This week really just flew. Every time I blink it is Monday again. For some reason, the past like 3 months it has rained every Sunday. It is a big trial of faith for the people here to get to church, because not very many have cars and have to walk to church or take a bus. Nevertheless, we had a pretty good turnout of investigators and members yesterday!
The other day, the secretary from the Buenos Aires South mission called me and his name was Elder Marsh. We had talked a couple times before about some office stuff, but this time he asked me where I was from and I told him North Carolina, and he said “me too.” Then he told me he is in the Winston stake and I was like..wait a minute..is your dad the stake president? He said yes, I am Chris Marsh and then we made the connection that we went to scout camp together and that I am in the High Point ward and it was pretty cool. I had no idea he was here in Buenos Aires. He told me he has been out there about 14 months. It was a pretty cool and funny experience! Haha!
I was walking in the street the other day (imagine that) and I felt a strong impression to talk to someone that was sitting down outside her house. It turns out that about 10 years ago she was attending church regularly, and even remembered some of the missionaries names that were teaching her. Her and her family went for about a solid 6 months straight, but then her mom got really sick and other things happened and they were unable to keep going. When I was talking to her, she told me that her mother died about 6 months ago, and that she even thought about going back to church. Since then we have had some incredible lessons with her, and she has committed to be baptized and came to church on Sunday. That was a big testimony builder for me that Heavenly Father knows His children, and is aware of their needs, and that He has given us the perfect plan of happiness and eternal life that is needed to be shared to all!
My Bishop called me on Friday and told me that he wanted me to speak this past Sunday and told me to just say whatever I wanted. I’ve never received that topic before so it was fun preparing for it. I prayed about it and felt that I needed to talk about all the blessings we have, and how important the Gospel really is in our lives in an eternal perspective. We have a prophet that is called of God that receives revelation to guide us in these days. We have the scriptures as well to guide us and in the scriptures we can find the answer to all of life´s difficulties. We have the opportunity to pray to our Heavenly Father and give thanks for what we have, and also ask for the things that we may need, or help for the problems we are facing. We have knowledge of the great Plan of Salvation, which enables us to live forever with our families, and gives us all the hope we need to get through the challenges of this life. We know that the Gospel has been restored, and we have the fullness of the Gospel here on the Earth, with the keys and authority of God that enable us to receive the saving ordinances necessary for Eternal Life. Basically, my point was that we have EVERYTHING! Every single tool needed for our happiness and success in this life, and the next life as well! Everything depends, however, in our diligence and obedience to this Gospel, and all that the Lord expects of us. But as we try every single day to be a little bit better, our happiness will increase a whole lot, and we will always be improving!
When we truly understand all that we have, we have a desire to share it, and that was another point that I wanted to make yesterday, that we can't just keep all that in. We need to share it! All of us can make a great difference in the lives of those around us!
In my studies this week, I read a scripture that I wanted to share with you guys. I was reading a talk by Elder Holland that was one of the best talks I have ever heard, and he cited a scripture in Hebrews 10:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
I was thinking about this a lot. Sometimes after we have experiences that greatly increase our faith, that we feel the spirit a lot, and that we feel greatly edified, the adversary attacks us even harder to make those feelings and experiences disappear. After receiving an answer from Heavenly Father about a big decision we need to take, or after feeling the peace about the decision we have made, then the adversary brings us doubt, and we begin to doubt what we once thought was a sure answer from Heavenly Father.
In the talk, it says “In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun.”
I loved this, because it is very true about our day! We all have spiritual experiences, but we all have other experiences that bring us down and sometimes make us doubt the spiritual experiences we have had!
Well Elder Holland says it better than me – “The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul says to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble—to these he says, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Then this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”
Like it says in the scripture, we must be patient, trying to be better every day, trying to do the will of the Lord, and after we can accomplish that we may receive the promise! We can´t ever forget that this life is not easy, that even after the most spiritual experiences, we will still have difficulties, and we know that in this life that will never cease to be the case!
But we can never cast away our confidence, for there is a great reward awaiting us!
I know this life isn't easy, not even for a missionary. But we have everything we need to have hope and be happy, and return to live with our Heavenly Father again, so we can never cast away that confidence, and always rely on the Lord to help us keep moving forward and slowly but surely becoming the sons and daughters of God that He needs us to be!
I love you all! Thanks for all the support and all you guys have done for me! Nothing goes unnoticed!
¡Que tengan una buena semana!
|Elder Ayres (my MTC companion)|