April 19, 2015
Elder Steed and I with President Spendlove
at the Bountiful Temple
We're at the mission home tonight with all 19 departing missionaries (including some past companions of mine, Elders Burt, Harward, and Taylor!), President and Sister Spendlove, and their 14 year old son, Mitch! We just had dinner and now President is talking with the departing missionaries. Elder Steed and I are finishing up the transfer board for all the other missionaries that we'll be sending out to them tomorrow morning. They will know if and where they will be transferred to on Tuesday. We will be taking the departing missionaries to the airport tomorrow at 6am and then picking up the new arriving missionaries at 3:30pm. Two training meetings for new leaders and trainers will be in between those times as well. Since I won't have time to send a note home tomorrow, I'll send it now!
What an amazing opportunity it is to be allowed to work in the Lord's service full-time. I am eternally grateful for what the Lord has done for me. He has been able to teach me things that I know are going to bless and benefit me for the rest of my life. I know anyone can have the experience of the Lord teaching them great things. If we let him, He is able bless us with incredible amounts of knowledge and completely new perspectives on life and all things that pertain to our existence. With the help of the Gospel, we are all able to learn at an exponential rate. If we are willing to put in the effort and patience, the Lord will bless us with "all things that are expedient for [us] to understand" (D&C 77:78). It's been an amazing experience to take part in this promise.
What Is The Light?
Christ is the "Light of the World". What does that really mean? What does it mean to "taste the light", as Alma describes? Is having light in our lives important? How can we receive more light? How can we let our "light so shine before men"? All of these are questions of which I have pondered over. I pray that as we come to more fully understand the principle of receiving the Light into our lives, we will have a more joyful and purposely driven life. The Light is peace, comfort, direction, hope, drive, love. The Light is everything we need to find true joy in this life and in the eternities. The Light is Christ.
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)
Do you have the Light of life?
Why Do We Need Light?
Have you ever been a completely pitch dark room all by yourself? So dark that you can't even see your own hand just inches in front of you? How well can you progress in while in this state? How do you know where to go? Can you know? What does it take for you to maneuver in the correct direction? We can liken this dark room to the fallen world we live in today. We can also add loud and harsh voices influencing us and calling us every which way. Without the Light in our lives, it's difficult to know which way to go, or which way is right or correct. It's hard to see what can truly bring us true joy. The pleasures in a dark world are so convenient when it comes to gaining instant but temporal satisfaction. Pleasure, or temporal happiness, is easy to find in the world we live in today. Without the Light to show and remind us of an eternal perspective, contentment is found in that pleasure. With a limited perspective, why would it not? There are no spiritual or eternal consequences with only a mortal perspective. What is the harm in committing a little sin if there is no hell? That is one of Satan's most curious tricks. One of the greatest human tendencies is trying avoid accountability for ones actions. Think about Adam in the Garden. When he transgressed and realized he was naked, what did he do? Satan tempted him again and he hid.
"And others will [Satan] pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance." (2 Nephi 28:21-22)
I am a witness that Satan uses this technique all the time. If we're not careful, we too can easily be "pacified" by Satan's lie. There is a hell, just as well as there is a heaven. This is all very real. We must be willing to take responsibility and be accountable for our own actions and deeds, so we can righteously apply moral agency into our lives. (Moral Agency = 2 or more choices (choice) + different outcomes or consequences deriving from those choices (freedom) + knowledge of those choices and outcomes (agency)). You can learn so much by studying the Gospel.
Light Comes Through..
Light is a result of righteousness. If we wish to have an increased amount of Light in our lives, we must be willing (choose) to live a righteous life. We must be obedient to an all-loving Father. We must be willing to "putteth off the natural man" and sacrifice things that diminish that Light. If we are expecting the Light to follow us into our dark alleyways, we're wrong. If we plan on being able to see life more so through God's eyes, we have to do our best to live as He lives. We must live by His laws, as far as we know them and are capable of living them. As we begin to invite the Light into our lives, it will become brighter and brighter every day. Keep in mind, light is not gained in our lives by overcoming huge or overwhelming trials or challenges. Those times is when the Lord expects to use the light we have accumulated over many hundreds and thousands of decisions and choices we've made to build up that Light in our lives. The choices we make on a daily basis add up quickly to what our overall nature and character is. When those obstacles come, that is when we must be able to stand upon the Rock that we have been building over the past months and years. As we build this Light, it will naturally "shine before men", and others will be able to benefit from it as well.
"And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things." (D&C 93:27-28)
Christ's Light has the Power to Heal
I can testify confidently that when we allow the Light into our lives, that is when we will have the true peace and direction that we yearn for. Some have come so far in their regression of recognizing the Light, that they are "past feeling". It's awfully sad to encounter someone in this situation. It's like all hope is gone for them. They don't see a need to obey Him. They aren't willing to accept the Light into their lives in order to Eternal Perspective. The adversary has "cheateth their souls", then "carefully leads them down to hell."
Christ's Atonement is real. The grace or enabling power that we can derive from it is real. I've felt it's influence and power. The Light we can obtain from properly using His Atonement will change us. It will change our nature. We will "become new creatures in Christ". It is up to us to decide if we are willing to go through the proper efforts and steps to use this Priceless Gift. If we give Him our all, He will do the same. I promise this is true. I've experienced it for myself. He will carry us through the rough and deep, as we stay faithful to him in all circumstances. His arm will be "stretched out still" no matter what time in our life, and it is our duty to reach out to grab it. Again, we must be willing to put in the efforts required to obtain His mercy.
I know as each of us does all we can, every day, to invite the Light into our lives, we will receive a peace and confidence that can be found in nothing and nowhere else. I know that that Light is essential to not only gain joy, but also to gain eternal life, the ultimate goal and purpose of this mortal life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was established for the benefit of our joy. Lasting joy and Light comes through loving God, and staying faithful to what he has taught us. The Light will heal us as we do all we can to deem ourselves worthy of it. We will "taste the light" as we put in the personal effort required. As we partake in the covenants and ordinances He has revealed. As we pray daily, read daily, and attend our church meetings regularly. As we strive to have a more Christ-like character. When we feel as if there is nothing we or anyone else can do to fix our mistakes and regrets, there is always hope. Hope and healing in and through the Light is offered to us through the merits and mercies of Jesus Christ. Light chases the darkness, and the darkness can never outrun the Light.
Good news!! Dianne, who has been meeting with the Elders since before I got in the area, just put herself on date for baptism for May 16th! She's awesome! She's 21, and was raised in the Gospel since she was younger, but never got baptized. She had some concerns with some of the cultural things of the church, but knows the Doctrine is true. Excited for her!!
A lot of amazing other things are happening, and the Lord is being merciful by letting us teach non-stop! We are getting appointment after appointment after appointment!! A true blessing to stay busy. I love being able to teach and testify. I'm able to feel the Spirit so strongly when I am able to testify of a correct doctrine or principle. I'm grateful to know that the Spirit is the real teacher, and I just need to be worthy and willing.
Last night and today, Elder Kopishcke of the 70 came to our Stake Conference! I love Stake Conference in YSA. He did a 2 hour Q&A with the Priesthood leadership and another 2 hours similar with the general YSA. What an incredible blessing it is to have the Lord's faithful servants so close and willing to share what they know, with us.
Keep up the good work, stay busy, stay safe, and stay close to Him. He'll take care of you!
"The Sabbath day is a day of revelation."-Elder Kopishcke