Woke up this morning and found this!!!
Family & Friends,
Our friend, Alissa was baptized and confirmed this past weekend! I am so happy for her and excited for her new path in following Christ. Baptism, confirmation, and receiving the Holy Ghost are so essential for each and every one of God's children. It is by these ordinances that we can come closer unto Him and be saved by His grace.
We had an amazing lesson with Brad a few days ago. He is doing awesome. We talked about the Word of Wisdom. He drinks alcohol, coffee, and chews tobacco. When we first asked him if he would live the WoW, he said, "Honestly, no." He didn't believe that it was possible. But after a few more testimonies were borne, some blessings promised and the Spirit testifying to him, he accepted to live the WoW, cold turkey:) Please keep Brad in your prayers that he will be able to have the strength to continue to live the WoW (he is doing great thus far!!), and that he may receive a definite answer to his prayers about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.
"I love to see the temple.
I'll go inside someday.
I'll cov'nant with my Father;
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A fam'ly is forever." - 2nd verse of I Love to See the Temple
During a leadership meeting this past week, our Mission President, President Hansen, held up his Temple Recommend in front of all of us and asked us to do the same. He does this every so often and bears a powerful testimony on the importance of the Temple. The temple is where families can go to be sealed together for time and all eternity. What a privilege the Lord has blessed us with, to be able to take part in His powerful covenants and ordinances.
So how do we get to the Temple and receive the fullness of blessings that our loving Father has in store for us? I had the great opportunity to speak on this exact topic just this a few weeks back in a Sacrament Meeting in one of our wards. Here's a few points from that talk:
I had a wise mission companion once say, "All you need is the 3 D's. Desire. Decision. Determination." - Elder Souday (Tahiti). He's right, you know. We must first have a desire to go to the Temple. If we do not yet have that desire, there are many ways of helping ourselves achieve that desire. First, we must drop our "weapons of rebellion" (Alma 23) against the Lord. Such as pride, selfishness and disobedience. We must humble ourselves, and be meek as a child. We must submit our will, to the Lord's will. If we would all just realize that the Lord gives us commandments in order to help us live a Higher Law, to become as He is. It's all completely for our good. He knows better than we do, what is good/bad for us. We must trust Him. Through being obedient to Him, He can bless each of us with increased faith in Him.
"[The Lord] doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world;for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation." (2 Nephi 26:24)
Second, we must be an agent. We must act and not wait to merely be acted upon. We must make a Decision. If we just sit around and expect great wisdom, knowledge, comfort, peace and anything else to just come to us with much or any effort, we are sadly mistaken. Just yesterday, we ran into a lady who told us she could be just as close to God while living in a life of sin (participating in fornication, drinking alcohol, smoking, speaking profanity, not attending church or partaking of the sacrament) as someone else who is striving to do their best to follow the Lord in all his commandments and repenting often. After reading Josh's "Six Points", I was reminded that we as missionaries were called to be lovingly bold in declaring absolute truths. I kindly testified that unfortunately she was mistaken and mislead, and that she could come closer to God than she was by actually living His laws. And that He gives us commandments so we can be happy, and eventually become as He is. Although she admitted that she believed Joseph Smith was a Prophet, she does not believe the Word of Wisdom was inspired. Towards the end of the conversation, she realized her points of view were slightly skewed and ending leaving the conversation by saying, "I know I'm stubborn. Maybe I just need to be humbled.".. We must learn to take responsibility for our actions and always strive to do better. It is the only way to salvation.
Lastly, we must have Determination. We can receive this strength from the Lord by actively attending our church meetings, the temple if possible, reading our scriptures, and praying to Him daily. We can receive support from our family members, friends, loved ones, and Priesthood leaders. Sometimes the trials we go through are to big to be handled on our own, we must seek help from the Lord and those around us. We must stand in holy places...The Temple, church meetings, mutual, seminary, institute, good friend groups,etc. The Lord once counseled, "My disciples shall stand in holy places and shall not be moved." (D&C 45:32)
All in all, we must help ourselves to become more personally converted unto the Lord. "Conversion starts when we feel something" - Elder Ballard .. We must do everything we can to feel that "something"-- The Spirit. By following these 3 D's, I know that we will all have a much better chance at feeling that something. I know that by following the 3 D's, we can all come closer to the Lord and become more converted unto Him.
Patrick Willoughby once stated, "The Gospel isn't a band-aid, it's a cure."
I know this is true and that through living the laws and partaking in the ordinances of the Gospel, we can find everlasting happiness and a cure from all the worries and tragedies of this world.
Stay close to the Lord and He will bless you.
PS Don't forget to write!
"The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I'll sing." - The Lord is My Light, Hymn #89 v. 4
My favorite scripture this week: "O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal." (2 Nephi 9:39)