I would like to report on all the fun stuff we did this last week. On Thursday we had Specialized Training. It was a good meeting. After the meeting we had lunch and we had some fun. They did a white elephant gift exchange. Every companionship in the Stake brought a gift, under $5. It was fun, we took a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling cider. We stole it back though because we really wanted it. haha. After we had District Presentations. They had each district prepare either a skit, talk, musical performance or something like that. We read a Silent Night Talk, then Elder Carter sang the first verse of "Silent Night" A Capella and then we had everyone in the room join in on singing the 2nd and 3rd verses, also A Capella. We wanted it to be kind of like how it may have been in the trenches of WW1. We were the last district to go. The spirit was already in the room, but after that the spirit was very, very strong. It was neat.
On Sunday we had church, but we only had sacrament meeting so that we could go up to the Stake devotional in Charleston. After church, some members named the Matsons took us to their house for lunch and then we rode with them up to Charleston. Sister Matson is the one that wrote the skit that we did, and Bro. Matson was the main character, Ebeneezer Scrooge. The Skit went great at the devotional. I’ll send you all a picture. Elder Carter and I played the part of Missionaries, and we went and knocked on Ebeneezer's door to stop by to visit him at the request of his Nephew, Bob Crachet. There were about 400 people at the devotional. It was fun. All the Missionaries also got up and sang "O come all ye Faithful" during the devotional. That was also really neat.
For a thought today I would like to share some things from an awesome talk called "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." We listened to this on our way up to Charleston yesterday. I would like to share some quotes.
"The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.
As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.
I would like to share six practical suggestions that, if heeded, will dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it."
Here is a summery of those 6 things.
1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.
4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly.
5. Become really, really good at forgiving.
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.
I just want to encourage you all to go and study this talk. You can find it by Clicking https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/approaching-the-throne-of-god-with-confidence?lang=eng
I would also just like to share some things I have been thinking about lately.
Things wont change unless you do something about it. You wont change until you do something about it. We have to want to and be willing to change. Change takes commitment, Real commitment.
This life is a mortal experience where our spirit gets to be in a body and learn new things. We are spirits in a body. Your spirit was created by your Heavenly Father who loves you. Every time you pray you are talking to your Father. He knows you!
Every single person on this earth has trials, and has always had trials. There are hard times for every single one of us. There is no anomaly where someone is able to go though this life without experiencing something tough. God is very aware that we have these trials. They are part of the purpose of us being here. Don’t give up when you are going though hard trials. There are billions of people on this earth that are successful in overcoming hard things. You are not an anomaly to that either. (I hope that one makes sense)
Ponder what it means to be a True Follower of Jesus Christ. And look at the Blessings.
In the Guide to the Scriptures it says this under the definition of "Perfect." Complete, whole, and fully developed; totally righteous. Perfect can also mean without sin or evil. Only Christ was totally perfect. True followers of Christ may become perfect through his grace and atonement.
Or in Moroni 7:47-48 it states "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
And then the definition of Pure in the Guide to the Scriptures says "Free from sin or guilt; blameless. A person becomes pure when his thoughts and actions are clean in every way. A person who has committed sin can become pure through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and receiving the ordinances of the gospel."
All of these things relate. True Followers are those who strive to live like, think like, and be like the Savior. As it states in 2 Nephi 31:13 "...follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent..." If we do this then we will have charity and will become pure, as He is pure and will be able to, through the atonement, become complete and pure and perfect and qualify to live with Heavenly Father again. We will be freed from our sins. Those weaknesses that we have can become strengths.
So the Invitation? 2 Nephi 31:10 "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me..."
I think I kind of shared about this in a previous letter, but here it is again, maybe with something new. I am very grateful for my Savior who shows me the way. I hope I can be like him.
I love you all. Keep you heads up, and your hopes high. There are great things in store for those who follow Christ. :D MERRY CHRISTMAS!