First off, I hope everyone is staying safe and I’ll be praying that the weather and flooding in Colorado doesn’t get any worse. All I can say about that is that it’s kind of exciting to live in the last days. As sad as it is to see all this destruction, it’s also kind of cool when you know the signs of the times are happening. But everyone, please stay safe!
This weekend was full of church! On Saturday we went to Gloria’s church again (7th Day Adventist) which was really good. They talked about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I always love that topic. Keeping the Sabbath day holy doesn’t mean going to church and then relaxing for the rest of the day. It means you take a break from working in the world and devote the day completely to the Lord. It’s alright to take a nap, but make sure that anything else you do is centered on serving God. It can mean spending time with your family doing wholesome things, serving people who really need some help, etc etc. As long as you’re serving the Lord, you’re good. 🙂
Yesterday, we went to a Quaker meeting. It was really interesting. It’s very similar to our Testimony meetings. They sit in one room for an hour and are silent. When they are moved by the Spirit to speak, they get up and speak. Only two people spoke yesterday, the rest of the hour was completely silent. They do announcements and socialize after the hour is finished. It was kind of nice to sit in silence and stop moving for a little bit and just think.
While I was thinking about the opportunity we had to go to other churches, I thought about something else. Every church has bits and pieces of the truth. The Spirit testifies of truth. Therefore, you can feel the Spirit in every church you go to, if you’re listening and if they’re teaching true doctrine. It’s pretty cool, actually. And I’m glad to know that. 🙂
Oh by the way. I got the BEST birthday present this week. Seriously. Definitely the top of my list, especially as a missionary. First I want to say that getting mail is awesome. Even better, is when the mission office saves it all up and sends it all together. I received about 15-20 birthday cards all at once on Friday. So thank you TONS to my home ward(s) (Severance and Windsor), to my family, and to my wonderful friends who were part of that! I enjoyed every single one of them! 🙂
Update on the new elders: We have a new one, straight from the MTC – Elder Chavez, and one who’s been out for 14 months, Elder Wikan. Both are pretty cool and I’m excited for this transfer to get to know them better!
Alright, so this week we’ve been really focused on the Atonement. We’ve been doing a lot of member meals (our meal coordinator is awesome. But I’ve also gained about 10 pounds. :P) and with those, we teach a lesson about the Atonement (usually scriptures from Alma 7. Which you all should read because it’s wonderful) and then challenge them to write their testimony of the Atonement in a Book of Mormon and give it to someone who is really struggling right now. So I’m going to teach all of you about the Atonement, and then extend that challenge to you, too.
In case you’re not sure what the Atonement is, it’s when Jesus Christ suffered for each of us. He suffered for all of our sins, our pains and afflictions and our temptations. He knows what it feels like to break your arm. He knows what it feels like to have any type of sickness whether it’s just a cold or it’s cancer. He knows what it feels like to do something wrong and He knows how it is to have any temptation there is. Jesus Christ saw your face in His mind as He suffered. He saw each of our faces, individually and separately. It wasn’t all blurred together. He suffered for each of our individual sins, pains, afflictions and temptations. In Alma 7:13 it says that the Spirit knows all things, but Christ suffered in the flesh so He would know how to succor His people. He cam empathize EXACTLY with how you’re feeling at any time your life. And He’s going to be there when we’re judged to let Heavenly Father know exactly what it was like so that we can be judged by the desires of our hearts, not just our actions. Mosiah 15:7-9 is a great scripture to read while focusing on the Atonement. I read it while the sacrament was being passed one Sunday. I loved when it says “the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.” If you really think about that phrase, it can be pretty powerful. Jesus Christ was in immense pain. He cried out to Heavenly Father and asked Him to take it away from Him, but only if it was the Father’s will. Christ was willing to do ANYTHING for His Father. As much as He wanted it all to stop, He knew how important it was to fulfill His Father’s will. Through all the pain, He remembered what it would mean for all of us if He would finish what He had been sent to do, and so His will was swallowed up in the Father’s.
In verse 8, if you look at the footnote next to where it says “victory over death” it takes you to Hosea 13:14 which says “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Take some time to think about what that means to you, personally. As you think of that, Read Isaiah 53:3-5. I love the way it words this because it makes you think of all the struggles you have and all the pain that Christ has suffered for you. It makes you feel a little guilty at first, but then the last line of verse five says “With his stripes we are healed.”
Studying the Atonement is one of my favorite things to do. There’s so much in just the one subject and you can learn and gain more understanding if you take time to study all the scriptures, all the talks, everything that talks specifically about it. It’s really amazing to me that my oldest brother loved me so much that He wanted to save me from it all. There’s no way we can comprehend that, but I can feel it. The Atonement is something that everyone can use to escape from the pains of life. The pain you feel when you break your arm… It’s been felt already. The pain you feel when you fail at something you’ve tried so hard to do… It’s been experienced. The pain you feel when someone close to you dies… It’s already been endured. And the pain you feel when you sin… Done. Jesus Christ knows each of us perfectly. He knows why we do the things we do and He wants to help you through it. So let Him. Let Him take you in His arms and warm you with His love, comfort and peace. Let Him take it all away because He’s already done it for you. You don’t have to. If we can give all of our burdens, all of our pain, all our sins to Him, our lives will be so much happier. And if we can do that, we will continue to be blessed and eventually receive the greatest blessing of all: Eternal Life. Living with Heavenly Father.
I’m so grateful to my Savior for what He has done for me. I’m happy to know that I can be saved, as long as I try my best to do my Father’s will. I know I’ll never have to endure anything CLOSE to what Jesus Christ did, but I know that life is hard. Even though it’s hard, I know I’ll be alright. I know my Savior lives and I know that He loves me. I know that He has provided a way for me to get through this difficult life and make it to the end to live with Him again. I know it for myself and I know it for everyone else. This is my testimony to each of you and I know it to be true.
Please take some time this week to study the Atonement and find out what it means specifically for you. Then find a copy of the Book of Mormon, write your testimony in it, and give it to someone who is really struggling to keep their head up. There’s always someone who needs it. Have the courage to show them how you’ve made it through the difficult times in life. Many times, sharing your beliefs doesn’t push them away from you, whether they agree with you or not. It usually brings them closer to you.
I love each of you and thank you for your wonderful examples and encouragement. You’re all wonderful! Have an amazing week! 🙂