Monday, June 15, 2015
Wow. I wish everyone understood the importance and role of missionaries. They see us and think we are selling something, trying to be nosy, or are too prideful to even listen to us. The message of the restoration of Christ's church is not something to be blown off. It's definitely not something to be overlooked. Because of the restoration, we know of God's plan for us. We know exactly what we must do in order to live a successful life and enjoy eternal life with God. In the words of Elder Holland, "This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. It is the most important path (YOU) will ever walk." Wow, eternity hangs in the balance. It has really hit me this week. This truly is the most important work I will ever do. I get the opportunity to declare repentance! It amazes me that people are so set in their ways that they won't allow themselves to receive a new, higher way of living. Why are they so hard-hearted to knowing and loving truth and goodness. Ha, yeah, we've had a ton of finding time this week. Sometimes it really is a struggle because we don't know if we are even making a difference in people's lives. We just preach the truth, hope something we said touched their heart, and move on to the next child of God.
I absolutely know that the Lord blesses us for all of our finding work! We got two new investigators this week! The first one is Esperanza. She is the mother of one of the families in the ward who is less active. She is visiting from Columbia for 6 months, so we are trying to meet as much with her as possible. She has such strong desires to learn more and be faithful. Esperanza told us that she never really liked those "hallelujah" churches and that she really enjoys the reverence at our church. She has been to church 2 times now and has brought the Mosquera family with her! We feel that the lessons aren't just helping her, but also helping the Mosquera family remember how important and amazing the gospel really is. Haha, it was super funny, we saw Esperanza, her daughter, and her grandson out walking while we were finding people. We stopped and talked to them for a bit and then continued on. They caught up to us again a while later while we were talking to people at a bus stop. Esperanza comes right up to me, while I'm in the middle of a conversation, gives me a huge hug and a beso on the cheek. Haha, I didn't know what to do, so I turned right back around and started in the middle of my sentence where I left off. Hermana Johnson was just a ways off just dying about everything that had just happened. The man I was talking to looked pretty confused...maybe I should have explained what just happened.
Our other investigator's name is Rosa. We met Rosa and Raul out finding last week. And they were able to come to the church for a lesson. During the lesson, we found out that Raul is actually a member of the church. What? He said he hadn't been for like 4 years now. So this will be good for him to be reminded of the gospel and feel the Spirit. Rosa is the sweetest. She loved our lesson with her and I know she felt the Spirit. We asked her if she would pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and she said, "I already believe he is a prophet." Wow! She has so much faith, but I know how important it is to get that witness from God that all of the things that we teach people are true. So we committed her to pray about it!
We are still working with Rita and Lenin. Rita has had 3 baptismal dates set, but all of them have fallen through. They have both been to church 6 times now. They love it. I know that they really love the Spirit and the members that are there, but they are having a hard time keeping commitments. I feel like missionaries definitely get a taste of how God feels toward all of us. Not only do we feel such great love for them, but we know how frustrating it is to work with imperfect people all the time. It really is so hard to see people you love not putting the effort into making change. Their desires are there for sure, but without action it doesn't mean anything.
This is truly salvation we are talking about. We are talking about the whole reason for our existence. This is something we must be 100% committed to. I love the message that one of the assistants shared in our weekly mission news. He says, "Jesus Christ has never asked his disciples to give up only 1/2 of their hearts. He didn't say if ye love me keep 3/4 of my commandments. He isn't a God of fractions. He needs us whole, He needs the entire thing, He needs commitment that is full. He has given us the "fullness" of the gospel so we can use the full gospel. God doesn't do half's. So remember the gospel is faith, repentance, baptisms, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Why would we give only the time that is left over at the end of the day? I know and promise you all that if you make time for the Lord, He will make time for you. He is just waiting to pour His blessings down upon you, but He can't without your actions. So what actions do we take in order to receive this stunning array of blessings? Well...like it says above. We live the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have faith, we repent, we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and we endure to the end. It's so simple.
This morning I was studying repentance and the story of Alma the younger. In Mosiah 28, it explains Alma the younger as one of the vilest of sinners. But miraculously, he is forgiven. He is changed and becomes "a new creature" through Christ's Atonement. Alma says in verse 29, "My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more." Truly, Alma, was in a dark hole. A hole that I know all of us feel at times. We don't know where to turn for light, it's damp, and lonely. I testify that there is a way out of the hole..there is a ladder. Every day, I am teaching people that repentance is a central purpose of our lives. Our goal in this life is to live in a way that we will qualify for eternal life. But all of us our a fallen people. All of us are imperfect and unclean. And no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. SO! This life is a time to change, to become better and more Christ-like everyday! We are here to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with God's will. I know we can change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Use this gift every day! I know you will all see miracles from it! Truly, the Atonement is the supreme expression of our Heavenly Father's love for us. I pray that we will all show our love for Him by using this divine gift! I love you all!