I began cracking up the other day reading the Book of Mormon during my personal study. There's a line from the Book of Mormon that tickled me pink, Alma 43:1, "And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth ammont the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth." It just made me smile to picture this Disciple of Christ sitting for a moment to enjoy retirement or a little vacation, and just not being able to stand it. He thinks of his sons in the mission field, and can't help but join them, over again. He leaves as a missionary when he's young, later leaves with two of his sons to the Zoramites, and again leaves. I don't know where these records are kept but I hope someday to read them. Alma is one of my scripture heroes, especially as I learn from his teachings and his actions while I am privileged to be a missionary.
I had a freaky moment this past week when I realized I've just about reached 7 months, and my heart began to break. I don't know how I'll ever be able to leave this, what I love! Inviting others to come unto Christ is the sweetest joy! But then I realized that, like Alma, being a missionary is a forever thing. There is no retiring once we're converted. We keep inviting, keep serving, and keep loving others the way Christ did and does. We cannot rest, and I know I'll never be able to, not now, not after the change he's worked in me. The changes he works in each us!
I love hearing that you are studying Preach my Gospel now for Family scripture study. I kind of want to be a part of it, so I wrote during part of my personal study today something I hope we can study together. Chapter 6 of PMG is one of my favorites. The Christlike Attribute I want to study with you is Faith in Jesus Christ.
Let's read the first paragraph. What does faith mean? "You accept him as your Savior and Redeemer and follow His teachings." In other words, if we truly believe in Christ, our faith is demonstrated by our obedience to the principles he taught. "You believe that your sins can be forgiven through His Atonement." What does this mean to you? Do you believe this--that every mistake we make can be made clean through our Savior? Boys, when we first started mowing the lawn, each one of us left many "bad haircuts" as Dad would say. There were many spots of grass taller than the others, crooked lines where we had gone astray in our mowing path. Dad KNEW when he first taught us that we would make mistakes, that we would mess up time and again--but he helped us correct it every time, because he loves us, wants us to grow, and wants us to gain ´life skills.´ In the end, despite all our faults (and the fact that I STILL mow bad haircuts every once in a while) everything worked out and the lawn got mowed. The atonement works this way. Christ KNOWS we are imperfect. That was part of the plan from the beginning. But his atonement helps us clean up all the "bad haircuts" of our lives. We need to have FAITH in Him as we have FAITH in Dad to help us learn, grow, and improve despite all the mistakes we make.
We keep reading in the first paragraph. "Faith in Him means that you trust Him and are confident that he loves you." Sometimes we feel the weight of our imperfection and feel less than worthy of Christ's love. Something I've learned on my mission is that we have to open our hearts and feel of His love in order to Help others feel it and in order for our Faith to grow. If I don't believe that He loves me, how can I help anyone else feel it? Some ways I've learned to have FAITH through CONFIDENCE in Christ's love for me is through the following: 1) Counting my Blessings. List out loud at least 5 blessing God has given you in your life.
2) Service. What Good have you done in the world today? (another life's lesson from Dad)
3) Reading the Scriptures. Seeing Christ's Work and love extended to others in the scriptures helps me better understand how Christ extends His love to me.
Okay, let's read paragraphs 2 and 3 now. Now that we know what faith is and how we feel it, what do we DO about it? What power does it bring? What is the opposite of faith, how can we avoid these feelings of doubt and fear? When I first came to Argentina, I was without any idea of what was going on. Before I knew it I was off on a double decker bus with my little companion from Mexico and couldn't understand a word she was saying. Driving away, looking out the windows at a world completely foreign to me, far from anything familiar and without a person in my life to talk too--I reached out in Prayer to Heavenly Father. And when I did, in that ride away from Rosario to Venado Tuerto, he filled me with his Love, and the fear left. I knew he would take care of me, and He Did. Hermana Ferraez was part of the fulfillment of that prayer, my Trainer loved me and looked after me and helped me learn Spanish. I testify as Moroni did, perfect love casts out fear. And we feel that love of the Savior, as we established before, through FAITH.
Paragraphs 4-7. How can we help our faith GROW?
Scriptures to read:
-Alma 32:41-43 (Compare with 1 Nephi 8) Faith allows us access to the atonement of Christ.
-Ether 12:6, Faith comes after _____
-Romans 10:17, How faith GROWS
-Mosiah 5: 1-15, What Faith does to us, or why we are a peculiar people.
I love preach my Gospel and hope you feel the same uplift I do from reading and learning from it's pages.
It has been a marvelous week. The other day while contacting in the street, we contacted a man named Jesús pushing his bicycle along, going home for lunch. As soon as we introduced the Church, he immediately said "Soy Miembro de la Iglesia! Me bauticé en Carcarañá!" or "I'm a member of the Church! I got baptized in Carcarañá" which is a little town up the street from Cañada. WE went to his house for a lesson on Saturday, and he told us that when he saw us up the street, he offered up a little prayer, that if it was important for him to come back to the church at this time that we, the missionaries, would speak to him. Our contact was the answer to his prayer, and we're beginning the proccess of helping him get things back in order. This is a great and marvelous work of miracles. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
We have had new investigators coming out of the woodwork! Lots of new people to teach of many different backgrounds. I'm excited to see what comes of our lessons with each of them. One woman in particular has touched my heart, her name is Flavia, she is 20 years old or so, cannot read, and has two beautiful little kids--a little girl named Micaela, age 3, and a little boy of 18 months, Ismael. She has had a hard life but loves the Savior and wants to be closer to him.
More words to come next week. I loved seeing the pictures of ice skating, love hearing about the shannanagins of the pets at home, love hearing your words of support and love. Give Janet D. my love, I will be praying for her to get well soon. And everyone else you see that I know, tell them I love them!
Con amor GIGANTISIMO,