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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week #31: Laureles (La Oficina) - 11

Well, here I am on another week. The interesting thing here, is that I´m now writing on a Tuesday - we were kind of busy yesterday, so we didn´t have our Preparation Day on Monday. I´ll get back to that later in the email. But, basically it was pretty great.

Last week we had Elder Wilford W. Andersen of the Seventy come and visit us with his wife. As a member of the "office staff" we got a personal meeting with him - the four secretaries, the Asistants, Presidente y Hermana Walker, and the Andresens. It was pretty cool. He shared a lot of cool things. One of which had to do with being "reborn" as it speaks in Mosiah 27 (I think).

He also shared about "the mantle of Elijah" and the fact that the people accepted Elisha - he had the same power and authority as Elijah. We are about to lose the Walkers, and recieve new Mission Presidents, and we need to set the example, praise our leaders to the other missionaries - "How is the President, really?" kind of idea. We are going to be the ones who need to help everyone else accept, love, and serve, and sustain the new Presidents.

During our Zone Conference we spoke on that, and la Hermana Walker spoke about faith, and being the "Lord´s Wind" - she shared an experience by Elder John H. Groberg of the Seventy, and it exists at least in part on the Church website. It was pretty cool. Basically, we can and should be the answers to the prayers - the "Wind of the Lord" this day. Presidente Walker spoke on "Opening your mouths" and sharing the gospel, and Elder Anderson spoke of being reborn, and how our "Missionary Purpose", which is "The Doctine of Christ" is a lifelong process of being reborn each week.

He shared how partaking of the Sacrament is the "Ordinance of Enduring to the End," and I liked that idea. It was new, and pretty cool. On further reflection, I thought of going to the Temple and the vicarious work - they´re all Ordinances of remembrance - they remind us, and in the Temple we help others too, but they´re the Ordinances of "Enduring to the End" basically. I liked that.

We also watched the video about John Tanner, how he consecrated everything to the Lord. We watched in once in the MTC, but this time it impacted me more. Especially when he was healed through his faith.

Then at the end we sang our mission song, which is Fe en cada paso - Faith in Every Footstep in English, but the translation isn´t 100% equal. I love that hymn. It was good. There is a part where it speaks of sharing the gospel with all basically, and I liked that - got a bit emotional as we sang that. It´s a good song. Really. So, that answers a question from Mom.

Now, the investigators I´ve been speaking of (with the fast we did, our prayer, etc.) are doing pretty well still. The hermano is working, and although his wife was out of town he came and we had a nice lesson with him. He´s got the desires to return 100% to activity, and be an example. Also, he came and attened Sacrament Meeting with us.

So, now the moment of truth... The reason for which our Mission was too busy to have a Preparation Day yesterday... I can say it in a few words:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

It was pretty great. An Area Seventy, Presidente y Hermana Walker, Elder Daniel L. Johnson and his wife (Presidency of the México Area), and of course Elder Holland came and spoke to our mission. Each of them spoke and shared some things, but I´m going to focus on Elder Holland right now. After everyone had spoken, it was time for the choir to sing. We sang well, Himnos N° 98, "Conmigo quédate, Señor" - which is "Abide with Me; ´Tis Eventide." Afterwards, Elder Holland spoke some Spansih, and he told us: "Esto es mi himno favorito. Perfecto." "That is my favorite hmyn... I love that hymn..."

He continued (I may add some things so that the sentences make sense): "...I´ve changed everything I was going to say to you... a theme has emerged..." He spoke on how when - oops - skipped something vital. He invited all of us to come and shake his hand. As things turned out, I got to be the first Elder (not counting Temple Missionaries) to shake his hand. That was cool. Anyway, speaking of this, he more or less said: "When we shake your hands, we interview you." He spoke of us, and said, more or less that "They´re all great. Maybe one or two have some difficulties... That too shall pass."

He then continued to speak on the "Doctrine of Christ" and the "Missionary Purpose" - which purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in the Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentence, baptism, the reception of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End" (Preach My Gospel, 1).

