Hellloo Family, Friends, and...well other people who read this too.
I hope everyone's doing well, and sounds like everyone's keepin themsevles pretty busy. Miranda, good to know that school is getting done, but why on earth are you headed to five different states this summer?! I demand an explanation! It seems like you're just like me. I love traveling. And you should definitely try to get your passport so you can head to Europe with Dad! That's going to be so SWEET! Don't let opportunities like that pass by. And of course, take lots of pictures and send them to me. I love getting pictures.
Anywho, we had a pretty RAD week. Last week President Bulloch sent us some talks by Elder Bednar to read and study in preparation for a little reunion we had this morning (i'll fill you in on that in a few paragraphs) and I learned a lot about faith. It's funny the way we usually define faith...because we usually end up defning "hope" instead of true faith. Elder Bednar explains faith in a way that impressed me so much. (I suggest you read two of his talks... "Ask in Faith" and "Seek Learning by Faith"). He explains three different definitions of faith given by three different prophets: Paul, who explains faith as the hope for things which are not seen, which are true. Alma, who explains faith as the evidence of things not seen. And Joseph Smith, who explains faith as a principle of action in all intelligent beings. Elder Bednar explains that these three definitions explain the three basic elements of faith: 1. An Assurance, 2. An Action, and 3. The Evidence. I'll let you read the rest of the talk, but in a nutshell he says that true faith is when we have the ASSURANCE to do something, then we ACT, and we receive the EVIDENCE (or blessings) that in turn give us even more ASSURANCE to ACT even more. I obviously don't explain it as well as he does, but just read the talks prayerfully, and I'm SURE you'll feel what I felt as I studied those words. What a sweet experience.
So this week we were able to receive many blessings. Many, many blessings. We continued to visit with Miguel and Rebeca, and on Wednesday morning we had a lesson with them at the Chapel about Tithing and Fast offerings, which of course they accepted (that's just what the elect do all the time...), and a few minutes later our District Leader, Elder Walk, came and interviewed them both. Needless to say, they passed with flying colors, and we started to plan their baptism. This Sunday we had Stake Conference, and those of us that had baptisms stayed and had an awesome baptismal service after the conference. Between the four companionships, 12 people were baptized yesterday from our Zone. It was a really fun and beautiful experience to see so many people in white. I don't have the pictures with me so I'll send some next week. So Miguel and Rebeca got baptized yesterday, they'll be confirmed this coming Sunday, and they'll be ONE YEAR away from entering the temple. It will be a sweet going away present for me to enter into the temple with them next year just a few weeks away from heading home. Man I love the mission.
We had a pretty sweet reunion with ELDER BEDNAR this morning, and that's why I'm writing so late :/ But it was absolutely amazing. Of all the missions of Mexico, we were invited to have a meeting with him, and I cannot express to you the things that were felt in that meeting. I love meeting with General Authorities. It was awesome because Elder Bednar said, "Elders and Sisters...I want you to know something. Here we have a few of the Seventy, Mission Presidents, a member of the Presiding Bishoprick (Bishop McNullen) and one of the Quorum of the Twelve right here in this room. There is NOTHING more important happening in Mexico than what is happening right here, right now, in this room." And it's so true, it was just absolutely incredible. Elder Bednar is an amazing, amazing person. I often look at people on the street and have to say to myself...how sad it is that they don't know that true Apostles of the Lord of Jesus Christ are here on earth again. And that's what motivates me to open my mouth.
I learned a lot, but it's hard to write down the things that I learned. Elder Bednar addressed some of the silly traditions we develop in the culture of the Church. He explained that we have the tendency to try to jot down every single phrase that is said, which usually distracts us from what the Spirit tries to teach us. And, we never ever go back and read those notes anyway! (How true it is...). Thus, I didn't really write down anything Elder Bednar said...just thoughts that came to my mind, and obviously, those things were personal :).
But one thing I will share with you. Just act. We cannot ask the Lord to do things for us that are well within our power. He gave us a sample prayer that could be said at the end of Sacrament Meeting, replacing the usual "please bless all the people who didn't come to Sacrament meeting so they come next week." He said we could pray something like this: "Father, we thank thee for the wonderful Spirit we have felt, and the many things we have learned as we have been here together. Father, we have noticed that there are many, many people who are not here with us as we conclude this Sacrament meeting. We're going to get them right after Church is over. We will head to their homes, find out if they are sick, if they have some other difficulty, and we will provide whatever assistance we can in helping them to Church next week. Now Lord, we are about to say Amen, so the only blessing that we ask is that thou would inspire us so we all don't end up at the same house, but that we all go to different homes and different families. Amen. Let's go." Notice how the second prayer is much more focused on us being AGENTS who use our AGENCY in accordance with righteous principles...instead of merely being objects that are acted upon. So...let's act. We'll see the blessing that come from doing so, and we'll have more assurance, and act more and more according to the Gospel of Christ. Isn't that cool? I think so.
Anywho, I just want you all to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is exactly what it claims to be: THE Church of Jesus Christ. He directs it. He has called prophets and apostles for us in these last days. Do we not have reason to rejoice?
Yes. We do.