|Driving home at the end of a beautiful day of missionary work :)|
I'm not quite sure where to begin this week. This has been an amazing and inspiring week with attending our Zone Conference and even participating in a mini mission with a local youth from the stake. We have been blessed by our Heavenly Father to have so many of His children led to us who are prepared to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have seen people change through learning of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, yet often this is a change they likely don't see in themselves.
We were able to feel the hugs of abused women and children who felt they were finding hope in their lives. We were able to see tears coming out of the eyes of a less active women who is learning the reality of the Atonement. An inactive member of the church approached us and asked how he could prepare to enter the temple to do work for his family. We felt the spirit of a recent convert as we met with him after his recent return from visiting the temple for the first time. We were able to sit with one of our investigator families and hear how they have already made purchases to start their food storage, and to hear how their son DJ is thinking about serving a mission. Brothers and Sisters, this gospel is true and it truly is the great and marvelous work brought forth by our Heavenly Father which is so continually mentioned throughout the scriptures.
I know that this is truly the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the earth again today because of the way it truly breaks through any barriers and protects and inspires souls from every culture and every social circumstance. This gospel is not just for me, it is not just for the people we see who our downtrodden or for those who have faith, it is for all. It is a gospel of change because it is centered on Jesus Christ, and He brought the greatest change to this world that man will ever ever know.
"For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens." (Moroni 7:28)
What is the cause of the children of men? Ask yourself now...what is your cause today? Is it to be a better parent or spouse? To be a better student? To be able to run errands and get things done to make it a productive day? Every cause that we inherintly have as children of God, is advocated by our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not just to be forgiven of our sins, it is to be better. For every cause we have each day, we can have hope and have joy knowing that Christ advocates this for us as it is in His will.
I have learned through very special experiences that our Heavenly Father and Savior's will is always better than our own. It will always be for our benefit, it will always be for our growth and it will always be for that which reaches the very goals and desires we each hold deep down. Sometimes we may feel it is difficult, sometimes we may feel too much is expected of us, but to truly find happiness in this life and in the lift to come, to truly be like Christ, we must learn from His example...No cost was ever too great for Him. There was no burden He wasn't willing to bear, no trial He wasn't willing to withstand, no fear He wasn't willing to conquer, no pain He wasn't willing to endure and to what end? To what purpose? For what cause? For us.
In Matthew 16:21-23, we learn that our Savior took great offence to His Apostle asking Him to not endure the sufferings and pain of the Atonement. As the Savior tells His Apostle of the great pain He would endure, that He would lay down His life and then take it up again, His Apostle Peter almost responds as if to say, "Don't to it Lord, it is too hard. Speak not of such things!" To this the Savior responded, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
Brothers and Sisters, do we realize where this offence comes from? Do we realize why it pained Him so much to hear one of His followers ask Him not to suffer so greatly? Because He knew we needed it. Nothing broke His heart so much as to not be able to give us a way to return to our Heavenly Father. He took such great offence because we are worth every drop to Him. We are worth every pain and heartache to Him. As we come to understand this concept, as we come to truly see ourselves through the eyes of our Savior, we will see that no cost is ever, EVER too great to pay to follow Him either.
I testify to each one of you that Jesus is the Christ. I say this not as a faith, or as a hope but as a sure and concrete knowledge that has come to me through being His full time representative as a missionary for His church on the earth again today. Come to know your Savior Jesus Christ. Have the desire to pay the smallest token of what He has done for us. I promise that as you come closer to your Savior, you will automatically be brought closer to The Book of Mormon, to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because it is truly His. I invite you all to read or listen to Tad R. Callister's devotional titled, "What is the Blueprint of Christ's Church?" and feel the gravity and weight of just every blessing Christ paid for with His life, for you, and for me.
SHOUTOUTS: Gabe, Grandmother, Grandfather and Grandma Jeanie, Mom, Dad, The Donakey family and Tawny too!!!, Robert Donakey, Ariel Ibarra, Nikky Lin, Chance Robertson