Monday, September 2, 2013

Dying words from Elder Covey

Elders and Sisters of the OSM:
             On the third and final day of the Mission Tour Elder Richards turned a few minutes over to me to address a group of missionaries for my final time. President Samuelian has requested that I put the thoughts that I shared in writing and email it to all the missionaries of our wonderful mission.
The day before the third conference Elder Richards asked me if I would take a few minutes in the next day’s conference.  He told me not to prepare a talk but to think about think about what I might share and to go by the spirit. I felt impressed to talk the joy of selfless service and the misery of selfishness. This was a subject that I had on my mind consistently for the few days prior to the meeting. It all started when Elder Richards told Elder Buhler and me a story the Sunday before. The story was about when he was in medical school, was the Elders Quorum President, and was married with two young kids. He then started an internship which took up much of his time. Because of his extremely tight schedule he was not sure if he would be able to remain the Elders Quorum President. He prayed and eventually got a strong answer that he was to remain the Elders Quorum President.  He told us how those years of being outrageously busy but still serving the Lord shaped his life.
 As I thought about this story, I thought to myself, would I be willing to do that? Would I be willing to give up all of my physical comfort?  This really got me thinking about physical comfort. Spiritual comfort brings peace and happiness, but physical comfort does not. Usually we make selfish decisions because it’s more comfortable, it’s easier.  I thought to myself, what are examples of people who lived comfortable lives in the Book of Mormon? And what came to mind were King Noah and Laban.  On the other hand all the Book of Mormon heroes we love chose to have very little physical comfort.
            Most of the miserable people I have met focus more on themselves and their comfort than anything else. They think that more comfort or selfish living will make them happy, but time and time again it leaves them miserable. The times on my mission where I have consistently gave up my comfort were the happiest times of my mission, and the times where I chose my comfort were the times I would like to forget. Elders and Sisters let’s not fool ourselves by thinking that sleeping in, staying in the apartment or any other type of disobedience big or small will make us happy. There is no joy in it, just regret and misery. The Lord blesses us with peace when we are doing what he would have us do. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. It does not come all at once, but as children of God we all have the ability to do whatever he commands us to. God did no send us here to be mediocre. We are His children with His potential. He sent us here to be extraordinary.

                I wish you all the best of luck for the rest of your missions and the rest of your lives. Thank you for the examples you have been to me. Keep the faith. You will be in my prayers.

Elder Covey

Monday, August 26, 2013

As transfer week approaches

This possibly could be the last email i send as a full time missionary. The week before transfers are always very busy. As always i am short on time. As for this last week its been really great. These past three days we have had a lot of time to spend in the area, and we were able to see some results from it. We have a great lesson with a new investigator named Rob. And we also had wonderful lessons with some our existing investigators. I would like to in this email do a reflection of my my mission and the things i have learned, but sadly i don't have the time, so i will have to do that after I am home. 

But i would like to share one insight i have had this week. So as i expressed last week i have been learning a lot about selfless service lately. This morning as i was reading from the Book of Mormon i learned another powerful lesson. I am in the king Benjamin chapters of the book of Mosiah. Which is awesome because its probably my favorite part of the Book of Mormon. I have loved chapter two, when he teaches about the greatness of God and how even if we served him all our days we would still be "unprofitable servants" and after he says, "then what have ye to boast." I have taken this as a wonderful teaching of humility and the greatness of God. Today it really hit me that King Benjamin was also teaching about the love God has for us. It reminded me of a quote that i remember my wonderful sister Collette shared with me a long time ago, i don't remember who the quote is from, but it goes something like this " the true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do nothing for him." Meaning anyone will treat someone well if that person can help them out. 

But there are some people who can do nothing for us and the only motivation we have to help them, is if we actually care and we want to do good for the right reason. King Benjamin teaches that this is what God does for us, even if we spend every second serving God we cant repay the debt, but He has served, helped and guided us because He love us. So we need to do the same for those who cant help us, those that could be considered unprofitable. King Benjamin was a wonderful example of this. As the King he labored among the people and served them with his own hands. He was the king, the only motivation he had to do that was that he loved the people and he wanted to serve others as God has served us. God has blessed me with so much, not so i can do something for His personal gain. He has blessed me because He loves me and He loves those i can serve. The least i can do is try to follow His example in this principle, and serve those who can not help me, those that to myself may be unprofitable and that's exactly what i need to do.  
I love you all and thank you for your prays and support

Elder Covey        
--Fearless Via Faith

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mission Tour with Elder Kent F. Richards

Every year around August all the missions in our area will have a general authority mission Tour. I remember about two weeks after entering the field Elder Koeliker came. Last Year we had Elder Snow, and this week we had Elder Richards. It has been a incredible experience being with him and his wife these past three days. On Sunday President Samuelian picked Elder and Sister Richards up from a Portland Stake Conference that they were a part of. We came to the mission home and had dinner with the Samuelians and the Richards. When we got there the Samuelians were preparing dinner and we were able to sit and chat with the Richard's for about 20 minutes. They were so sincere and kind. 

