The concept of angels and what they look like is one that has always interested me. In popular culture there are all sorts of images of winged creatures that live in the clouds. I have a little bit different take on what angels are and the role they play in my life.
According to "What Christians Want To Know",
"Nowhere in the Bible are angels described like the pictures, paintings, or figurines of little baby cherub angels with wings that we so often see. Michael and Gabriel are archangels and they are anything but little and cute. They are powerful agents and messengers of God that are formidable in their own right. Angels are not effeminate looking and resembling beautiful women with wings. These are man made concoctions and do not come from the Bible. Even Satan, a fallen angel and a powerful one at that does not have horns and a pitchfork. He was perhaps the most beautiful and splendid angel ever created by God and of the highest order, but his pride caused his downfall and God caste him from heaven (Ezekiel chapter 14 and 28)".
Over on LDS.ORG it says:
"There are two kinds of beings in heaven who are called angels: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Angels who are spirits have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone, or they are spirits who have once had a mortal body and are awaiting resurrection. Angels who have bodies of flesh and bone have either been resurrected from the dead or translated.
There are many references in scripture to the work of angels. Sometimes angels speak with a voice of thunder as they deliver God’s messages (Mosiah 27:11–16). Righteous mortal men may also be called angels (JST, Gen. 19:15)".
That last line is the part I have been thinking about, because yesterday I had an angel come by my office with a clear and direct answer to a heartfelt prayer.
Recently I have been pondering and praying how to best carry out my calling as a Family History Support missionary specifically as it relates to the Area Presidency's goal to implement the My Family 15 program throughout the Pacific.
We have shared the goal and instructions to stake leaders throughout many countries. Now we are trying to gather reports back about how the initiative is going. Some of the stakes have done a great job of motivating their councils to all get active in entering family information into FamilySearch.org and to do the available temple ordinances for their deceased ancestors. Some have struggled, so we are looking for ways to better instruct and encourage them. The hardest ones to know how to respond to are those who simply do not turn in any reports. They may be doing the actual work. Or not. We just don't know because there are some areas that despite repeated requests in person, by phone and through email, they simply do not turn in any information about how the program is going in their areas. That has been really frustrating to me.
So recently I have made this a serious matter of prayer to know what the best way might be to approach the leaders from the stakes who are not reporting. I have poured out my heart in faith, and I fully expected that the Lord would provide an answer. I just didn't know how that answer would come.
Then yesterday, one of the other senior missionaries, Elder Dirk Cotterell from Draper, Utah, came by our office. He and his wife work on the third floor of the Pacific Area Office, same as us, but they are on the other side of the building so we don't often casually run into them. However, on that occasion Elder Cotterell stopped by to say hello and tell us how much he appreciated the lesson we had taught at Monday night's Family Home Evening. He talked about how it motivated him to act, to write stories about his life. He asked me to specifically hold him accountable by following up with him when I saw him again to ask him how it was going.
He then shared a special passage about follow up from page 196 in the inspired book "Preach My Gospel":
"You can show your love for the people and your faith in God's promises by following up to help them repent and keep their commitments." Then over on page 200 it says: "Compliment and encourage people who are succeeding...Sincerely and frequently praise them. Express your gratitude for their progress and your confidence that they can succeed. Encourage them whenever you are with them. Express concern and disappointment when people fail to keep their commitments and thus fail to experience the blessings."
I actually got goose bumps as he shared this with us because I felt the Holy Ghost bearing witness to me that this was a direct answer to my earlier prayer.
I do not need to nag the people who are not sending in reports. I do not need to get discouraged or chastise anyone. All I need to do is love them. As I increase in sincere love for the good people we are working with throughout the Pacific, and as I increase my faith in God's promises, I will have greater power to bear witness to the blessings they will receive as they follow through with doing what the Lord has asked them to do through the challenge made by the Area Presidency, for truly, as it says in D&C 21:5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
|Pacific Area Presidency leading by example, showing their completed 15 in 15 Pedigree Charts|
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to associate with these great leaders here in the Area Office. I am also grateful for all the righteous missionaries whose testimonies and example strengthen me. Today I am especially grateful for Elder Dirk Cotterell, who lives his life in tune with the Holy Spirit in such a way that he could be put in the right place at the right time and be inspired to say just the right things to be an angel to me, one bringing forth in a very personal way a direct answer to my prayers.
Angels are real. Sometimes they work in your same office building.
Scriptures about angels:
Jacob saw angels of God ascending and descending:Gen. 28:12;
Angels of God met Jacob:Gen. 32:1–2;
Gideon saw an angel of the Lord face to face:Judg. 6:22;
An angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it:2 Sam. 24:16;
An angel touched Elijah and said to him, Arise and eat:1 Kgs. 19:5–7;
Daniel saw the angel Gabriel in a vision:Dan. 8:15–16;
The angel Michael helped Daniel:Dan. 10:13;
The angel Gabriel was sent from God:Luke 1:19, 26–27;
The devil’s angels will be reserved in chains unto the judgment:Jude 1:6; ( 2 Pet. 2:4; )
People saw angels descending out of heaven:3 Ne. 17:24;
Moroni wrote about the ministering of angels:Moro. 7:25–32;
The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels:D&C 13;