Thank you all for the awesome letters! I am so glad to hear that you all are doing great! I will keep praying for you all to keep going strong in this work!
This week was pretty crazy and full of revelation. Over these past few weeks I have been focused on a careful study of the topic gratitude. Now first off I would like to say that the ability to show and apply this attribute of gratitude is a lot easier said and studied than done. We all have a natural man with in ourselves. This natural man likes to complain and show ingratitude in a very subtle way. Every day I find moments when I need to react positively to something and show my gratitude but my natural self would not do it right off the bat. That is when the devil likes to take control. He likes to show that you can’t do it. That you are not good enough, just because you are an imperfect person. Now through numerous occasions here on the mission I have found how an awareness of this imperfect state we live in can either build or bind. As we see our faults and weaknesses we begin to count and take note of all the blessings and talents we lack. We begin comparing ourselves to others, focusing on the negative, and before you know it we have unconsciously dug ourselves a deep hole of self-doubt and self-pity. We are bound with destructive cords and for a moment we may feel hopeless, and full of doubts that create simple convictions of inadequacy to the joys and blessing of life. Well I testify that these thoughts are full of deceptive lies. And awareness of this state we are in should not defeat ones state of mind, rather encourage, uplift, and drive one’s self to become better every day.
Our imperfection signifies that we cannot progress in this mortal life unless given the means whereby that we may overcome our faults. I testify that through a gracious, loving Heavenly Father, we have been provided a way through His Son, Jesus Christ. Through the humble sacrifice of our loving Savior the heavy pains of guilt and sin can be lifted off of our hearts and minds. Through this sacrifice, the mortal death has been overcome and through our choices we make here on earth, we can overcome the spiritual death as well. The Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ has literally created a spiritual bridge from us to our Heavenly Father. As many of us on this bridge have already found out, the path to our Heavenly Father is not an easy task. There will be trials. There will be hardship. There will be many challenges and roadblocks that will try to knock us down. And if we do fall, which we will, we must confide in the Lord Jesus Christ, that though sincere repentance and a true and everlasting change of heart, we will get back up and endure till the end.
I testify that there is no greater blessing than the ability to humble yourself unto the Lord in sincere repentance, and receive an indescribable joy, happiness, and assurance of his love for you and the rest of His children.
In the Book of Mormon, we see many examples of the effects True Repentance produces. I love the account of the Sons of Mosiah. After spending much time in rebellious acts to destroy the church of God, these prideful young men were humbled by the visitation of an angel of the Lord. Over the following days and after much prayer and fasting, sincere repentance was applied and the pure love of Christ filled their souls, enough to the point to where they could not even bear the thought of anyone not receiving the blessings of this eternal joy and happiness. (Mosiah 27&28). Later as we read more of the ministry of these men among the Lamanites, we see that this exceeding joy did not only carry them into the mission field, but continued to grow as they shared a divine testimony of the love and grace of God. This Joy must be sought out on a daily basis. Our souls must be continuously nourished and replenished that there might be room in our hearts for this Joy to grow within us, even to the point where we literally cannot express in thought, nor word the immense happiness that is working within us.
17 "Now the joy of Ammon was so great that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.
18 "And now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is the joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.
REPENTANCE PRODUCES HAPPINESS.
There is no other way to feel the divine love of God. He has provided the means, His doctrine, that through Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism under His authority, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and an endurance to the end we might be guided along this spiritual bridge to our Father in Heaven.
The conductor of this path is none other than the Son of God Himself. He Suffered, He died, and now He lives once again so that we might have a second chance and live again. I relate to my opening topic of gratitude, I express my gratitude for my Savior. I express my gratitude for His sacrifice for me so that I might have a second chance. I express my love and gratitude for my family and for their love for me. For my Father in Heaven who has given them to me and for the blessing I receive from having them in my life.
Of all the things I could be grateful for, the greatest of all would be the ability to apply the Atonement in my life on a daily basis. To partake of the Sacrament every week and direct my focus and attention on my Savior. Everything I ha is because of Him. Everything I enjoy is because of Him. Everything I am is because of Him. As we continuously clean ourselves of sin then we are aware of the things around us. All the blessings we enjoy, all the happiness and Love we feel from others around us. And at that point we will be able to see and show our gratitude in an incredible way to our Father in Heaven.
I testify that as we continue to live our lives in Gratitude, with our Eyes, Hearts, and Arms open to the people around us, especially to our Heavenly Father, we will diligently and more effectively find this happiness.
And after we have reached that point, what greater joy will it be to invite and help others obtain this blessing as well.
I love each and every one of you all and I would like to express my gratitude to you all once again. Because of your examples to me I am out here serving the Lord, and I would not want to be anywhere else. I love you all and hope you have a great week.
With much gratitude and love,