Sunday, July 10, 2016

Finding Faith in Christ‏

Here is Jeremiah's letter from earlier this week. We were out of town for vacation this past week and I didn't get it posted earlier.

You might've heard a bit in the news, but Ecuador's been having a really tough time, economically. Things got even worse after the earthquake a few months ago. The government's struggling, and so is everyone. When we visit people, members, non members, everyone talks about how hard things are. I suppose that some sifting always needs to take place - it's been a trial for lots of people, members included. But it's great being a missionary because it means I can teach them how to get out of those rough spots...keeping the commandments! As representatives of Christ we can make people very specific promises if they keep the commandments, which is always great. It's just hard when people...don't keep the commandments! But I know if we keep the Sabbath day holy and pay our tithing, everything will work out. I'm sure I'll be on the other end of the stick someday, too...

This time of year is also a bit rough for missionary work among the natives, because right now it's the "sun festival," or something like that. There are just big parties every week and everyone goes out "dancing" (they just kind of walk around in a big circle and call that dancing). It's tough on church attendance. Just...keep the Sabbath day holy, gosh!

Yesterday was of course fast Sunday. It's never been my favorite here in the mission, but I realized as I studied Saturday morning that more than anything my attitude prevented me from really enjoying fasting. I realized this as I read D&C 59:13-15 :

 13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting‍ may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy‍ may be full.

 14 Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

 15 And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts‍ and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—

I hadn’t really paid attention to the words used here. It’s described as something joyful! I realized that I should try my best to let it be something joyful, not something that gets me down and makes me want to sleep in sacrament meeting. I like promises in the next few verses as well:

16 Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness‍ of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

 17 Yea, and the herb, and the good‍ things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
So this last fast Sunday I worked a bit more on my personal conversion. That Saturday, we tried to stop by a recently-rescued member and his non-member wife who were having some problems. We had planned to see the church movie "Finding Faith in Christ" with them, which has become one of my favorites out in the field. I think it's really heartfelt (even though it of course suffers from slightly-unreal acting inherent in any church movie) and I love the way it talks about finding faith when we have lots of doubts. I love the Spirit I feel as it portrays the Savior and what He did for us. It helped me renew my testimony of Him, which is one of the most precious things I have obtained in this life. Yesterday I was also reading in Mosiah 3 and I love what King Benjamin says about Christ:
 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent‍ who reignethwho was, and is from all eternity‍ to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle‍ of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miraclessuch as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind‍ to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
 And he shall cast out devilsor the evil spirits‍ which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
 And lo, he shall suffer temptationsand pain of body, hungerthirst, and fatigue, even more than man can sufferexcept it be unto death; for behold, blood‍ cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish‍ for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
 And he shall be called Jesus Christthe Son of Godthe Father‍ of heaven and earth, the Creator‍ of all things from the beginning; and his mother‍ shall be called Mary.
 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation‍ might come unto the children of men even through faith‍ on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him man, and say that he hath deviland shall scourge‍ him, and shall crucify‍ him.
 10 And he shall rise‍ the third‍ day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge‍ the world; and behold, all these things are done that righteous judgment might come upon the children of men
17 And moreover, say unto you, that there shall be no‍ other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation‍ can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord‍ Omnipotent.
When I read about Christ I feel the way King Benjamin's people did after he explained all this:
 And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel‍ of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen‍ to the earth, for the fear‍ of the Lord had come upon them.
 And they had viewed‍ themselves in their own carnal‍ state, even less‍ than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: have mercy, andapply the atoning‍ blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purifiedfor we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created‍ heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received remission‍ of their sins, and having peace of consciencebecause of the exceeding faith‍ which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words‍ which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.
More than anything I'm grateful for a knowledge of my Savior. If nothing else, I can share my testimony and I hope you can achieve your own.
I know that He lives and that He really is our Savior.

As a side note I also found this great scripture this week in D&C 78:19.
 19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness‍ shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred foldyea, more.
Always remember to be grateful! And you'll get more. :) Love you all lots!
There are always chickens running around here.

Doing some service.

We ate shrimp today. Delicious.

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