he were to say, “You are part of my marvelous work and wonder that I spoke of by Isaiah the prophet.” For we truly live in a day when “greater works” (John 14:12) are done than the works that were witnessed in Christ’s day. I am a witness. I have seen many maimed of spirit made whole. I have seen those lame of social confidence healed. I have seen many blind and deaf to the spirit made sensitive to the powers of heaven. We truly are a part of God’s marvelous work and wonder, and what an honor to stand together in such a mighty cause, and we do so because God "loved us first” (1 John 4:19) by sending His Son Jesus Christ to show mercy and compassion to all, and to redeem those who wash themselves clean and apply his atoning blood in their lives.

-Kyler Harmon