Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elder Bednar is the Best

We have some pictures this week! Hooray! 

Maybe the spirituality of this e-mail can make up for last week's. Because that's most of what I have to talk about!

The Character of Christ

So for our Sunday Devotional we watched a recording of a devotional Elder Bednar gave at the Provo MTC for Christmas a couple years ago. It was called "The Character of Christ." Apparently these devotionals are only available to missionaries and MTCs, which is pretty sweet but at the same time kinda sad, because I wish all of you could hear this one. It's really incredible. President Pratt (the President of the CCM if I haven't mentioned that already - actually he just walked through THE VERY ROOM I'M EMAILING IN not 20 minutes ago) made a point the we need to be taking notes, and if not we needed to "repent" of that, haha. So take notes on Conference! Which I'm super excited for, by the way. I think we get to watch it in English, but I might steal one of the headsets for the Latinos for a session.

Anyhow, what followed was one of the most intense, revelatory, spiritual talks I've ever witnessed. Bednar started off with a quote by Elder Maxwell: "There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ."

You could think about that quote alone for days.

Bednar continued to explain exactly what that meant, to him. And the ultimate point is that when Christ could have turned inward, could have pitied himself, could have been selfish, or complained about how hard it was for him, he turned OUTWARD instead. This is the ultimate fight we all have to face - fighting against the natural man. (Bednar compared the natural man to the Cookie Monster. It was really funny seeing Bednar, of all people, imitating the Cookie Monster.) It really got me thinking. I think that that might be what Godhood truly is. Complete self-mastery - but with the ultimate goal of helping OTHERS rather than yourself. I dunno, tell me what you think.

This turning outward, to others, is what we are trying to learn here in this life, and doing so is truly living Christ's teachings and being a Christian. This is what creates lasting conversion. It's important to have a testimony, first, but conversion comes when we try to become the person that Christ wants us to be, the way he set the example. And the way we can do this, and be converted, is not by our own willpower, but through the ATONEMENT of Christ.

For me, this is directly applicable to missionary work, and that's the point that Bednar made, as well. I can't care about myself. I can't whine about "the work isn't going well" or "I'm not having baptisms" or "I can't learn that language." That's self-pitying, turning inward. Instead, I need to turn outward, and find those people who I can serve. Pretty amazing, huh? I've already bought some sticky note tags and tagged this part of my notes specifically. It's special.

Fast Sunday

And of  course, that's not all! Last Sunday was Fast Sunday (for those of you non-Mormons who don't know what that is, ask your nearest friendly neighborhood Mormon). That gave us special time to study when we weren't eating and I learned some awesome things. I really love digging into the scriptures and finding all there is to learn. As a preface, our afternoon teacher showed as a video called "Missionary Work and the Atonement." Also really powerful. Please check it out if you get the chance - I'm not sure if it's Church-published, but it's very cool. I think he found it on Youtube. It's got Elder Eyring and Holland talking in it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6FKiNVbw3Y (Here's the link)

One thing I learned, and I only have time for one, because my time is short, is in part how to love others. Well, I hope I can use it that way. Like I heard once in General Conference, it's important to see others as what they can become, not as what they are. As I was studying, I can't remember exactly what I was studying, but I looked up briefly at the rest of my district in the classroom with me. And I realized - holy cow, every single one of these people in here with me can be Gods some day. And not just them, but EVERYONE on this Earth! I think I was studying the Plan of Salvation, actually, and I thought about Moses 1:39. That´s pretty incredible - that the ultimate destiny of all us silly little humans is to become like our Heavenly Father. We can ALL do that, and no one is exempt. It just put things in a different perspective for me. I can start looking at people like that, rather than focusing on whatever minuscule faults they have in the present. And it gives me a lot of hope. In one of the Epistles, in the New Testament, I can´t remember exactly where I was reading this, it said something akin to "If we're the lineage of God, then why would we supposed God to by a rock, or a tree, or a fish?" We're destined to be something great. And it can be done through the Atonement of Christ. Keep that in mind.

Mexico is Weirder Than You Think

Because it rained like I would only expect it to rain in South-Western PA yesterday. I had to run back to my casa to get my trench coat so I wouldn't get drenched. Yeah, I was wearing a trench coat. In Mexico. Also,  I have no idea why, but apparently the people outside the walls somehow got their hands on a ridiculous amount of fireworks because there is almost always something blowing up at any given point in the day. I'll try to take a pic of the smoke some time.

Nos vemos!

                                         Tortilla soup! Not bad, but not as good as yours, Mom :)
                                                                   The Elders of 14B!
 I've been told the B represents Bautismo (actually it represents the name of the school that was converted into the CCM, but hey). I love the houses on the hills.
                                                              The Entrance to the MTC
      That's parrots. That's right. Parrots LIVE ON THE CAMPUS WITH US. Be jealous.      
                                            I think that's a gym outside the walls. So Mexico.

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