Thursday, July 31, 2014

Who is YOUR hero?

Zone Selfie

Dear Mom & Dad,

I hope you're ready for a big spiritual thought today!

I had a rough couple of last days. My heart just wasn't in the work and, as such, I was going through the motions but not getting any results. Fear not, it's fixed! But it was rough. As such, I have quite a bit of spiritual fodder that I wrote down to pick me back up.

First off, I want to talk about Elijah. Elijah? That guys like, thousands of years old! Why would I want to talk about him? Who even reads the Old Testament??

We were assigned to find a scripture hero, but not our "default" scripture hero, for class. I got to thinking about when Elijah challenged the 500 (or maybe 1,000 I'm not sure) prophets of Baal to see who could burn an altar (ish thing) to their God faster, via the power of their God. Elijah gives them hours (I think something like ten) and they couldn't do diddly squat. Then, he tells them to pour buckets and buckets of water all over his altar. He proceeds to call upon God and the altar is burnt. I've always loved this story because of the in-your-face kind of faith Elijah possessed, so I decided to read more about him. and holy COW! He was a pretty awesome guy.

Among the things he was able to do were:
-Splitting the Jordan river so he could walk on dry ground
-Raining fire upon soldiers sent to capture him and bring him to the king
-He told a man that when he departed from him, a lion would eat the man. In the next verse, the man was eaten by a lion after he departed from him.

The thing about Elijah is that he just had so much faith. Faith is what gives us power. Elijah had enough faith to do these absolutely miraculous things. If I can have just a little bit of Elijah's spirit, I can do great things as well. In fact, Elisha, Elijah's 'apprentice' of sorts, did just that. Elisha followed Elijah to where Elijah was translated, and then asked to have Elijah's spirit upon him. Due to Elisha's faith and actions, Elijah was able to give "double the portion of his spirit" upon Elisha, which enabled Elisha to do miracles of the same caliber (like pouring salt in water during a drought to enable a city to have enough water, or raising somebody from the dead).

I want that kind of faith.

(I'm going to write the rest later. Gotta go check laundry! Love you!)

My second thought for today is about the devotional we had yesterday. It was by John H. Groberg, who is the man that Other Side of Heaven (book and movie) is based off of. He talked a lot about testimony and one the things that really helped me get out of my funk was bearing testimony that night. I realized that I had not born my testimony much at all since I came here to the MTC, which is pretty silly.

One thing that really stuck out to me about that talk is the line "We can influence all for good." My mission isn't about baptizing somebody. It's not about teaching lessons, or making more contacts, or becoming an Assistant to the President, or any of those terrestrial markers we use to signify progress. My mission is about influencing people for good. Maybe it's by helping someone get over the troubles of their past, or maybe it's by bringing them to the temple. No matter what it is, it's helping people be better by bringing them closer to the perfection of Christ.

I was practicing cursive yesterday and I needed something to write, so I wrote my testimony down.
"I know that this Church is true. I know that I can be with my family forever. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He wants us to be happy. In order to accomplish this, He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. This is called the Plan of Salvation, commonly referred to as the Plan of Happiness. Families are central to this plan. I know that Jesus Christ's atonement is the way through which our sins can be cleaned and our burdens lifted. I have devoted the next two years of my life to sharing these truths because I know that this truth is open to and should be given to every man (and woman, of course) on this Earth. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I also know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it's another testament of Jesus Christ, and that it outlines the story of a people who traveled to the Americas. God reveals his gospel to all that are willing and before the time of a connected world like today, that was primarily done by establishing prophets for all his peoples. The Book of Mormon is a record of these prophet's teachings."

There was a cool thing about the Book of Mormon being another Testament of Jesus Christ that Elder Haskell shared with me:
The old testament could be called  the Book of Ezra. The New Testament could be called the Book of Athenareas. In the same way, the Book of Mormon is not a book about Mormon, but a book of God compiled by Mormon. It is Another Testament.
--Elder Spencer Henry
 These big bubbles are what we exercise in. The last one on the right's the volibol one; I'm in there every day! Volibol is SO much fun. (I got 2 AWESOME blocks today in one play :-)

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