Elder Richards has a incredible sense of humility about him. You could tell that he wanted us to feel comfortable, to feel like we were his friends. He of course asked where I fit in the Covey line. I told him that i was John Covey's grandson (usually when people ask i say Steve is  my great uncle, but it seems like every general authority i have met knows Papa so i thought i would give it a shot.) He said that he knew John and that he has a story about him, that maybe even he (Papa) did not know. At the time Elder Richards was at Medical school at the U, was married with two young kids and was the Elders quorum president. He then started in a internship or residency (I can't remember which.) He said that his life was incredibly busy and was not sure if he physically had the time to be the Elders Quorum President. He prayed about it and felt like he did not get a answer. He talked to his bishop and the bishop said that it would probably be best to tell the Stake President that he can no longer be the Elders Quorum President. But he could not get himself to do it. He said he had done all he knew how to get a answer to his prayer but nothing came. 

He then went to some meeting or leadership training in which Papa spoke. He said that John spoke about receiving answers to prayers and laid out the things we need to do to receive a answer and then Papa promised everyone that if they did all those things they would get an answer. Elder Richards thought to himself I have done all those things and still don't have an answer. He said that directly after that thought he received a very clear revelation that he was to remain Elders Quorum President. As a part of that it was revealed to him how he could be a effective Elders Quorum President with his tight schedule. He said that the revelation was very clear and direct. He then started to have very early morning meetings with the Elders Quorum presidency because that was the only time he could fit them in. He told me that, that time of his life really made him who he is. He learned to manage time, to work hard, and he learned that the Lord will make the impossible possible if we are serving him. He attributed much of who he has become and the life he has lived to that decision and that revelation. After he told the story he said "and then i knew him from the inside out" turns out he was Papa's surgeon once. After dinner we drove out to Bend for the first of three conferences for the mission tour.

The Monday and Tuesday were set up the same. We had 1 hour leadership meeting before the main conference started. The conference went from 9am-1pm. We had lunch and then Elder Richards interviewed 5 missionaries each day.  In the Leadership meeting Elder Richards talked about the three main things all leaders should do. They are To 1. Teach Truth 2. Invite and 3. Minister. He particularly focused on the inviting part. He taught how its very natural to try to force people to do things, or to give them specific challenges when we feel like they aren't doing all the could. He taught about the importance of inviting them, expressing your love and trust that they will do what is right. During the Conference he taught about sanctifying ourselves. He taught about Law and how there is a eternal law and when we abide by it we are blessed but when we cross the line by one inch we are in the devils power. He also taught us to teach simple. As missionaries we complicate things and teach way to much. He taught about teaching so a child could understand, cuz the people we teach have the spiritual understanding of about a nine year old. each Conference was different than the others. He is very much a go with spirit guy. A lesson i have learned on my mission is that in order to be able to teach by the spirit you have to be knowledgeable. When you have study and pondered and gain that knowledge the Lord can remind remind you of it when and where you need to share it. On Tuesday i got to be interviewed by Elder Richards. 

