I hope you had such a fun Easter and I hope you had fun coloring eggs! You are going to need to send me some pictures of the eggs!
Mom and dad, you guys should read the talk by Gordon B. Hinckley called the four cornerstones of Faith. It talks about how the 4 cornerstones are Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith's first vision, The Book of Mormon, and the Priesthood. This is simplified, but something I loved from the section about the first vision says, "This transcendent experience opened the marvelous work of restoration. It lifted the curtain on the long-promised dispensation of the fulness of times."......"For more than a century and a half, enemies, critics, and some would-be scholars have worn out their lives trying to disprove the validity of that vision. Or course they cannot understand it. The things of God are understood by the Spirit of God. There had been nothing of comparable magnitude since the Son of God walked the earth in mortality."
About the Book of Mormon, I love the part that says, "The evidence for its truth, for its validity in a world that is prone to demand evidence, lies not in archaeology or anthropology, though these may be helpful to some. It lies not in word research or historical analysis, though these may be confirmatory. The evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself. The test of its truth lies in reading it. It is a book of God. Reasonable people may sincerely question its origin, but those who have read it prayerfully have come to know by a power beyond their natural sense that it is true, that it contains the word of God, that it outlines saving truths of the everlasting gospel, that it came forth by the gift and power of God...to the convincing of the jew and the gentile that Jesus is the Christ.”
Something I read a little bit ago that I really liked about the Book of Mormon is that reading scriptures brings a quiet confirmation that we too can overcome difficulty and doubts that seem insurmountable.
When Elder Richards came and talked to us he showed us a video that I think is called 'Sanctify Yourselves' by Elder Holland. When I watched this video, I was very touched and overcome with the faith that is required to exercise the Priesthood. Faith can be procured, but by the nature of faith, it tends to be something that is instinctive--meaning that either it is there, simply, without effort or that it would require great effort to obtain. Or maybe everyone has faith but the values of this world create a mask of skepticism and cynicism that make us feel like we don't have strong faith.
One of the ways we can know that we have strong faith is because we trusted the plan that God set up for us and we left out home in Heaven.
I was reading in the gospel principles book about final judgement and there were some things that stood out to me quite strongly. First, I don't think I fully understood that there was actually a book of life that was kept in heaven that would be brought out at our judgment to aid in where we go. We--ourselves--are also a record of our lives. This record is written by ourselves in our own minds.
Under the people that are going to go do the celestial kingdom, it says "Ellos son los que han vendico al mundo por medio de la fe" (these are they that have overcome the world by way of faith).
Under the part about being judged for our words, works and thoughts, I like the part that says: while we repent of our sins and put behind us all thoughts and acts impure, the spirit will effect a change in our heart so that we will not have any more desire to sin. I like that it says he effects a change in us. It is like we do what we can, and then our efforts are consecrated and he purifies what we have left over. This part goes on to say: Then when we are judged we will be prepared to enter into the presence of God. I like that is says we will be ready to be with him. I want to live my life in a way that makes me be excited to rush to the presence of God.
At the end of the chapter, it says: in reality every day is a judgement and we should live in harmony with a celestial law. Part of the culture here makes it so the people cannot understand the nature of eternal laws and that God requires that we put off the natural man by cleaving to a strict attitude of obedience. It is hard for them to understand that there are necessary refining processes where they will feel themselves taking more control of themselves. It is hard for them to understand that in addition to being merciful, he will be just also. I think we even can return to the knowledge that strictness is required of us and every minute we spend here on earth during our 4 minutes matter.
I read a scripture this week and I can't remember where it is, but it said something about how we will choose the kingdom that we go to. NO, no, no, it was something else. Let me look and see if I can find it...(10 minutes later) Alma 3:26, 27 It just says that you act in a way so that you can receive happiness of misery according with the spirit that you you want to obey. So that could be either with the spirit of obedience that you let excite you or it could be being obedient to the spirit. I mean, there are so many different things this scripture can tell you.
We were knocking doors (we do a lot of that) and knocked on someone's door and she told us she followed more a pattern of indigenous worship. (Native American?) Immediately, I knew what to do! I asked her if she believed in the great spirit. She replied: yes. Then I told her that this was God. #alma18:26-28
Teodoro passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized in a week from yesterday.
We got two of our menos activo families to church on Sunday.
I am loving the endorphins I get from biking. Our car is in the shop so we have only had bikes as of lately and I LOVE IT! This area is better to be biked anyway!
I am excited to skype you or something! We'll figure that out when it happens! There is still an email time in between now and then to let you know how it will go down. Worse case scenario I will just make a phone call in the evening :)
I was told by a companion that I only have 7 months left on my mission and that scared me a lot because I never want to come back into the real world. I feel like I am the type of person that could potentially get panicky as my time here ticks down. I am instead going to channel all that energy into improving and being diligent. Ah! Here we come!
I love you and I will talk to you soon!