Dear Mom and Dad and Austin, Tyler, Jordan, and Corey,
Our Street name is Dr. Francisco Soler. I feel like we should be in a scary story book living on a street with this kind of name. It makes me smile, and I can just picture you Dad reading a story in a pale-green-pants accent about a young girl who lives in a village of bizzare people, off a big river in South America. ;) Love you!
It's been a rewarding week. I can't explain how much I love my companion, Hermana Diorio. She is an absolute "Amor" as we would say here in Argentina. Who was your favorite companion, Dad? I know you had some rough ones, like Positive Mental Attitude, but who was your favorite? I feel so silly for having never asked you more about your mission, Dad. What Advice do you have for me in my last stretch of the mission field? Advice for living in a foreign country? For patiently perservering? I would love to hear some of your mission stories again now that I'm in the field, and I can relate so much more! I think often of your cockroach lint-ball when I see a cockroach in our apartment and frantically look for the broom to attack it. So many stories we'll have to share when I can return, so many I have to hear from you and so many to tell. Write me a few Japan Stories if you have the time.
My Preach my Gospel study for this week is on Virtue. Paragraph #1--"Virtue originates in your innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards." Virtue, from what we see here, is the Good that we do and are in our inner selves. We learn in the scriptures that we will be judged someday according to our works and the desires of our hearts--not just our outward expressions of discipleship, but our inward expressions as well. I believe this falls in line with the way we think about other people in our minds, too. If we outwardly serve someone but inwardly retain a resentment or frustration towards them, that kind of makes our thoughts like a worm eating away at an outwardly pleasing apple, isn't it? We need to maintain virtue of thought in many ways, but kind thoughts to others--and kind thoughts of self/being patient with ourselves too, are so necessary, so we can have pure white insides to match our outsides. See D&C 38:24. My favorite line is the last one of this paragraph-- "What you choose to think & do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue."
Corey Joseph, you are my example of Virtue. There is no question in my heart or mind that you are thinking pure thoughts! You are far too busy thinking of constellations or your next homemade board game or the rotation of planets or a story premises from your latest book to entertain impure thoughts. And when you are alone, you are far too busy writing thoughtful heartfelt letters to me or to other people, jumping on the trampoline, etc. to entertain any kind of impure action. I hope you know that your kindness, your desire to learn from the best books, and follow what the Savior would have you do is an example of Virtue for everyone you meet. I want to be more virtuous as you are, and my earnest prayer is that you will never loose this attitude of Virtue in your life. Guard it, keep it, and let your light so shine with Virtue to the world forever and always! Staying firm in the gospel and following the counsels Mom and Dad give you will keep you clean and white and virtuous.
Paragraph #2--"Virtuous people are clean and pure spiritually." How do we clean ourselves up spiritually? The repentance process--and our opportunity to be baptized and to partake of the sacrament--gives us the chance to be clean again. That's why going to church each Sunday is so important. We put our faith and agency in God's hands as we repent and partake of the bread and water. In doing so, God makes us clean again and helps us have the strength we need to protect our Virtue throughout the week. But we make mistakes, from Monday to Saturday, and in order to protect our virtue we must return again and receive divine help through the Sacrament. Without it, we are more and more vulnerable to fall into temptation. What other suggestions does this paragraph offer about virtue and being a virtuous person?
Paragraph #3--How do we protect our minds stage? Hum your favorite hymn is a good way to start.
We live in a terribly wicked world. I see the effects of sin and the lack of virtue that comes from lives straying from the gospel and desperate searching for happiness amidst wickedness. My dear family, I want to testify of the miraculous power of the atonement as I have seen Men and women of Argentina and Washington cast the world aside and become Virtuous as they have kept the law of chastity for the first time, left behind coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol to keep the word of wisdom, taken off work to attend Sunday meetings & keep the sabbath day holy, read the Book of Mormon, and become fully clean through the waters of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Repentance is real. Virtue is real. It is my prayer that we can be a standard of virtue for all those that come in contact with our family.
2 peter 1:3-7 -- what does virtue ultimately lead to?
D&C 25:2 -- What rewards come from virtuous living?
Article of Faith #3--What should we seek?
D & C 121:45-46 Where does true confidence come from?
I love you 6 people with all my soul! Never forget that. There are reminders of you everywhere, and it keeps me strong remembering the solid, Virtuous people that you are. Never lose sight of the real goal of this life, we are here to prepare to return to live with Heavenly Father. Death isn't it. There's a lot more to go after this life, and we need to be ready for it. If you don't know if the things I'm telling you are true, or if they seem nothing more than just a good idea, I want you to take a chance and read the Book of Mormon again. Think about what it teaches and compare it with the world and what the world teaches. And I invite you, too, to offer up a silent, but sincere prayer, to ask God if it is true. I promise he will answer. It might take a lot of reading, and a lot of pondering, and a lot of battling--but you will receive an answer! I know the Church is true. I am a Mormon--I know it, I live it, I love it.
Love, forever, Mik!