The interview was wonderful he asked me about my plans for the future and gave wonderful advise. At the end he said he had been having the impression that i needed to address the missionaries in the final conference. He told me to not write a talk but to ponder and pray about what the Lord would have me share and then to go by the spirit. While i was thinking about what i would share my mind went to the story he told on Sunday. Not so much on the aspect of answered prayers, but how he said that, at that time in his life when he had no down time. When i am sure he had to give up some hobbies or passion. That is when he grew the most. That is time where he attributes much of the happiness he has been able to have. It really got me thinking of selfless service. Ever since he told the story i had been thinking about selfless service, I really feel the Lord is trying to teach me about it right now. Obviously the opposite of selfless service is selfishness. Selfishness is the cause for so much bad, but it is so hard because we are naturally very selfish. As i was thinking about it i realized that selfishness is misery disguised as happiness. When we do something selfish we think its going to make us happy, or make us feel good. That's where disobedience comes from we think it will be fun or make us happy but in the end it always turns into misery. This also got me thinking a lot about physical comfort. I think lots of the time we make selfish decisions because its more comfortable, its easier. Spiritual comfort brings peace and happiness, but physical comfort does not. I thought to myself what are examples of people who lived comfortable lives in the Book of Mormon. And what came to mind was King Noah and Laban. The heroes of the scriptures chose to not have much physical comfort. Lehi and his family traveled threw the wilderness. King Benjamin fight side by side with his people in war. Alma served a 13 year mission and later stepped down as chief judge so he could travel the land and preach. the examples are endless. I see it all the time with people i meet. Most of the miserable people i have met focus more on themselves and their comfort than anything else, they become lazy and it turns into self loathing. They think that more comfort or selfish living will make them happy, but time and time again it leaves them miserable. It made me think of something that i wrote in my study journal on September 7, 2011 (my second day in the field.) 

There is a exercise in Preach my Gospel where you think of yourself at end of your mission and answer the question. What do want to say you have done as a missionary? I wrote "i want to say that every time i chose between the work of the Lord and my personal comfort, i chose the work of the Lord." I cant honestly say that i never chose my own comfort over the work. I am far from perfect, but i am so glad that, that is what my desire was and is. That phrase has been in the back of my mind for these past two years. The times on my mission where i have consistently gave up my comfort were the happiest times of my mission, and the times where i chose my comfort were the times i would like to forget. I cant imagine what my mission would have been if my sights would have been lower, if my goal was to just have a good time and get threw it. I am sure i would have been much more selfish and therefore much less happy. So all these thoughts i have been expressing is pretty much what i taught during the Conference today. I focused on the happiness that comes from selfless service. I am dead out of time, and i have more i wish i could say but i just can't. I love you all.

Elder Covey    
--Fearless Via Faith

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zone Confrence Week

This last week was zone conference week. Since our mission is relatively small we only had three zone conferences instead of four. We only have Zone Conferences once every three months so this is only my second time being involved with planning and training in Zone Conferences. It is a very stressful but very fulfilling week. We had a Zone Conference on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. They started at 8 am and ended at 5 pm. Elder Buhler and I were both assigned to train for a half hour each. He trained on faith filled planning and i spoke on faith filled finding. I decided to start my training by talking about how important it is to use both agency and inspiration in our finding efforts. 

Bruce R McConkie gave a talk entitled " Agency or Inspiration, Which?" In it he talks about the importance of using both agency, The God given ability we have to think, to reason things out in our mind and come to conclusions from our knowledge and experience, and inspiration, the ability we have to pray and receive answers to our prayers on what we should do. On the surface it seems like these things could clash. It seems like agency could take away from inspiration, that since God knows all we have no need to reason or draw from past experience, all we have need for is prayer. The truth is, is that they don't clash. God has given us both and we need to use both. In making a decisions we need to always be praying to be led and guided but we need not wait to move until we have a spiritual experience. We need to study out our options, we need to get creative and decide what we think is best, and then its vital we take to God in prayer what we have come up with what our conclusion is, and ask God if it is what He would have us do. If he is happy with our decision he will give us a burning in the bosom, for me its that i feel exited and good about the conclusion i came to. 

If its not what he would have us to we will have the stupor of thought, we will feel not so confident and exited about or decision. In my training I applied this to finding people to teach. Sometimes in finding we are all inspiration and no agency. We don't bother with trying out the different ways Preach my Gospel teaches to find people. We do the same things we have always done but decide we are going to have more faith, and we think that by saying we are going to have the faith to find that we are actually demonstrating our faith, when in reality we need to demonstrate our faith by giving the Lord something to work with. On the other hand sometimes as missionaries we are all agency and no inspiration. 

