Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Great advice, hurts my feelings every time." Dwight Schrute

Hey all,

Great to talk to you all yesterday. You all look great, the kids are walking, Dash is skinnier, and Mom and Dad, you don't look TOO old. It was a great experience to talk. The Christmas call made me a little homesick, but the call yesterday just left me happy, so really great.

This last week was a solid 7/10. We worked hard, and we focused more than usual on helping inactive people start coming back to church. Every inactive person that we visited during the week showed up, which was really great, we were really excited about that. The down side is that very few investigators showed up. One of these weeks, we'll strike the balance. The zone leaders baptized this great guy this last weekend, and he'll be a big strength to the branch. We want him to be the mission leader, but we'll see what happens. We're working very, very hard, and we know that we'll see great things here. Like I was saying here, I've learned when I am doing my job and when I'm not doing my job. I've learned to focus a lot less on the numbers and a lot more on just completing my purpose. If I know that I'm doing what I've been called to do, I can and should be happy with whatever is happening. If I every slack off and don't do my job, then I should start feeling bad about things going on that aren't as I wish them to be. So, we're happily working hard and happily waiting for big things to happen here. There is a ton of potential in this part of Ecuador.

This last week, I was studying Elder Maxwell's last Confence talk, "Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been," and I love it. It is very simple, and it is nothing mind blowing, but I really loved it. He just talks about 12 different things that have happened in his life, and the things that he has learned from them. I read it several times, and thought that it would be a cool thing for all of us to do, as well. He says, "There are clusters of memories embedded in each of your lives. And these can help us to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been.”  I think that this would help us all out, if we can take time this weeks to write down 12 experiences that we've had in our lives that show how merciful the Lord has been to us. This can come in handy whenever we are passing through trials and feel that we have been forgotten. We can have 12 things written down that will always show us the mercy of the Lord. So, here is the link to the talk http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2004/04/remember-how-merciful-the-lord-hath-been?lang=eng. Read it, then make your own list. If you want to send it to me to read, I'd love to read it, but you can keep it to yourself if that is better. I will make my list and send it to you in my letter this week. I think that finding ways to stay hopeful is very important. A lot of the talks in the last General Conference focused on that point--that we live in an incresingly hopeless world, but with the Lord it doesn't have to be that way. I think that writing this list will be a great thing. So do it.

In my district, we're focusing our studies this week on the Atonement. I read a part in Preach My Gospel (page 2) that basically says that the strenth of our testimony in the Atonement of Jesus Christ will determine our dedication to preaching the Gospel. I felt inspired to have us focus our studies on the Atonement with that in mind--hoping to dedicated myself more and to help the other missionaries to dedicate themselve more to the work as they strengthen their understand and their testimony in what their Savior did for them. I've felt a big difference in the work. I feel a lot more focused more than anything, and I understand how important it is to help people to come unto Christ. I read something in Moses 5 that I'd like to share, too, that is a great example of how the Atonement helps us to do better at preaching the Gospel.

 6 And after many days an aangel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer bsacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

 7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a asimilitude of the bsacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full ofcgrace and dtruth.

 8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the aname of the Son, and thou shalt brepent and ccall upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.

 9 And in that day the aHoly Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the bOnly Begottenof the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast cfallen thou mayest be dredeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.

 10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was afilled, and began to bprophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my ctransgression mydeyes are opened, and in this life I shall have ejoy, and again in thefflesh I shall see God.

 11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had aseed, and never should have bknown good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

 12 And Adam and aEve blessed the name of God, and they made all things bknown unto their sons and their daughters.

Okay, so here's what we got. Adam and Eve were offering sacrifices without knowing why. We can say that this is the time in our lives when we don't yet have a personal testimony of the Gospel. An angel comes down, and tells them why they do these things. That can be people who teach us throughout our lives. The angel teaches about the Atonement, the sacrifice of a Savior, then says that everything that we do, we should do in His name. That's tough to do! So, they've now been taught, and after that, the Holy Ghost testifies to them that the things that they just learned are true, and that through that same Atonement, they will be saved. So, now they've learned, felt the Spirit, and in verses 10 and 11, they've receive their own testimonies of the Atonement. Look at how happy they are in what they say. Adam talks about the joy he now feels, how he understands the purpose of everything better. Eve is happy to have children and to be able to have eternal life. Their testimonies make them happy and fill them with joy. But, it doesn't end there. In verse 12, they teach what they know to their kids. This is the pattern we all follow in life. For a time, we do things really based off the testimony of the Atonement of other people. But, little by little, we are taught, separate from those whose testimonies we have been living off of. As we learn, the Spirit testifies. As the Spirit testifies, we grow our own testimony. For some, this process if fast, others, slow. But, it can and will happen to everyone if we do the right things. That testimony will bring us such happiness and joy, that we cannot keep it to ourselves, and we will share it with the world. As seen here, your own testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is vital to your dedication to serving the Lord and helping others to come unto Him. How is your testimony doing?

I'll keep sharing things that I've learned from my studies, but these are the big things from this last week. Study the Atonement more, go to the temple and think about what you've studied. We always need to be more dedicated, and the source of our dedication will be our testimony in the Atonement of our Savior. I know that Christ died for our sins, and that there are things that we need to do to be covered by His Atonement. What we teach to the world is what those things are, and how we have to do them. And that is only available in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Study the Atonement always, and if you already are, study more!

Also, Jesus Christ is given 47 other names in the Book of Mormon before His full name, Jesus Christ, is written. Fun Fact.

I love you all tons, thank you for your love and support. We are working hard here, and hope to see some big things happening. Study hard, pray hard, be happy.

Con amor,

Elder Thomas

No comments:

Post a Comment