Happy Easter yesterday! Shout out to the Easter Bunny for the package.
I hope each of you took the time to really think about what you have because of Him. We got to watch the #BecauseofHim video about fifty times this week and I could watch it fifty more. Every time I realize one more thing that Christ has done for me. I realized how important and vital his sacrifice was for us. None of us would be able to progress or make it back to Heavenly Father without Him. Not a single one of us. He has made everything possible. Everything is possible because of Him. #BecauseofHim I am on a mission. I can forgive myself and other people. I can live with my family for eternity. There is life after death. I can be happy. I can progress and reach my full potential. I can overcome temptation, adversity, and disappointment. I can enjoy the blessings of the temple. Sins can be erased. One day I will be perfected. We have the gospel and restored church. I am a member of His true church. #BecauseofHim we have a perfect example to follow.
Yesterday one of the Elders investigators sat down in front of us in church. Last week he was a little disruptive and was wearing a t shirt and jeans. This week he walked in reverently with a white shirt and tie. I started pondering and realized how much I love watching the transition of people as they commit themselves to the gospel. First visit they usually are nervous, don't know what to wear (anything is fine, of course), adn are somewhat confused. A few visits later we see them come in wearing a dress or white shirt and tie. They sit reverently. Their composure has changed. This is such a strong witness to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the gospel of CHANGE. All we do as missionaries is invite them to act and they feel the spirit testify to them and WANT to change. It is one of the most beautiful things to witness. There is a scripture I found in Helaman 15 that I love. It describes this change of heart that takes place in someone as they feel the spirit testify. Verses 7 and 8 read, "And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth...and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a achange of heart unto them—Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are afirm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free." I love the last part of this scripture, "they have been made free". Too may people see the church as a place of restrictions, but we know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is freeing. It allows us to be the happiest we can and helps us reach our full potential.
The church put out this awesome post on Facebook called the 40 Days challenge that I have been using every morning in my personal study. Each day they give you a different talk to read from the most recent conference and even though conference was just a couple weeks ago, it has been a wonderful reminder of how amazing the talks at conference were. I have loved the constant message of standing up for our beliefs. I read President Monson's talk from priesthood session and absolutely loved it. I would invite you all to read it, if you haven't yet. There were two things that really stood out to me. One, "Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval." Two, he quoted Jabari Parker's dad's advice "Just be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light." Such powerful statements. We need to have the courage to stand up for our faith. We will be greatly blessed as we strive to be faithful to the gospel.
I also had the opportunity to read "The Prophet Joseph Smith" conference talk by Elder Lawrence Corbridge. I loved the way that he simply outlines the need and blessings that came from the revelation that Joseph Smith received through those few short years he was alive. I loved this quote, "There is no dispute about what Joseph Smith accomplished, only how he did what he did and why. And there are not many options. He was either pretender or prophet. Either he did what he did alone, or he had the help of heaven. Look at the evidence, but look at all of the evidence, the entire mosaic of his life, not any single piece. Most importantly, do as young Joseph and “ask … God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given [you].” This is not only how you may learn the truth about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, it is also the pattern to know the truth of all things." Its simple. Its either true or its not. There is no inbetween. God has made it that simple. He doesn't make it hard for us to know the truth. If you haven't received an answer for yourself yet if the Book of Mormon is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, or if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, ASK! Take time this week and ask Heavenly Father. I promise that He will answer you.
Sherry is doing better this week. We were able to go over and visit her a couple times and she came to church with the kids yesterday. She feels super overwhelmed because her relationship with Jesus is in the pits and Michael's behavior is really hard to deal with. The stress has caused her to break the commandments and her commitments that she has made with us, such as she is smoking again...so, thats too bad, because now she will have to wait to be baptized. Anyways, we are slowly getting back on track with her and had a really awesome lesson this week that helped her realize that her life has drastically gone down hill ever since she stopped meeting with us. Keeping the commandments and the gospel truly blesses lives. When we stop doing what we are asked, God holds back on the blessings. I know that when we are obedient, we are blessed more than we could ever imagine.
I am grateful for this past week I have had to reflect on all that my Savior has done for me. I know He lives. I know He loved me enough to die for me. I am grateful to be a missionary. Things get really hard sometimes, but I know it will all be worth it. "Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment..."
Have a great week! Try a little harder to be a little better this week. It's never too late to come back. One of my favorite pictures is the one of Christ standing at the door knocking, yet there is no door knob on his side. The door knob is on our side of the door. He will always be there knocking. Come back and let Him in. You are never too far gone.