Last Sunday we were in for an interesting suprise.  At the end of our sacrament meeting, our bishop got up in church and announced that our Emergency Management Chairperson for our ward (the word Mormons use for “congregation”) had an announcement.  She got up and announced that we were having a drill for 72 hours to see if we were prepared for an emergency.  The bishop then got up and said he wanted to make sure everyone had enough and those who were properly prepared should share.  He also told us to inform those in our ward who do not attend frequently and to make sure they were prepared for an emergency as well. 

Right after church, we cut the power.  We had about 60 gallons of water stored as well as about 3 months worth of food storage, so we felt confident.  However, it was a good excersize because we noticed things that were missing that we didn’t think of.  Ironically, oil for our lamps was one of the items as well as charcoal for our grill.  Luckily, we had good friends and neighbors in our ward who loaned a grill to us and we heated our water and washed with what we had.

This experience caused me to reflect on a christian radio broadcast my mom sent me from the christian station she listens to.  The radio host discusses the financial crisis and how this could be an event leading up to the second coming.  She also invites a host on her show that talks about ways to be prepared for the events leading up to the second coming.  He talks about having enough money on hand for a disaster as well as food, shelter, etc.  I encourage you to listen to the broadcast.  Although it is a bit doomsday-ish, it is worth a listen.  Here’s the link:   Financial Crisis and the Second Coming 

The next thing I thought about was a talk given by Elder L Tom Perry, the Mormon apostle, last month in general conference.  He talks about living in simplicity and preparing ourselves spiritually and temporally for events that are sure to come.  In this talk, Let Him Do It With Simplicity, Elder Perry discusses the need for food, shelter, clothing and fuel in both a spiritual and temporal sense.  He discusses the need for each of these in a temporal or spiritual disaster.   It is very important to consider each of these items and start preparing.   I will share my thoughts on each of these items as well.

Food

We are counseled to have food and water storage for up to a year as well as money on hand.  This is to be prepared for a natural disaster, or a loss of job, etc.  Are you prepared?  If not, I suggest visiting the websites: www.beprepared.com and http://www.providentliving.org/channel/1,11677,1706-1,00.html

In a spiritual sense, Elder Perry discusses the Word of Wisdom and how if one follows this law, the Spirit of the Lord will strive with them more closely.  I would also like to add that the things we read, the shows we watch, and the music we listen to is in a sense food.  If we feed our minds with uplifting things, the spirit will be with us more abundantly.

 Shelter

In a temporal sense, Elder Perry does a very good job of discussing the importance of getting out of debt and living within our means.  This will surely prepare us for any disaster that should arise. 

In a spiritual sense, I, being LDS thought of going to the temple for shelter and into the presence of the Lord.  Psalms 61 addresses this as well with some very great temple imagery:

1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

  2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the arock that is higher than I.
  3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong atower from the enemy.
  4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
  5 For thou, O God, hast heard my avows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.
  6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.
  7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare amercy and truth, which may preserve him.
  8 So will I sing apraise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
Clothing
Elder Perry discusses the spiritual implications for being modest in the way we dress.  Temporally, it is also important to be prepared and have extra clothing handy in case of an emergency.  When my wife and I did the emergency drill with our church, we came home to find that we hadn’t washed as many clothes as we should have, and we had to re-wear many of our clothes.  It is good to have an emergency bag with clothes in it designated for just that purpose.
Fuel
Elder Perry mentions the parable of the ten virgins that is found in Matthew 25:6-10.  For those not familiar with it, I encourage you to read it.  It is about 10 virgins who had oils in their lamps waiting for the bridegroom to arrive.  The bridegroom would accept all those with their lamps lit.  However, 5 of the virgins ran out of oil and had to leave.  The other 5 virgins were prepared and had extra oil for their lamps and when the bridegroom arrived those that were gone to get more oil were not accepted.
Temporally, it is clear through this parable that having extra “oil” in the form of money, food, clothing, etc. is very important.
In a spiritual sense, I encourage all of us to reflect on the things we do each day to keep our lamps filled with oil during trying times.  How is our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus?  How are our prayers?  Are we reading in the scriptures daily and thanking God?  If you are LDS, are you attending the temple and not just attending, but preparing your mind spiritually and mentally before you go? 
Finally, this experience caused me to reflect on a story in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi on a people that were saved because they were prepared.  When disaster hit, the people followed similar councel that our bisho gave us.  They gathered together and helped one another to protect themselves from the robbers that were threatening their safety.  Not only did they save enough to sustain themselves temporally with gold, food, shelter, etc. for 7 years, but as they were gathered, they prayed for strength and the Lord blessed them.  I encourage you to read the following scriptures:
Spiritual Preparation: 3 Nephi 3:12, 4:10, 4:30-33 
Temporal Preparation: 3 Nephi 3:24, 4:4, 4:18, 6:2
In conclusion, I know when one reflects on events that are sure to come before the second coming it can be overwhelming and discouraging.  However, I know that if we build our spiritual foundation on the Lord as well as prepare temporally, we will have peace of mind knowing we’ve done all we can do.  Then we can have confidence in asking the Lord to support us.
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