He shared how on his mission, "We did not get deep enough..." "There is something more basic... [and] fundamental than [The Docrtine of Christ]... more basic than teaching is living... the life of Christ... That, I´m not sure can be taught, but THAT MUST BE LIVED... We teach doctrine... more fundamental than what you teach is what you are."

We looked at 2 Nephi 31, and he continued (sorry, I´m just sharing nuggets from Elder Holland): "The great lesson of the Savior´s life... [was] to SET AN EXAMPLE. " ´Follow thou me.´ "Doctrine in action... faith in abstract... won´t help... all of those [doctines] have to be put in action... [He gave us the] simplest missionary message... ´Follow thou ME´... Follow Jesus... Look at His life and follow Him... ´full purpose of heart... no hypocrisy...´ "

Speaking of 2 Nephi 31, he said: " ´Follow thou me´... ´follow the Son´... ´follow´... ´follow´... this is hard work [engraving on plates]... economizing [the plates to only have the most important parts]... Was it really necessary to say it so many times? Well, I guess so... "Forget your investigators! I need to know if you are living this way... "You´re God´s investigators... none of us are home free yet... until we live the life of Christ... "You want your investigators to have more faith? Well He wants you to have more faith... He wants you to study a little bit harder... Pray more urgently.. "[I say this] with all the affection of my heart, to ask you to be there... "...do what... He did... [the] most fundamental missionary message in this world... "...when we´d rather die than disappoint Him... when we´re there, THEN we can teach..." We read some from Mosiah 27, when he spoke of how the angel "astonished" Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah, and he said, "...I pray that you will astonish the people you teach..."

He continued (sorry, not a lot of commentary, a lot of replay): "The Docrtine of Christ takes its vitality from the life of Christ." and somewhere else he also said: "Undergirding the Doctrine of Christ, is the life of Christ."

He continued to speak on Missionary work, but also on Salvation in general as he said (more or less): "Why is this so hard...? Why isn´t it easier...? I´ve been asking myself that for 50 years... half of a century... and I´ve found at least some peace in the following... [It is] not easy for us, because it was never, never, never easy for Him... "What right do we have... to say, ´We want it... easier than it was for you?´ "Why not so easy...? Not one single thing in the earthly life of Him was easy... The road to salvation has to go through Gethsemane.. When you say that [you will follow Him], you sign on for the whole tour... you speak what He spoke... go where He went... weep when He wept... "It´s not easy for you... It´s never easy for anybody... Salvation is a... wrenching experience... it´s His gift... His Atonement... "He didn´t give us ´Cheap Grace´..."

He continued: "Don´t spend any time... asking yourself why a mission´s hard... They let Him down... He knows everything about injustice... unfairness... unkindness..." Speaking of our living as He lived, he said: "[This mission] is the most exhilirating... most demanding [thing you will ever do]... ...at least on your way there... trying... wanting to be there... [living the life of Christ]..." He spoke a bit more, and the he closed: "...But I love the Lord with ALL MY HEART... the Gospel has given me everything... I grew up in a less-active family... but I got the chance to go on a mission...

I bear witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ... It isn´t just that He lives... He loves us... [the love of a parent like me is] nothing compared to the way... God loves you... [He is willing to] forgive, and forgive, and forgive... if you will repent, and repent, and repent... I just want you to love the Lord... live the life of Jesus Christ... change the world forever..."

We then closed by signing Himno N°138 "Señor, yo te seguiré" - which translates as "Lord, I will follow you" but the hmyn is "Lord, I Would Follow Thee..." And it fit perfectly with what Elder Holland shared with us. It was pre-chosen too. That happens in Church meetings, doesn´t it?

So, the message of his talk was "Live the Life of Jesus Christ" basically.

Later, Presidente Walker was talking about it, and he said basically, "I wasn´t expecting that Elder Holland would give us such a difficult invitation. He gave us the most difficult invitation he could - to be like Christ. But it´s possible, with Him and the Atonement."

So, there are lots of good things in there. I hope it has helped all of you, even if it was a bit scattered. This next week, we´ll be having transfers, and I´ll be getting a new companion, and maybe I´ll know my fate as far as which Mission is my future home.

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