April 28, 2014
Well hello everyone!
This week was crazy! It went by super fast and I can’t believe it’s Monday again, and almost May at that!
So we taught Shizele again. Man, oh man is that woman amazing! The Spirit is always strong when we teach her – it guides her AND us to know what to say and what questions to ask. I LOVE it! 🙂 She’s definitely coming closer to the Lord than she ever has been before. It’s really incredible to see such a change come over people as we teach them. 🙂
Then we had Youth Conference Thursday and Friday. Those youth are fantastic. It was quiet and weird at first, but after they got past the awkwardness, they enjoyed themselves. Sister Hall and I acted as EFY counselors (EFY = Especially for Youth, they hold week-long ones, mostly in the western part of the country, and so they were trying to make it similar to that). We taught them about sincere and humble prayer and did this sweet little activity that basically gives you an interview with Christ. It’s pretty cool. I love that one. We also taught about studying the scriptures daily. We had them do a role-play to help them figure out how to apply the scriptures they read in their own lives, make the scriptures come “alive” so to speak. It was pretty neat.
Lunch on Thursday kind of freaked out all the missionaries. It was exactly the same thing we’d eaten the week before at Zone Conference that made us all sick. We were pretty nervous about eating it. I even blessed my food twice. Luckily, none of us got sick again, so that was good. Haha!
On Saturday, we taught John again. He’s the guy that smokes pretty heavily. It wasn’t as bad this time, and cool thing: we found a less-active woman who visits him and wants the missionaries to visit her, too! So that was neat. But John is a funny guy. I like talking to him. Somehow, the Spirit guides me completely in knowing what to say, what questions to ask, staying calm and collected when he starts going off about dinosaurs and how the Bible has no evidence of them, or when he asks how God can exist. It’s pretty interesting. But the Spirit is amazing in helping me there. I was pretty blunt with him in telling him why we’re there to meet with him – to bring him closer to Christ – and letting him know we were going to ask him to do things like read the scriptures, pray and go to church. I even told him that through doing those things, he might come to find that there is a God. He laughed and was pretty impressed. I related the things we’ll ask him to do to science in the sense that in science, you have to experiment with everything to figure out what works and what doesn’t, what’s truth and what’s not. Well, you have to experiment with what we teach. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. What’s truth and what’s not. Because the world really is black and white. There’s either truth or there’s not. There’s not in between. He liked that and agreed to try it out. I see so much potential with that man and I’m excited to keep meeting with him. It’s amazing when you can feel Heavenly Father’s love for the people you talk with and be able to see where they can be if they choose to accept the Gospel. I love it!
We also met with Brenda yesterday, which is pretty neat, too. She’s very active in her church and isn’t too interested in changing, but she’s been intrigued by us and how much we know. She told us yesterday that she’s learned a lot from us and that we’ve fulfilled our purpose because she’s come closer to Christ since meeting with us. For a little while, I thought she was going to tell us not to come back, but instead, she told us not to give up on her. The best part? She knows we want her to be baptized. But she also knows that it’s up to her and we’re not going to force her into anything. We’re just there to teach her, help her to study and strengthen her relationship with God. Once we do that, she’s the one that decides to accept it all or not. She’s another amazing one. 🙂
So even though we had lot of time spent at youth conference, the week as far as “normal” missionary work goes, was quite fulfilling. I enjoyed it all!
Alrighty. I guess I’d better start in on the third part of the Plan of Salvation. I know it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve gotten to it. Sorry about the wait! But I hope you all have been studying and figuring out how the Plan applies to you!
Plan of Salvation: Part 3 – Where are we going?
I’m sure at some point, most, if not all of you have wondered this. What happens after I die? Some of you may think nothing happens. This is it. Life’s over and we don’t exist anymore. Some believe in heaven and hell. Others might believe that it’s just a nice place to be. Well, I can assure you it’s more than heaven and hell and it’s better than just a “nice place to be”.
When we die, our spirits are separated from our bodies. Our bodies stay here on the earth and our spirits go to the Spirit World. The Bible doesn’t shed too much light on this. A little, but not much. But that’s where the Book of Mormon comes in! Alma 40:11-14 describes the Spirit World. It says:
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection – Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil – for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house – and these shall be cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being captive by the will of the devil. Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.”
So that’s kind of a lot, but all summed up: The righteous will go to paradise – they will rest from their troubles and sorrows. The wicked will go to prison – they will not rest from their troubles and sorrows. From modern day revelation, we know that the people in paradise are those who accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this life, and kept the covenants they made. They were faithful throughout their lives. Those in prison are the ones who did not make covenants and refused the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this life. That includes the ones who never had a chance to hear about the Gospel. However! Because of some excerpts in the Bible (1 Peter 3:18-19, and 1 Peter 4:6), we know that they have the chance to receive it in the afterlife! So those who are in prison will be taught the Gospel by those in Paradise, which is revealed to us in Doctrine and Covenants 138 (specifically verses 11-36. If you don’t have the Doctrine and Covenants, or a Book of Mormon, go tolds.org). That section of the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed to President Joseph F. Smith in 1918. President Smith was studying those passages in 1 Peter and wasn’t sure what they meant. As he pondered and prayed about it, he had a vision that expounded on it all. He saw Christ instructing and preparing those in paradise to preach the Gospel to those in prison. Those three days that Christ was dead, He was in the Spirit world. It says so in 1 Peter 3:18-19. But because of the revelation President Smith received, we know he was with those in Paradise, preparing them to go and teach the ones in prison. And that is one reason for prophets. They expound and explain the scriptures we have as well as receive revelation and more information on what we need to know. Isn’t it amazing that we have a prophet today? I know I love it and am extremely blessed and thankful to know it. 🙂
I know that these teachings are true. There is a waiting period before the resurrection and judgment where all have the opportunity to receive the Gospel if they haven’t already. Heavenly Father is merciful and He loves us all enough to give us a second chance. But if we don’t have to wait until after death to accept the Gospel, then don’t! It will be so much better for us if we accept it when we first get the chance. We don’t have to wait. It’s here, NOW. And it’s amazing. I encourage you all to study those scriptures, especially Doctrine and Covenants 138. I know there are many of you who are not familiar with it, who may not agree with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on many fronts, or who think we’re absolutely nuts and not want anything to do with it. But study it. There are many blessings waiting for you as you seek to know the truth. As I mentioned before, you can read it on lds.org. There are footnotes (if you’re online, they’re in blue and underlined) with references to Bible verses and references to the Topical Guide or Bible Dictionary (study tools we use, which can also be found on lds.org). I KNOW this is truth and I want others to know it, too. But I can’t force anyone to know it. You have to figure it out yourself. And there’s no way for you to do it if you only know what you know and don’t ever look at any other perspective. It’s like science. A lot like science. You have to gather all the evidence, good and bad. Study it. Test it out. Think about it. Figure it out for yourself. THEN decide if it’s truth or complete nonsense. Remember: There’s no middle ground. It’s either truth or it’s not. So figure it out. You will be amazed at what you find if you’re open and ready to receive it. 🙂
I hope your week is great and that you stay close to the Lord. Family scripture study and prayer are essential to a full and happy life. Do your best to incorporate it every day. 🙂
Love you all!