Sunday, April 26, 2015

Change is sacred because of the price paid to offer it.

Elder Hamula came to our mission about 6 weeks ago.  It was very inspiring to listen to Him speak to our missionaries.  He said He felt like a forerunner to our receiving Elder Nelson to our mission. He described him as, “A prince of a man,” and promised us that we would be blessed by his visit.  But warned us that, “You get out of a meeting whatever you put into it.  You will get out of your meeting with Elder Nelson whatever you put into it.” 

I want to express love for Elder Hamula.  What a great man.  I felt so loved and inspired by him.  I felt he really inspired our mission that day.  And I have to say we put a lot into Elder Nelsons visit last weekend.  We have been on a mission of strict obedience for everyone.  I think every single missionary has raised his own personal bar of what he was willing to put on the line.  We worked very hard. 

President Mullen and I have been amazingly busy for the entire 6 week transfer.  I don’t think we had one day to ourselves and we went from one big thing to another.  We had the transfer and then had specialized training for 5 days and then 4 days of follow up trainings, we spoke in 4 stake conferences over 4 different weekends, hosted and spoke with Elder Hamula for two missionary meetings and spoke with him in stake conference, I was the closing speaker for the CES institute directors retreat, we had 12 days of interviews and training for 12 zones, we had MLC, New leadership training, new missionary training and then hosted Elder Nelson and Elder Clark in speaking to our entire mission and then drove them to Moscow to speak with them at the Moscow stake conference, drove them to the airport and then drove home to go right into transfer’s again an hour later. It was a consecrated 6 weeks, where I felt once again the Lord carried us from day to day to make it all happen.

Sometimes the mission just hits like that and you just go day after day with big things for weeks on end. I have found with this type of schedule I can’t prepare a lot for anything, I just have to prepare myself.  I pray all day long, I read my scriptures at night, and I ask for the atonement to be applied constantly for my weakness and hope preparing myself in that way is good enough.

I found myself in this situation the night before Elder Nelsons visit. I was praying, repenting, and asking what in the world I should speak on with all of my missionaries and an apostle there for the next morning.  I felt so much inspiration come into my mind and heart about what should be said.  It has happened like this so many times.  It is pure revelation.  Nothing will be there and then all of a sudden everything is given to me to say.  I don’t deserve it, but I am sure grateful for it.  That is probably the most common feeling I have had on this mission.  He just gives me so much spiritual light, so quickly, so that I can do my job here.  It is undeniably from him.  I am just not that great.  I feel this acute feeling of the reality that our Heavenly Father and Savior are real and they work through the Holy Spirit.  I feel so much love and gratitude for a Great God, a Beautiful Savior and an Amazing Holy Spirit that blesses our lives every day whether we see and recognize it or not.  I am not great.  I see that so clearly.  But he still blesses me with inspiration and power to do His work.  His love and forgiveness always amazes me.

So I would like to briefly write about what I talked on last weekend, but then write more about what Elder Clark and Nelson talked on later in the week.  It was so good I would like to write about it when I have more time.  Here are some of my observations and what I spoke about in our missionary meeting:

We are never all together.  The only other time we’ve ever been all together is when Elder Anderson came to visit.  We know all of the missionaries well, but they don’t know everyone.  That is always a little weird to me.  We are family, how can we not all know and love each other?  It’s the sad part of being in a big mission with a big area.  I do still feel like we are family and we love each other, but they just don’t know all of who that is. 

So everyone drove into the Spokane Valley, the senior couples included.  There was so much love present, it made me so tender to be all together.  All were gathered outside the temple as we drove up from the airport and they were singing. Elder Nelson and Clark were greeted by beautiful voices and beautiful faces as they got out of the car.  We took a picture with everyone and then went into the chapel to start the meeting.  As we opened I looked over their faces and all I could think about was how much I love them, know them individually, and want them to be happy.  We are very tied to them.  We know their struggles, victories, heartache, miracles, and goals.  I felt so full at having them all there and seeing each one of them together.  I wondered if it was a little symbolic of how Heavenly Father knows us, loves us and is aware of our struggles, victories, heartache, miracles and goals times 1,000.

I talked to them about these feelings and then spoke about their work in preparing for the meeting, and how it has affected their lives for good.  “Your obedience and work has furthered your consecration to the Lord and has changed you.  These changes are sacred.  Your Faith and Hope enough to Act brings a Personal Witness of truth.  The natural man will never know anything about spiritual things because he has never done the spiritual work it takes to gain this great knowledge.  This personal witness brings greater light and knowledge.  This is when the mysteries of God are unfolded to you and God is doing a great work in your life. 

These changes are sacred!  Our ability to change has come at a great cost to both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Change is sacred because of the price paid to offer it.   Hold on to this knowledge and change and treat it carefully.  They are doing a great work in your life for your benefit, but also for the benefit of others.  He wants to use you to do His work.  You are to bless your family’s lives, your future spouse and children’s lives, and everyone around you.  You are to build, lift and edify others.  You are to learn to love and serve your whole life.  You are to talk of Christ, preach Christ and write of Christ all for the benefit of mankind.  Our lives are not just about ourselves.  We are to be useful to God our whole lives.”

“We are a family.  We are to do a great work here in each other’s lives as well.  We lift, strengthen and build each other.  We rejoice in each other’s successes.  We love each other.  We expect each one of us to obey all the rules.  Nothing is secret or hidden.  We are safe with each other to reach out when we struggle.  Our message to each other is, “you are capable of everything the Lord is asking of you to do.”

“We rely on Christ.  We cry, turn, follow, trust, seek, knock, wait, believe, repent, etc.  It's all action on our part to know Him.  We have faith in Christ.  We know that he makes more of us than we could ever make of ourselves but we have to do what He asks.  He won’t force, push or manipulate us.  Only by our free action of coming to Him can we reach our divine potential and be all that He has in store for us to be.  He is the Way.”

“It is not all about your salvation, your growth, your learning.  We are all God’s children.  We are to be used by Him to help everyone come back to Him.” 

I know this is true.  I feel it in my heart.  We are to lift, build and edify in our thoughts, deeds and conversations.  We need Christ so much to be able to do this because we are such fallen creatures.  At least I am.  I am so grateful for the sacred price paid for my chance to change.  And I know His message is to love and serve one another.  Our ability to love and serve is the evidence of our conversion to Christ.

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