¡Hola! (Oh the fancy things you can do on iPads!)
Wow. Rachel D is married. Weird.
Sooooo the question of the week, what happened this week? I gave a talk in one of our wards. Here it is, for your reading pleasure (ignore all the comments in between quotes, I didn't really say them, I just kind of talked. But the quotes are the good part anyway):
Adversity Talk Winterwood Aug 30
When I think of adversity, I think of enduring to the end. Adversity is what makes enduring to the end soooooo hard.
Preach My Gospel on page 66 talks about enduring to the end as part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says: "Once we have entered the strait and narrow path by our faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, we must exert every effort to stay on the path." "Every effort" does not mean only when it's convenient. It means that we must put forth all our strength in staying righteous, in continually doing good works and increasing in Christ-like attributes. It continues to say that, "We do so [staying on the path] by continually exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, making commitments, and following the Spirit.” As we do these things we become stronger and stronger in our testimony of Jesus Christ and are more able to withstand temptation.
So often, when adversity comes our way, we ask the question, "why? Why did this happen? Why me?" There's a scripture that answers this question very well, it says:
D&C 136:3131 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
It says that we MUST be tried in order to be prepared for the Celestial Kingdom. It has to happen. There is no other way for us to learn and grow. We are tried so that we can be prepared to receive the Celestial Kingdom. And like it says, if we cannot bear it, we are not worthy. So how do we endure our trials?
In Elder Richard J. Maynes' talk, "The Strength to Endure" in October of 2013 he said, "If we honestly and sincerely repent, the Atonement can help us become clean, change our nature, and successfully endure our challenges. "It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can endure our trials. We cannot do this alone and Christ suffered for us so that we wouldn't have to.
President Monson, also in the October 2013 General Conference, talked about enduring adversity. He said, "The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer. The reason? They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head-on, and to emerge victorious. "As we make the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of our lives, as we have faith, repent, and keep covenants, we will be able to endure to the end and emerge victorious from our trials.
Returning for just a bit to our question of "why do we face adversity, how is it that we can obey the commandments and sit I'll have hardships?" Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in 2000 spoke to mission presidents. In this talk he said, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience." Jesus suffered "pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind" as says Alma 7:11. He suffered, and he was perfect. We too, being imperfect, must suffer so that we can be more like Christ, so that we can be prepared for all of eternity.
I would like to end by reading the second verse of hymn 30, Come, Come, Ye Saints.
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?’ Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—All is well! All is well!
I know that Christ is our Savior. He was suffered so that he can help us through our suffering. He has taken upon himself all for our sins, so that when we repent and keep our covenants we can be clean. We can endure all of our trials, and we can return to live in His presence, with our families, for all of eternity. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Now that I've filled up a lot of space I can talk about the really important things, like the weather. Just kidding you don't care about that.
We talked to some cool less actives/semi actives this week. In particular this recent convert family where the wife had health problems so she doesn't come to church often. So we went over and taught them the Restoration and asked for referrals (which turned into, will you give your friend a BOM?) Anyway, the wife came on Sunday! We talked to the husband and he said it was because we came over and visited them. It's cool because we never once told her that she needed to go to church, just teaching the doctrine touched her heart and she came back on her own.
We finally realized this week that we have no idea how to teach simply . . . Awkward. We're working on that though.
We found some cool new investigators this week. M and A. However, A lives half the time in Michigan, so we don't know how that'll work out. M is pretty cool, but they talk a lot. I still haven't mastered how to get in and out of a lesson fast when they talk a lot . . . But they are super interested and want to read the Book of Mormon!
We went on exchanges this week with the Mission Sister Training Leaders (basically the sister AP's) but Sister B got sick and so we spent most of it in the apartment. Maybe there's something I'm supposed to be learning from being stuck in an apartment. That has happened a lot lately.
We had to drop one of our investigators this week because he wasn't progressing and doesn't want to be baptized. His wife is a member, and it was really hard to look at her when we did that. She was super disappointed. We'll still go by and visit them once or so a month, but if he doesn't want to be baptized, there's nothing we really can do but wait until he's a bit more humble.
E is super cool. She's the one that doesn't have a lot of Christian background. She's reading in the Book of Mormon and she's writing down all the questions that she has! She's also super smart, so it's cool to teach her.
Anyway. Life is good. I'm excited to be able to watch Rachel open her call. You do have permission to text me the details or to email me or whatever works best.