Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be Perfect Now

Well this week started with an epic zone meeting on Tuesday.  We were over at the church at 10 in the morning preparing everything for our meeting that started at 1. At about 12, we had almost everything ready when we received a call from the big dawg himself, President Stucki.  He informed us that he would be attending our zone meeting. Upon hearing those words, my anxiety doubled in intensity.  Zone meeting alone is pretty stressful.  When you have President there, its taken to a whole new level.  It turned out really well though.  We had some great discussions on the importance of diligence and using time wisely.  We concluded with a segment on the difference between "utilizing" the Book of Mormon and "using" the Book of Mormon.  After all, it is the most powerful tool in conversion when coupled with the spirit. The theme of our meeting was the scripture 3rd Nephi 12:48:

48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

I truly love this scripture.  The Lord has commanded us to be perfect. Of course, right now, we are not perfect. However, everyday we can be a little bit more perfect than we were the day before. There are numerous aspects of our life that take enormous amounts of time to become perfect in. Being a perfect teacher, perfectly humble, or perfectly patient take lifetimes to achieve.  However, there are also aspects of our life that we can be perfect in now. Often times, the only thing that's holding us back from this perfection is our mindset. We can be perfect in studying the scriptures every day, attending church every week, or home teaching every month. In order to be perfect in these things, we just have to do it. Be perfect now.

We also had a great opportunity to attend a 6-hour leadership training on Thursday.  This has quite the story.  The training started at 9 in the morning.  In order to get a few things done and get there on time, we were out of our house at 7. We made our way around town to coordinate some exchanges with the companions of the district leaders who would also be attending the meeting. At about 7:45 we began to wave down taxis to take us the rest of the way to the chapel for the meeting. The chapel was probably 10 miles away, so in the states would take about 15 minutes to get there. We thought we would be there in no time. Time slowly began to pass as we were waiting on the side of the road trying to wave down a taxi.  Every taxi that past was full or just wouldn't stop for the Mormons. It ended up taking us 45 minutes to grab a taxi.  We still had hope we could make it on time... until we hit Manila traffic.  (Manila traffic is different than any other traffic you could ever imagine). We were at a stand still. We were still a bit away from the chapel and it was already 8:45.  So... we jumped out of the taxi and ran the rest of the way.  This scene probably could have been in a movie. There were skyscrapers on both sides, hordes of people and these 2 Americans were dodging these people as they ran in their white shirts and ties. Quite a scene.  We arrived at the chapel at 8:58, sweaty and red in the face.  What an adventure. 

The training was amazing though.  We did an activity at lunch where we all went out and just passed out Books of Mormon.  Elder Hawkins and I sat next to this guy eating lunch outside of a small convenient store. We began talking to him and discovered that he was from Mindoro (the same place Brady is serving at right now) and is only in Manila for work.  We shared a powerful message about the Book of Mormon.  This guy was hooked.  He gladly accepted the Book of Mormon and then told us to write a message on the inside of the Book of Mormon so he could read it to his wife when he headed back home. He asked us a ton of questions and it was just wonderful. Gotta love the Book of Mormon.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  The work this last week had been a little tough and Elder Hawkins and I were just beat.  While we were awaiting the start of church, we saw one of the part member, less active families that we are teaching walking toward the church for the first time in over a decade. Unfortunately, Brother wasn't able to make it, but Sister came walking in with her 6 children all under the age of 12, 2 of which are 4 month old twins.  I was so excited to see them.  They are the cutest family ever. They were immediately enveloped by members who excitedly greeted them and welcomed them to church. My heart was full as I witnessed that sight. 3 of her children who are over the age of 8 haven't been baptized yet so we're super excited to have their family baptized and active in the church. I gotta send you a picture of this family, they are so dang adorable.

I just want to end with a thought that has been on my mind the past couple days. I'll begin with a scripture:
6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

We often underestimate the power of faith in our own lives. I've come to the conclusion that a failure to keep a commandment usually boils down to two reasons. 1. We don't understand it's importance. 2. Our faith is not sufficiently strong.  There is a reason that faith is the first principle of the gospel; everything depends upon our faith. In a world of trials and temptation, our faith is bumped, bruised and broken.  Our faith becomes weaker as we begin to yield to these temptations or fall victim to a trial we don't think we can overcome. However, when we endure challenges and overcome barriers that are placed in our way, our faith grows. It will become stronger and stronger until our faith becomes knowledge (like the brother of Jared). The Lord has given us guidance in how to strengthen our faith.  Prayer and scripture study are two very simple acts and yet, are often underestimated.  In the bible dictionary, it states that prayer brings forth some of the most plentiful blessings.  Moroni promises us later in verse 12 that as we show our faith, we are then open to see and experience miracles. I know that this is true.  Miracles are real and they begin with our faith.  Constantly strive to strengthen your faith. That way, when you are faced with a trial, you will have no problem bearing it. 

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