We think since we have been doing it for a long time that we know whats best. We forget to ask the Lord to guide us in our decisions and we also forget to ask for his approval when the decision is made. Our minds and hearts are closed to methods of finding that have not worked in the past. As missionaries we need to use both agency and inspiration in finding people to teach and all other aspects of missionary work. I am sure that i was taught this principle before my mission, and i think i had a partial understanding of it, but my understanding on how to receive answers to my prayers has greatly increased on my mission. I am very grateful for that, and i know it will bless me for the rest of my life. I had more things i was going to share but kinda went off on the agency and inspiration thing so i am out of time now. The Church is True. Gods plan is perfect and i am so grateful for it.
Elder Covey 
--Fearless Via Faith

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jacob Covey's Top Five Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes

Gallup Higher Education Division

President Samuelian is paying for each missionary to take this test. He believes it will help us in our life after mission and deciding what we want to do. Have you done things like this before? i thought it was really interesting, and i agree with the strengths it gave me. I thought you might  be interested is seeing the results. Let me know what you think.
Elder Covey

Below are my Signature Themes — my five most dominant themes of talent, ranked in the order revealed by my responses to the Clifton StrengthsFinder.

As you may know, the Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the 34 themes of talent determined by The Gallup Organization as those that most consistently predict outstanding performance. The greater the presence of a theme of talent within a person, the more likely that person is to spontaneously exhibit those talents in day-to-day behaviors.

Focusing on natural talents helps people build them into strengths, and enjoy personal, academic, and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.

How well do you think these themes describe me?


If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.


“Where am I headed?” you ask yourself. You ask this question every day. Guided by this theme of Focus, you need a clear destination. Lacking one, your life and your work can quickly become frustrating. And so each year, each month, and even each week you set goals. These goals then serve as your compass, helping you determine priorities and make the necessary corrections to get back on course. Your Focus is powerful because it forces you to filter; you instinctively evaluate whether or not a particular action will help you move toward your goal. Those that don’t are ignored. In the end, then, your Focus forces you to be efficient. Naturally, the flip side of this is that it causes you to become impatient with delays, obstacles, and even tangents, no matter how intriguing they appear to be. This makes you an extremely valuable team member. When others start to wander down other avenues, you bring them back to the main road. Your Focus reminds everyone that if something is not helping you move toward your destination, then it is not important. And if it is not important, then it is not worth your time. You keep everyone on point.


“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests—a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world—it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.


You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”


Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help—and they soon will—you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Loving every second of it

Last week I emailed so late in the week, so not a lot has happened since then but i thought it would be good to try to get closer to the Monday email schedule. But there was something that i forgot to put in my last letter. A week ago from last Monday, we had a group of departing missionaries go home, which is normal. The not normal part was they were all missionaries who came out with me. Because the OSM is on a different transfer schedule any missionary that came from the OEM either goes home 3 weeks early or 3 weeks late. We did not go to the airport with them cuz we had so much other stuff to do but we were there for the whole morning before they left. It was a little weird thinking that there going and i am staying, but in all honesty i did not envy them at all. It made me so grateful for the opportunity I have to stay longer. It still doesn't feel like i am ever going home, but slowly its becoming more and more realistic, and it makes me sad. I love being a missionary so much I love having so much purpose, but i guess that just means that i am going to have to make my life equally as purposeful when i get home. I know there will be opportunities to still and help others.

So know for last week. On Friday we went out to Redmond (by Bend) with President Samuelian. Each year the Bend and Redmond stake do a combined Aaronic Priesthood "encampment." And its all about preparing for a mission. Its tradition that on the last night the mission president and the assistants come and speak to Young Men. It was a incredible experience. It was in the complete middle of no where (90 minutes east of Redmond.) We spoke to the young men and answered questions. I decided that i would speak to them about how meaningful a mission is and the purpose a missionary has. I told them that if they experienced what i had experienced and seen what i had seen there is no way they would consider not going on a mission. I truly believe that. If every young man really understood how much they would help others and how much they would learn and grow there is nothing that could stop them from serving a mission. It was a amazing experience to be up there, we were like rock stars to them. Many of them came up to us after, thanked us for coming and told us how exited they were to serve a mission. We stayed with the Bend ZL's that night. President Samuelian strongly insisted that we do some sort of P-day activity on Saturday because we had not had a break in a long time. So Elder Buhler and I drove out to Smith Rock national park in Redmond. We did about a two hour hike, it was a lot of fun.

We have still had a lot of logistical we have been working out with the new mission its not my favorite but i really feel like I am learning a lot of things that will help me with a future job. This week have had more time to work in our are. we taught two lessons on Monday and two Yesterday. Dan (Member) and Marsha (Investigator) are a part member family we are teaching. They are in the process of making some great changes in thier life, and its incredible to see that as they have taken the gospel seriously it has empowered them to make those changes. 
I love you all, thank you for the prayers. I love this gospel.

Elder Covey
-- Fearless Via Faith