Family! June 30, 2014
There's a lot that's happened this week but I only have time to highlight two big things! The first one is that we are now teaching Rosemond's friend, Ilner who is also from Haiti. He is really progressing and has a baptismal date! It's amazing how you can see such a big difference in the progression of those that really are prepared and those who aren't prepared to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's exciting to work with him!! The second big thing, I spoke in church on Sunday and really had a great experience preparing and giving the talk. I want to expound more on the things that I learned and the gist of what I spoke about:
I was asked to talk about growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ by having the courage to live what we know! As I was thinking about this subject I was pondered upon all of the things that I know that are true. As I pondered over these thoughts throughout the week, I felt the spirit so strongly. I know that I am a daughter of God!! That knowledge makes me so happy and helps me see the divine beauty and potential that I have as well as the beauty and importance of all other people around me. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I have come to know this more than ever due to the experiences I am having on my mission. I've come to learn more of WHO He is and how special my relationship with Him is as my brother, Redeemer and friend. What would I do with out Him? I know that Christ's church has been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith and that we have the fullness of His gospel. This gift makes it possible so that we know how to return to live with our Heavenly Father again :) I also know that we have a prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson who is a very humble, kind man that has been given a great responsibility. I know that the Lord qualifies all that are called and that through his divine guidance we can stay safe from the world. I also know that God has given us scripture in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that give us multiple witnesses and testimonies of our Savior! It has not necessarily been an easy process for me to come to know that these things are true.. I have done a lot of studying and praying, and had the COURAGE to act in faith believing that it's true. As I have done so, I have felt the spirit touch my heart and have seen the great changes that it's made in my life. I know that this gospel is true!!
So the question I was asking myself all week was... since I know these things are true, what am I willing to do with that knowledge that God has given me?
I know that as we courageously do what is right, we grow in faith :) We need to have the courage to say “no” when we should, “yes” when appropriate, and to do the right thing because it's right.
President Monson quoted a Christian author, Charles Swindoll who said, “Courage is not limited to the battlefield or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are inner tests, like remaining faithful when no one's looking... like standing alone when you're misunderstood...” President Monson then added, "...the inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid of defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status."
There are so many examples of courage in the scriptures that I love so much! A few are:
-Abinadi, who was willing to offer his life rather than deny what he knew was true.
-Moroni, who was the last of his people to believe in Christ and persevered in righteousness to the end.
-The 2,000 stripling warriors, or sons of Helaman, who demonstrated the need for courage by following the righteous teachings of their parents; they were chaste and pure :)
Alma 53:20 describes these 2,000 sons: "They were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage and also for strength and activity, but behold, this was not all, they were men who were true at all times whatsoever thing they were entrusted."
We have all felt the spirit at one point or another in our lives testifying of truth. Heavenly Father TRUSTS us with that knowledge and that we will live righteously, according to that knowledge that we receive. These sons were such a great example of that.
I also love the story of Daniel and his courage. He stood up for what he knew was right and demonstrated the courage to pray though threatened with death if he did so.
In the story of Daniel, we know that a decree was signed that no one was to ask or petition any Gods or men except the king for 30 days. It's interesting as we read what Daniel did when he heard that! In Daniel 6:10 we read, "…when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his WINDOWS being OPEN in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees THREE times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God as he did aforetime."
I love that! He was not ashamed to live what he knew was right and true no matter how much the world changed around him. As we know, Daniel was taken and put in a den of lions but God protected him! :)
What's interesting in this story is the King. The King was a good friend to Daniel and HE was the one that signed the petition! A lot of times our friends and people around us don't know that they are threatening our values and beliefs but when Daniel stood his ground, the King realized what he had done and tried to do all that he could to help Daniel. The King himself ended up fasting the night Daniel was in the lions’ den... and as we all know, when we fast... we also PRAY. Because of Daniel's example, the King went against his own petition and the whole kingdom was encouraged to believe in "Daniel's God".
In my talk, I also briefly shared my experience of how I came to know that I should go on a mission. To be honest, deciding to go on a mission was one of the hardest decisions that I've ever made but I'm so glad that I followed the spirit and put my trust in the Lord that He would lead me to where I needed to be. When I was trying to figure out if I was supposed to be going on a mission, I was praying hard to get an answer from God but He just didn't seem to be answering me. I knew that if I did ALL that I could that I could rely on the Lord to answer my prayers.. so I started filling out my mission papers and I put a deadline on God, (which was not good!) I thought that He would tell me if I should go or not as I was filling them out... but guess what? I finished my papers and I still hadn't received an answer. I was so frustrated and scared about making the right decision but I knew that God had not told me “NO”... so He was trusting me to make the good decision. It wouldn't have been wrong for me to continue with my schooling and it wouldn't be wrong for me to go on a mission. I decided to submit my mission papers anyway and now, I'm so grateful that I had the courage to put my trust in God, believing that He would help me. The spirit has touched me so many times while I've been here in Florida confirming to me that my decision to go on a mission was the best choice for me. I can't imagine missing out on these 18 months here.
There are many hard decisions that we have to make in life and there are many challenges that we have to face, but I know that as we live all of God's commandments and have the COURAGE to LIVE and STAND UP for what we know to be truth, that we will reap so many more blessings than we ever thought possible.
Thank you so much for your courage and faith to do what is right and to live it! Thank you for your examples and testimonies. As Dad says... don't just keep the faith, SHARE it!!!